Author Topic: Who's Taken An Adventure Year?  (Read 3465 times)

Sustainable Happiness

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Who's Taken An Adventure Year?
« on: August 10, 2016, 09:49:32 AM »
Mustachian Crowd, I would love a response from someone with experience doing this.

My wife and I's situation:

- Nurse and Packaged Goods Business Guy respectively, ~160K gross income (with Canadian sized taxes) from positions + rental income
- ~2 years into MMM staching with a couple rental duplexes (1 of which we live in) and a growing portfolio
- Growing NW at >$80K per year

Anyways, we've been mulling over an adventure idea for the last 4-6 months to do prior to moving onto the next life adventure known as Chilluns (children), moving from RV-ing to a car tour to Woofing and finally settled on a 6-8 month adventure around South East Asia (Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos) in the Spring, 2017.

I will ask for a leave of absence, but if it doesn't come then FU money will be my next step. Therefore likely both of us will be quitting our jobs.

Depending on our Real Estate decision (currently in the process of severing a lot for increased value), we will either have $300-400K in investable assets (depending on whether we sell the houses before the adventure or hold on to them for greater cash flow).

Anyways, the numbers above are just to show we are in a strong financial position and well on the track to FI by early 30s (currently 26).

The point of this question is this;

1) Our families think we are A) Crazy, for leaving a good situation to adventure, or B) Awesome, for leaving a good situation to adventure.
2) We are scared, but confident in the future since we are driven and optimistic the we will be able to find jobs within the 10 years of living expenses we'll have saved up...

Has anyone done this (or something like it) in their past? How did it turn out? Any advice?

Keep on rockin'.

mm1970

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Re: Who's Taken An Adventure Year?
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2016, 09:55:58 AM »
I haven't.

But one of my friends (from Toronto) and her husband just returned home after traveling Asia for a year. (With two kids.)

https://theprettyplaces.wordpress.com/

But they didn't quit jobs...I think he's a prof.

Another friend is leaving in a few weeks to do the same, starting in Africa, then moving to Asia (again, with 2 kids!)  These two were both world travelers.  Met while traveling, dated while traveling (would "meet up" and travel).  Settled down, bought a condo, had kids.  Figured nothing but short vacations for 20 years.  Said "fuck it".  Husband gave notice, renting out the condo.  Kids are 4 and 2.

ETA: both families are in their early to mid 40s

JoJo

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Re: Who's Taken An Adventure Year?
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2016, 10:39:44 AM »
I did this 12 years ago at age 31-32.  I quit my 6-figures job, sold my house & car, stored my stuff at my old bedroom at my parent's house and set out with a backpack to 6 continents.  I kept a blog here...

http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog/marqual/rtw2004-2005/tpod.html

I returned in 2006 which was luckily before the downturn in the economy.  I had 3 job offers in 2 months for a little more than I was making before I left and in a much better locale.  No regrets - totally changed my life.

I did a 3 month trip in 2013 by taking a leave of absence.  This was great but was a little too short.

Now I'm looking to ER sometime next year and the plan is to spend the first year traveling the African continent.

These shorter trips may mean you have to work a couple more years on the back end but totally worth it to travel at younger ages.

icemodeled

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Re: Who's Taken An Adventure Year?
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2016, 11:38:06 AM »
We did this for a little over a year. Mid 20s, no kids and wanted to 'take a break', travel and do what we please. This included hobbies we have. We didn't do international travel (would love to though) but within the USA. We certainly wasn't in as good of a spot as you are but had a few years living expenses saved up and passive income from rentals. We both quite our jobs and most our family thought it was a crazy careless idea.. Some of our family are hardcore on working non stop till retirement and anything outside that is having no work ethic. Well, we obviously didn't care, we knew we planned well and honest were not worried about finding work later on. It worked out and we enjoyed every minute of it! We went on 4 trips in that time and several smaller trips. I between we pursued hobbies we loved and got to be outdoors more. No regrets and I would love to do it again, maybe less time away but it would be nice to travel internationally. I doubt you will have any regrets and it will probably be some amazing experiences. Sounds like financially you should be just fine to give it a go. Best time is now! Good luck!

JackieTreehorn

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Re: Who's Taken An Adventure Year?
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2016, 03:59:17 PM »
Just got back from my gap year.  Wife and I were mid-30's when we did it, both in consulting, although totally different areas of consulting.  Did a bunch of domestic (USA) travel, a month in Europe and 3 months in SE asia and New Zealand.  I really enjoyed it, but wished I had everything pseudo-planned before I left so I could have just gone right away.  Spent a lot of time planning trips or sitting around the apartment (NYC) which made me antsy.  Worried too much about money while I was gone, and now that I'm back at work realized we are still in a really good financial position so I dunno why I was so worried about it. 

I liked, but didn't love, SE asia.  Thailand felt too touristy which is where we spent the bulk of our time.  Really liked Vietnam and Cambodia, though.  New Zealand was the best, I loved every minute of my time there as I'm more of a nature-y kinda guy.  Also really loved our time in Iceland and mainland Europe.  Such beautiful cities. Enjoyed the domestic travel too.  I personally think 6-8 months in SE asia is a lot unless you really fall in love with it.  There are really cheap flights to Australia, New Zealand and other parts of Asia that I think are worth checking out that otherwise would be prohibitively expensive from North America. Check out Jetstar/Air Asia and other discount carriers in the region. 

If you're into the credit card churning/travel hacking thing, that can be a really great way to save some cash.  I was able to get something like 40+ hotel nights for free on our trip, a free flight home from Europe for my wife and I and some other perks (travel credits, lounge access for a long layover).  I was just starting to get into that stuff when I left, and wished I had built up bigger points balances as I could have saved even more.  But don't know if that's something that's available to Canadians...

One other tip would be to stay with friends, acquaintances or family when you travel any time you can.  The few times we did this it was such a huge help having someone local to show you around and it was just nice to have someone new to talk to every once and awhile. 

I want to do it again (maybe South America next time), but need to work a few more years first, unless we have kids, then who knows.  Could be grinding another 8-10 years...do it now while you can :-)

dreams_and_discoveries

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Re: Who's Taken An Adventure Year?
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2016, 12:56:35 AM »
This appeals to me a lot; however, as I'm only 4.5 years away from FIRE I'm going to hang on in there, and then go for the adventure. It's also necessary for the pet situation, have a 15 year old cat I adore, so staying now makes sense.

limeandpepper

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Re: Who's Taken An Adventure Year?
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2016, 01:50:26 AM »
Not a year, but a couple years ago I went off to travel in Asia with my partner for several months. We spent that time in Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Taiwan. Neither of us earn a lot, but we don't need a lot, either. We did it when we were both comfortable with it - my partner could have done it a lot sooner, I wanted more time and to save more money before I was ready. I had to quit my job, while as a freelancer he just had to not take on jobs that weren't realistic to do while we were on our trip. Two years on I still haven't finished sharing stories from that trip on my blog because I'm super lazy but if you're interested, these are the posts I've got so far, under the 2014 Asia trip tag/label. I plan to finish up the Taiwan posts this year and then it's all done.

Oh and yeah, we had the time of our lives, and we're hoping to do another big trip like this again. :)

It sounds like you're both very employable so if you've thought it through and you're still keen to do it, I don't see a problem!

One thing I might note about your plan is that 6 - 8 months only in Southeast Asia may feel a bit same-y after a while (not everyone would feel that way, but it's a reasonable possibility). With that much free time, and while you're in that region, I'd personally venture outside of SE Asia to other parts of Asia for something a little different, but yeah, it's a very subjective thing!

cerat0n1a

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Re: Who's Taken An Adventure Year?
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2016, 02:07:03 AM »
Has anyone done this (or something like it) in their past? How did it turn out? Any advice?

Did this at the age of 26. Probably less of a financial element to the decision. I had about a year's worth of (post-tax) salary saved up and no other assets, was very confident of getting a better job when I got back than the one I was leaving. Generally was a fantastic experience - met some great people and saw and did some fantastic things. Got a bit depressed about a month into it - the shock of so much new stuff I suppose. I think it changed me as a person (being quite young at the time.) Arriving in the middle of the night in a random third world city with nowhere to stay, climbing up volcanoes in Java in the dark, sleeping out in the desert and other things very different from everyday life in suburban Britain give you a different perspective.

In terms of advice, be aware that many thousands of British 18-22 year olds (and smaller numbers of other west europeans, australians, kiwis & others) follow a similar gap year trail through SE Asia, Australia & New Zealand, so do try and do stuff away from the usual backpacker things.

limeandpepper

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Re: Who's Taken An Adventure Year?
« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2016, 02:35:55 AM »
In terms of advice, be aware that many thousands of British 18-22 year olds (and smaller numbers of other west europeans, australians, kiwis & others) follow a similar gap year trail through SE Asia, Australia & New Zealand, so do try and do stuff away from the usual backpacker things.

There's even a name for it, isn't there - the Banana Pancake Trail! Nothing wrong with that though, places tend to be popular for a reason. But venturing out of that trail can add something a little different to one's trip, I agree.

And on that note...

I liked, but didn't love, SE asia.  Thailand felt too touristy which is where we spent the bulk of our time.

... from my personal experience, Thailand (and any other country, really) is only as touristy as the places you choose to visit. :)

Jesper

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Re: Who's Taken An Adventure Year?
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2016, 04:21:41 AM »
Me and my girlfriend plans to do this in a couple of years as well (24 & 27 yo). For 8 months or so.

We will both be leaving stable, wellpaying jobs in the midst of careerbuilding. But for us their is simply no choice. We just crave it.

Parents and a like things it's a risky move of course. What about jobs when we get home.. Anyone have comments on that? Was it even getting back on the job market after.

FLBiker

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Re: Who's Taken An Adventure Year?
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2016, 05:25:10 AM »
I didn't do this exactly, but I spent my 20s living in Taiwan and China, and travelling extensively from both of those places.  I wholeheartedly recommend it.  Provided you have a bachelor's degree (in anything) and are a Canadian citizen (I'm US) you can easily get English teaching jobs throughout Asia, if you're interested in extending your trip even longer.

And I'd never heard the term Banana Pancake Trail, but I definitely encountered it.  I spent a few weeks diving in Koh Tao, Thailand, and I was shocked by how many early 20's UK folks were there.  It was fine for a bit, but I wouldn't want to live in a place like that.  The bass alone would drive me insane. :)

Now that I'm 40, married, w/ a daughter, I've reflected a bit on the unintentional structure my life has taken.  I'm definitely in favor of traveling / exploring hobbies / etc., in ones 20's (or before having kids) rather than racing through ones 20's to ER.  We'll certainly travel as a family, but it won't be as easy / flexible / cheap as it was when it was just me, a mountainbike and a backpack.

mikedom

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Re: Who's Taken An Adventure Year?
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2016, 07:13:05 AM »
My wife and I left our well-paying engineering jobs in 2013 to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. The hike took ~5 months. With padding on either end, by the time we had landed jobs afterwards we were out of work for ~8 months.

It was amazing. No regrets whatsoever. I was able to find a new job using some connections and my wife found a job shortly after we moved to the location of my new job.

With a kid on the way, it's going to be a while before we can take him/her on such a long hike, so I'm glad we did it in our twenties.

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: Who's Taken An Adventure Year?
« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2016, 07:31:29 AM »
Backpacked / Eurorailed / Youth-Hostelled Europe (but not for an entire year, more like 6 months) between college graduation and starting work.  Lots of discounts since I bought stuff as a 'student'.  Made good aquaintences with many Canadians and Ozzies who seem to have this gap year / walkabout as a cultural norm.  There were also some interesting Americans between jobs or bumming around Europe making a little money as tour guides or whatnot.  Really easy, cheap, and fun in your 20's, but I'm interestd to hear what older folks do for similar fun :)

There's no time like the present for stuff like this IMHO, the normal life will always be there when you get back!

Sustainable Happiness

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Re: Who's Taken An Adventure Year?
« Reply #13 on: August 11, 2016, 09:22:37 AM »
Glad to hear of people different adventures and thank you so much for your blogs, they may help us in adventuring of our own!

The beauty of not having a plan is that if we get bored of the "samey-ness" as some people above mentioned then we can just do something different. Although... I think we might do a full month in a bungalow on the beach just to sit and read because why the F not?

We've already made our decision to do it and I am glad that most (all) posts here are of the "no regrets" variety.

Also, on the Travel Hacking in Canada front, it is crap compared to the American equivalent...To the point where we just use all our credit points on groceries. That being said there are some ok options for regular travellers (which we are not).

Kroaler

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Re: Who's Taken An Adventure Year?
« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2016, 10:19:47 AM »
Wow, reading all this adventure from work is a real bummer... lol

MVal

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Re: Who's Taken An Adventure Year?
« Reply #15 on: August 12, 2016, 09:36:40 AM »
I took a 2 year break in my mid 30's to travel homeless backpacker style.  Bought a one way ticket headed west  from the US west coast and just kept going.  Ended up in Europe eventually and stayed there for about 15 months travelling a bit (had a 2 month Eurail Pass) but mostly living like a local by renting cheap shared apts in 3 different countries for several months each. Came back to Calif and even got my old government job back. Sooooo worth it!

Very cool! I'm approaching mid-30s and itching to do the same. I'm not really sure what I'd do for work upon return as I'm not in some highly marketable field like engineering or programming, so that's the only scary thing. But time is slipping away and although I could wait until FIRE, I don't want to turn 40 without another big adventure. I did some good traveling abroad in college, but not much since except some pretty decent vacations a few years back.