A mini retirement? What are you on about?
So what it really is if you are wondering. Well it is like a retirement, but shorter *chuckles*
At some point in your life, you will get an opportunity to do things you have always been putting off for “someday” as an unspecified time in the future, a time when you are better off in health or wealth. A time when you can greatly excel your personal development by getting out to the places you have always wanted to go to and learn the skills that you never had time to learn before. Living in the now, without taking rash decisions and executing on your goals and dreams is the embodiment of the mini-retirement. As the life progresses with more responsibilities and tasks you will have less time to get out there and learn to sail around the Caribbean and Central America or Hike the Inca Trail in Peru for example.
Before you rush off quitting your job and packing your luggage there is a certain amount of preparation that has to be done. Starting off with the financials first you need to make sure you are out of debt and have proportional savings to the amount of time you are planning your mini-retirement for. Getting out of debt should be pretty obvious as I hope you would agree with me that taking on debt to take a mini-retirement just sounds ridiculous and counterproductive. Saving, on the other hand, is no different than saving for a car or a down-payment on your mortgage. Although I believe that in the end, you will be much better off with the experiences of your journey rather than a car.
Secondly, planning and budgeting for your trip mean a number of things. Make you trip meaningful. Plan on learning new skills, volunteering, studying, etc. Otherwise seeing new cities, watching the sunset and visiting the best tourist attraction in yet another country might become a routine. Create goals and specific places you definitely want to visit. Create a rough estimate of your monthly and weekly budget allowing for emergencies with a degree of flexibility. Again this really depends on the countries you are planning to visit so you will have to research well how much would your daily expenses in each one be. You will get a chance to test your ability to manage your spending and expenses over a particular amount of time where a lot of unexpected events and variables will be present.
Finally, you might wonder what would you need for such an extended travel period. You might be surprised how little you actually do need. Decluttering and getting rid of many of your possession is crucial before you set off. Whatever you plan on taking with you take less, you don’t need two of this or two of that, remember that you can always buy things you need on the road and rent any equipment you might not have with you. Try to fit everything in a carry-on luggage even if you are going for a period of more than 6 months of planned travelling. Make sure you have all the visas, passport, travel documentation, insurance, and medical checks.
There are a few very important considerations that need to be taken into account before you set off.
- Have a Quest and a specific place + goal to get to. A rough outlined of where you want to go, what you want to do and see, but be flexible and eager to get off the beaten path as this is the place where the real moments happen. Try to go as long as possible and look upon this mini-retirement not as a vacation to entertain yourself and party but as a personal development journey. Be modest and humble don’t splurge on luxurious accommodation and fine dining, try to find and appreciate the little things and moments along the way.
- Remember that not everything is going to go “according to plan” and be open to changes and new opportunities that may appear. Things go wrong and issues do come up along the way. Act with resolve and calmly figure things out. Remember that there are always people everywhere around the world that are willing to help you out if you are in trouble.
- You are alone out there and you have the whole responsibility for your safety and security. There is a reason why safety and security is a major issue among developing countries around the world. Be sensible. Embrace solitude and take this time to figure things out. Re-evaluate and learn from your past problems and ponder on planning for a brighter future.
- Don’t sacrifice your health in order to achieve the final goal. Leave your ego behind, if you are on top of Everest and you have 200m to go, but everyone is telling you to go back – Go Back, there always going to be another opportunity.
- Don’t judge and you won’t be judged. You will meet a lot of different cultures and people that might have completely different views on life compared to yours. Learn to respect that!
- When on a mini-retirement you don’t have to rush through the places you are going through as the time constraints are not really the same as when you are on a vacation.
- By taking one you can really reset and recharge to go back to working life society. You can rethink and re-evaluate the career path you are on. This consequently may lead to changing and embarking on a completely new adventure.
- If you wait to retire when you are actually much older there you might physically able to do some of the things you set out to do. For example, extreme sports like snowboarding/surfing, bungee jumping and even taking 20-30-hour bus journeys through remote areas.
- Don’t wait but act now. There will never be a perfect time to take some time off and most likely your “excuses” are not real, but just a representation of the fear of the unknown.
Finally, taking time off from work and the busy life tight with responsibilities is not just about switching off, but about pondering on the discovery of what really gets your fire started and rediscovering your passions and trying new things. So whether you call it a gap-year, a mini-retirement or a sabbatical, according to your age, get out and take that coveted mini-retirement, recharge and follow your passions.