Greetings from Valencia, Spain!
Here we are! We made it! And what a fascinating story we have to tell.
My name is Kelly Stiefel Arias, and I am from Olathe, Kansas, a suburb of Kansas City. I am currently in Spain for a 9-month adventure, along with my husband Gonzalo, our 2 teenage daughters, and our 2 Yorkie-poos!
When I launched Midlife Escape in November of 2017, we were living a very “normal” suburban life. For privacy reasons, I initially wrote under the name Midlife Maggie. While Maggie acknowledged that life was good, something was missing. She longed for a fresh adventure, to cast convention aside and hit the open road for a season.
Some might dismiss this as merely a Midlife Crisis. Perhaps it is, in part. This is my Ferrari, my facelift, my fling. Whatever.
But the travel bug has been with me for as long as I can remember. So has the desire to live somewhere outside of the United States for a time.
In Midlife, we realize there are no guarantees; all we have is today. I don’t want to wait until Social Security Full Retirement Age (67) to do all those things I dream of doing. Gonzalo and I have decided that we should actively pursue life as the adventure that it is. And we should do it now.
But Midlife is complicated, and we couldn’t leave right away. We had kids, pets, careers, aging parents, a mortgage, bills to pay, 401k’s to fund, etc. It’s a never-ending list, really, and it took time to sort it all out.
If this is your situation, believe me, I get it. There were days when I wanted to just sell the house and go, but I knew it would be better to wait, save, and plan.
So I took the first step. I wrote it down – both the intention and a specific launch-date – so I could start to move in the direction of my goal. If you are planning any major life change, I highly recommend this! I created a contract with myself, and we are better prepared financially as a result. We are also on the same page as a couple.
My health was the other big piece of this puzzle. I had lived in the fast lane for so long that I was honestly afraid. Afraid that if I didn’t take some extended time off, something bad would happen mentally, emotionally, physically, even spiritually. I chose to listen to that internal voice that was speaking wisdom to me. Rest. Trust. Dream. Go.
This period of reflection, self-care, and family time is more important to me than the money we are spending…and losing by not working and investing for a year! I am a CFP® Professional, so I actually started to calculate the total cost of the trip at one point. Then I cleared the screen and tossed my financial calculator aside because the number was, well…really big and scary!
But here is the bottom line. Our lives are more than a number. Sometimes we need to take a leap of faith and do things just because that intuitive feeling says we should.
Are you also ready for - or at least interested in - a Midlife Escape? If so, you’re not alone.
Thank you for joining me on the journey!
Let’s stay in touch!