This article is part seven of a seven part series on unplugging from the cubicle. Read the full introduction here.

You are on the brink of a new frontier. Freedom. From the cubicle. You’ve paid your debts, tidied up past business.

Whether consciously or not, you’ve emerged from a trial by fire – each previous step was fraught with pain, even heart wrenching growth.

But you landed on both feet. Time to mold your full escape.

TP that cubicle outta your life

Grab Inspiration

A well of solutions starts with those who walked the path before you. Learn from them. Read their stories, decipher what does or doesn’t work for your lifestyle makeover. Everybody is unique and so marks your journey.

1. The Skool of Life : Srinivas Rao’s site is a serious playground for personal development. Not the kind that adheres to the current power structure, but bold with insights on how to reinvent your mindset.

Favorite post:  Why the 8 Hour Workday Doesn’t Make Sense.

Twitter: @skooloflife.

2. The 9 to 5 Alternative: Alan Perlman is a cost-of-living surveyor who writes about goal-setting strategies in business, travel, philanthropy and education. I quite enjoy his Case Studies on regular folks enacting alternative lives. His site will turn your beliefs inside and out. Mostly he’s cool because he’s traveled to 51 countries.

Twitter: @alanperlman.

Favorite post:  No Regrets: Renaissance Living and a Bucket List.

3. Rowdy Kittens: Tammy Strobel set out to live a minimalist life. Her blog is chock full of inspiring scribbles, especially ways to start a small business. And if she can do it – anyone can.

Favorite post: Seven Tips to Kick the Cubicle Habit.

Twitter: @RowdyKittens.

4. The Art of Non-Comformity: Chris Guillebeau stirs people to strive for a life that’s defined by their own set of rules. Whether it’s travel hacking, goal setting or personal development — the common tie is achieving those things through an authentic, honest self, not what the status quo dictates.

Favorite post: Why You Should Quit Your Job and Travel the World.

Twitter: @chrisguillebeau.

Other alchemists of the unmapped frontier:

  1. Location 180 – Sean Ogle left a lucrative investment job to travel and inspire people.  Twitter: @seanogle.
  2. Sean Bonner –  Technomads founder. Twitter: @seanbonner.
  3. Itty Biz – Marketing ninjaess for small businesses. Twitter: @NaomiDunford.
  4. Man vs Debt – Baker took debt, squashed it, and is living his dreams. Why not you? Twitter: @ManVsDebt.
  5. Ridiculously Extraordinary – Karol (pronounced Karl) Gajda is a freedom-loving guru. Twitter: @KarolGajda.

Snatch the good inspiration

Seek Stimulation

That television set sitting innocently on your console? Turn it off. Really. Television feeds a narrow vision of the world by selling you crap you don’t need, keeping you distracted from your goals, or scare the bejesus out of you with biased news reporting. TV is bad crack. The good stuff is accessible to anyone willing to look.

1. TED Talks: TED is synonymous with ideas. You can view any TED video online free. I highly recommend attending a TED Event, which are cropping up in cities like wildfire. Another option, download any TED podcast free on iTunes. That’s a lot of ideas.

Favorite: Steve Jobs > How to Live Before You Die.

Twitter: @tedtalks.

2. Indie Travel Podcast: Craig and Linda Martin share their love affair with freedom through travel. They stimulate with visual, ear, and word.

Favorite: Why We Love Travel.

Twitter: @indietravel.

3. Intelligence-squared: A UK engine devoted to debate on the topics of the day. You can sign up for a free membership to watch select debates weekly. I’m sneaky and download their podcasts of all the debates at not cost.

Favorite: Elizabeth Gilbert chats with Paul Holdengräber.

Twitter: @intelligence2.

4. BIL: Brilliance. Ingenious. Logic. A kick ass conference about people coming together to brainstorm and change the world.  Video watching is free, free!

Favorite: How to Do Cool Things Around the World.

Open Your Mind

Some strongly feel returning to school is the answer. Rather than spend $30,000 on graduate school, why not take the radical step of self-education? Save your pocket book money for larger ambitions. Don’t wallow in debt.

1. Personal MBA: Josh Kaufman developed a list of 99 business books that represent an MBA for mere dollars compared to a real one for $150,000. He wholeheartedly encourages that even reading a few of these books can lead you to a sound business plan. For a full list of the books, go here. I love the manifesto: What is a Personal MBA?

Twitter: @joshkaufman.

2. Self Made Scholar: A site for those on the quest to learn thyself. Whatever subject you’re interested in I guarantee you will glean a lead from this: Self-Education Resource List.

3. Lifehacker: Offers some sensible tips on how to continue your own learning.

Twitter: @lifehacker.

4. The Art of Self-Education: An inspiring blog on self-directed learning. And come on, there’s a quotes page to pump those learning juices.

Twitter: @RBannonEduc.

Kick that TV to the pavement

Meet-Up

It’s ridiculously easy to meet your kin. I’m not alluding to just social media. Attend a conference or go to a tweet-up. Holing up with 3 day old pizza and your computer for comfort is a fraction of the change you desire.

1. Travel Blog Exchange: Every new travel blogger on the scene should sign up for this website. In person conferences are multiplying quickly. The last conference was in New York last summer, next is Las Vegas, and then Copenhagen in November.  If you need an excuse to break from your turtle shell, this is it.

Twitter: @tbex11.

2. Create one: Start an event in your city or hometown. It’s simple with Twtvite. Post your invite on Twitter or Facebook.  People will come.

3. Meet, Plan, Go: Is a nationwide event to stoke those career break or long-term travel yearnings. The heart of this event is having inspirational speakers appear to not only share true stories, but actual resources. From there you have the tools to plan and go. Why does this work? The average person can meet another average person who made the break successfully. Better than just a static blog, right? Next event is January 2011.

Twitter: #meetplango.

4. NuNomad Tribe: Similar to a craigslist for wanderers, including groups, forums and meetups!

5. Technomads: A Google group created by Sean Bonner. There’s been some top-notch discussions from virtual assistants to how nomadic parents find schools. Or start your own Google group! Besides the Google group, Sean just created a website (as attached) where you can ask anything.

Other notable events:

  1. Blogworld: Part conference, trade show and media event for all new media. Twitter: #blogworld.
  2. BlogHer: The definitive site for female bloggers. Every year there is a conference and the site itself allows you to add your blog or discuss hot issues. Twitter: @blogher.
  3. Startup Drinks: Are you thinking of launching a startup? Bit of a tech hound? Startup Drinks is a monthly networking event. I went to a few in Montreal, which forced little ol’ me to actually talk about what I do and why people should care.  Check for an event in your city. Twitter: @startupdrinksCA.
  4. Travel Bloggers Show: An industry conference for travel bloggers. Twitter: @trvlbloggershow.

Hold a blogger pool party!

E-Books

If Amazon or Indigo is your only reference for books, here’s a short list from some independent bloggers:

  1. Almost Fearless: Christine Gilbert’s short, but sweet e-book on becoming a digital nomad. The Practical Guide to Going Digital.
  2. Man vs Debt: Baker’s book on selling stuff to free yourself from object lust instead of travel lust. Sell Your Crap.
  3. The Art of Non-Conformity: Chris Guillebeau’s book on fighting an unremarkable life is power in the page. The Art of Non-Conformity.
  4. As We Travel: Resourceful book on how to plan a memorable, lasting trip. The Pre-Travel Guide.
  5. Nerdy Nomad: Kirsty wrote an honest book about international volunteering, it’s benefits and realities. The Underground Guide to International Volunteering.

Cubicle Free at Last

What you’ve done is no small feat. Leaving and grieving the cubicle amounts to two words, no regrets. When you were entrenched in no choices, you now have several. Just months ago you felt trapped, now you can breathe and envision the future. Towards the next step. At the person you truly are.

My favorite Malcolm X quote ends this series beautifully: “Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you’re a man, you take it.”

Photo: bchai, pikturewerk, allaboutgeorg, tambako