Have you or do you know anyone who has had long-term success taking breaks from traditional employment? I’ve always been fascinated with this idea/lifestyle.
I had a family friend growing up who was a pretty alternative guy in general, but also the happiest person I have ever known. When he wasn’t living in Africa or France, or the Caribbean, he crashed with friends in the states, including with us 1-2 months per year. He guest-hosted a local world music radio station when he was in town, and just seemed to be everywhere at once and knew everyone. I went to a French movie as a class assignment at my university (different city than where my family lived); I hadn’t seen him since I was 14 but there was Uncle Terry sitting in the auditorium with mostly students. Even though he knew my parents before I was born I never knew too much about him, so I was shocked when I found out that all those years he worked as an RN. He worked about 6 months out of the year and traveled the other 6 months. I was absolutely fascinated with this arrangement and it was the first time I even contemplated a career or working schedule that would allow such freedom and mobility and it really stuck hard to me.
I know time off and “holidays” are more extensive in parts of Europe as well, but it seems that in order to get a similar deal here you have to get creative, or be a contract worker with jobs paying enough to sustain you when you’re not working. I’ll be honest, I even considered becoming a teacher in order to get those breaks. It seemed like a good idea before talking to some actual teachers who poked all kinds of holes into that ship. I know people who left their jobs and applied to other jobs, just to be able to take a 2 month break in between and still be able to be employed. I have done this myself.
It’s still a life I am working towards.
I know a lot of folks in the PF world aspire to FIRE, however that does not interest me at all. I want some of that FIRE to be spread across my whole life, not just some big bang at the end. Taking 6 months off last year to explore, and learn, and try out other industries, has had a lasting impact on me, even 1 year later. To go along with the fire analogy, I see the experience of “starting over” every few years as similar to what a wildfire does for forests; it stimulates the release of new seeds and allows those seeds to germinate without competition from old, overgrown foliage. I need me some wildfires.