I’ve been a bit inspired by a couple different things recently about the idea of changing your life – making it simple and maybe traveling. I’ve been looking at some different stuff about taking a year off, a gap year, or just a round the world trip. It seems like there are a lot of people out there who are working to make money, but not for enjoyment. Actually, a lot of people seem miserable. If you want some insight into this check out the books Work to Live by Joe Robinson or The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss. But then if you look around you see people who don’t like what they do and do something about it – The families from A Brilliant Teacher, the blog From Here to Uncertainty, Six in the World, A Year in Europe – just to name a few… For all of them there is a need to see the world and change their lives by taking a leap of faith.
They all seem to come home and simplify their lives a bit. Work to Live, and then live within those means. Also, when you see people living with less, or just keeping things simple even though they can live larger, they identify a better quality of life in the little things – not the big TV and nice car. I have plenty of people around me who have nice cars and big houses and they don’t seem to have any more fulfilled lives then those with fewer things. Part of this has to do with the fact that Americans like to identify themselves with what they do, not with who they are. Few people who know me would identify me with my job, it’s my job and while I enjoy it most of the time and find it rewarding at times it’s my job. I do other things when I leave work too, like write a blog on travel… I often think about leaving my job and exploring other things to do, but I’ve decided not to for a couple reasons – I make a good living (not great, but good), I get a lot of vacation time for an American – 5 weeks, I do find my job at times rewarding, there are a lot of different things I can do on my job – I have already worked in 6 different places in 10 years within my job and finally I can retire in 10 more years with a pension and health insurance. I’ll have my gap year then if I don’t like what I’m doing or if I’m happy maybe I’ll stay longer, I’ll only be 43. In the meantime for the next 10 years I’ll work on what to do on that gap year and what I want to do after it.
If you’re interested in a gap year or wonder what goes into planning and executing a gap year I have a website to recommend: Briefcase to Backpack. The site is relatively new so it’s not fully developed, but it has a good base of inspiration and ideas and suggestions for how to deal with the issues revolving around a gap year. Good luck and enjoy life.