Hi, Thanks for visiting my website. My name is Shawn James, and this is my story.
From an early age, I had a love for the outdoors that distracted me from just about everything else in life. Because I was so passionate about fishing, canoeing, hiking, bird-watching, archery, hockey and soccer, I had little interest in school or work. I was a dirt-bag wannabe, but I kept one foot in middle class society, trying to figure out where I fit in. Really, like most people, I desired the comfort and trappings of wealth, but did not want to sacrifice my passion to acquire them. It took me many years of trial and error, but I soon realized that I could earn more than enough money during short bursts of high intensity and focus. Working less than 40 hours per week but earning twice what my friends did, legally, allowed my to focus on my love of the outdoors. This discovery turned into a lifelong obsession with self-reliance, independence and freedom.
Growing up in suburban Ontario, Canada, I was fortunate to be surrounded by farmland and a navigable river where as a young boy, I could wander endlessly, fishing, paddling and skating on the river, bird watching, foraging wild edibles, building outdoor shelters for overnight forays and playing native with my primitive archery equipment.
When I was in my teens, my summers were spent working hard at a construction job where I earned excellent wages, so at the age of seventeen, I purchased a couple of acres on an island in a small lake north of Parry Sound, preparing for a life focused on the outdoors.
At twenty years of age, I sold that property for more than double what I paid for it and invested the profit in five and a half acres on the mainland of the same lake. This experience was my first lesson in leveraging and passive income, and I liked it! By the age of twenty-one, I decided school and work were not that interesting and I prepared myself to spend twelve months building and living in a small log cabin on that property. It was my first mini-retirement, a sabbatical of sorts, and it set the stage for a lifetime of self gratifying living. It was the fulfilment of a childhood dream and it was extremely rewarding, but, once again, middle-class society sucked me back in.
Back to reality, my focus turned to starting a family of my own. Fortunately, the lessons I learned during this time prepared me for my current life of passion, prosperity and self reliance.
Now in my mid-forties, I’m living the life of my dreams. I’ve had expensive cars and boats and I’ve travelled the world, but I always come back to what truly makes me happy – the outdoors. For that reason, I’ve opted out of commercial society, stepping down from the corporate ladder, and regularly turn down opportunities for increasing my wealth. Instead, I choose to live simply and free. For many others, a dream life includes the typical status symbols – the big house, lavish lifestyle, expensive toys. That’s fine if that’s your dream, and I’ve been there and enjoyed that too. But now that I’m middle-aged, I realize that I’m much happier to live free, without the stress that accompanies attachment to material things. And, without the need to sacrifice my freedom in exchange for the hard work and time required to increase my wealth or maintain that expensive lifestyle.
I’m constantly asked how I was able to retire so young, working no harder than average while spending most of my time with family and pursuing my passions over the years. Efficiency, focus and strict adherence to wealth principles are the short answer. This website, along with my social media channels, provide the long answer, in great detail. I’ll show you exactly how I designed my self reliant life. In the meantime, myselfreliance.com is a platform for me to explore and reveal my passion for the outdoors, and why I believe focusing on nature has provided me with the tools to succeed in life. As one of my success habits, I’ve kept detailed journals of many of my exploits, business ventures and relationships over the last thirty years. I refer to these journals while I chronicle my life, detailing how I got to where I am today; economically, physically, emotionally and intellectually self reliant, free to live life to the fullest.