It's almost moving day. Thirteen years ago we relocated to Dubai for my new job, and in three weeks we're leaving for pastures new. It's going to be a big change.
That's similar to retirement, whether early or "normal" age. Both relocating and retiring are a big shift from the life we're used to. And just like retiring, moving is going to work best if we have a plan and a positive attitude for it.
Perhaps we have an advantage having relocated a few times before. We've previously lived and worked in Jamaica (3 years), Hong Kong (2 years), South Africa (1 year, just me without the family), and then this 13 years in Dubai. We've also had periods in the UK in between.
That experience will help, we've proved that we can do it, but this time the move will be a bit different because:
we won't have the workplace to provide an instant group of colleagues/friends
we won't have the job to fill our nine to five days, so we need to fill that time ourselves
we won't have young children through whom to meet new friends (other parents) at the school gates or via play dates
we may struggle with the language
That's why we need a positive attitude and a plan. Different can be a bit scary, but the challenge can also be interesting and rewarding as well.
Having a positive attitude
Leaving the place we have lived for the past thirteen years isn't going to be easy, but there are upsides and things for us to look forward to as well:
I'm sure that there are more things to put onto both sides of the list, but the point is that for each thing that we're worried about, there is also something to look forward to
This approach can also work with retirement, or other major life changes. Be honest about the things that worry us or that we're going to miss, but then think about the other side of the coin, the new things we can do instead and be excited about. It helps move it to a positive thought process, which is what I've made a start on in the table above.
Making a plan
I'm a fan of making plans. Those who've read some previous posts may remember my early retirement whiteboard. As plans go, it wasn't the most detailed(!), but it gave me a broad structure to build the initial stages of my early retirement on.
So now we need a relocation plan to give some structure to what our life is going to look like once we've moved.
The first part's easy - we're travelling in Asia and Australia for four months until mid November. Having said that, I still need to finish my planning for it, which is getting a bit urgent as we depart in four weeks!
It's the part for after our travels that we need to focus our plan on. Our original big picture plan was:
We haven't even set off on the first part (although the flights are booked, and we head off on 16 July) and I'm already planning major changes for what comes after that.
I'm thinking, the French Alps in spring and summer are going to be beautiful, so why wouldn't we stay there longer to enjoy it? They're also within easy travel distance of our kids so we get the chance to spend more time with them too.
That doesn't mean we're abandoning the round the world (RTW) trip idea, it's just that we'll do it over an extended time period:
Even after a year and a half, I'm still learning about being early retired. The probable plan change is because I've realized I'm not restricted to a small number of vacation weeks a year, so there's no need to rush things.
That's one of the great things about being early retired. I'm now my own boss so I can take my time and can also change things if I want...well, after getting Sally's approval, of course🤣
So our probable new plan spends more time in our soon to be completed (November we hope) apartment in the French Alps. These are some of the things that we will spend our time on:
Furnishing our new apartment in time for Christmas.
My blog. Maybe Sally can join me in blogging about iretiredyoung?
Learning French - we'll sign up for lessons, probably 3-5 times a week.
Skiing - alpine/downhill, and I also want to try cross country skiing.
Cycling (once spring and summer arrive) - I'm talking to Sally about getting her a bike (maybe an e-bike) so we can go together.
Photos - we have between six and eight thousand photos, stored digitally, that need organizing. A job for Sally!
Videos - we just transferred around 10 hours of VHS video to digital. We need to edit these into a few short films. Another job for Sally.
Visitors - we are looking forward to having lots of family and friends come to visit.
Running - perhaps I'll train for a Northern hemisphere autumn 2019 marathon.
Work - Sally will decide if she wants to work again from September 2019. If she does, she'll need to spend time to find a job.
Work - Investigate possible property renovation projects that we might want to do.
Have time for crafts (Sally's suggestion, I'd be hopeless at this!).
Have days out - walking locally, picnics in the mountains, and exploring further afield.
Search for some clubs to join.
Making new friends.
This will be Sally's first time at early retirement (even if she decides it's for a temporary period), so it's good to have some ideas of things to do, so as to not sit around and get bored. This list is a good start, and I'm sure we'll add some more things to it as time goes by.
Talking about keeping busy
I've been rushed off my feet these past few weeks - getting ready to move is not easy!
The packers came this week to put our stuff in boxes. The apartment in France is only 60 square metres (600 sq ft) so we've had to downsize. It's been a traumatic experience for Sally, whereas I've been in my element sorting things out and deciding what we no longer need.
Selling excess stuff on Dubizzle (a local equivalent to Ebay) has been a revelation, a combination of quite fun and a complete pain in the butt. There's a whole world of buying and selling that I didn't know existed. One person wanted to pay £5 ($7) for a lego set and then expect me to spend two hours delivering it to them. Errmm, no! Another bought two bedside cabinets for £12 ($16) and then promptly re-advertised them for £32 ($43) - it seems I'm selling my stuff too cheaply!
Joking aside, and it won't keep you busy for ever, but on those quieter early retirement days when you don't know what to do, de-clutter, sell the things you haven't used in years on Ebay, sort your old photos out... There are a surprising number of things that can keep you busy as you settle into early retirement.
And back to planning
The trip to Asia and Australia - I really must finish my planning. It should have been done already, and this post was meant to be about the trip. If next week's post isn't about it, then I'm in trouble because it means I still haven't done it, and time is running out before we fly off. In fact, I'm going to start doing it right now!