The Next Step: Preparing for Change

For years, I wallowed in debt. I had no fiscal discipline. I used credit to buy what I wanted, when I wanted. My money skills were abysmal, and my life was in financial ruin.

In 2004, I decided to turn things around. I started teaching myself about personal finance. I attacked my debt with vigor. I learned about saving and investing and frugality and thrift. I discovered the basics of self-discipline. Gradually, from the ruins, I began to construct the foundations of a solid financial future. In December 2007, I repaid the last of my $35,000 in consumer debt.

It took about 3-1/2 years for me to get out of debt from the moment I began to take the task seriously. It's now been about 3-1/2 years since I became debt-free. In that time, I've built on the financial skills I'd already acquired.

I've learned how to:

  • Boost income while also reducing expenses.
  • Cut costs on the things that don't matter so that I can spend on the things that do.
  • Save a substantial portion of my income. (I now have more in savings than I had in debt when I started!)
  • Invest carefully so that the odds favor the growth of my retirement savings.
  • Use targeted savings to pursue multiple goals at once.
  • Adapt to my changing dreams and desires.

Today, I have a robust emergency fund, a growing retirement nest egg, a job that allows me to work from anywhere, and enough self-discipline to resist falling into my former habits.

It's time to start the next part of my financial adventure.

To boldly go…
In just a few weeks, I'll be shifting the way I live and work. I plan to spend several weeks at a time traveling, visiting cities and countries around the world. I'll be traveling cheaply (documenting my adventures at Far Away Places), and I'll be working from the road. In theory, this new lifestyle shouldn't be too costly. (In theory. Reality may be different.)

To make this happen, though, I'll need to put all of my financial skills and resources to the test. For the past few years, I've been able to coast along because 80% of the time I'm doing things right. My small mistakes have been absorbed by my large successes. Now, though, I'm wanting to do things close to perfectly. To that end:

    • I'm automating as much as possible. Because I've adopted a paperless personal-finance system, much of this work has already been done. I still need to set a few bills to autopay, and I'll probably set up some automatic investments. Some of my income still comes in by paper check; I need to see if I can have these checks deposited electronically instead. Also, I need to figure out how to pay rent on my office. (I'll probably just write a big check in advance.)

 

    • I'm creating a master document with account numbers, passwords, and other important information. Though I hope never to need this, it could be handy on the road. But this isn't just for me; it's also for Kris in case something goes wrong.

 

    • I'm cutting back on all non-essential expenses. Subscriptions are getting axed. I've stopped buying books and comics so that I can use that money for travel instead. (I keep reminding myself: “One comics compilation is two nights in a hostel!”) Kris and I have been eating out less, and I'm not going to lunch as often on my own.

 

  • I'm preparing to purge more Stuff. I keep telling myself, “Okay, J.D., don't think of these things as objects you might need someday or items that might have sentimental value. Simply ask yourself if you'd keep it if you were moving into 500 square feet. If not, then get rid of it.” This is a nice idea, but I'm still struggling. I need to shut my brain off and just do it.

Lastly, based on the advice of Get Rich Slowly readers, I'm looking at ways to “outsource” some of the chores in my life. After I wrote about wanting to move to a smaller house, many of you suggested that I outsource the yardwork. I'm not sure why, but there's a mental barrier that's tough for me to leap here.

Just as I felt guilty hiring a housekeeper, I feel guilty hiring a gardener. This is work I can do, after all, and have always done in the past. But I know that I no longer have the time nor the inclination to prune and weed and mow. Besides, it's more profitable for me to spend my time writing. (Plus, it'll be tough to mow the lawn if I'm in Ecuador or Singapore.) After asking around, I've learned that tons of people hire yard services, so we're going to give it a try.

Note: My biggest worry about the upcoming changes to my life? Finding time to work. When will I find time to write and absorb the cultures I hope to explore? It may take a few trips to find a way to make this work.

 

One small step…
Though I've made major life changes in the past — like quitting my day job to blog full time — I've never been this methodical before. I've learned to be cautious, to be careful with my money. I'm reluctant to make moves that might compromise my financial health.

But I feel good about my plan and my progress. I've spent the last seven years building systems that work. I don't intend to alter these systems so much as I want to use them in new ways. Instead of using my money to buy books and comics and dinners at nice restaurants in Portland, I'll be using the money to stay in hostels and ride trains and buy cheap eats in Europe and South America. And really, I'll probably only be gone for a few months out of each year. From a rational perspective, I know things will be fine. But there's a part of me that's worries things will simply fall apart.

There's only one way to find out, I guess. It's time to move forward with my plans and see what happens!

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Nancy L.
Nancy L.
9 years ago

JD, it’s really interesting to hear an update on your previous posts. Even though our situations are not exactly alike, I also have recently found myself preparing to make an enormous life change in my life, so I can relate to the spirit of your posts, even if my situation is far different. (I am hoping to go back to school, so I am looking at two years of frugal student living and lots of homework!) I never would have been able to make this leap if I hadn’t gained a solid grip on my finances over the past few… Read more »

Everyday Tips
Everyday Tips
9 years ago

It is funny how the mind works. If I remember your previous post correctly, you were thinking about moving to a smaller house because of the upkeep (and lack of use of rooms) of your current home. Considering it was just guilt or whatever that stopped you from hiring someone to do the yard work, moving is a huge step to take instead of just hiring someone to do a task you don’t like. How many trips a year will you be taking? Will these all be solo? I know you said your biggest worry was finding time to work-… Read more »

indio
indio
9 years ago
Reply to  Everyday Tips

When I do yardwork, I view it as a way to exercise and save money. I don’t have to go to a gym to workout I can do it outside in the fresh air and enjoy nature while I’m at it. I get just as much of an aerobic workout pushing a reel lawnmower, cutting branches and pulling weeds works my glutes. Using gym equipment and being indoors is monotonous to me. JD you’ve found time for walks to the gym and workouts, but you could do the same thing in your yard…?? Yes, it will be hard to do… Read more »

No Debt MBA
No Debt MBA
9 years ago

Like Everyday Tips, I think moving is a bigger step than hiring someone to do yard work. I’m glad you’re trying to pare down. We downsized by about 50% last year and getting down to basics made it much, much easier. If you can’t get rid of it, you’re not ready to downsize to a tiny house or equivalent.

Benjamin
Benjamin
9 years ago

Congratulations on your proposed change of lifestyle JD! Sounds like and interesting plan. You’ve come a long way since you first started GRS and you’ve inspired me in my family’s own journey to pay off our debt.

Good luck!

Drizzt
Drizzt
9 years ago

i admire someone who have the courage to take a leap of faith. i admire because i am someone who do not dare to do that.

If you get around visiting Singapore do look us up. we have a nice personal finance blog community down here!

My University Money
My University Money
9 years ago

What a great opportunity, I will be avidly awaiting travel updates.

I agree about the outsourcing tasks feeling of guilt. I struggle to “think like a rich person” and pay for a service when I know it makes logical sense due to my ability to earn more money than it would cost in the time it saves me. Blue collar roots die hard, I feel like my mom or dad would tsk tsk if I ever hired someone to help with yard work.

Alison Wiley
Alison Wiley
9 years ago

This is exciting, J.D. Your planning sounds solid to me. Your vision that’s coming to life brings to mind a new blog I’ve discovered, written by a world traveler, called Good Journeys http://goodjourneys.wordpress.com/. I know its author Colleen Kaleda(a fellow Portlander like you and me). Her travels are both frugal and brimming with joy. She actually makes annual trips to exotic places at no cost to herself because she leads volunteer projects at the destination. Good stuff.

Cletus Harbuckle
Cletus Harbuckle
9 years ago

J.D. – Will Kris be going with you?

The Money Clubhouse
The Money Clubhouse
9 years ago

Love your advice and looking forward to your travel posts!

Travis
Travis
9 years ago

“Now, though, I’m wanting to do things close to perfectly.”

A wise man once taught me “The perfect is the enemy of the good!” You don’t have to have everything planned out perfectly!

SB (One Cent At A Time)
SB (One Cent At A Time)
9 years ago

It is very important to establish a system and sticking to it. Unless you make frugal living a practice, you won’t succeed unless you are having serious financial trouble.

JD’s advises are really great!

In my latest post I mentioned why it is difficult to stay frugal.

Nick
Nick
9 years ago

As for the office, just give the landlord a bunch of post-dated checks.

Dee
Dee
9 years ago
Reply to  Nick

This is bad advice.

Post-dated checks can be cashed immediately. There is no legal requirement for the check-receiver to wait until the date on the check. The bank also does not have to wait.

MelodyO
MelodyO
9 years ago
Reply to  Dee

Not sure where you’re from where this is true, but I worked for many years at banks in Canada, and the whole point of post-dated cheques was that they couldn’t be cashed before the date on them. We’d hand them right back over if they tried.

K.C.
K.C.
9 years ago

I’ve found, as you have discovered, that having financial assets tends to make me more careful and calculating about changes in my life that would effect my finances. When I was young and had nothing, I wouldn’t think twice about quitting a job to start a business with little or no capital. However, once I had some money in the bank, I was much more careful and less impulsive. I worked at a job for twelve years to accumulate the capital to start my last big venture. While financial resources give us more choices, they also tend to make us… Read more »

honeybee
honeybee
9 years ago

Sounds great! Good luck JD! Re: Paying your office rent. Have you considered using online auto billpay/echeques? It’s a service that many (most?) banks offer. (Well, both of mine do.) You just go to your bank website and you can set it up from there. As far as I can tell, it basically drafts a printed cheque, and then mails it for you to the address you specify. You can do it one-time or recurring. It’s how my boyfriend and I cut our rent cheques every month. It means being diligent about ensuring there’s plenty of cash to cover all… Read more »

Caitlin
Caitlin
9 years ago
Reply to  honeybee

I believe in most cases, automated online payments do not actually involve the bank mailing out printed cheques to pay your bills. I’m pretty sure they just transfer the money from your account to the other party’s account online.
I suppose they could offer a service like that to let you pay “online”, even to pay bills that don’t accept online payments? If they do, though, I’ve never heard of it before.

PawPrint
PawPrint
9 years ago
Reply to  Caitlin

I loaned my son some money, and he uses this service to send a check to me. Also, when I ran a small nonprofit, we got a monthly check from a bank for someone’s donation.

Jan
Jan
9 years ago
Reply to  Caitlin

My sister pays all of her bills through checks—from on line. I pay my utility bill that way since my bank will not “linK’ with my utility. Two different banks. I think it is more common than one would think.

Trina
Trina
9 years ago
Reply to  Caitlin

This is incorrect. Banks do send out checks and can do it automatically on a recurring basis.

Jo-Pete
Jo-Pete
9 years ago
Reply to  Caitlin

If the bank has a relationship with the payee, they can do an ach transfer, but if they don’t then most are willing to cut a check to the address you supply. That’s how I used to pay my rent (to a landlord who only owned the one house).

Chris
Chris
9 years ago

Quick thought on working while traveling (from someone whose job unfortunately requires it even when on vacation). I make sure I do up to ~ 2hours each day during the work week. One hour in the morning for important work (your equivalent of write a blog post) usually right after waking up and at least once at night (usually catching up on email). It doesn’t detract from the core of the vacation and in my case I stay focused so I can get out and enjoy my day. I realize you may have to do more but thought I would… Read more »

Steve M
Steve M
9 years ago

JD,
I am somewhat envious of your pending adventures, and I look forward to the posts, but don’t lose site of the forest for the trees. Your most precious asset is your marraige. All of your success and new found freedom will be all for naught if you lose your wife while following YOUR dreams. PS, the divorce will be very costly in terms of dollars as well.

Blessings,
Steve

Angela
Angela
9 years ago
Reply to  Steve M

He’s going on a TRIP! How do you go from that to divorce? Why does marriage mean “joined at the hip?” A few weeks (or months) apart will not ruin a strong relationship. And, if a few weeks ruins your marriage- it wasn’t very strong to begin with.

Crystal
Crystal
9 years ago
Reply to  Angela

^^^ Agree 100%. Spouses is a way of life for Military families, and if a marriage does dissolve from some time apart it was not secure in the 1st place

imelda
imelda
9 years ago
Reply to  Angela

I “liked” both comments. Both are fair points.

Steve M
Steve M
9 years ago
Reply to  imelda

A military spouse almost always knows how their life will be before they decide to commit to it. If JD takes a couple trip per year of a couple weeks each, no big deal. But it sounds like this is a much more extensive plan, and that he will be gone more than he is home. Kris may want JD to be happy and follow his dream because she loves him, but still be resentful that their dreams aren’t shared. Simply put, there are likely to be negative ramifications to their marraige if they begin moving toward living separate lives… Read more »

Caleb
Caleb
9 years ago

Go JD! have a blast and take pictures! Your experiences will be incredible!

Kevin M
Kevin M
9 years ago

Does your bank allow electronic payments? Just schedule the rent checks to go out and they will either delivery it electronically or mail the landlord a check.

Things will be fine, like you said. Part of the fun of travel is the unknown, right?

Suzanne
Suzanne
9 years ago
Reply to  Kevin M

This is how I pay my condo assessment each month. I have a recurring payment through my checking account. The banks sends a check (I don’t even pay the postage!) to my condo association on the same day every month. I initiated it because I kept forgetting to pay. It was the only bill I had left that required physical checks and it just escaped me. In 4 years there has never been an issue with the check getting lost in the mail or not arriving on time. It’s a great service!

Pauline
Pauline
9 years ago

In August, I’ll be paying the last bit of my credit card debt ! I’m so thrilled ! Then i still have 5000 euros to pay back to other people, so in may next year, i’ll be debt free for the first time in ages ! thanks to you and other blogs i’ve been reading over the last year! I’m not stressed about money anymore, I know I have an emergency found. i have less stuff in my home so less stressed about a burglar coming in. my life is so much easier now so THANK YOU !!! and travel… Read more »

Frugal Texas Gal
Frugal Texas Gal
9 years ago

Wow, it sounds really exciting, and that you have it all planned out.

That said, I hate to be a downer and I know this is your blog, but I would love to hear Kris’s honest take on all this.

Eloiseariel
Eloiseariel
9 years ago

Frugal Texas Gal,

I’m with you – all this sounds lovely, but I keep wondering about JD’s spouse and where she fits into these goals. This entry felt more than a bit self-centered. If that is not the case, JD, I apologize, because the goals you discuss are to be admired.

theluckykiwi
theluckykiwi
9 years ago
Reply to  Eloiseariel

I would also like to hear what Kris has to say – personally I would not want my spouse to travel months out of the year without me. I want to be on that journey with them. I would hope they would want me to accompany them as well. Although my job prevents me from traveling months out of the year like this, if my spouse’s didn’t prevent them from doing it, I would still hope they would wait for a time when I could join them on their travels. It sounds selfish to me, but I realize everyone’s marriage… Read more »

imelda
imelda
9 years ago

Lol, so would I, but frankly it’s none of our damn business.

Greg Miliates
Greg Miliates
9 years ago

I like your approach to dealing with the details of your lifestyle change.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with details, but I’ve found that oftentimes, just breaking down a task into small, bitesize pieces makes it less overwhelming, since each task in itself is easy. Then, being diligent to work on those tasks each day builds momentum and gets you to the finish line.

No matter what the big task–whether it’s designing your lifestyle so you can travel and work anywhere, a career change, starting a business, etc.–the steps are the same.

Kylie
Kylie
9 years ago

JD: You’ll find time to work while you absorb other cultures. I’m an Aussie who sold her share in a business, packed up her stuff into a storage unit and moved to Chile for 12 months in 2006 – best thing I ever did. Writing from internet cafes, working out how to use the wifi, ordering a coffee, taking a train or taxi – the mundane becomes special when we immerse ourselves in another culture. I’m glad you didn’t buy into the mid-life crisis scare mongering. Life is meant to be explored. We can live frugally and still live fully.

Sofie
Sofie
9 years ago

Your plans sound really exciting. Now that I have fewer extended family responsibilities I’ve been thinking about doing some traveling but I’m a little hesitant given the experiences a couple of different friends have had with bedbugs in the last two months. One person was visiting New York, the other was in Beijing. Both say they checked their rooms carefully but both came home with bedbugs and both spent a lot of money getting rid of them and had to use a lot of chemicals which give me pause. One friend had a healthy emergency fund and dipped into that,… Read more »

J.D. Roth
J.D. Roth
9 years ago

Great questions about Kris and her reaction. I’ll see if she’s willing to leave a comment later today.

In short, we’ve been talking this through. And though she’s understandably apprehensive, she’s also doing her best to be supportive, for which I’m grateful. We’re trying to find a middle path that works for both of us.

Adam P
Adam P
9 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

Was it deliberate that you didn’t mention her in the post?

imelda
imelda
9 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

I said it above, but here it is again: it’s nobody’s business but your own, JD (and Kris). It’s nice of you to be so open, but this is a PF blog, not a life-sharing diary.

Maybe this is alarmist, but celebrities never gained privacy – or avoided criticism – by opening their lives up to public view.

Adam P
Adam P
9 years ago

I have to echo the other’s sentiments on Kris’ reaction. Even a wonderful, happy marriage (such as yours) is bound to be tested by such an arrangement where you take weeks/months away from eachother at a time to follow your dreams; and in doing this leave Kris behind since she doesn’t have the same passion for travel and couch surfing/etc. that you have. It would be so awesome if you guys could do this together, but such is reality. I do, quite sincerely, hope that you guys have no bumps or problems from this and that your trips are everything… Read more »

Shauna
Shauna
9 years ago
Reply to  Adam P

I worry about the work you’re leaving behind for Kris while you’re gone. Maintaining a house (and a life) is a big chore, and if you’re gone for weeks at a time, there will inevitably be things you’re shifting onto her plate. To have your spouse do that for work, or family situations is one thing, but to have it happen because they are off seeing the world without you would be a deal breaker, in my mind… I totally support what you’re trying to do, it just seems like it’s going to wreak havoc on your relationships.

Everyday Tips
Everyday Tips
9 years ago
Reply to  Adam P

We all have dreams. I would love to travel the world whenever I wanted. However, I have 3 kids and a husband that works in an office, so my ‘dreams’ may not be realized for a few years. Isn’t part of the reason Kris is not going because she has a job that requires her to actually be in town? Even if I didn’t have kids, I couldn’t imagine up and leaving my husband for weeks for who knows how many times a year because he isn’t as flexible as I am. This whole scenario just puts red flags up… Read more »

fetu
fetu
9 years ago
Reply to  Everyday Tips

I have been married for over 35 years now. I love to backpack type travel for 2 to 4 months a year. My husband likes to travel to visit relatives for a week at a time. Now the kids are married and not living with us I have the time and freedom to follow my dreams of exploring travel. He enjoys having the whole house to himself while I am gone. I am also aware that I am getting older and time is running out. I think JD is also aware of the ticking clock and with no children….it is… Read more »

Everyday Tips
Everyday Tips
9 years ago
Reply to  fetu

The way their marriage is structured, I don’t think Kris can up and quit her job and travel the world. The way I understand it, they have separate finances, so unless Kris can somehow come up with a quick way to make money while traveling the world, I don’t think she can ‘afford’ to quit.

Teresa
Teresa
9 years ago

I really like this post! I too am making HUGE changes in life so that I can travel and pusue my dreams during the best years of my life. Thanks for continuing to be inspirational in financial matters!

20 and Engaged
20 and Engaged
9 years ago

Good luck and safe travels JD! We’ll be rooting you on!

reeder
reeder
9 years ago

Along the lines of thinking like a Rich Person, have you thought about getting your “papers in order” for things like wishes, living trusts, wills, etc? I’m told the default method of inheritance taxation is not great and things can be done about this.
Taking different governments and cultures into account is also important if Kris can’t get to you immediately in case something happens. I don’t believe most hospitals would allow a friend to make medical decisions for you if you were unconscious.

Roy Inman
Roy Inman
9 years ago

JD: One of the most important lessons I learned (too late) from my seven decades on the planet was to take more risks earlier when I still had time to recover from mistakes. I don’t mean risking life, limb or all of one’s savings, but taking calulated, manageable risks such as a change in lifestye, work or measured investments. Now, I have to be even more cautions than before, because a loss of even a small percentage of my income could mean real financial disaster. When one is younger, those small, calculated risks are not only indicated, they are, IMHO,… Read more »

Money Reasons
Money Reasons
9 years ago

You are living my dream! I think if I was to sell my house and posession and travel the world, my financial health would even be stronger than if I were to stay in the US(only visiting Europe for shorter stints of time). Of course I would need ample amounts of online income or dividends from stocks to do so. That said, my dream won’t be fulfilled because I had kids. They enjoy the stability of family and friends, besides… my wife would just look at me like I was crazy. I look forward to reading about your adventures and… Read more »

Lahmacun
Lahmacun
9 years ago

I commend you on your willingness to change and evolve, and take some calculated risks in order to travel and see the world. Like other posters, however, I noticed that you said that you and Kris had been eating out less in order for you to save money for your travels. Does your economizing for your own goals add to Kris’s quality of life, though, particularly if you are cutting out doing things you enjoy doing together as a couple? I am reminded of a comment made by the wife of No Impact Man, who told the camera crew that… Read more »

imelda
imelda
9 years ago
Reply to  Lahmacun

Seriously. While I acknowledge I’m in a very different place from JD, the idea of living *and working* out of a backpack, hostels, couchsurfing, etc sounds like a nightmare to me, at this point.

I think it’s a little strange that JD is making all these plans for a lifestyle that he doesn’t even know if he’ll enjoy yet.

fetu
fetu
9 years ago
Reply to  imelda

At 60 I still stay at hostels…..and can still enjoy them. Traveling on your own, you get much more company in a hostel than you would in a hotel. You get lots of travel tips too. True….after a few weeks the idea of having a room and bathroom to yourself sounds wonderful and it may be time to splurge ….even in just for a private room at a hostel. Ear plugs help a lot in dorm rooms.

Anne
Anne
9 years ago
Reply to  imelda

Have fun keeping up with the Joneses JD!

sarah
sarah
9 years ago
Reply to  Lahmacun

Even though No Impact Man was a pretty obvious publicity stunt, at least he was doing something ostensibly to benefit society. It seems like JD has run out of places to go with this blog (because it’s about getting rich slowly, and he accidentally got rich quickly with a successful blog) and is looking for new content.

I know it’s mean to say, but it seems so transparent.

KS
KS
9 years ago

As I’ve mentioned before in comments, my husband, 1 dog, 2 cats, and I are preparing to move to Ireland (tomorrow!!) – a great job, fulfillment of a lifelong dream to “live in another country”, and 6 months of intense planning and execution coming together. Making such plans and executing them can look “risky” to the outside world but it’s very iceberg-like; the work is underneath and often doesn’t show (once things calm down, I would love to write a guest post on ways to minimize expenses when doing something like this; I think much of what we’ve learned could… Read more »

imelda
imelda
9 years ago
Reply to  KS

Congratulations!!! How exciting!

Amber
Amber
9 years ago
Reply to  KS

Thank you for taking your pets! Once they get past the flight they will be very grateful.

MutantSuperModel
MutantSuperModel
9 years ago

Know why I like these posts? Because you doubt yourself. So many of the finance dudes are so overconfident it grates me. You’re not (even in areas you should be) and therefore, I find you remain someone I can relate to you. You’re going to be fine. Kris is going to be fine. Your money’s going to be fine. Just take it one trip at a time. It’s not really a life overhaul until you’re really steadily doing it. Look at it as a trial thing. You might find you like the idea of this whole thing more than the… Read more »

magali
magali
9 years ago

This post is so inspiring. I have been pursuing the same goal now for almost 3 years. I am 4000 dollars away from the goal and it will take me the same amount of time at the end than JD to be completely debt free. I planned on reversing the situation and saving the same amount of money as well…Reading this article made me feel good and convinced me to be in the right direction. Thank you.

Steve Linderman
Steve Linderman
9 years ago

Good luck on all you do J.D. I liked Chris’ and Pauline’s comments the best. Your site has been inspirational in me going from $22,235 in debt, down to $9,860 in credit card debt. It’s taken 4 years (I’ve had a lesser paying job for 3 of the years) to get to this point. Thanks for doing this blog. Enjoy! You’ve earned it. I kinda’ relapsed this past month doing 2 “once in a lifetime” things that I believe in…going to Farm Aid in KC next month (at a cost I hadn’t budgeted for), and buying a personalized brick for… Read more »

Tyler Karaszewski
Tyler Karaszewski
9 years ago

Sounds exciting. I wonder if you’re going to be sick of hostels after the first week, though. Drunken twenty-year-old Australian guys hitting on every girl around are kind of entertaining when you’re basically in the same shoes as them, but not so much when you’re a decade or two older, married, and trying to get some sleep.

Luke
Luke
9 years ago

Tyler – that sounds just like how I’d envisaged staying at hostels would be.

One of the reasons I’m willing to restrict myself to far fewer, slightly more luxurious breaks in the name of frugality 😀

Jacq
Jacq
9 years ago

This is wonderful.

For a great book on organizing and decluttering check out Susan Pinsky’s books – either the one on organizing for people with ADD or the Fast and Furious book. (She recommends hiring a lawn service too.) Or Judith Kolberg.

An added bonus is that with the messy one out of the house traveling, you both will probably save money on the house cleaner too.

Barb Friedberg
Barb Friedberg
9 years ago

As one in the midst of a huge transition as well, I understand the uncertainty. Outsourcing requires ovrsite and follow through and my experience shows that outsourcing yard work is “no big deal” but outsourcing other more personal things is quite stressful. I’ve found that by “lowering expectations” some time, stress is also alleviated.

Jan
Jan
9 years ago

I spent two and a half years traveling for a job. The second year I traveled for 42 weeks. Since my job entailed two or three appointments each trip- that left loads of time to look around. I was fortunate enough to see 49 out of 50 states. It was wonderful. We have traveled independently for work most of our marriage. Sometimes we traveled together- but not often. Together we have seen over 30 countries. My husband chose to stay home when I got that job. He is a homebuddy. He loves his fishing and woodworking. He just wasn’t interested… Read more »

Aryn
Aryn
9 years ago

For the payments that you receive on paper checks, you could give Kris some deposit slips and pre-paid, stamped envelopes so she can mail the deposits to the bank for you. My former boss’s accountant used to do this with my paychecks because the company was too small to have direct deposit.

Or, Kris could go down to the bank and make the deposit if it’s local.

Or, if you have a bank/credit union with that scan a check app, she can scan the check and it’s deposited.

Roy Inman
Roy Inman
9 years ago

Following one’s bliss is a two-headed coin IMHO. One side means a greater possibilty of truly enjoying one’s work and life. The other side is, well, selfish if a person has others depending on you. A very personal call. Following bliss may or may not prove to be more lucrative than if you did not. On one knows at this point.

elena
elena
9 years ago

My parents opted to do exactly what you are doing. Pursuing some dreams, separately. My dad traveled extensively from his mid 40’s – bike riding through Australia, small boats to Hong Kong, everywhere! and cheap! And without my mother, because she didn’t share that part of his dream and they don’t travel well together for more than a few days. I think he took some flak for that over the years, but my mother supported his decision with few regrets. She’s taken a few trips of her own, too with girlfriends,me or others. It worked for them and they’ve been… Read more »

Luke
Luke
9 years ago
Reply to  elena

Individual dreams are great, as couples can be incredibly similar yet wonderfully unique!

That said, I am miserable after more than a night apart from my fiancee and can’t really picture us spending this much time apart.

Crystal
Crystal
9 years ago

JD- if you hire a gardener you are personally creating a job for somebody, and thus helping in the recovery

I wish you all hte luck-this is going to be great!

Shauna
Shauna
9 years ago
Reply to  Crystal

Its funny that this point doesn’t come up more often. I remember several years ago my hubby and I were both working full time and doing school in the evenings, and never had enough time for all the housework. I felt like such a slacker when we finally caved and found a housekeeper. A friend from Germany just laughed at me and said that was a very “American” way to think, because where she was from, they figure if you need help and you have the means to hire it, you SHOULD, because you’re helping stimulate the economy and create… Read more »

Luke
Luke
9 years ago
Reply to  Shauna

Absolutely – I love how middle class people worry about paying for someone to work for them!

The gardener/housekeeper wouldn’t be doing the job if they weren’t willing to (and yes, chances are they need the money). The fact remains, however, that you are willing to spend the money, they are willing to take it, so get something sorted and just move forward with your life.

Personally I can’t see myself paying for someone to do my more mundane tasks, but I’m not particulary busy right now 😉

somsiah
somsiah
9 years ago

Even when traveling far away from home, it is possible to take a break from travel. That is by finding a place away from busy traffic, low rate, possibly by week rather than day, and be by yourself. This can even be achieved by say, couchsurfing in rural areas. You get your break from heavy traveling, as well having the time to live that way locals do. So all the best, JD. One more thing to share: Being methodical and a well laid plan indeed will better prepare you for your trip. However, being able to adapt to situation is… Read more »

Theresa
Theresa
9 years ago
Reply to  somsiah

Can’t agree more. If overwhelmed by sightseeing and you need to take a break, take some time, use the ‘Search by Map’ function on CouchSurfing.org, and find someplace to stay (for free!) out in the countryside.

It’s definitely something within your budget, and can be life-changing. I commend you for your willingness to travel. I was lucky to start when I was 17 (I’m now 30 and have lived in five countries), but it’s never too late.

Adrian
Adrian
9 years ago

Congratulations, J.D.! After following your progress over the past four years, it seems like you have a much finer concept of: “Who & what is J.D. Roth and what does he TRULY value? (especially in the fourth stage of personal finance) Also, you’re tackling the never-ending question of “how can I realistically make this work without sacrificing the invaluable skills, lessons & values I have honed through out my journey?” As of lately — moving on my own and being self-employed — my personal skills are also truly being put to the test, and I am prepared to “fly or… Read more »

Dan
Dan
9 years ago

The separate travel thing is interesting. I traveled a bit (maybe a lot, who knows) before I got married two years ago. (I was 30 when I got married.) I married my wife with the intention of having a travel partner — some things, like Paris, are best shared.

We recently got back from a six-week trip across SE Asia (we didn’t kill each other!) and I honestly can’t imagine traveling without her. I actually *don’t* want to do any sort of extensive travel without her company.

Jessica
Jessica
9 years ago

This post came just at the right time for me, as my husband got news that he might have an opportunity to tour the UK for a week and a half in two months time. I’ll use some of your ideas to make sure that his missed work won’t affect us too harshly, and to minimize any reliance on our emergency fund to make the trip happen.

Susan
Susan
9 years ago

Some things to consider as you start to travel alone…
Do you have life insurance in place? How does your health insurance handle sickness or injury in a foreign country?
As a runner I have a “Road ID” that lets someone access emergency contact info and health info if I am injured and unable to supply the information. Something you may consider.
Better to be prepared than try to cope with problems later.
Enjoy the journey!

bethh
bethh
9 years ago

I predict you are going to have an amazing time, and you are going to be REALLY happy to get home. I also have a feeling it will be a lot easier to get rid of your Stuff after you’re away from it for a month and never think about it.

It’ll be fun! Kris is a very resourceful person and I suspect she will have a lovely peaceful time in your absence. Heck, she can probably cancel the cleaning service (but will have to get her own gas!).

Amber
Amber
9 years ago
Reply to  bethh

But J.D. will have to do his own laundry. In a hostel and in a foreign country. And foreign clothing care tags have all those funny symbols! Start studying now JD!!

bethh
bethh
9 years ago

Oh, and I’ve traveled and spent nights in lots of hostels, in Seattle, San Francisco, Victoria BC, Austin, and Edinburgh, among other places. In every case I’ve booked private rooms – it’s a great way to have inexpensive lodgings without interacting TOO closely with others. My mom even shared a room with me in Edinburgh – her first (and probably only) hostel!

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