Okay, I have a confession to make. My wife didn’t “retire” back in April before we left Tucson in pursuit of full-time travel. She took a sabbatical instead…nice person that she is.
But, that’s not the whole story either.
First, I did retire. I am 100% out of the workforce. I was offered a sabbatical before I left and I flatly refused. I am definitely out, and out for good.
My wife was going to be out for good as well, but her boss practically begged her to take a sabbatical and come back to work over the winter to help push through project deadlines instead of outright retire.
Courtney is loyal to her team and boss. In general, she enjoys what she does for a living. As such, she agreed to take a sabbatical and return to work. But, this is only a one-time thing. It ain’t going to happen again.
Next April, we’re setting sail once again. Gawd, talk about deja vu.
Here’s the plan
At the end of October, my wife and I will be attending FinCon17 in Dallas. The week after, my wife is scheduled to start work again after her sabbatical ends. The plan at the moment is for her to continue work through March of 2018, at which point we will REALLY leave Tucson. For good. There will be no more sabbaticals. She’s done next spring.
We will be stationary in Tucson this fall and winter (and let’s face it: there are worse places to spend a fall and winter), staying at the same campground that we called home for the year leading up to our departure last April. It’s a nice place, though expensive. But, the additional salary that my wife will earn will more than make up for the cost of our site.
In fact, we’ll probably pack another $40,000 onto our net worth.
And, we will use this opportunity to perform some maintenance and upgrades to the Airstream, like switch out our hazy skylights, connect the liquid portion of our composting toilet straight down to our waste tanks and perhaps a few other things that we’ve been putting off until we’re stationary.
I will also join a gym.
Why not make this a winter routine?
But wait. Why not take a sabbatical every year, you might ask? After all, working a half year and earning a decent salary at a job that she doesn’t hate sounds like an opportunity, right?
According to company policy where my wife works, she can only take one sabbatical for every 12 consecutive working months. Then, employees can apply for another one. One year on, six months off.
She’d have to become a consultant to completely control her schedule.
For us, that’s a no-go. We refuse to spend another whole summer in Tucson, enduring 115-degree days and listening to the Airstream’s air conditioning struggle to keep up with the sweltering heat. That, and this isn’t what we had planned for early retirement. Part-time isn’t retirement. It isn’t fun. It doesn’t involve exploring our nation and seeing everything there is to see.
We’re doing this once as a favor to Courtney’s boss and team, then we’re gone. Next year, we’re toying with the idea of buying a Thousand Trails membership and cruising up through Washington State, spending another summer in the northwest but in larger, more established campgrounds.
Jobless and absolutely happy in every way.
Steve is a 38-year-old early retiree who writes about the intersection of happiness and financial independence. Steve is a regular contributor to MarketWatch, CNBC, and The Ladders. He lives full-time in his 30′ Airstream Classic and travels the country with his wife Courtney and two rescued dogs.