Author Topic: Should I give myself a gift with a $10,000 value for my 40th birthday?  (Read 12638 times)

Dee

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So I was reading the "Overheard at work" thread where, a couple of pages back, a few posters express the sentiment that they would love a month off from work (unpaid). And I thought that sounded really awesome too!

The thing is, my employer actually does offer such a benefit. It's called "leave with income averaging" and allows employees in the (Canadian) federal public service to enter into "a special working arrangement where you can request to take leave without pay for a period of between a minimum of 5 weeks and a maximum of 3 months and have your salary reduced over a specified 12-month period." (http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/remuneration-compensation/paye-centre-pay/vie-life/cer-lia-eng.html.)

It's usually used by parents of school-aged children who want to spend summer vacation with their kids, but there are no such limitations written into the policy. The employer is supposed to grant it if operational requirements can be met in the employee's absence.

So I was all excited at the prospect of applying for this leave. Next year, I will turn 40 and it will be the 10-year anniversary of when I started working in the public service. I've never applied for this kind of leave and I've never taken long blocks of time off from work during that period. I'd really like a break from work!

And then I actually turned my mind to how much this would cost. If I take 5 weeks off, that would cost me over $8000 in take home pay. I don't know what the real, detailed cost is -- there would be all sorts of calculations regarding income tax and pension contributions (as well as various other benefits). On the tax front, it would actually be efficient -- it would knock down my annual income so less (or none) of it would be taxed at the highest bracket. My pension contributions would be based on my entire salary (not the modified salary with 5-weeks of pay knocked out) because I would keep contributing during my leave period so it would cost the same as if I didn't take the leave.

During the 5-week period of leave, I would want to travel for at least a week or two. Details to be worked out, but if my boyfriend is also able to take 2 weeks off, we would want drive west to see the Rockies. We'd be looking into doing this in an RV because we would want to take his dog with us. We haven't priced this out but I'm ballparking $2k (thus the $10k figure in the heading).

This seemed like a fabulous idea until I put a price tag on it. Now I'm not so sure. It seems highly indulgent and expensive.

My only debt is a mortgage (and my house is currently for sale, so I may actually be debt-free by the time I would go on leave). I spend less than I earn and would continue to do so during this period of reduced pay. So, in that sense, I can afford it. But if it were anything else as a potential birthday gift (for myself or anyone else), like jewelry, I would think it would be ludicrous to spend that amount. But the gift of time off from work.... Ahhhhh.... I get all warm and fuzzy just thinking about it, it is so dreamy.

What do mustachians think?

Left Bank

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Re: Should I give myself a gift with a $10,000 value for my 40th birthday?
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2014, 06:17:19 AM »
I personally think if you had grand plans (e.g. round the world trip) for the 5-12 weeks off then go for it time is something you cannot get back but if you want to just do 2 weeks of RVing, why not just take vacation time? 
I guess what I am saying is that if you do it, make it worthwhile!

P.S. If you have to rent and drive an RV for 2 weeks, it will cost more than 2K.

Bob W

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Re: Should I give myself a gift with a $10,000 value for my 40th birthday?
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2014, 06:40:24 AM »
I think the extended vacation (3 wks vs 5) may ring your bell?

Regarding the RV thing --- I think not.   At one time I sold and rented RVs.  The small motor homes started at something like $150 a day.  But gas could easily run 200-300 a day on travel days.  RVers still generally need to rent spots and these can run $50 per night.  If you're into the luxury thing (as am I at times) you can almost always rent a nice cabin at your destination that will take dogs.  It would certainly be far cheaper.  I just got back from a trip and noticed most hotels now offer pet options.  There is also the boarding option.

A doable option would be to tent camp.  (dog rides in back seat).   You could buy a lot of very nice used camping gear for $500.  Even though I was in the RV business, we never considered buying one.   We actually camped over 45 days 2 years ago.  All tent camping.   

The thing about RVs is that you are parking,  not camping.  You park next to a bunch of other RVs generally.   With tents you can camp right on the river or lake or even hike a short distance to have total nature and privacy.   We are river rats so we typically end up camping within a few feet of some very pretty rivers and have many memories of waking up to eagles flying over the river in the morning. 

If it were me,  I would be doing the 3 months off every single year though.   That may require you working on the spending and expenses side of your equation a bit more.   I assume you are in the top 20% of wage earners given you are a public employee.  I'm not saying you're getting paid a boat load,  but I bet most people would be envious of your income and I'm sure 95% are envious of your liberal leave policy.

Have a really great adventure my friend!

Ottawa

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Re: Should I give myself a gift with a $10,000 value for my 40th birthday?
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2014, 07:33:25 AM »
Some other thoughts to consider. 

1) What are your FIRE plans and does this factor into them i.e. are you relying solely on pension at 60 or are you retiring from PS early and deferring pension?
2) LIA is great because it doesn't affect your 5 highest paid years or your insurance status.
3) You will lose a little vacation time (approx 1/12).  So, probably 1.5 days out of your 4 weeks. 

Both my wife and I are PS employees.  One of us took the 5 weeks LIA this year and loved it. 

We are seriously considering (once FI) doing the maximum LIA (25% - or 13 weeks) broken into 5 weeks at Xmas and 8 weeks in the summer.  This would still leave us with 25% of 4 weeks vacation (3 weeks) for the rest of the year.  We think this will feel like not working at all and yet we still take home more than 75% pay (tax lowering).  It would also serve as a transition period before full FIRE.

ltt

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Re: Should I give myself a gift with a $10,000 value for my 40th birthday?
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2014, 07:41:50 AM »
Considering you are not buying yourself a personal item (i.e, jewelry, furniture, etc.), but rather "time" and "time to travel," I'd do it in a heartbeat.  You will never get that time back--you will be 40.  At some point in life, and, especially, since you are debt-free, you start looking outside of work, and this may be just what you need.

If you have your financial "house" in order--savings, retirement, etc., I see no reason why not to take the full five week time period.  If you are concerned about the "cost" of not working, then maybe a nice 2 to 3 week.  Do not skimp on travel.  No tent camping (unless you are really into that).  Maybe some moderately priced places to stay that allow your dog.

fallstoclimb

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Re: Should I give myself a gift with a $10,000 value for my 40th birthday?
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2014, 07:57:21 AM »
Just do it.  Life isn't for working. 

ToughMother

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Re: Should I give myself a gift with a $10,000 value for my 40th birthday?
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2014, 08:11:08 AM »
This opportunity sounds fantastic.  I would totally do it myself. 

As for what to do during the time off, have a set budget and see as much of the area, country, world as you can with that $$$ in whatever style you want.  When the money runs out, go back if you have time left, have a stay-cation and practice what your life will be like when you FIRE.

I contribute money to a "TRAVEL" fund each month and it is there awaiting a great opportunity and great adventure...enjoy!

BlueHouse

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Re: Should I give myself a gift with a $10,000 value for my 40th birthday?
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2014, 08:40:15 AM »
I agree with the first response -- if you're only doing something special for 2 weeks, then the cut in pay is not worth it.  You'll fritter away the rest of the time in sweatpants doing nothing that will be memorable in 10 years time. 

But if you do something special with every day (or most), then go for it! 

If you're willing to part with the BF for 2 months, I'd go for some international travel.  Get cheap tickets to some place with a very low cost of living, then use local travel options to explore. 
I did something similar when my company closed down, I sold house, had 0 debt and a big checking account.  for the first 3 months I did nothing that I can remember other than riding a bike, taking a few day hikes up a local mountain - nice days, but not worth the paper to print out the photos. 
For the next 6 months, I traveled around Southern Africa and did a few "volunteer vacations" in different parts of S. Africa.  For the final month I booked an Adventure Travel trip  where you ride from location to location in a converted BMW truck (with seats), build a tent each night, then see or do something awesome during the days.  That is not an expensive way to travel.  Not luxurious, but not difficult either.  This trip went from Capetown to Namibia to a bunch of National Parks in Botswana, including the Okavanga delta, to Vic Falls in Zimbabwe, etc.  Simple meals and park fees were included, and total cost was about $1500 US for 20 days on that trip.  Without a doubt, the best thing I've ever done in my life.  So worth it!  I'm still raving about it 10 years later and cannot wait to do something similar again. 
p.s.  I'm a woman and traveled alone.  No problem.  I signed up here:  http://nomadtours.co.za/this-year/cape-town-to-victoria-falls-north/
But you should also look into TrekAmerica if the idea appeals to you.

socaso

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Re: Should I give myself a gift with a $10,000 value for my 40th birthday?
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2014, 12:26:18 PM »
Do you have to take the whole 5 weeks? Maybe you would feel better about the expense if you only took off the weeks you want to travel. For my husband's 40th we spent 2 weeks abroad and we plan to do the same for mine. We are in the same boat as you with no debt and we paid cash for the trip so we were only out a little income when we went.

I don't know how your job is but lots of people I know in public service have jobs that can be very draining and being able to take a long break can be a good recharge. If you feel like you need that you shouldn't feel bad about taking it.

DoubleDown

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Re: Should I give myself a gift with a $10,000 value for my 40th birthday?
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2014, 12:38:47 PM »
Just do it.  Life isn't for working.

+1

And I'd support doing it even if it's just to sit around in sweatpants. The thread about "life is short" should resonate for any of us, I say take the opportunity since you can afford it and want to do it.

Dicey

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Re: Should I give myself a gift with a $10,000 value for my 40th birthday?
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2014, 12:44:52 PM »
Hell yes, as long as you can pay cash. Who knows when this opportunity will come again? Grab life by the balls, baby, 'cause not one of us gets outta here alive.

Dee

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Re: Should I give myself a gift with a $10,000 value for my 40th birthday?
« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2014, 06:20:24 AM »
Thanks, everyone, for the insight.

I am interested in the period of leave not so much in order to travel (though that would be a bonus, and I would like to work in a week or two of travel) but basically just in order to not go to my job. I'm pretty tired and would really enjoy and benefit from an extended break.

Once I decide that I want to do this, I have to figure out which period of time I want off. This is tricky. My house is up for sale and I plan to move in to my boyfriend's once it sells. Then he plans to renovate his house, working on this full time, and selling his house, at which point we would buy a house together. But we don't have any idea how long this will take -- my house has been for sale since Easter, so already it is taking longer than we would have expected. My point is that it is currently impossible to time the 5-weeks off to some specific point in the process, like when we shop for and move into our house.

My birthday will be in winter. So I could take the time off around that time. One big benefit of that would be not having to commute during the winter. My boyfriend's house is far from my work (about 25 km) so it would be wonderful to avoid that. If we did want to go to the Rockies, though, that would not be the best time for a roadtrip, to put it mildly.

So I am still thinking about this.

And, of course, applying for the leave is not the end -- it has to be approved as well. Which is not a sure thing either. (Though the employer would be excepted to link its refusal to operational requirements, which might be tough to do, especially if I am willing to be flexible about which period of time I want to be off, to make it convenient for my employer as well, which I would be.)

So I'm still thinking about this but I think I will broach it with my boss the week after next (since my boss is on vacation next week). I'll report back when there are significant developments.

ender

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Re: Should I give myself a gift with a $10,000 value for my 40th birthday?
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2014, 07:16:47 AM »
I would probably do this every year if I could.

alibean

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Re: Should I give myself a gift with a $10,000 value for my 40th birthday?
« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2014, 07:59:38 AM »
Personally, I think you should go for it!  I think everyone needs 3 months off every year for mental health reasons alone!  Then again, I'm making far less money than I could because I chose a job where I get 3 months off every year to spend summers w/my kids. 

theonethatgotaway

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Re: Should I give myself a gift with a $10,000 value for my 40th birthday?
« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2014, 10:21:38 AM »
Does this exist in the public sector US?

anisotropy

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Re: Should I give myself a gift with a $10,000 value for my 40th birthday?
« Reply #15 on: August 16, 2014, 11:02:00 AM »
ok i am going to be a troll.

1. you are 40 years old with 10 year exp working in the fed govt.

2. your take home pay for 5 weeks is $8000, factoring in pension contribution and ON taxes. The gross pay is likely around 120k.

3. as you are only 40 you are likely to work for another 10 years perhaps even 15 or 20. Your best 5 year earning might be around 150k to 180k.

4. since i do not know what pension plan you are on i will assume final earnings pension plan, ie, 2% x 20 or 40% of the best 5 years, for life?

5. good thing only 2% of the canadian population are fed employees. oh wait, we gotta include the provincial ones too. maybe govt contractors?

6. is that why the taxes are so da*n high?

7. as to your original question, i have no comment haha, but the Rockies are cool. i like lake louise and radium.

missj

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Re: Should I give myself a gift with a $10,000 value for my 40th birthday?
« Reply #16 on: August 16, 2014, 12:46:57 PM »
If it were me, and my financial life were in order and I felt like I was already on track to leave a nice estate to my heirs.  Then I would absolutely do it.  But like somebody else said, I would be more ambitious than just the 2 week RV trip.  I realize that travelling around the world could get really expensive really fast, but what about fully exploring 1 country where the US dollar is strong? 

You know what I would do if I had 1 month off?  I would go spend at least a week with my grandma who lives 450 miles away.  She is 85 and by the time I am retired, she will be gone (even if I retire early).  The last time I stayed overnight at her house I was probably 13 years old.  I would try to get her to teach me all the favorite recipes I've never bothered to learn and I would try to get her to tell me all the stories about my great grandparents and about life during the great depression and WW2.  I would also ask her about some investment advice because she's been retired since her 50s and lives quite the nice life and seems to have plenty of money.

Here is the thing.  This is a blog about money, right?  or is it a blog about life?  What is life made of, is life made of money or is life made of time?  I think time is the most valuable asset we have in this life and it is most definitely limited (unlike your portfolio which could potentially be set up to pay living expenses in the form of  dividends for infinity!).

You cannot take the money with you, no matter how much you make and when you are 70 and looking back I'm pretty sure you won't regret doing this.

At Intel they have forced paid 6 week sabaticals.  I cannot remember how often they accrue I think it is once every 10 years but you are required to use it within 12 years or something like that.  The owners of the company believe this rejuvinates and rewards their long term employees and they come back refreshed and ready to work hard another 10 years.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2014, 12:50:44 PM by missj »

aeliz

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Re: Should I give myself a gift with a $10,000 value for my 40th birthday?
« Reply #17 on: August 16, 2014, 03:23:48 PM »
Hell, I structured my entire career choice around having lots of unpaid time off: I'm a school teacher.  If I didn't have 2 months off unpaid every year, I would make about $9000+ more annually.  And yet I wouldn't trade that time for anything.

DecD

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Re: Should I give myself a gift with a $10,000 value for my 40th birthday?
« Reply #18 on: August 16, 2014, 08:42:43 PM »
Please keep us posted on your decision making process!

I have been considering something similar: starting year after next, asking for two months (or so) unpaid leave to spend the summer camping with the kids. It's not a policy with my company, but they tend to be family friendly so there's a chance I could talk them into it.  But then I think: we will hit FI in 3-5 years...cutting into my salary like that will delay FI...is it better to sock away the money sooner? 

Summers are the hardest time for me to work, I'm finding, cause I spend every day thinking about how the kids are on summer vacation.  At the moment my littlest guy is still a little small for long road trips, but in two years, he will be ready.  And I am past ready! 

Anyway still thinking of options.  Curious to hear how it goes for you!

Goldielocks

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Re: Should I give myself a gift with a $10,000 value for my 40th birthday?
« Reply #19 on: August 17, 2014, 12:56:26 AM »
Yes!

I am trying to figure this one out for myself, too, right now.

Rockies -- I recommend buying a used medium trailer, that you will sell after.  only spend a short time in banff,  then get to the kootenays (Nelson, Kaslo) for the best mountain experiences.  I found too many tourists in Banff, which means you pay more for camping.   Look into a nice private campsite that you can rent for 1 month, even, and use that as your base camp for more exploring..  or there are lots of free forestry camp sites in BC that are beautiful.

missj

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Re: Should I give myself a gift with a $10,000 value for my 40th birthday?
« Reply #20 on: August 17, 2014, 11:32:04 AM »
oh, I forgot to say +1 on the camping instead of RV idea.  RVs are just waaaay to expensive.  We looked into renting an RV for a 3 week all girls road trip from Oregon to Colorado and back.  The prices were insane, and that was before gas.  I don't remember what the bill was, but I remember thinking that it would have been enough to buy a pretty good used economy car.

let's just say the RV alone would be $3,000 before gas.  for 2 weeks you could stay in a pretty decent hotel every single night $125 after tax (many allow pets, we travel with a dog) eat at a reasonably priced restaurant every night ($50 including tip for 2 people), and still come out $550 ahead of the RV.  Easier parking, comfier accomodations, and we haven't even talked about the gas savings yet.

But, let's instead compare it to tent camping.  Let's say you have 0 camping gear, and cannot borrow any from friends.  If you buy it new at the end of the season, you can get pretty good deals (like right now).  I'll quote new prices, but you can probably get this stuff even cheaper off craigslist.  I'd want new sleeping bags, everything else is just fine used.

$50 Tent
$30 air mattress
$10 manual pump
$40 2 "summer" sleeping bags
$130 total cost.  This is about the cost of 1 night of hotel in my example above, or less than 1 day of RV rental.

say you want a few other camp goodies like headlamps, lantern, single burner stove and 2 mess kits

$30 2 energizer head lamps
$20 LED lantern with extra batteries
$30 single burner stove and 2 bottles of propane
$20  2 mess kits
$100 additional cost  a little less than 1 more night of hotel

then add in the cost of campground fees every night.  I'll say $20 a night, even though I usually camp for much less.  And remember, tent sites are much cheaper than RV sites.  Usually by half or even more.

$20 night x 14 nights = $280  a little more than 2 nights of hotel

Total costs $130 + $100 + $280 = $510 for 14 days accomodations  or  2.5  days of RV rental charge.   You've saved $2,490 over the RV and again, we haven't even talked about gas yet.  And, let's not forget you still have that gear. While depreciated it still has some value if you want to sell it, or it can continue to serve you for years to come saving money on trips.


Let's say you're not that hardcore and you want to spend every 3rd night in a hotel and eat at a restaurant every 3rd night.

$130 + $100 gear= $230  10 nights camp fees x 20 = $200 so total costs $430
$125 hotel + $50 restaurant x 5 nights = $875
$1,305 for 14 nights accomodations and some dinners.  a savings of $1,695 over RV, and again gas would kill you.

If you cannot tell, I'm a tent camper!  The fees and costs I quoted are all pretty accurate for mid-quality camp gear.  :-)

No Name Guy

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Re: Should I give myself a gift with a $10,000 value for my 40th birthday?
« Reply #21 on: August 17, 2014, 12:25:02 PM »
OP:  To your thread title question.  Yes.  IF what you'll do with the time will be worth the price you'll pay.

My story of time off from work.
I took 6 months off of work a few years back to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada.  Simply put, it was the BEST thing I've ever done. 

As I like to say, money spent while hiking?  8 grand. 
Wages lost?  Mid 5 figures. 
COBRA Payments?  A grand. 
Lowered Pension?  Yep.

Value of this time off:  Priceless.  Soooooooooo worth it.

The biggest thing I had to save up for pre-time off was actually keeping the home fires burning while I was gone - the mortgage had to be paid, the car insured (even at a reduced level), utility bills paid, the above mentioned COBRA (for non-US folks, that's paying for the normally company provided health insurance out of pocket after the first 3 months), etc. 

One of the biggest takeaways I had from this experience:  I lived just fine in the woods for the better part of 6 months with nothing more than what I carried on my back, 16 pounds of "stuff" in total.  I made me realize with a concrete example of how little, in the way of material possessions, one needs to be comfortable and satisfy the basics.

Funny thing - when I went back to work, a guy there asked how I could afford to take 6 months off.  I replied that I wasn't into "stuff" all that much - I didn't have a Harley.  I didn't have a fishing boat.  I didn't have a truck to pull said boat.  I'm not into fancy new cars. I kept my small modest "starter" house, instead of "moving up".  His comment - "hmmmm, I have all those things."  I just shrugged and mentioned that for me, time was more important that stuff.

TL / DR:  Take the time off, if you have a plan to get value out of that time equal to or greater than the price you'll pay.

rmendpara

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Re: Should I give myself a gift with a $10,000 value for my 40th birthday?
« Reply #22 on: August 17, 2014, 12:50:55 PM »
If your finances are in order and on track to meet whatever goals you have set out, then do whatever you want.

bacchi

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Re: Should I give myself a gift with a $10,000 value for my 40th birthday?
« Reply #23 on: August 17, 2014, 01:16:16 PM »
OP:  To your thread title question.  Yes.  IF what you'll do with the time will be worth the price you'll pay.

My story of time off from work.
I took 6 months off of work a few years back to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada.  Simply put, it was the BEST thing I've ever done. 

That sounds f'ing fantastic. We're brainstorming trips for a late 2015 FIRE trial run (and maybe permanent ER). I'd love to do the PCT or CDT.


Cassie

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Re: Should I give myself a gift with a $10,000 value for my 40th birthday?
« Reply #24 on: August 17, 2014, 03:35:06 PM »
If you take 5 weeks but only spend 2 weeks vacationing you are not wasting the other 3 weeks by not traveling the whole time.  You are resting, recharging and doing things that you want to do.  If you vacationed for 5 weeks you would need another vacation rest before going back to work. Yes some people want to be on the go otherwise the time is a waste but it is not that way for everyone.  Enjoy yourself & spend the time the way that makes you the happiest!!

Dee

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Re: Should I give myself a gift with a $10,000 value for my 40th birthday?
« Reply #25 on: August 19, 2014, 08:29:29 PM »
Thanks for all the replies and perspectives, mustachians! Surprisingly, the biggest resistance to this idea so far has come from my boyfriend rather than the MMM forum. He does not thinks this is a good idea for me at all, at this point. I won't go into too much detail about his concerns, the point I want to share with the forum being that this has turned out to be an unexpected catalyst for discussion with my boyfriend, which is really valuable. I feel like I try to initiate discussion with him about our finances, our mutual values, our future... all the big, important questions, on various occasions, but without avail (my impression is that he changes the topic). Until now. I hope it is just a beginning.

Basically, my boyfriend is concerned that I want this break because I am tired (which is true!) but he is concerned that I will just indulge doing very little for five weeks (which is likely true), return to work and be just as fed up as before (also likely true)... he basically has concerns that I am trying to run away from dissatisfaction with work  and that, while I think I am planning a period in which to "recharge batteries" so to speak, what is actually going to happen is that rather than feeling "recharged", I will feel extra jaded and dissatisfied upon my return.

He doesn't think planning a trip for both of us to the Rockies is feasible. He is self employed and the nature of his work makes is pretty much impossible for him to plan ahead for a specific two week break. He actually thinks that if I do go ahead and take leave, I should plan for something interesting (i.e. travel) on my own rather than just chill at home.

So the whole idea is on hold for a bit. I've agreed there are some things I can and will do to improve my well being aside from taking a leave period.

I have a friend who has a monumental solo travel plan coming up next month. I've basically decided to shelve the idea of my 5-week leave until her return. I'll see how that goes for her. It may prompt me to make my own plans for solo travel. Or not.

In any case, I certainly hope this is just the beginning in terms of important discussions with my boyfriend about expectations, hopes, dreams, etc. It was a can of worms being opened up, but all for the better to have this come up before we actually move in together. We have been dating for over 5-years and I know we truly care about each other... and I also know our communication styles are pretty different and we are still working at understanding each other better.

So, all and all, a successful thought experiment so far.

And definitely some great ideas from the forums about how to travel to the Rockies and where to go once we (or I) are (or am) there.

(Incidentally, with the 100 + lb dog, I have found very limited hotel options that officially allow this pet, though I haven't specifically checked going westward. I know that closer to home, the only chain that generally allows this type of pet is the Super 7 but even then, there are exceptions, such as in Quebec City where there is a weight limit on pets. The dog has come on trips with us and stayed in hotel rooms (both Super 7s), without incident, on 2 occasions. He has also come with us on vacation in homes found on AirBNB, also without incident, except for shedding fur.)

We have done no tent camping yet, with or without the dog. I am very mosquito averse. I would be more open to trying tent camping from this time of year well into the autumn.

Also, I really like the idea of buying a used RV and reselling it at the end of the trip.

All this is leading me to think I should take boyfriend's dog and hit the road, without the boyfriend, for a couple of weeks, in a used RV....)

Dicey

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Re: Should I give myself a gift with a $10,000 value for my 40th birthday?
« Reply #26 on: August 19, 2014, 10:37:11 PM »
Good post, Dee. Thanks for the update. Have you read "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed? I think it might resonate with you.

missj

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Re: Should I give myself a gift with a $10,000 value for my 40th birthday?
« Reply #27 on: August 19, 2014, 11:25:43 PM »
I've never had anyone weigh my dog at hotels.  she is 65 pounds and a pitbull and probably does not meet their ideal criteria.

I go in alone, ask about the dog.  If they ask what kind of dog I say "she's a mix." which is true.  but Pitbull mixes often look 110% pitbull.

Once you've disclosed you have a dog and agreed to pay their pet fee, and they've taken your money....they're probably not going to bother saying anything to you after that.

ender

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Re: Should I give myself a gift with a $10,000 value for my 40th birthday?
« Reply #28 on: August 21, 2014, 09:29:55 PM »
I would probably do this every year if I could.

Heh, I think I'm going to have the option for exactly this later this year. Nice that I've thought about it already some :)

fumanchu282

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Re: Should I give myself a gift with a $10,000 value for my 40th birthday?
« Reply #29 on: August 27, 2014, 02:36:21 PM »
I'm not buying the logic that this gift will cost you anything. Yes, the opportunity cost of not working is 8k in cash wages. But that 8k is the compensation you're normally awarded in order to make you whole for having to devote that time to your employer instead of yourself. If you've decided that this wage is how much your time is worth (which it seems like you have on account of your steady employment), then it should be equally worth it to you to have that time back in exchange for no wages during that time.

No Name Guy

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Re: Should I give myself a gift with a $10,000 value for my 40th birthday?
« Reply #30 on: August 27, 2014, 05:43:46 PM »
That sounds f'ing fantastic. We're brainstorming trips for a late 2015 FIRE trial run (and maybe permanent ER). I'd love to do the PCT or CDT.

If you haven't done a long distance trail before, I'd suggest the PCT over the CDT.  CDT is considered to be notably more difficult than the PCT in nearly every respect - physically, weather, logistics, water scarcity, etc.  Also in re the timing - if you FIRE late 2015, that will set you up perfect for a spring 2016 thru hike.  Most northbound folks start either trail in the late April time frame.

Dee

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Re: Should I give myself a gift with a $10,000 value for my 40th birthday?
« Reply #31 on: October 19, 2014, 04:47:45 PM »
I thought I'd post a bit on update. We might be coming full circle on this (or perhaps an odd wiggly oval shape).  One thing I had told my boyfriend I would do before pursuing this was to get a medical check up because I hadn't had one in a while. Turns out I had really low iron stores, which might have been affecting my energy levels. So I'm taking iron supplements. I'm also scheduled for a follow-up relating to possible sleep issues (to rule out sleep apnea, or so I hope!). So being tired and with little energy, that might have contributed to my desire to sit on the couch for 5 weeks and do nothing.

So I've dropped the extra leave idea but put the idea of going somewhere for my 40th birthday back on the table. We are now looking into Panama or Arizona (including the Grand Canyon).

My birthday is in January. We keep discussing places we might want to go and pointing out "but January is not the best time to visit there." And I have to keep coming back to the idea that we aren't trying to pinpoint the best time of year to visit each destination we might want to visit, but to find the best place for us to go this January for a week or two.

He doesn't want to go to a Caribbean resort but is willing to entertain Panama as a destination because of the canal itself. He loves to watch big ships. 

We're still figuring it out, but it looks like I might get to go away with my boyfriend for my 40th, so that would be pretty awesome.

Dee

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So, a further update....  My birthday came  and went without any traveling fanfare, but I am currently writing this during a 10-day trip to British Columbia. Unfortunately, my boyfriend wasn't able to join me. It is my first solo travel experience and I am finding it better than expected.

(N.B. my current trip is costing me 6 vacation days and...well, a lot less than 10k! It is not exactly mustachian-level expenses, but I am making some effort to keep it in check by having some meals at my AirBNB homes and not mindlessly buying admissions to every so-called "must see" attraction -- I'm actually asking myself whether each attraction is something I *want* to see!)

I'm finding the whole thing re-invigorating. We had a really cold winter in Ottawa and I was a total couch potato. This vacation is giving me a boost toward being active by walking every day.

My b-friend and I are also hoping to get out to the Maritimes during the summer, for a 2-week vacation. Ideally, we would like to make it out to Cape Breton Island.

(I am also still taking my iron supplements and seem to notice a difference in energy level when I forget -- it may be in part placebo, but really, who cares if it is?)

Trifele

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@Dee -- good for you!  You rock.  Have a great trip.