In the latest of the “Preparing For the Future” series, I would like to mix things up and talk about another burning desire of mine — travel. In the previous two articles, I addressed my plans for future career development (being a real estate agent and growing an online business) as ways to earn extra income in early FI/pretirement. But as we all know, it can’t always be just: Work, Work, Work…
For all of this hard work early FI stuff to be worthwhile, I’ve definitely got to find a way to incorpoarate a TON of Play into the mix as well! 🙂
As readers may know, I’ve got a serious case of wanderlust. Over the past few years, I’ve tried to travel somewhat regularly, but let’s be perfectly honest, a few weeks out of a given year that is centrally dominated by work can only do so much; travel and exploration is an itch that I need to scratch!
Here’ s recap of my most recent adventures:
- Maui and Oahu in December 2013
- Seattle in April 2014
- Boston in May 2014
- New York in May 2014
- Tokyo, Japan in August 2014
- Bangkok, Thailand in August 2014
- Rome, Italy in August 2014
- Key West, Everglades, and Miami in December 2014
Not too bad, but definitely not enough either. I’ve only started to “scratch the surface”, and am looking forward to many more exciting adventures in the near future. Just yesterday, I was talking to a good buddy of mine, and he imparted some words of wisdom to me.
He kindly reminded me:
It’s all about balance. Health is the most important, because what good are riches if you can’t enjoy them? Rich with bad health is no way to go! Time to cash in all the hard work of the last few years. All those points. You can always make more money later. You’ve only got one life to live. Make it count.
I think you stress too much thinking about lost opportunities regarding investments. You’ve got a good backup plan when you get back. Go recharge first.
It’s not even about the hard work to have a good life later. It’s about having fun and having a good life NOW.
No arguments there. I totally agree! At this stage of my life, I’ve got to learn how to make every precious moment count.
And sometimes, I need a friendly reminder (or kick in the pants) to help me put things back into perspective.
It’s All About Balance
I think one common problem those of us who are on the journey to early financial independence struggle with is finding out how to balance work and play. By nature, getting to financial freedom takes a lot of hard work, sacrifice, and discipline. For many who aren’t as easy-going as my friend (such as yours truly who
has had Type A personality), it can become all too easy to get overly consumed with freedom fighting.
We’re always looking for the next deal. Researching stocks and reading articles. Out networking with others. Working the grind even harder, putting in overtime hours and hustling relentlessly in search of side income.
But at some point, we all need a break. A vacation can do wonders for the mind, body, and soul. As I witnessed myself last year, even two short weeks off away from work can transform you into an entirely different person. When I returned back to the Bay Area from my vacation out in Maui and Oahu, another good friend of mine picked me up from the airport and exclaimed, “Man, I almost didn’t recognize you there for a second… You looked so happy and at peace.”
So, I know that I definitely have a problem with overworking and pushing myself too hard. I see it. My friends and family see it. I’m guessing even strangers can observe it. And I don’t want to be that Type A go-getter anymore. Yes, I still want to set goals, push hard, and work relentlessly to achieve them… But I’m also learning to let go of things… Not care so much. I’m trying to enjoy life more! And for me, there’s almost no better medicine to a happy life than spontaneous, out on a whim travel.
Ready For Deployment
Currently, I’ve got just about 500,000 American Airline (AA) miles ready for deployment. Another couple hundred thousand Chase Ultimate Reward Points, and 60,000 or so Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) starpoints (which I’m making efforts to rack up every month).
I haven’t really churned any new credit cards in a few months, but like my buddy keeps reminding me, “You’re already good to go now!”
I’m also a fan of couchsurfing, and I’m sure as I travel more in the future, I’ll figure out other creative ways to save on costs. My brother Living Proof makes liberal use of hostels, and even though he’s traveled to 4 countries in the past two weeks, I don’t think he’s spent a penny on housing or transportation costs. With the money saved on those items, he’s indulging on food and activities.
He texted me these images the other day:
We’ve only got one life to live… Time for me to make this one count!