So here I was, bed-ridden, considering what retirement meant to me.
I wanted to climb the mountains of the world.
I wanted to break bread around dinner tables round the world.
I wanted to shop at markets around the world.
I wanted to understand daily life in remote corners of the world.
I wanted to volunteer my services to help people around the world.
I knew I couldn’t achieve these goals in the way I truly wanted with week-long – or even month-long – vacations. I had to go much deeper than that. It had to be a lifestyle.
Could I wait another 30 years for a conventional retirement to live out this life-long dream? What if I did, then come retirement age, I wasn’t willing or able to do these things any more? How would I view my life as I lay on my deathbed? I already had a few close calls with the car accidents and my illnesses…what would I feel about my life if it ended right then and there? Would I have regrets?
After considering these things, it became obvious to me that with only one shot at this life, I had to make the most of it. I had to “retire”. Putting in time for another 30 years was not possible; time wasn’t to be wasted or bided – it was for living.
I had the good fortune to have saved and invested for my future from a very young age, and had a good nest egg socked away for later years when I can’t work and need income. And in selling my financial planning business I was granted a small income for 2.5 years; long enough to figure out what form my travels would take – or even just to play out whatever dreams I had of long-term travel and return to the “working world” re-energized and enthused.
Ultimately I had no idea what form my travels would take or how long they would last when I made the decision to go. I just knew I had to go. And for once – the voice agreed. Despite the counter-intuitive move of selling a business I’d just built to the point where it could run itself and generate increasingly larger amounts of income, my inner voice actually applauded this decision to break out of the mold and chase down my dreams.
And so it was with a good financial footing and a large dose of faith that I put the wheels in motion for a life of travel; it’s how I became The Professional Hobo.