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Early retirement - plans, saying “yes” and "because we can"

Early retirement - tell me Sally isn't having fun!

It’s a short post today as we’re on a road trip, trying out a campervan for the first time and I thought I could charge my laptop off the battery in the van, I was wrong.

We’re headed to Berlin where I’m meeting up with a friend for three days cycling from Berlin to the North coast of Germany. We planned this a while ago and my friend booked some vacation days from work – I take great pleasure knowing that limited vacation days are not something I need to worry about!

My original thought was to take the train to Berlin, but then I wrote my post about what’s next (and also what’s next, take 2) which reintroduced my idea of a year exploring North America in a campervan. The comments on that post ranged from “just go for it” (which was my favourite) to “it might be a good idea to have a practice try first”, which I can't deny had a ring of sense about it. So that’s what we’re doing, a first practice trip in a camper.

I booked the van a week ago. I knew two things, the starting point which was the rental depot near Zurich and the destination being my friend’s apartment in Berlin. Outside of that, I didn’t have a plan. As an ex-accountant, that’s very un-accountant like.

Early retirement, a van and a sunset

In general, I like plans and I’m a fan of planning for early retirement. But I’m also realising that not everything can be planned for. For such a massive decision as early retirement I thought it essential that everything was planned. It was only once I realised I couldn’t plan everything and that a leap of faith would be required that the decision seemed doable. From feedback on previous posts, I know that this holds others back from making their own early retirement decision, so perhaps my experience can help them. Not everything can be planned, sometimes a leap of faith is required, and I’m discovering that leaps can lead to good things.

In some previous posts I’ve also written about the change in my mindset that has come with early retirement. I’m sure I had many of the stereotypical traits of the accountant that I used to be, perhaps I was somewhat risk averse, a bit boring, analytical and calculating - maybe I still am, but I think much less so now. I’m convinced that these days I’m much more likely to say “yes” when asked if I want to do something or to simply do things “because I can”.

It reminds me of a WhatsApp conversation that I had with my son the other day:

Early retirement - "because we can"

So, because we can and in fact because we did, it’s time to jump back in the van and head to Berlin - the bike ride starts tomorrow. So far I’ve quite enjoyed vanlife – my idea of a year touring North America is still alive in my mind. As to Sally, she says that she “hasn’t hated it” but “the van needs to be bigger” and she’s “not ready to do it for a year”. Somewhat short of a ringing endorsement - maybe it was too early in the morning to ask her?🤔


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