Lifestyle Design: Building my Perfect Day and my Ideal Day, Everyday.

Today is my birthday. I woke up this morning asking myself, what do I want to do today? My birthday fell on a Thursday this week and I could technically do anything I wanted. I could hop in a plane and fly to the Maldives, party it up in Ibiza, Miami or Vegas, visit friends in Thailand, or day drink all day here, go shopping for whatever I wanted, or open bottles at night and live it up here in Eastern Europe. But none of that even crossed my mind until now. It's strange to say, but I'm perfectly content doing exactly what I'm doing, and my ideal day now consists of walking through the city center to a favorite or new coffee shop for a few hours, going to the gym, then going out for dinner with friends at night.

But this post isn't about me, or my ideal day. It's about yours. I want everyone reading this to take a moment to think about what you truly desire, and what would make you wake up every morning with a smile on your face, looking forward to the day. Also what would allow you to lay down at night with a grin of satisfaction knowing that you accomplished something worth doing. What would cause you to randomly think to yourself, "I love my life" for no particular reason at least once a day.  I'm fortunate that my birthday falls halfway through the year, as it allows me to reflect on my New Year's resolutions to see if I've kept up with them, see if they were actually what I wanted, and to make new ones for the rest of the year. I invite you to use my day to do the same. Lets do this together. Keep reading to find out how.

The California Lifestyle

Growing up in San Francisco, then moving down to Southern California for university, I thought that I was living in the best place on Earth and had hit the jackpot. In Orange County and LA we had 12 months of Sunshine with almost zero rain. I remember even suntanning by the pool on Christmas in the middle of winter. I chased my ideal life by moving into a designer house near Melrose Ave in the trendy Larchmont Adjacent neighborhood, and even lived in the upscale neighborhood of Bel Air for a while. It was there that I bought a convertible Porsche and a big Lexus LS with 20" chrome rims. 

I'd buy all of my clothes in trendy shops on Melrose, or at expensive stores like Burberry. My goal was to live like the cool guys you saw on TV, and attract attention from the girls I'd meet in Hollywood clubs by having the latest Ed Hardy by Christian Audigier rhinestone shirt on, with a Louis Vuitton belt and Gucci shoes. 

My goal was to be able to go to Miami and Vegas to drink expensive champagne with hot girls, as I truly thought that it was the only path to being happy. It sounds ridiculous now, I know, but my only role models were what I saw on TV, and I truly thought that the path to happiness was being the cool guy in the nightclub. The funny thing is, I've always hated nightclubs and would only go as I didn't know what else to aspire to. I feel like my entire life has been a quest to figure out who I am, and I've done a lot of silly things throughout the journey thinking it was finding happiness. 

I'm lucky that I didn't get stuck there or worst off, end up with $40,000 in credit card debt like some of my friends did thinking it was normal to lease expensive cars and drop thousands of dollars over the weekend at nightclubs. 

Magnums of Dom Perignon Champagne in Miami

Escaping to Thailand

If falling into the LA trap was chapter 1 of my journey, the big change was going to Thailand for the first time and discovering the 4-hour workweek by Tim Ferriss. That book really did change my entire life path and journey for the better. It was there that I realized how little status or brands mattered as it was too hot to wear anything but shorts and a t-shirt with flip flops anyways, and since everything could be bought at the knock-off market, no one was impressed with luxury brands anyways.

I had finally started designing my life the way I wanted. My ideals changed from looking cool in the club and to looking for cool fish underwater as a professional dive guide. I went from spending $3,000-$5,000 a month living in LA to spending $600-$1,000 a month living on small islands and wearing nothing but board shorts and tank tops. I wrote about the journey in my first book, 12 Weeks in Thailand: The Good Life on the Cheap.

My new ideal day was waking up in the morning, putting on a pair of board shorts, and walking either barefoot or in sandals to the beach, usually just a few minutes away to start my day. I'd greet my students or guests and either teach them how to dive for the first time, or show the already experienced divers what our plan was underwater for the day. By 5pm we'd be done and we'd almost always meet for a sunset beer. It was heaven. I had little to no responsibilities aside from showing my guests a good time and making sure they stayed safe, but I also had little to no savings or future. It was there that I realized that guys in their 40's and 50's still working in diving were broke, tired and usually grumpy. It was fine living in a shared room or a bamboo hut when I was in my 20's, but I couldn't imagine doing it as a 50 year old man.

It was the same with my second passion, training and fighting as a Muay Thai kickboxer. I'd live at the gym, eat, sleep, and train all day, and loved it while it lasted, but I knew it wasn't something I could do forever.

Living in Borneo as a Scuba Instructor

At the K-1 Kickboxing Tournament

Defining Ideal Lifestyle

Fast forward a couple years, I went from LA Douchebag, to Scuba Divemaster, Muay Thai Fighter, to Digital Nomad Entrepreneur. If you want to read about the transformation, I wrote about it in detail in my second book, Life Changes Quick. But this isn't about that. This post is about what makes you happy, and what really matters in life. I wrote about some things that came to mind that would be in my ideal life. Here's my list, I encourge you to write down yours as well. 

No responsibilities 
Little to no stress. 
Good value.
Low costs of living. 
Money left over for savings.  
Be able to be generous.
Not look at prices.
Walkable to Gym, Coffee, Grocery stores, and Restaurants
No contracts.
Stable internet.
Comfortable weather, not too hot or too cold.
Not sand everywhere.
Not moving too much, but still things to see and explore.
Able to communicate but not needing to understand everyone or be fake polite. 
Fresh fruit in season.
Grass fed meat and free range eggs.
Able to treat friends to dinners and drinks.
No need for car. Easy cheap ubers.
Stress free visas.
Low crime rates, no petty theft.
Decent dating life.
Good friendships and relationships. 
Nature on weekends.

Designing Your Ideal Life

I guess I should explain what I actually mean by all of these terms above. But basically, my ideal life isn't about luxury or living on idyllic beaches anymore. It's hard to understand for some people as often life is about balance. Living on a remote island with turquoise waters and white sand beaches is amazing for about a week, or maybe two if you are really stressed out and need to unplug. Partying it up in Miami or Vegas is extremely fun for a 3 day weekend. Even traveling full time and seeing new countries every week was fun for a few months until you get burnt out and realize it was all blurred together. But I've designed my life to fully immerse in each and only then did I realize that none of them are sustainable for long term happiness. 

I'm grateful and fortunate that I've had the chance to experience both, as i'm afraid that like many people, that's what you'll chase your entire life as normally we only get small tastes of it and want more. Now that I've gotten to experience everything that I ever thought I wanted, I can honestly say that I understand why people desire these things. They're great. And maybe you need to do the same as telling someone the stove is hot and not to touch it isn't the same as them experiencing it themselves. 

But I can also say that now that I've touched the stove and burned my hand more than once, I have a fairly good idea of what I want and don't want. Life use to be about going from one extreme to another thinking that happiness would be found at one end. But now I've realized that happiness lays somewhere in the middle. It's okay to have a routine and be bored sometimes, as long as you're content and have the option to do something else. That's really the key to life and happiness, it's having options, and having the ability to be able to not need to take them and still be okay with it.

Loving Your Life

Things may change by my next birthday next year, but as for now, I'm happy to say that I'm happy. I wake up every morning excited for the day. I look forward to working and to working out. I have enough to do at night and on the weekends where I'm seldom bored, yet I also know that I don't need nightclubs, outside approval, or social status to make me happy, I'm just happy. Almost everyday I randomly smile and say to myself, "I love my life." 

My birthday wish is for all of you reading this to be able to do the same, and wake up every morning excited for the day, randomly say to yourself, wow this is a great life, and to go to sleep every night satisfied. I don't know what it is for you, or what's on your list, but I know that it's possible. If it's on one extreme or the other like my old life was, it probably won't be what you'll want forever, but I want you to know that everything is possible.

Watch my video below for more details and a deeper explanation of what this blog post was all about! 

Enjoy your life, and here's to making it better and better each and every year! 

With Love,

Johnny FD

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Post a Comment

  1. What would you ideal day look like? What are the values on your list?

  2. Great post Johnny. Bit of a slap in the face as I'm not living my ideal day, and I have no idea when I'll be able to live it. Time to formulate a plan...

    1. Exactly this kind of situation is where I've been many times too, Peter. Take that as use it as fire to take action and work towards being free.

      It's not easy, but you can certainly do it. I'm fortunate to have reached (and even surpassed) some goals this year and I'm considering finally taking the step to escape and become a nomad. :)

      You need 2 things to succeed:
      1. A solid plan
      2. Taking action

      Good luck!

    2. The best time to plant a tree was 30 years ago...the second best time is today!

  3. Hi Johnny. I really enjoyed your post and it hit home more than you might think. In fact this very topic, generally speaking, has been a lot on my mind very recently too.

    So much so that I feel like I'm ready to escape the 9-5 American life and pursue precisely what you mentioned: The kind of life I want, and to be happy. (I'm just dealing with that initial indecision etc right now).

    > "That's really the key to life and happiness, it's having options, and having the ability to be able to not need to take them and still be okay with it."

    Great point and this made me think a lot.

    > " Even traveling full time and seeing new countries every week was fun for a few months until you get burnt out and realize it was all blurred together."

    You're not the first guy who's successful and earning online I've heard say that. It seems they discovered that just like you eventually they like finding a "home base" in a place they enjoy and in some cases even settling down.

    Mainly it's very helpful to learn these principles from you, Johnny, and other guys I respect who have spent a lot of time, money, and earned experiences which lead to these conclusions.

    It really helps to know these things in advance and to think more responsibly about what to expect as well as where to put my priorities.

    Again, thank you for a great post filled with helpful ideas!

    Always a pleasure. :)

    1. I'm glad my post hit home. I hope it prevents some people from wasting time or money making the same mistakes. But more than that, the biggest downside would be completely burning out. If I didn't quit scuba diving as a profession when I did, I might hate it today and never want to do it again. But luckily, I knew to stop before my passion died, which means I can still enjoy it today.

      Same with people who travel too long and either run out of money or burn out completely. My goal is to try to save some of that pain for others if I can.


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