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Fixing my early retirement funk

Early retirement bikepacking - sunrise over Lake Geneva

Last week I figured I had a funk approaching. That was confusing given that I still like my early retirement (a lot) and have no desire to turn the clock back to life with a corporate job.

But something felt a little off kilter. I wondered whether it's because I'm living in a holiday town off-season which means it's deserted, or perhaps feeling I have less exciting plans than before, or maybe I simply need to figure out how to live a normal early retired life? Those were my questions in last week's post.

I received some useful tips on how to deal with holiday town off-season blues - it's a good time to take a trip. The other advice was that having plans to look forward to is helpful. I'm relieved that nobody said to just suck it up and figure out how to live a normal early retired life!

This week I'm back to feeling more like my positive self because, having figured that something didn't feel quite right, I decided to do something about it. If there's a message in this post, it's that we can take steps to change things if we feel they aren't quite as we want them to be.

I'm also convinced that they normally aren't difficult or complicated steps either. Often, it's simply just to do something, almost anything, that breaks the pattern and moves things in a better direction. We often have a desire to try to plan or figure everything out in advance, but sometimes the trick is to jump in and, to an extent, let things develop a course, and then adapt that if necessary.

Another comment on last week's post suggested a connection between my funk and the topics of being bored or unfulfilled - big early retirement topics/concerns. I suspect there was some sense in that suggestion, but at the same time, feel we sometimes try to overthink the risks of being bored or not having a fulfilling purpose. For sure don't ignore these topics, and do try to have some ideas or plans in place for these things, but my experience is that not everything can be one hundred percent planned and packaged in advance, and many aspects and new opportunities will be developed as we go along. And people in a position to FIRE are probably quite good at adapting and finding solutions.

And on that subject, here are some of the things that developed as I went along last week that helped move me back towards my old positive self:

  • I kept active - I went cycling on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday (the latter two as part of my bikepacking trip)

  • I made a conscious effort to remember the plans that I do have:

  • cycling the Route des Grandes Alpes in September (perhaps a week to cycle the route plus another week exploring/relaxing by the Mediterranean)

  • travelling in South America in October and November

  • I made myself remember that holiday town off-season is only temporary and that June, July and August will be busier, and some of our friends who aren't here now will be back in the summer

  • Plus I did a mini bikepacking trip this week. My first.

And here's some longer term ideas to discuss with Sally (she's away this week) and decide if any of them are for us:

  • What about the house renovation that's Sally's always wanted to do?

  • Is my new idea of converting a van into a campervan a short term fad or something I'm really interested in?

  • Has Sally got a definite idea about her plans for working again from September 2020?

Depending on the outcomes from these items, we may have a new set of plans emerging that need organising and to look forward to. If we need a purpose, then perhaps one of these things could be it for a while.


That's enough of thinking things through, how about my mini bikepacking trip, one of my "just do something" events of this week?

Being my first ever go at bikepacking, plus some concerns about the nighttime temperatures, I decided to keep relatively local. Lake Geneva, just 3 hours bike ride away, seemed a good option.

Day 1 wasn't even on the bike, it was deciding where to go, making a semblence of a plan, plus buying a tent and sleeping bag. Hopefully it's a good investment, Sally says she'll come with me on future trips. I'll report back as to whether that promise comes true.

Day 2 was cycling to the village of Lugrin on the French side of Lake Geneva, to the campsite that I'd picked. That was a nice bike ride, more downhill than uphill which certainly helps. Here are some of the views (by the way, the land on the other side of the lake is Switzerland - I always think it's neat when you can see across to a different country).

Day 3 was cycling back to Morzine. I had thought about staying longer but with my lightweight sleeping bag it was pretty cold at night, so I'll wait until summer for the multi-night trips. I'm learning that Google Maps cannot always be trusted, as it took me up a ridiculously steep hill (mercifully not too long), although that was nothing compared to an off-road section that resembled a boulder strewn dry river bed which I had no option but to stumble/walk. All part of the adventure though.

All in all, my first (albeit very short) go at bikepacking worked out well. It got me doing something different, and with views like you can see in the photos, it was a good way to get out of a funk.


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