The Ultimate 50th Birthday Gift

It’s not really my birthday but it will be on November 11, which is Veteran’s Day.  In the United States, Veteran’s Day is a day to remember those who have dedicated themselves to military service.

Whether the job is to make music to cheer the troops or to make war, to sit behind a desk or in a cockpit, Veterans have sacrificed their own freedoms to help preserve mine.

It is in that spirit that I have declared my 50th birthday to be “Freedom Day”.

By November 11, 2019, I will have sufficient savings and/or income that I will be able to walk away from my corporate career to travel with the family for a year.

So how much will this adventure cost?

For a happy minimalist, 3 pairs of pants, 2 pairs of shoes, some t-shirts and undies labeled Monday through Sunday is enough.  I respect their choice and passion for living with less so they can have more of life’s experiences…but a minimalist I am not.

Neither do I enjoy camping nor bugs and I am far beyond my undergraduate Ramen noodle eating days.  I don’t want to live in a tiny house and I don’t want to sleep in a bunkhouse style hostel with a bunch of strangers just because it’s cheap.

We are accustomed to certain creature comforts and amenities like running water and indoor toilets, like electricity and comfortable beds.  We have a nice kitchen and we wash our clothes in a washing machine, not a muddy river.

I realize I may sound like a snob but let’s be honest.  Few travelers would embrace a subsistence lifestyle after saving for years to take an extended trip!

We will not need what we have here in the United States while traveling, but I do want sufficient resources to be a middle-class traveler at least and to do things while we’re out and about.  It would be tragic to be in Paris and be too broke to visit the Louvre.  Or to be in India and not have enough rupees to get into the Taj Mahal.

What is a good savings goal?  Let’s go for $100,000.  That may sound outrageously high to some and ridiculously low to others, but I think it is enough to provide a quality experience in nice destinations.

I’m not a young single backpacker dude.  I’m in Midlife and will have 2 adults, 2 kids, and 2 pets in the taxi.  Noah’s Ark.

I will also have bills back home that will continue, such as life and disability insurance and house-related expenses that could arise net of rent.  We will need health insurance and medications and auto insurance as we will probably drive for a portion of the trip.  Transportation across large bodies of water isn’t free, either.

A portion of the $100,000 will provide a financial cushion for when we get back to the United States.  It could take a few months to find jobs or potentially relocate or who knows what? With extra money in the piggy bank, we can take our time to find work that we love in a location we choose to live in.

But wow, that’s a lot of money!  How in the world do we accomplish that in 2 years?  I have already set aside $10,000 in the past year, but that still leaves $90,000 to go.  If we can pull this off, it will be the Ultimate 50th Birthday gift!

But here I am in 2017, envisioning two years of budget austerity to save for this trip.  The sacrifice is weighing heavily on me at the moment.  I feel a sense of impossibility in this.

There isn’t enough time.  There isn’t enough income.

How can we meet a November 11, 2019 birthday goal?

As I type this, I honestly do not have the answers.

This blog is the story of my journey to save for, plan and take a Midlife Escape, a one-year career sabbatical to travel with my family.  Rose-colored glasses firmly in place, I trust that as I do the work the doors will open.

Happy (50th) Birthday to Me!



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