My husband and I decided to take a year off. Our decision was prompted and encouraged by the heartbreaking news that several of our classmates went to their heavenly retirement before they were old enough to enjoy their earthly benefits. In addition to those sobering events, several close family members experienced serious illness. What a reminder that life is fragile and tomorrow is not guaranteed!
So, since life is for the living, we threw caution to the wind and decided to go camping. For a year! We didn’t have a huge budget for this. We didn’t own a camper. No matter! We decided to build one.
Here are the photos of our truck camper that cost approximately $350. To be clear, we already owned the truck! We determined to use what we already had and go as far and as long as the money allowed. The truck already had over 250,000 miles!
We called it our sabbatical year, to do whatever we wished and go wherever the mood took us. We were in all the New England states and out as far as Colorado. We got to visit people we love and care about, but seldom see. We even took time off from camping to join friends in Europe for two weeks. (The economics of camping allowed us to afford the flight to Europe!)
We took our time, and when the weather grew too hot for camping, we returned to our home with AC and puttered through some of the projects we had been putting on the back burner. We read books. We hiked. We biked. We swung in the hammock. It was wonderful.
What added confirmation to our crazy plan was how often we ran into people who saw what we were doing and sighed, “I wish we could do that, too!” We felt it was our mission to tell them, “You can!”
Anyone can. You just make a decision and do it! It has consequences like every decision in life. Maybe you won’t be adding anything to your IRA or ROTH during that time. Maybe you’ll even have to leave your job. It’s up to you. You do have choices in this life. You can make your own path. Maybe it seems scary. There will be a score of people who will advise you against it and list hundreds of reasons you shouldn’t do whatever crazy plan you dream up. You don’t have to listen to them. We didn’t. We’re still here. We had a blast! There are still jobs to be had, always work to be done. And we don’t regret not waiting until retirement. In fact, we may even do it again!
Whatever you decide – enjoy it!