Caleb and I talk a lot about our interests. His topics are usually military history or current events, and mine always turn toward our plans for the future or finances. I tell him all the time that he has to be working toward a goal. The goal may change (and that’s fine), but never stop moving toward something you want. For the past 13 years, the goal that K and I have been working toward has not been world travel, but early retirement. We have been aggressively saving to try to get there ASAP.
I have been asked a few times this week if we are rich, or if not, would I share how we got to the point that we are able to afford our planned time abroad. I committed to share everything financial about our trip, so I guess these questions qualify, too. I will first say without hesitation that no, we are not rich, and frankly not yet financially independent. I define FI as having enough income from sources other than work that we would never have to work again. This doesn’t mean that we wouldn’t work for the right cause or situation, but we wouldn’t need to. FI has been our goal, and we have been slowly and steadily moving in that direction.* K and I wanted to retire early (50?) and slow travel the world on a budget. Last Thanksgiving that goal changed, because we realized that when K and I reached 50, Anna & Caleb would have their own lives. They might have their own jobs and families, and hopefully would be working toward their personal list of dreams. We wouldn’t get to share the incredible sights and experiences of our travels with them. When we saw a “Black Friday” ad for $157 one-way tickets to Stockholm (and suddenly gained new appreciation for the fortune cookies I had been getting lately), it took about 30 minutes to change a 20-year plan. We altered course and started outlining our new direction.
The answer to the question of affording the trip is that we have saved for many years – not originally for this purpose, but the savings are there and they will support this journey. The goal may have changed, but the years of hard work will still apply. – ALaff
* I may detail our path in a later FI/RE post.