How to take a sabbatical

photos of people and places on sabbatical

In his book, The 4-Hour Workweek, Tim Ferriss proposes that we shift our focus from end-of-life “macro” retirement to more frequent mini-retirements, which might be spaced throughout a working career. Consider it a type of sabbatical, but one that you can take multiple times throughout your working life — and not reserved for academics or the super rich.

Ferriss took time to speak with me about his notion of mini-retirements. Last week, I published the first part of the interview, in which he discussed using mini-retirements to get more out of life. In today's excerpt, he provides some real-life examples of how to put this concept in action.

Important note: In our conversation below, Tim describes methods that work for him, techniques that he's developed over the past five years. Your techniques might be different. For example, Kris and I can't just sell our house and move to London for 18 months, as much as we'd love to do so. If we were to start taking mini-retirements, our method would differ from Tim's. Don't get caught up on the specifics — consider the big idea, and view Tim's examples as one way of making this a reality.

 

Related >> Retirement Strategies: How are you Doing?

J.D.
It occurs to me that one way to approach the mini-retirements, at least financially, is to save for them, just as I might save for a new car. It's not necessarily money I'm pulling from retirement then. It's money I'm pulling away from a Mini Cooper and setting aside for a mini-retirement. I think the mini-retirement would actually provide more value to me at this point.

Tim
Well, sure. And I think one assumption that [you're making] is that you spend and not save money on a mini-retirement. Let me offer a personal example. The personal stories in the book are mostly from experiences I had between 2004 and early 2006, traveling around the world for about 18 months. During the first twelve month period of time, I actually saved $32,000 when compared to sitting on my couch watching The Simpsons in my apartment in the Bay Area.

J.D.
That's amazing.

Tim
When you recognize that the costs of travel are mostly transportation and housing costs, and that you can rent a posh apartment for three to four weeks for the same price as staying in a mediocre hotel for four days, things start to get very, very interesting. You need to amortize the transportation and housing costs over the period of time that you're in this specific location. So I saved $32,000.

There are some very interesting instances and quite simple approaches for actually making money — and let's just look at making and saving as essentially the same thing, improving the balance. You can actually improve your financial balance by taking mini-retirements.

So if I saved $32,000 by taking a mini-retirement to Panama or to Argentina or to Thailand, and I do that once a year, that's an additional $32,000 that I can invest into a 401(k) or a Roth IRA or a profit-sharing plan…You end up at break-even, but had a mini-retirement to Thailand and you have an additional $32,000. [J.D.'s note: Tim's point is that it can cost less to live in another country — so much less, in fact, that you save a significant amount of money. He's not implying that you earn money by traveling. That's a separate issue.]

J.D.
You say you had an apartment. Were you still paying for the apartment while you were on your mini-retirements? Or did you sub-let it? Or did you let the apartment go?

Tim
I was initially paying for the apartment and then I realized it made no sense, gave it up, and ended up putting my belongings into storage. I went from $1,500 a month to $150 or $200 a month. That's what I did.

There are other cases where people who go on mini-retirements will do a house swap. Why not find a wealthy family in, let's say, Panama who will let you use their house in exchange for them using your house for a four-week period?

If you happen to be on the younger side, or on the adventurous backpacking side, then you can do couchsurfing, where you'll actually end up in volunteers' homes where locals will show you around, all for free. There are options to fit every financial risk profile. [J.D.'s note: Tim recently featured a guest post about using mini-retirements to travel with an international volunteer organization.]


Photo from Tim's blog.

The hardest part is deciding. Because until you decide, most people can't plan. As soon as you say, “I'm going to go on Orbitz, and I'm going to buy this ticket” — once you make that decision then all of a sudden it's pulled out of the realm of hopeful thinking and it goes into tactical mode.

J.D.
This brings up another question. During the winter, you spent some time in South America for a mini-retirement. What were the logistics like of planning that trip? You say that deciding to go, that's the tough part, but what do you do next? How does a person prepare for a mini-retirement?

Tim
I've met one of the top programmers at a company out here in Silicon Valley. He's a very smart guy, but he tends to burn himself out because he works too much. So he takes what he calls “trips to nowhere”. If he feels himself getting burned out, he'll just go on Orbitz and like roll a 20-sided die and pick a place to go. He'll buy a ticket.

I don't quite go that route, [but still] I'm a bit of an extreme example. It takes a bit of training and conditioning to get to the point where you can do what I'm about to describe from an emotional/psychological standpoint. It's actually really simple to do. It's a lot easier than what most people put themselves through.

So what did I do?

  • The day after Christmas, I decided I am going to go to Uruguay, to Punta del Este, for a week or two, and then also have an apartment in Argentina on either side of that.
  • I went on kayak.com, bought my ticket going down and coming back.
  • I e-mailed my friend in New Zealand. I said, “You're always talking a good game about Punta del Este, and how I don't know what I'm talking about because I haven't seen this, that, and the other thing. I'm going. You told me you'd come with me. Buy a ticket.”
  • I send an e-mail to a German gentleman whom I found via Craigslist whom I've rented my past three apartments in Beunos Aires from. So that was lined up for me.
[Buenos Aires] was basically my fallback plan. I had flights in and out of Argentina because it's extremely difficult to get housing in Punta del Este. […] That was the first time I've been to Uruguay, and probably the last time I'll go to Punta del Este. It was fun and it was great, but it was a little on the snobby and expensive side. Now if I wanted to be in Buenos Aires or in Panama, you could spend $250 a week and have more fun than I did when I was in Uruguay.

As far as packing, I just took a week's worth of clothing. [When you're] going to a warmer climate, especially in the summer, you don't need anything. When you get there, buy a $2 pair of flip-flops and a towel and a t-shirt and you're fine. You really don't need to buy much. I follow the B-I-T philosophy of travel: buy it there. Then leave it or sell it there. You just set a settle-in fund. You have a budget, let's say, of $150 and you can take care of everything rather than bring five Samsonite suitcases with you.

J.D.
When you go to these places, how do you build connections with the locals? I'm assuming that you're getting out and you're meeting people and you're doing things while you're there.

Tim
Right. I'm a language fan. The beauty of mini-retirements is they give you more time than you'd otherwise have to really immerse yourself in the culture and routine and language of your location.

I will generally go to a place where I'm learning the language. If not, then I will go out of my way to try to find a local. It's really not that hard. In the U.S. we're really bad at this, but in many places in the world, if you just walk up and say, “Hey, how are you? I'm sorry, I really don't know the area. Can you recommend a good restaurant nearby?” or “What would you recommend I do this evening” or something like that.

When I was in Copenhagen, that's all I did, and I had 15 or 20 friends by the end of five days who were all willing to help me out. Basically they'd say, “Hey, don't worry about it. Just come with us. We're going to this bar.” And then boom! I'd get there and there were like eight new friends. It's really not that tough.

It's easier, certainly, in a place like Copenhagen where they speak English, or in London, Australia, New Zealand. In Panama they speak English quite well. But if you're going to Oslo, Scandinavia — very, very easy. If you're willing to learn even 10 sentences in a language, you can also very easily find people who will help you. Make the effort and people will reciprocate.

For example, I was in London but went to a Lebanese restaurant, and while I was there, I learned how to say “nice to meet you” in Arabic. I don't speak any Arabic — just a few words, that's it. But I've had so many people offer to cook me meals at home, introduce me to their families, to their friends, show me around town — and this is not in Arabic-speaking countries, but simply people I met who are of Arabic descent or origin. I'd say “nice to meet you” and they'd go, “Oh my god, how'd you learn that?”

I also tend practice sports, and I like art — it's not too terribly difficult to find a group of people with similar interests and simply ask them if you can tag along. Most people reflect your attitudes and behavior. If you're friendly and kind of aloof and humble, then people will generally reciprocate that. It's not too tough. You just have to get out.

A great way to do it is to take a map and then just start walking. Walk for 10 or 15 minutes without looking at the map, and just get totally lost, and then find your way back to wherever you came from.

J.D.
One of my favorite things I did when we were in London was, one Sunday my wife's family and I were going to go to the British Museum and we were clear across town. They took the Tube, and I decided I would walk. It was probably a three- or four-mile walk, but it was awesome. I got to see so much of the city that I wouldn't have seen otherwise. I didn't actually meet anybody because I was walking briskly to catch the party, but it was amazing. I can see how just getting out there and seeing the city, getting out of the normal tourist spots would help.

Tim
Yeah. Move slowly. Go out and walk around. Take a bike tour, also. Almost every major city has a bike tour.

If I decide to fly somewhere last minute — no preparation — I will reserve a hotel or a hostel for two days. As soon as I land, the very next morning or that afternoon, I'll take a bike tour of the city, which will give you a very good feel for different neighborhoods, and a very good understanding of the city. I'll ask all of my questions of the tour guide, as well as — if I'm in a hostel — the head of the hostel. People in hostels tend to be more knowledgeable staff-wise than people in hotels, as far as how to find apartments and so forth.

Let's say I do the bike tour at one in the afternoon, one to four. Well, beginning at 6pm I'll go on Craigslist and perhaps use a weekly magazine, like Bild in Berlin, and start sending e-mails out to potential apartments in the neighborhoods that I've already identified. Generally within 24 to 48 hours, I'll have an apartment lined up for two weeks. What I might do in some cases is rent it for one day, if possible, to make sure there isn't too much noise or a bus stop right next door. And then I'll have it for two weeks. If I like it, then generally in that first week I'll renegotiate for four weeks.


Bike tour photo by Areta.

At this point, our conversation was interrupted. When we reconnected, our discussion moved in a different direction — we began to talk about entrepreneurship. Look for that final part to this interview on Sunday.

You can read my previous articles about Tim Ferriss and The 4-Hour Workweek here:

Timothy Ferriss, nominated as one of Fast Company's “Most Innovative Business People of 2007,” is author of the #1 New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and BusinessWeek bestseller, The 4-Hour Workweek.

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Luke @ Money & Fitnes Blog
Luke @ Money & Fitnes Blog
12 years ago

I just wanted to say great article. Very interesting and it definitely answers some of my questions relating to the four hour work week.

B Smith @ Wealth and Wisdom
B Smith @ Wealth and Wisdom
12 years ago

JD-Love the post. You are right that there is a big difference between a vacation and a sabbatical and a mini-retirement. Yours is the best description I’ve heard to date. From what I can see the key is to just do it. Put yourself in a position where you can afford it and just make it happen. The biggest challenge is how do you get around your job? This is the main thing holding me back, as I can’t go away for a month and still have a paycheck when I get home. I think the best answer is to… Read more »

Sam
Sam
12 years ago

My aunt and uncle are big fans of house swapping. But, you have to have a house (or apartment) in a location that others are interested in. Its harder to find someone to swap a home in Paris if you live in Ohio (no offense to Ohio). Also, when they renovated their vacation home (the house they use for swapping) they included rooms, closets and cabinets that lock so they could lock away private/valuable things.

Jason
Jason
12 years ago

I’m curious what he suggests people do about their jobs when they want to leave for 3-4 weeks at a time.

Frugal Dad
Frugal Dad
12 years ago

I’ve read Tim’s book, and I don’t remember much discussion around doing this with kids. I know it is possible, but I’d be interested to hear Tim’s take (or yours, J.D.) on how to pull this off with kids in school, soccer, activities, etc. Is it too late for a husband and father of two to pull this off? Doesn’t seem very feasible in my situation.

Mike
Mike
12 years ago

You can definitely do this. I”m spending a six-week mini-retirement in Italy this summer, and the net costs can be shockingly low (even in a place as ridiculous as Europe). You have to leverage what you have. So I can’t houseswap because nobody abroad wants to live in Michigan, but I was able to rent out my house to someone because I live in a college town where people come to teach in the summer. Then I rented an apt in Rome (a tiny studio near the Colosseum) for about $500 more than I got for my place. My ticket… Read more »

Tom
Tom
12 years ago

“Kris and I can’t just sell our house and move to London for 18 months, as much as we’d love to do so.”

Why not? No really, why not? You are a writer and can write from anywhere. It seems like you, more than most, could make this happen.

WealthKick! ~ Jason
WealthKick! ~ Jason
12 years ago

The 4 hour work week changed my thinking and my life. However, to employ the methods, you really need to shift your thinking in a MAJOR way. Regardless, this interview was just what I needed. Thanks for posting.

carl
carl
12 years ago

I really like JD’s blog and all, but I think there’s a lack of depth in this post. An overly mobile lifestyle costs – a lot, and most of the expenses aren’t covered at all. This blue ball Ferris keeps flying around… hmmm, Ferris can’t really care about global issues like global warming and environmental stuff, can he? CO2, pollution and flying, anyone? O_o What kind of world do we left to those after us? ( I guess it doesn’t matter as long as people can fly for cheap to poor countries and get a lot for almost nothing? )… Read more »

Kyle
Kyle
12 years ago

Tim is right on. I’ve done a bit of solo travel and it really is that easy to make friends. Just walk up and ask. What’s more, if you stay in inexpensive hostels there are always plenty of other people traveling by themselves to hook up with. If nothing else, a few weeks of traveling like this will help you permanently get over any shyness you might have.

Aaron Pinkston
Aaron Pinkston
12 years ago

My fried Phil recently moved to Shanghai with his fiance from Belgium. He hosts couchsurfers and asks his Belgium friends to donate a Euro for every night he puts someone up. He finally raised enough money putting folks up and meeting new people that he will buy a water buffalo for a rural family. I love how he’s leveraged something he likes to do and small contributions from others to create a significant impact for a whole family.

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/cndy/2008-04/21/content_6630774.htm

plonkee
plonkee
12 years ago

For kids, time is relatively easy, or at least, here in the UK schoolchildren get 6 weeks off in the summer. Alternatively, if they’re under say 10-12 (depending on your school system) a few months going to school in another country might be perfectly feasible, and good for them. Jobs I think is the more difficult thing. I reckon I could get a month of work without any problems – I’ve done it before, as have many other people. A few months would need to be unpaid, and I’d have to think of business benefits I imagine. Possible, but not… Read more »

Dave
Dave
12 years ago

Interesting article. The picture of the Brandenburg gate in Berlin got me thinking about other ways to get similar results. What about taking a job overseas? In my case, I got a job offer that took me to Berlin for 2 years. I ended up stretching that out into a third year (fortunately, because that meant I was there when the Wall came down – I only saw the Brandenburg with people around it like in the picture during that last year of my stay. There was a Wall in front of it for the first 2 years) Anyway, for… Read more »

Richard
Richard
12 years ago

I’d like to do this some day, although I think the term ‘retirement’ is kind of silly. It’s not retirement if you’re not done.

I’m working on several projects/hobbies which I hope to eventually turn into continuing revenue streams. Once/If that happens, I would be able to say “Ok, no updates on this website this month, I’m going to be living in Brazil.”

I’m honestly having a hard time seeing an employer saying “sure, go take 4/6/12 weeks off”.

Radzone - about kids
Radzone - about kids
12 years ago

I know how difficult it can be taking kids on long vacations (sabbaticals). We were fighting this every year until we decided to go to Australia for several months. We enrolled them in school! They didn’t want to leave their friends here in the states let alone go to a “new” school. They fought it every minute, until they came home after the first day. They totally loved it. Still to this day they said it was the best vacation they have had – even to the point where they would say – let’s move there! PS – And they… Read more »

TosaJen
TosaJen
12 years ago

I appreciated Ferriss’ book as a kick to the head. As the sole breadwinner for a family of 4, including 2 young children, I can’t just up and buy a ticket for Argentina and take off (as tempting as that can be). That doesn’t mean that I can’t steal whatever ideas resonate with me. We hope to take one or more extended trips with the kids starting in a few years — we want the kids to be older so that they can help plan and manage the trips. Also, we have a few more life adjustments to make to… Read more »

Stephen
Stephen
12 years ago

Just a nitpick…Oslo is in Norway, Scandinavia isn’t a country, but a collection of countries within Europe that have similar cultures.

Lola Aronovich
Lola Aronovich
12 years ago

For many people living in rich countries, spending some time in poor countries is incredibly cheap. Not only do you earn more and the cost of living in poorer countries is lower, but your money is also worth more (even the dollar). However, you should avoid the “places for the rich” in poorer countries, and Punta del Este in Uruguay is certainly one of them. Just go to Montevideo instead, which is wonderful. And how about Brazil? Uruguay is the size of ONE of the 27 Brazilian states. Brazil is great, anywhere you go. It’s relatively easy to go to… Read more »

shevy
shevy
12 years ago

My suggestion? Work for an airline! My dad did and we did a lot of travelling when I was little. The (Canadian) dollar was strong (as it is once again) and we flew for free. Certain hotels and car rental companies were half price. It was cheaper for us to fly to Europe for 3 weeks than it would have been for us to pile in the car and drive across the country! I’m sure it’s not nearly as inexpensive nowadays but it would still eliminate the high cost of the flight (unless the airlines have scaled back or eliminated… Read more »

Dustin Brown
Dustin Brown
12 years ago

I don’t know what Tim Ferriss does for a job, but in my line of work I would have a very difficult time explaining a large gap in my career with “oh, you know, I just felt like taking six months off.” I’d get some pretty incredulous looks across the desk of my interviewer 🙂

PT
PT
12 years ago

J.D., Very interesting read. Tim’s ideas are great and inspiring. We all have that adventurous spirit inside of us to a degree and hearing from Tim always tugs at that, I think. I’m lucky that I have a job that allows me to travel 3 weeks at a time 3 or 4 times a year to international locations. While I’m working the 8-5, the nightlife and weekends are all mine. It’s great. With my wife being a teacher, she can usually take off and join in. The cheapest vacations we’ll ever take. From what I can tell, (and I haven’t… Read more »

OiVey
OiVey
12 years ago

This reminded of a study program in Oxford, England and spending May in Europe after. I went with 33 others from age 18-30 I was 35. The 18s whined over the cost but groceries seemed similar to what I paid at home. Plus I bought mementos at charity shops; books, a stuffed rhyno, like that. In France I got lost, but it was so fun. I’m legally blind and I carried a white cane, just as a “hey if I bump into you it’s not cuz I’m rude it’s cuz I don’t see so good.” It worked really well. I… Read more »

Our Common Cents/Blog roundup #2
Our Common Cents/Blog roundup #2
12 years ago

…JD over at Get Rich Slowly seems to have also latched onto my undying infatuation, and has been running several interviews and articles lately on Tim….

Nottheangel
Nottheangel
12 years ago

My husband and I plan to explain our mini-retirement/sabbatical to future employers as time spent volunteering and enriching our experiences. I’ll likely keep working as a writer during that time, so I won’t have to explain a two year gap much. For him, he’s very good at networking and the volunteer stuff will look good on his resume as well. We’re planning to take longer than 6 months, however, and so plan to quit jobs etc… I’ve found that employers are open to gaps in history if you have good explanations for it and can demonstrate that you have kept… Read more »

Dan | Escape 101
Dan | Escape 101
12 years ago

I think for anyone running a business, those mini-retirements also force you to find a way to ensure that your business can run in your absence. We got home from our last sabbatical/mini-retirement a year ago, and having to make those changes has done great things for the business.

@Frugal Dad: It’s more than possible with kids, and an incredible experience. Tim did a post on it in December on the 4HWW blog. (That’s kind of a shameless plug, since it’s about our book, but you might find it insightful.)

http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2007/12/21/new-year-new-you-how-to-travel-the-world-with-or-without-kids-in-2008/

Great interview, J.D.!

Chad @ Sentient Money
Chad @ Sentient Money
12 years ago

Enjoyed the post. I’m a huge fan of Tim, since he really works at thinking differently. I like it when the norms are challenged.

@ Radzone – I bet that was a fantastic learning experience for your kids.

New Zealand Pony
New Zealand Pony
12 years ago

The four hour work week only really works as long as you’re willing to use cheap labour from third world countries.

Travel Pirate
Travel Pirate
12 years ago

Great article. I’m a big fan of Tim Ferriss and his ability to “live the dream.”

Let me add that he’s right on with the idea of booking apartments and private homes as opposed to costly (and personality-void!) hotel rooms. Especially for Americans traveling to euro-expensive Europe it’s the way to go. There are several good sites out there, my current pick is a Brit site called holiday lettings (you can look up the url).

Any one know of any other sources? I’m trying to gather a comprehensive list on my site.

Danielle
Danielle
12 years ago

Hey Tim love the blog, it is extremely cheap to live somewhere besides the states. The locals are extremely friendly and they love to chat with you. Although, I don’t know if I would go to their home unless I felt extremely comfortable with them. Being a single white female in Argentina has its pos and neg. I left my job for 7 weeks and I think we all make it up in our heads it is hard to leave our job. I did it for about a week and then I never looked back, best thing I ever did!

Chris Brisson
Chris Brisson
12 years ago

Man, I love this stuff! Keep it coming…

It’s so interesteing to learn that it’s quite inexpensive to live in other countries for so cheap.

I goto Costa Rica every couple of months to decompress and it’s a blast. Onto Buenos Aires!

Thanks for the interview JD. 🙂

Chris

nudgeme
nudgeme
12 years ago

I really enjoyed this post as someone who’s managed to take mini retirements and do things spontaneously on a pretty regular basis. This is no doubt helped by the fact that I’m self employed. However, despite that, it’s more about shifting ones thinking to see what’s possible – rather than all the things that might stop you, such as worries about what your employer might say, or whether you can afford it. Tim’s point that he actually saves through travelling is a brilliant example that you wouldn’t necessarily think of. I regularly go to South Africa and live way more… Read more »

Arthur
Arthur
12 years ago

Hey, great article…. I’ve been doing a lot of this type of travel. It works! Question: Are you finding “conversational language” readily taught? How are you finding instructors/classes? Do they really teach much in a couple weeks? Saying the basics, hello, please, thank you and a few sentences works well but has gotten boring….. Any advice?

Cheers,
Arthur…

Steve
Steve
12 years ago

Saying “I actually saved $32,000” is like gloating about how much money you “saved” by buying something on sale. Maybe you spent less money than not buying it on sale, but you still spent money.

Ron
Ron
12 years ago

To anyone that has read the book (4-hww), you will notice it mentions another book titled “Six Months Off”. That book gives you a plan on how to “escape” from your job and still keep it while you’re on a mini-retirement. Get that book for further discussion on keeping your job while on a mini-retirement!

The book(SMO) also has situations about when you have children.

Based on some of the comments it does not seem that many “read” the book(4-hww) but “casualy” read the book.

Becuase all the information and other resources are mentioned, just “read” it.

Charisa
Charisa
12 years ago

I’m a huge fan of Tim Ferriss’ book 4HWW! I’m also a big fan of you! I read his blog, and that’s how I found your blog JD. It’s really funny to me, actually- I have a story about you! I was like eight years old or something, and you were on tour and I came to your show in Denver. I got called on stage and I was SO scared that you would pour slime on my head- but you didn’t! Instead you told me how cute I was, and asked me to marry you. I said “no, because… Read more »

J.D.
J.D.
12 years ago

Sorry, Charisa. I’m a different J.D. Roth. But don’t worry — you’re not the only one to be confused! I’ve actually tried to contact the other J.D. Roth to set up an interview (because I think it would be hilarious), but no response so far.

Lois
Lois
12 years ago

This is the first time I’ve come across the term ‘mini-retirement’ – excellent article. Many people are arranging their work lives, especially those who are self-employed and able to work anywhere, to take either mini-retirements or combine work and leisure while travelling. I’m pleased that home exchange was mentioned as a way to save money on accommodation (and thus make mini retirements more feasible). We have been operating a home exchange service based in London since 1985 and it is interesting to see changing trends in how members use the service. Of course, the majority are still fitting relatively short… Read more »

Marsello
Marsello
12 years ago

Great interview, however a word of warning that in some countries, you could actually spend more instead of save more, so I suggest that you do your research and network first. People tend to jack up prices when they know that you’re a foreigner, this is common practice in Southeast Asia.

Thor
Thor
12 years ago

Could you please clarify, did Tim say he saved money by taking a mini-retirement vs. living in his Bay are apartment and not working or living in his Bay are apartment and working. If the former then duh! If the latter then Wow!

Soultravelers3
Soultravelers3
12 years ago

Excellent interview or so glad to see this information getting out there! It is absolutely true that you can save money while taking a mini-retirement, sabbatical or early retirement. And you can live large at the same time and be kinder to the planet with slow travel. We do extended travel in Europe on very little & part of that key is on those costs that Tim mentions- transportation and housing. Staying longer makes the flight cost effective and monthly rentals off season can save you a bundle. Houses and apartments in southern Spain are extremely cheap in the sunny… Read more »

KCLau
KCLau
12 years ago

I guess traveling saves money if you are traveling from developed country to “developing countries”. Those who are having tough time in their home country can hardly go overseas. Even the air ticket is quite expensive.

Kirsty
Kirsty
12 years ago

Great stuff! Thanks for the interview. I’m sort of living the four hour work week dream at the moment. I have an online income that doesn’t take too much overseeing so I can work as little as I want. Of course if I do that too much things will eventually slide, but it hasn’t happened yet. I haven’t explored outsourcing because I actually like the work I do but I see the benefits of it. I’ve spend a bit of time volunteering with Hands On (the organisation in that photo… that was taking in Bangladesh) and it’s going to become… Read more »

samuel
samuel
12 years ago

Great Blog! I am currently reading 4HWW and am loving it. Thoughts and beliefs are really all that are in anyone’s way of “doing something different.” I myself chose the uni-route, and have been living in Australia for 3 years. The job I picked to go back to uni for “radiography,” just happens to be a very portable one. I plan on moving to either the UK or Spain next and taking my job with me. My profession, and I know there are others too, has the option of doing Locum-Work for work-agency-companies, which means 3 months here, 6 months… Read more »

Kyle Finley
Kyle Finley
12 years ago

I have to chime in on this. Doing this type of thing is totally doable. I’m currently on an 18 week break from work doing a variation of what Tim is talking about. My trip took me to Colorado for the last 6 weeks of the season, snowboarding and snowkiting. Then 2 weeks kiteboarding in St. Lucia at The Reef. And the rest of my trip spent driving around the coast from South Padre Island, TX to Maine. My goal on this portion of the trip is to kiteboard in every state that touches water along the way. There are… Read more »

Dave
Dave
12 years ago

One caution – and Kyle noted it in his message – you need to have the support of your management if you want to do something like this. I know of 2 people who have taken very-long vacations – one had a happy ending, the other did not. In one case, this guy I worked with was an avid bicyclist. He planned for years, and eventually took off about 6 weeks in order to ride across America. Because he had planned well, he coordinated it with his managers and got his workload settled before he left. Once he returned, he… Read more »

Pdx632
Pdx632
12 years ago

I could not agree more with the concept of a mini-retirement. I just turned 39 and I am completing a 3 year mini-retirement. I spent 12 years building a business that I was able to sell. Since I had spent the past 12 years ignoring my friends and family for the sake of my business, I decided to spend one year making amends. Best year of my life. I then spent the past two years acquiring another Bachelors degree, this one in accounting. As I type this, I am in escrow on my next business venture. Hopefully my past experience… Read more »

Clever Clogs
Clever Clogs
12 years ago

You don’t know what aloof means.

Moneymonk
Moneymonk
11 years ago

How does someone with a family do this? Seems like this is something that only applies to a single person

working nomad
working nomad
11 years ago

I have seen families do this in Thailand, if you have a will there is a way. It is quite acceptable to educate your own kids these days and its often the case their education will be better than some of the rough schools they may end up in!

Micki
Micki
8 years ago

It’s absolutely possible to do this with kids. I have 2 little ones (3 and 6), and we’ve taken a few mini retirements, up to 6 months long. I honestly think that a lot of parents use their kids as an excuse.

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