It’s official: I’ve bitten off more than I can chew, and am definitely feeling the anxiety, stress and pressure that comes with having taken WAY too big of a bite out of life… but I’m also wondering; is that such a bad thing?
Here’s the deal: I’ve come to understand that having a stuffed mouth, anxious moments and a whole whack of financial pressure and stress (as I wonder “What the hell am I going to do?!”) is not something to be feared, but in fact actually a good thing, and here’s why: I’m pretty sure the alternative to this madness is to play it safe, conservative and small – you know, like most folks do – and where the hell is the fun in that?! Besides, as readers of this blog know, nothing great was ever accomplished by people playing small, right? So pass the water, because I have a serious mouthful of LIFE to swallow, and I plan to savour every single morsel as they go down! Oh, and in case you are wondering what I’m babbling about, here’s the deal:
Just over four months ago I finished up work with the full intention of writing full time – so far, so good. However, the daily tasks of being a “house-husband” quickly caught up and overwhelmed me; in fact, after a few weeks I even outlined my surprise at how much there was for a “retired” dude to do in this post. As well, Paula and I had discussed taking a holiday sometime this year, noting that we’d already bought tickets for the upcoming World Domination Summit (WDS) in Portland Oregon this summer, so we kept it all pretty loose knowing we’d eventually figure out a plan as time went on… and man oh man, we figured it out all right – and with a vengeance! Besides, with the total expected cost of WDS to be around 2K, (Tickets alone were $1,200; plus hotel for 5 days, ferry x 2 ways, food, liquor, liquor, beer, liquor, etc. – maybe let’s move that up to $2.5 K) this kind of a spend is not too big of a deal for a week away.
Besides, finally being debt free was supposed to usher in a whole new era of fiscal frivolity for us; however, despite our best intentions to loosen the purse strings, the inertia of frugality didn’t actually subside way we thought it would with the corresponding paying off of our mortgage last Sept. Despite being financially free, we realized we were still living like we did when we were slaves to our mortgage company… not exactly what we had in mind. So, after a long discussion (well-lubricated with beer and red wine) Paula and I decided we needed to “get back on the horse” and get travelling in a big way; and with that decision, we fragrantly booked a 16 day tour of India and Nepal, which we’ll be going on in mid April… how awesome! Including the tour, flights, all medications/shots and visas to enter India (we have to get one for Nepal at the border) our total bill is about 6K. We figure all in all we need about another grand for this trip, and with the half decent tax returns we are expecting, the trip should be mostly covered… so far, so good.
Oh wait – Did I forget to mention that lately, my main project as of late has been preparing and working on a TEDx speech, which I auditioned for last week? Turns out I was accepted, and granted a spot at the event taking place in Mid May! Yay!! Now, the preparation for this takes up a lot of time, since it’s a 17 minute speech using very few (if any) notes. And – if you noticed the timing here – this occurs just a couple weeks after we get back from our India/Nepal adventure, so I’ll need to do most of my rehearsal before we leave, as I’m sure I won’t be doing much in Delhi, Katmandu, or any of the stops in between! However, between trips to Vancouver, and hotels, etc. the weekend of the event, it looks like I’m logging in to spend about another $800 or more… definitely worth it for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but still another tug at the old wallet…
But wait – theres more! This week we found out that our September trip to Australia is ON! Yep, Paula and I plan to spend a week together up in Trinity Beach, near Cairns with her step-mother, to observe the one year since her dad’s passing. Paula will also use this opportunity to visit her mom in Dunedin, New Zealand, so will fly out a week early; opening up the perfect opportunity for me to wipe one more thing off my bucket list… This little beauty! Yep, 3 days batchin’ it in Sydney will be my re-introduction to the good life “Down Under” before I head to the sunny skies and beaches of Trinity to re-join my bride, and in-laws. And while we’ll get some help on the flights, we’ll still need to cover other goodies (like a trip to N.Z. for Paula and 3 days in Sydney for “yours truly”) so I’m figuring we are up to another $4K or so once all said and done… good thing we have some time left!
- By the way, if you like the image above, check out this link to see more gorgeous photos of Sydney by TouristMaker
And finally, since I’m no longer earning, it only made sense that I max out my 2104 RRSP contribution to get the biggest bang for my bucks, right? Despite faithfully planning to make it work, turns out my ex-company didn’t honour the “match” for the year since I didn’t work all the way to the end, missing it by a mere 2.5 months, and thereby hosing me out of a hefty chunk of my expected matching dough… what can I say? At this point, nothing about them surprises me anymore. Either way, I had to borrow to make sure I maxed this puppy out while I could, so add another $4K to the running total.
Okay, so here’s the part where you can see just how much we’ve bitten off! $7 K for India & Nepal, $2.5 K for WDS in Portland, $800 or so for TEDx in Vancouver, and then $4k+ to hit down-under this fall, for a grand total of $14,300+ – all from a guy with no job who is relying on his kind, wonderful, loving (employed) wife (Yep! MAJOR sucking up!) to help foot the bill! But you know what? Despite how overwhelming all this seems, it’s manageable as long as we, well – manage it. So in the end, it’s all good, and for 3 key reasons:
First, as long as we stick to our frugality practices, this is actually a pretty easy amount to achieve, especially with the tax return coming down the pipe. Secondly, it’s only February now; and since all of these things are carefully paced throughout the year, it makes it all pretty spread out rather than all coming at once – that is, barring any “unforeseen circumstances” suddenly show up. But let’s be honest: We can’t let potential “unseen circumstances” – most of which probably won’t happen anyway – rule our lives.
And finally, if we’re honest, this is exactly why we headed down this road in the first place; to live awesome, exciting lives full of fun, joy, cool adventures and incredible experiences; which each one of the activities above clearly is, and will be. And like I said earlier on, nothing great was ever accomplished by playing small, right? And so it’s with glee, we take this massive bite out of life, and see how it all works out.
So wish us luck in our quest – but also know I’ll keep the Tums close by – just in case I need them!!