Some dreams come true when you prioritize what is important to you

7:30pm. I was in Singapore, lying on the floor of the Garden by The Bay waiting for a light and music show to start.

As the music played I started to think about all the things I had to give up to prioritize this. To be there in that instant. In case you’re inspired, here they are some of the steps that brought to that moment:

  • At the age of 14 I already knew that I wanted to travel, that I liked what was out there so much that I wanted to see it with my own eyes. I started to look at flight attendant courses on the Internet. That idea didn’t go very far.
  • In high school I started a blog with some friends about football and decided to learn some code to make the default Blogger template “pretty”. I had never touched a line of code before.
  • I liked programming and I kept learning. I joined a group of developers in my hometown and with them, we organized events and talks for a couple of years. This allowed me to confirm that I had found the right profession and I also met a lot of great people.
  • During that time, I was in college for 3 months and decided to drop out. I wanted to learn from others and do real things. I didn’t want to spend 4 years being treated like a school student.
  • I kept learning on my own and thanks to those contacts, I got my first job. I was lousy at programming, and still am. Nothing remote in those days. I took advantage of the fact that I was able to save some money with my first salaries and went to visit New York with some friends with only €1200 in my account. Bad decision? Not at all. It was my priority to travel and see the world.
  • I changed jobs after 3 months because I wanted more challenges and to learn new things. I joined another company and was fired after 3 months. What I said, lousy. With that money I visited Istanbul. Bad decision? Not at all again.
  • I was invited to an event in Madrid thanks to having organize other events in my hometown. There, I met a girl who introduced me to Waynabox, a travel company in Barcelona. I loved the project and I applied almost instantly. Surprisingly I passed the interviews and they said yes. At the age of 21 I moved to Barcelona, guess why? I wanted to discover the world, and Barcelona has an airport. And as it happened with New York or Istanbul, I left almost without a euro in my pocket.
  • I learned a lot. I had no idea about anything. I traveled a lot too, and very cheap. I saw many parts of Europe and still saved some money. That’s the thing about eating rice many days. My priority was to travel, right? Well, that’s what I did. By the way, no signs of remote work coming anytime soon.
  • 2 years later I felt that I was not learning so much and decided to leave. My main idea was to leave Barcelona, but 2 days before I left, another company called me with an interesting offer and I decided to accept it with one condition: in 1 year they would allow me to work remotely.
  • One year after that I got my long-awaited dream of working remotely. That company was Colvin and it was one of the best professional and personal experiences of my life. I worked from Athens, from Verona, from Galicia, from Seville, from Madrid.
  • The idea of traveling and working in Latin America for a few months was already in my mind. Colvin at that time did not allow me to work from a different timezone, so in December 2019 I decided to quit. Guess what happened in 2020? Yes, you are right.
  • I started working as a freelancer and for the first few years I earned half of what I was making at Colvin. I worked half or less as well. Two years cooped up at my parents’ house gave me time to think about many things, but above all to save a little more money. So in 2022, with approximately €20,000 in my account, I bought a flight to Bogotá and my adventure began.

And here I am, writing these lines from Bali 15 years after the 14-year-old Alberto was looking for courses to become a flight attendant. Why am I telling you all this? I think that sometimes when we see someone from the outside we tend to think that everything they have has been easy or that they have had a series of very favorable conditions.

And the truth is that it doesn’t. If you’re reading me, you’re probably from a lower/middle class family. You’ve probably had access to the Internet from an early age. You’ve probably had food on the table every day of your life. You’ve probably been able to go to school and study. So we’re in the same boat.

Sometimes dreams simply come true when you accept that you are going to have to give up many things and prioritize others.When you accept that you will have to make difficult decisions and that all of them will take you to an unknown place.

I gave up being able to spend more time with my family, to have more zeros in my bank account, to have a better job, to have a group of friends I could see more often, to have a house to return to.

And as I said last week, the freedom to do this implies responsibility and demands a lot. So you have to be willing to give up a lot of things to get other things. And remember that if I, who suck at what I do, can do it, you can do it more and probably way better than me.