I just returned from 5 glorious days in California and off from work. I went to visit family but had the added bonus of seeing a friend that moved to England several years ago and hadn’t been home since. I can’t say that I missed working at all, which made me think about what I would do if/when I am not dependent on my job for a paycheck. Did this visit mimic what early retirement might look like for me?
I only get 2 weeks off of work a year, and have to take mandatory time off between Christmas and New Years because the library is closed. (I can’t tell you how much I hate the fact that the library is closed-no one can work even if they wanted to-but I am not paid for the time it’s closed. I have to use PTO. Or take unpaid leave if I don’t have enough saved.) The lack of time off really limits how much and where I can travel.
I love every part of traveling. The shuttles, the airport, the airplane-all of it. I am not being facetious. Maybe if I traveled more it would start to be less fun. But right now all of it are parts of an adventure and I love it.
While I spent of the trip with my family, but I did get to do some adventuring on my own. Thursday I took the shuttle from LAX to a high priced hotel at the Disneyland Resort and performed a wonderful mystery shop at the bar. I was paid $30 just for completing the shop in addition to the $40 reimbursement for my food and drink. I will complete this shop every time that they let me-it is so much fun and a much higher than usual rate of pay.
I have to confess that I haven’t been reading lately and it makes me sad. But, I started Lauren Graham’s memoir on the plane ride to California, and finished it in about 2 hours (it is a great plane read!) I also started a book called Mischling by Affinity Konar and wowza! I am almost done with it and all I can think about are Stasha and Pearl (the main characters.) It’s not necessarily the best plane read because it is so depressing. It’s a fiction book that takes place in Auschwitz. But it is a compelling read.
I love the ocean. I think that goes without saying given the entire goal of this blog is to somehow finagle a way to live within walking distance of the beach. My friend organized a get together at Bolsa Chica State Beach so that she could see all her local friends at once. It was incredibly windy, but also so, so much fun!
I got to spend tons of time with my family. They drive me crazy sometimes, but I really do love them so I guess I’ll keep them around. It’s always hard leaving because there’s the big “what if this is the last time I see them” that sticks in the back of my mind. I don’t think it will be-but one day it will be true. Even though we don’t do a ton when we’re together, I try to enjoy just visiting.
Mr. Beach Life read about the Amazon tribe that has the lowest rate of heart disease. One of the reasons scientists think this is the case is in part because they walk 17,000 steps a day. A study of Scottish postal workers determined that 15,000 steps a day was a better guidepost for healthy living.
This vacation I tried to get close to the 17,000 steps as many days as I could. My first morning I got up early, and walk/ran 2.5 miles. I took walks in the evening. One night, I walked around Downtown Disney and ALMOST made my 7 mile goal. I only stopped because parking is only free for the first 2 hours, and I didn’t want to pay $6 for going over a couple minutes. I could have easily made 7 miles in under 2 hours if I didn’t have to contend with crowds (or if I didn’t go into every store and look at all the stuff I wasn’t going to buy!)
It is difficult to work 8 hours a day AND get in 17,000 steps AND find time to relax AND do all of the other adult things I need to do in a day. About twice a week Mr. Beach Life and I are able to get all our steps in, and if I walk to work I get a good jump on my steps. As long as I am working 8 hours a day, it will be difficult to consistently hit this goal.
Overall, I am incredibly happy with how I spent my time. I got to see loved ones. And dip my toes in the ocean. I took better care of myself than I normally would if I was home. One way my trip did not mimic early retirement was with how LAZY I was.
Granted, I was on a 5 day vacation. Maybe the first 5 days of ER would be like this for me, anyway. But I was so lazy. I slept 10-12 hours a night. It was wonderful. I played hours of Civilization 5. I did very minimal work maintaining my blog.
That’s the part I am the most disappointed with. But I am not sure I would change much about my vacation. During the work day I am frustrated that I am using my best hours to produce for someone else, when what I really want to do is pour all my energy into Project Beach Life. Hopefully, if and when the time comes for me to actually Early Retire, I will be able to focus on all of the things I mentioned above, and continue to write and grow Project Beach Life.