Hi! I’m Charli Muchow, a genuine lover of life and I spread daily positive perspectives and smiles everywhere I can. Why? I mean, why not? The alternative sucks. I’m also addicted to finding things that bring daily smiles to my face and help get myself and others to overcome when stuck in a rut. If I meet you and you have a negative perspective about yourself or a situation, I’ll probably notice 10 things about you/your situation that SHOULD be bringing a smile instead of a frown.
I am a former: elementary school teacher, small-town country girl, crap-TV watcher, passionate daughter/sister/friend, and travel planner not taker.
Currently I am: an entrepreneur, big city dweller, avid personal growth book reader, even more passionate daughter/sister/friend, and traveler/explorer thanks to the freedoms my “j-o-b” allows me to have.
If you LOVE to travel but don’t have the time or money, I wrote this blog for you because I’ve been where you are.
We are busy. Most of us have 9-5s that we may be passionate about, but likely are not. We spend the evenings and weekends building our side hustle (which no one seems to understand) so that we can live our lives by design, doing something we’re actually passionate about. Living a life of freedom, doing what we want, when we want, with whom we want. One of the common desires of our heart, is adventure. As millennials, we love to travel & explore, spending our hard-earned money on experience instead of things.
However, and correct me if I’m wrong, that means taking time off of work, which in our country, where the average American gets 11 days of PTO, rarely happens. After requesting off to go to the doctor, the 8 weddings you have that year (does everyone really have to get married in the same year?), or for holidays home with family… we maybe have 2 days left. That’s why many of us build the side hustle until it becomes our main hustle, what we’re really passionate about in life, so we can do the things we want to do when we want to do them. Freedom.
But, most of us feel stuck… not able to act.
The first time I caught a glimpse of freedom (people making money while working from home, working when they want, from wherever they want) I was floored. I had no idea that a girl like me, an elementary teacher with a big heart, who didn’t get a 32 on my ACT or attend a D1 or private university, didn’t have wealthy parents and was from a small town, could make a decent amount of money doing something I loved. The BEST thing about this opportunity, outside of the fact that I was still leaving a positive impact, was that it would allow me the TIME to be able to travel the world, all while helping others achieve their goals. Does it get much better than that?
I saw myself in my late 20s and having total freedom. Working at coffee shops in different cities and making friends in every corner of the country… all while inspiring others to live a healthy life and adding a smile to their day. I saw myself waking up refreshed, to the light of the morning sun, not to the beep-beep-beep of my alarm clock. Cuddled up on the couch, with the latest how to be great book while sipping my Spark out of a classy, stemless wine glass. #thatshowido. Working out at a 9am class, going home and designing my day from there. These images were so vivid in my mind I was convinced I could already smell the pine of the Pacific Northwest and feel the chilly sea breeze from Cape Cod. Traveling freedom.
Which I did for the first year and a half and OMGosh it was AMMMMAZING.
THE PROBLEM: Why we feel stuck.
I spent a ton of money on flights, hotels, tours, restaurants, car rentals, etc., and learned I wasn’t as disciplined in my finances or in my time that a work-from-wherever entrepreneur should be. So, my lovely and wise mother not-so-gently told me, “Charli you’re always wanting to go, go, go and see this, this, this. Never content with where you are. Why don’t you explore home or do some things you’ve never done right here!?”
The ironic timing of that frustrated-with-her-living-at-home-adult-daughter suggestion was that the week prior to that, on a return flight from Portland with a friend, he told me about all these amazing places in Wisconsin that I’d never been to or of some I’d never heard. #lightbulbmoment. Maybe my mom was right. Maybe my friend was onto something. Maybe it was time to explore home base and tire out my sense of adventure right where I was planted.
But instead, I moved to Chicago. Clearly in a big city like Chicago, there’s a LOT of new things to experience, fun things to do, and tourist attractions to explore. In meeting new Chicagoans and asking for suggestions on what to do and where to go, I found an alarmingly number of them had never done all the things people come here to do. WHAT!? They’d never done the architecture tour, sky deck, museums, and infamous deep-dish pizzas. I’d ask why not as those were all appeared on Pinterest’s multiple lists of Top Ten Chicago things to do. The general response? “I don’t know, I’ve been meaning to but just haven’t gotten around to it.”
We’re all guilty of this. Whether it’s me having yet to experience Door County or the founder of this blog you’re reading, Case Kenny, 4 year Chicago veteran, having yet to experience the infamous architecture tour (someone buy him a ticket), we don’t make or take the time to do what every tourist comes to our city or state to do. Why? I don’t know, perhaps because it’s home. You can go anytime so there’s no sense of urgency. We’ll experience it someday. And hey, if we don’t, we’ve heard about it enough that it almost confuses us to think we have.
However, I’m all about living life with no regrets and if you’ve wanted to do or see something you’ve yet to see in your home turf, it’s time.
This is what I’ve come up with to help you have adventure without breaking the bank or taking PTO.
To travel and see the world while you’re young and able
You’re young and able but can’t afford a big trip and/or out of PTO
Find the 7 wonders of your HOMETOWN or current world, in case you’re not living in your hometown, which most of us aren’t.
1. Save money
2. Save your PTO by partaking in home turf adventures during weeknights or weekends
3. You’ll get more people to join you (especially those smart frugal ones who never do anything fun outside of your home state)
4. You’ll do the things you’ve been meaning to do and will understand why people come here to do them
5. You will realize you don’t have to travel far to find excitement and adventure and will be making last memories with loved ones (at least that was my experience).
1. Make a list of things you’d like to experience on your home turf.
They can be whatever you want them to be. If you struggle to come up with an idea, go to Pinterest or Google and type in “Top 10 things to do in _____”. You could also ask friends.
2. Pick one weeknight or weekend a month.
I’m all about making things attainable. Make this a yearlong adventure so at the end of the year you’ve done 12 things and can pick your top 7.
3. COMMIT to being present.
Do it when you know you’ll be fully present in the moment, not distracted by upcoming deadlines. Setting aside your side-hustle one night or weekend a month isn’t going to ruin your business. In fact, I believe it’ll strengthen it. It’ll give you a mental break and you’ll feel rejuvenated and refreshed when you return to it the next day.
4. Ask friends to join.
Life is more fun when experiences are shared. It creates memories. Something you’ll talk about for years.
5. Are you a social media poster?
If so, post your experiences to social media using these hashtags, #7wondersofmyworld #findingfunwhereyourefound #touryourturf and most importantly, TAG ME IN THEM! @charlimuchow on Instagram – I want to be inspired by you and your adventures. I want to know what to do when I come to your city or state. If you’d like an accountability partner, email me your list and your deadline for completion at firstname.lastname@example.org
This will inspire others AND you’ll have a blast! If you can share with the world your genuine joy in finding the 7 Wonders of Your Current World, they too will search for them in theirs. We’ll have joyful people all over the place.
My life mission is to encourage others to find the simple things in life that bring a daily smile to their face. True happiness. I believe it comes from within, and although that’s a whole different topic, I think that starting with the fun and simple quest of finding the 7 Wonders of Your Current World will certainly add to your happiness meter. It’s already adding to mine!
P.S. If you’re in Chicago, I’d love to join you on your quest!
P.S.S. For a list of the 7 Wonders of my Hometown (south central wisco), read below.
Charli’s 7 Wonders of her Home State, Wisco
1. Hike at Devils Lake State Park – http://www.devilslakewisconsin.com/
2. Friday Night Fish Fry at The Villa Inn, Hillpoint Wisconsin http://madisonfishfry.com/reviews.php?restaurant=337#.V9lGHD4rL-k
3. Tailgate and Packer Game at Lambeau – http://www.packers.com/lambeau-field/
4. Farmer’s Market on the Square, Madison – http://dcfm.org/
5. Farm/Art DTour http://fermentationfest.com/
6. Tour Carr Valley Cheese Factory and try their Squeaky Cheese Curds http://www.carrvalleycheese.com/
7. Summerfest http://summerfest.com/