My wife and I just got back from a vacation weekend in Colorado. It was great. And no it’s not because of that. Sometimes it’s great to just escape “real-life” for a few days or a week and explore this amazing Earth.
The financial independence online community talks about budgeting, savings, early retirement all the time. One thing that we definitely don’t mention enough is that 8 letter word that can be so elusive to our busy daily lives – VACATION!
You work hard. You stay late to finish those deadline projects. You bus the kids from event to event. You deserve it. This must be what goes through the minds of normal spendaholics when they are at Best Buy spontaneously looking at a TV or at a car dealership deciding they want to trade-in their 3 year old car. For me and probably many of you who decided to click the link to this site – I am much more interested in experiences than in stuff.
Whether you go to China or camping in a national park a few hours away it’s good to get away sometimes. People can obviously shell out some serious cash for their trips half-way around the world to remote islands (now taking donations for my next & first trip to Bora Bora). But it’s obviously possible to have a great trip without spending tons of money too. Most national parks are $20 (or free), so don’t give me the excuse that you can’t afford it. I have some family & friends that don’t believe in vacation or believe that they can’t afford it. Sorry not gonna buy that crap.
It’s completely possible to vacate without breaking your financial plan. You just might not be able to go to Paris. Yet. But maybe someday.
The memories last a lifetime
Everyone has fond (and not so fond) memories of trips with family and friends. That time your brother farted in the car on the way to the Grand Canyon and almost made your dad crash because it was so ransid. Whatever it is, you will always have the memories. Or bring a GoPro – then you have the video to prove it too. One thing I will say is that I have gotten a bit better about just enjoying the moment. Too often we stand behind our camera or photo lens.
It helps you get creative
Whether you are stuck on a work problem, thinking through a career or personal crisis, or exploring potential new entrepreneurship itches. Sometimes getting away gives me an outlet to think about things I would have never thought possible.
Sometimes it’s okay to turn your brain off from regular daily life
There is a good reason some people get burnt out. Sure maybe they are just an unpleasant person that likes to bitch about everything. But just as likely, they haven’t taken a vacation in a couple of years. It’s okay for little Johnny or Suzy to miss a couple of soccer practices. And the office will survive without you. Work will be there when you get back.
You gain new perspective
This is a big one for me. Seeing different cultures opens our minds to different ideas and ways of life. So many of us in the FIRE community are focused on gaining financial independence early in life. I will always distinctly remember the moment standing on a bridge in Florence, Italy where the financial independence light flickered for the first time in my wife’s mind. We are two very different people, but I think that special moment helped her at least understand why I think it’s so important to be financially free (aka so we can go on badass trips like that one more often). Still working on that 🙂
So where’s your next vacation going to be? Be a little crazy and spontaneous. Or plan it out, sometimes that’s half the fun. Just remember we do only live this life once, so take full advantage.