My Work Life

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My entire working life has revolved around trading. First at the Minneapolis Grain Exchange, and then in the pits of the Chicago Board of Trade—screaming, jumping, and waving my hands in the air all day long in an effort to make a market for anyone looking to buy or sell soybeans. You’d be amazed at how much trading in soybeans, corn, and wheat goes on in a day. I had started out a year after graduating college, after selling my car and putting the $5,000 into a trading account. Aside from a little money from writing, everything I’ve ever made has come in one way or another from trading off of that first deposit.

Pat in the Chicago Board of Trade Soybean Options pit.
Pat in the Chicago Board of Trade Soybean Options pit.

In the waning days of open-outcry trading I left Chicago, and headed west to circle the globe on Bumfuzzle. By the time we’d come back around to the States from the east, trading in the pits was a relic of the past. Trading had moved on to computers. Which, coincidentally, fit quite well with my new wandering Bumfuzzle lifestyle. Digital nomad as a term hadn’t come along yet, but I was headed out to be one anyway, without knowing what to call it.

Bumfuzzle VW
Driving the PanAmericana in our '58 VW bus.

These days I trade online from anywhere. I carry around a laptop, and an iPad with cellular to use as my hotspot or to take with me when a day’s adventure doesn’t fit well with a 15″ screen in my backpack. Most mornings are spent trading from my boat wherever I happen to be anchored at the time, and afternoons are spent enjoying the area with my family. The dream of the digital nomad lifestyle is becoming reality for more and more people these days—you just need the right skill set to become mobile.

Our third Bumfuzzle at anchor in the Bahamas. Office with a view.
Our third Bumfuzzle at anchor in the Bahamas. Office with a view.

Life goes by too fast. I loved trading in the pits, and living in downtown Chicago, but at the end of the day it was still confining—there is too much world out there to see. Escaping winter once meant a week in Mexico for a quick sunburn, followed by a return right back to the same spot I was 7 days earlier. Now I simply follow the sun wherever I want. I bring my home with me, whether it is a boat or a motorhome that particular year. Life isn’t tied to a single space—it’s fluid, ever changing—and that goes for my office too. Everybody is different, but for me this is truly living the dream, which is where I hope all of you are able to reach.

My entire working life has revolved around trading. First at the Minneapolis Grain Exchange, and then in the pits of the Chicago Board of Trade—screaming, jumping, and waving my hands in the air all day long in an effort to make a market for anyone looking to buy or sell soybeans. You’d be amazed at how much trading in soybeans, corn, and wheat goes on in a day. I had started out a year after graduating college, after selling my car and putting the $5,000 into a trading account. Aside from a little money from writing, everything I’ve ever made has come in one way or another from trading off of that first deposit.

Life goes by too fast. I loved trading in the pits, and living in downtown Chicago, but at the end of the day it was still confining—there is too much world out there to see. Escaping winter once meant a week in Mexico for a quick sunburn, followed by a return right back to the same spot I was 7 days earlier. Now I simply follow the sun wherever I want. I bring my home with me, whether it is a boat or a motorhome that particular year. Life isn’t tied to a single space—it’s fluid, ever changing—and that goes for my office too. Everybody is different, but for me this is truly living the dream, which is where I hope all of you are able to reach.