Leaving everything behind is easier than you think
What looked like a giant bubble dream 2 years ago is about to turn right into reality. Tonight, I’ll be spending my last evening at home with my wife, my 3 children and their 30+ friends, our own friends and our family. Then, tomorrow morning, we leave after having breakfast with close family member. First stop: Ottawa. But as they say: it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.
A Journey to Find Myself
When was the last time you asked yourself life-meaning questions? When is the last time you sat down and truly thought about what you want from life, about where you want to be in 5 years, in 10 years?
For me, it probably has been nearly a decade since I asked myself these questions. Somewhere in my 20s, I asked myself what I want from life. It was clear and simple: I wanted a wife, kids and a big job. I was lucky enough to marry my first and only love and to share my life with her since the age of 16 is a real blessing. I couldn’t be prouder of my three children, I love playing with them and hear what they have to say at the dinner table. As for my job, I hit a low 6 figure income at the age of 28 and never looked back since then. But the thing now is that I’m 34 and I’m not sure this is all there is to life. I’ve been on the fast track for the past 10 years and I’m not sure I’ve had time to see all the beautiful scenery outside. This is why it’s time for me to take a pause, get off the train at the next station to see where I am at.
I don’t feel like I’m in the middle of a life crisis, but I have a feeling I must do this to shape my life in order to avoid the so called midlife crisis.
Right before I left, I was offered an important promotion upon my return. My boss struck me with this opportunity that I can almost not let pass me by. Still, My boss and I agreed that I will take my decision only in January next year in order to give me time to think about what I want for my future. While this decision is an important dilemma for me, I can’t complain to have to make the decision between two bright futures 🙂
The Trip by the Numbers
Some people asked me how much does it cost to do a trip like this. The simple answer would be it’s priceless. Unfortunately, we live in a society full of numbers and money has to come out of your banking account if you want to realize your dreams.
I expect this trip will cost about $75,000 once we have arrived home and everything is done. During our journey, I expect us to spend between $3,000 and $3,500 per month. This includes not only the travelling expenses (gasoline, food, activities, etc), but also fixed expenses such as the RV loan payments and insurance (health, life, car). Therefore, our 12 month trip should cost around $42,000. Unfortunately, there were several others expenses related to this trip. Between the moment we bought the RV and the moment we will sell it when we come back, I expect to lose $20,000 in the transaction. Then, we definitely spent a good $10,000-$13,000 in preparation costs. It’s hard for me to figure how much really we spent since we have all kinds of expenses since Day 1 of our project:
Healthcare: vaccines, antibiotics and other drugs to build a strong pharmacy
Mechanics: Necessary stuff to be able to change a wheel during the trip
RV upgrades: a new battery and solar panel to avoid camping lots most of the time
RV maintenance: verify all silicone joints, change the 6 tires + full inspection
Traveling and camping gear: we didn’t have much camping stuff at home
The biggest portion of the $10-13K is definitely spent on the RV upgrades and maintenance. Today, I’m leaving without a doubt as the RV is in mint condition, and it was very expensive! On the other hand, when I think about everything we spend here, this year of my life will not be more expensive than my regular life at home. The main difference is that I will be able to enjoy every minute of it!
The Complete Itinerary
I had published the first part of the itinerary from my home to Costa Rica. Now, here’s the full trip with our way back:
View Full Size Travel Map at Travellerspoint
This totals about 20,000km or 15,000 miles. I feel lucky as we will go see pretty much everything we wanted during this trip. We mixed in many activities we enjoy such as hiking, visiting big cities, going to the beach, tasting wine 😉 and visiting museums.
I’m very open to suggestions if you think of anything that could be part of my itinerary 🙂 We haven’t booked anything, as the goal is to go where life guides us.
Is Leaving Difficult? Not for me
Since we have been working on this for almost 2 years, I feel I have invested too much energy and too much money to do anything but leave tomorrow. Even taking the decision was relatively easy. It seems that when you take what you have and put it aside, a whole new world opens up to you and you simply have to pick and chose what you want from it.
I still don’t know what I will do when I come back, but I know I’m doing the right thing to shape the rest of my life according to what I really want…
Thias @It Pays Dividends
Good luck on your travels! The trip looks like it will be an amazing time and hopefully it everything you are hoping it will be. I’m glad to see you haven’t booked much yet – Sometimes the best things you find you just happen to come across that day!
we didn’t want to book anything, this will be a life of adventure!
Mike, the best of everything to you and your family!
Awesome trip,have a good time,i have visited some of those places like Banff calgary,las vegas,etc
I can’t wait to cross the rookies with our RV!
As Tom Cochrane once said ‘Life is a highway, I want to ride it all night long…’ Journey on, we only get one chance at this ride 🙂
Nice song 🙂 I’m enjoying every moment!
Looking forward to hearing more about your trip. When you drop by Vancouver, feel free to send me an email, would love to meet up and talk about your experience. 🙂
Hello Tawcan! I will surely do! we should be there sometimes around mid-July.
You’ll have an amazing experience! I left corporate life in 2013 to become a full-time RVer. Now planning my 4th winter down to Mexico– looks like we might be headed to some similar destinations, so I hope to meet you guys on the road! Looks like you’ve got some great spots picked out– one in Mexico that I’d highly recommend is Guanajuato (@ 2 hrs west of San Miguel de Allende). The most beautiful town in Mexico by far!
This would be awesome! send me an email with you itinerary!
Whoa! What an opportunity! The trip will be filled with both good and not so good experiences…but all of them will have much worth. I’m envious…have fun!
Thank you Don! we will do our best to share this experience with us!
O awesome! Enjoy the journey — I’m sure you will. I’m in the San Francisco Bay Area if you want to meet up for lunch.
That’d be awesome! we should in SF around the beginning of August.
Awesome trip. I’ve traveled around the country throughout my life…but a year of traveling? I grew up in NY but I’ve lived in Maine since 1987. If all you will see in Maine is Portland you really won’t get a taste for what Maine is all about. A bit south and you have beaches at Wells, Old Orchard, Ogunquit. A little north and Freeport has LL Bean, Boothbay Harbor or Camden have the harbor and quaint village feel, and a bit more north is Acadia National Park….the far north has wilderness and wildlife. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the trip emensely!
There are so many places to discover! I’ll hope to see most of them (since I can’t do all of them!
make sure you purchase a membership in “passport”…gets you 50% off in many campgrounds with certain restrictions….check their web site out. Also, most Walmarts let you stay free….good place to spend the night. Cameras and lighting helps with perceived safety!
Suggest purchasing an annual membership to CoachNet; these people have many features that will offer you a safety net (in case of flat tires, for example, you would get road side assistance.
Finally, there are several good web sites that will help in selecting campgrounds. The Bureau of Land Management has many hundreds of excellent and very affordable campgrounds (10-11/night). You can purchase a directory of these parks on Amazon. Get a good GPS and use, in conjunction Google Maps to verify!
thx for all your tips! I’m actually write you thx to free wifi from Walmart 🙂 I got the passport too!
I’m located in Mexico City, shoot me an email and if your itinerary allows we could get together for lunch and give you some tips regarding the city.
Have a nice trip
Thank you so much! I’ll definitely send you an email!
John from Boston
Safe travels, and agree with Carol on some Maine points 🙂 – looking forward to hearing about your adventure on the road ahead!
haha! It seems I have a few Main fan among my readers 🙂
I live in Ottawa, if you need any help with anything when your here feel free to send me an email. All the best.
Thank you for your help! We had many friends in Ottawa, it was a busy weekend! I didn’t even have time to open my computer! hahaha! Now back on the road again (we are heading toward Niagara Falls tomorrow).
Have a great trip…..hope you joined Passport America and Good Sam….well worth it.
I didn’t know about Good Sam, I’ll have a look, thx!
I am located in Mexico City, shoot me an email and if your itinerary allows we could meet for lunch and give you a few tips about the city.
Have a nice trip!
Great! Way to go!
I believe this will be one of best memories you will stamp with your family.
Good for you! All the best. Safe travels and enjoy this ride!!!
You missed Alaska! Enjoy the trip. ?
I know, We had to make some sacrifices along the way. I wanted to see Alaska too 🙁
You will have a blast … my wife and I gave up the stress of the corporate world in 1998 and have been full time rving for 18 yrs now and have never looked back….gave up the pensions, the big money, sold the house and just took off and pulled our old airstream camper from Hershey, Pa to Albuquerque, NM which was the start of our traveling career. We work in the summer time to supplement our income and take the winters off and just play in the warmer climates. My wife collapsed after work one evening in 1997 and after a 3 day hospital stay thinking she had a heart attack, and all the tests were completed, the cardiologist came into the ICU and told us there was nothing wrong with her and it was STRESS that caused the collapse. Told her we were DONE and we resigned from our jobs and here we are today working in Southern Utah just outside Bryce Canyon in the rock shop until Oct. Looks like your travels will bring you to this area and Bryce is a MUST see, so please stop into the rock shop and just ask for Dave or Joan. We made this our lifestyle like many others and have never regretted it. We have talked to hundreds of people about our lifestyle and so many want to do what we did, but very few do it, and why ? FEAR, not money stops them in their tracks, Im glad you had the guts to do this for yourself and your family….CONGRATULATIONS…..you made it in the REAL life. Life doesnt begin until you get out of your comfort zone….sadly most people stay in their little comfort zones all their life. We also learned over time, money means little to nothing. Nothing but a medium of exchange. Have a ton of fun !!!
I’m definitely looking forward to have a chat with you once we hit Bryce Canyon (should bet toward the end of August).
Can’t wait to meet you and your wife!
Heck of a way to collect dividends in life, and they are daily.
All the best, safe journey.
Enjoy the journey. If you’re looking for hiking/canoeing company while you’re in Banff, feel free to shoot me a line.
Thx for the invitation, I’ll definitely send you an email once we get there!
I wish you a safe journey.
In 1970, I drove a motorcycle from Vancouver to Panama. Then hitchhiked throughout South America for several months before returning to Panama and driving the bike back to Ontario.
You will meet some extremely interesting people and places. Take plenty of pictures and keep a general log of your journey to help with the memories years later.
All the best,
Hello Andy! wow, it seems like you did an amazing trip!
After 2 days, I can tell you that my life has changed already!
Exciting Times! All the best. Looking forward to the updates along the way.
I’m getting my stuff together and starting to get a routine. Then, I’ll probably start the updates next week.
We did the same thing you are doing back in 1998. Gave up everything and hit the road and never returned home to Pa. Looks like you will be in the Bryce Canyon area in Southern Utah which is a must see, so stop in and see us at the rock shop where we work our summer jobs, then go south for the winter time and play. Have a great time and make a lot of great memories for you and your family. Its what life is all about.
I am curious to hear about your comments regarding Peru. I have travelled to 51 countries thus far and I rate Peru as my #1 destination. In any event, enjoy the experience and as far as education goes, your children couldn’t possibly get better schooling.
Unfortunately, we stop at Costa Rica. Peru is on my travel list for another trip!
Enjoy the travel! Ir looks like a greta plan and a priceless experience to get!
I look forward to updates while you are on the road!
I’ll make sure to make updates once a week!
Enjoy! Have a safe trip.
It will be an exciting journey for sure! When do you expect to be in Nicaragua? We live in Granada from November to May but this year we may make the permanent move. It would be great to meet up when you guys are here. So much to do in and around Granada. Absolute must is an afternoon on La Bella del Mar, a two tiered boat that does the Isleta tour and ends up at a lagoon where we all swim. The boat was hand built by a Canadian. The kids will love it, we either go down the slide or just dive and jump from the second floor into the warm, warm water.
For sure you have to spend a day at the Laguna de Apoyo! You can’t miss Volcano Masaya (active) and of course Volcano Mombacho canopy tour. Lots of Canadians in Granada and we have a blast. Don’t hesitate to contact me when you get to Nicaragua. Will look forward to following your travel blog.
Thank you for the info! We will be in Nicaragua around the beginning of November 2016. I’ll get in contact with you! cheers,
At Chicago the best campground to stay at is the Indiana Dunes State Park. Take I-94 exit 26b and head north on Indiana 49. On the way stop at the visitors’ center for Porter County and the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore located about a mile north of the interstate on IN 49. They are a wealth of information about the area and its attractions (the Dunes are great as well as Lake Michigan, but there is far more to see in the area). About a mile south of the state park you can take the South Shore railroad into the middle of downtown Chicago. It is about an hour and a quarter ride. If you don’t have “toad” you can rent a car from Enterprise. They are about two miles from the park and will bring the rental car to you in the park. There is little public transportation in the area, but it is one of the best “urban natural areas” in the country. Summer is a VERY busy time here so book any reservations here online ASAP. The weekends may already be full. Enjoy!
Thank you for the info! we will look into it tomorrow morning 😉 hahaha! we should hit Chicago in 3 days now
Seems really stupid to me to spend $75k + lost opportunity costs of yours and your wifes wages which could be applied towards future dividend earnings to just find yourself.. lol find yourself at home and make $200k this year instead.
Ive known people who have done stuff like this they come back broke and wondering why no one cares to see their photos of the trip.
Do yourself a favor and invest the $ and retire earlier.
Yeah… you are right. Who needs to live a great life full of experiences with the people they love most when all they can do is wake up each morning and go to work… Yeah… I guess your life is crazy exciting!
btw, I’m spending 75K each year anyway… so there isn’t any difference:-P
I will always be able to make money when I come back, but I’m retiring now instead of waiting later.
good luck to you!
So awesome. You just gotta go for it. Bon voyage.
Thx Geoff! thx for following me!
Looking forward to hearing about your adventures!
I wish you the best! I’d skip Edmonton though! lol
Lol! I would too!
but I though kids would enjoy a day at the West Edmonton Mall before we hit the Rookies for more trails & hiking! hahaha!
I’m really impressed that you were able to make such a “badass” decision. I myself feel like I will soon face middlelife crysis and even I don’t have family it’s quite hard to “leave everythink behinde” for me. Anyway I hope your post give me a courage to do so. I wish you and your wonderful familly best.
My only advice would be to do things that you would regret not doing. This is why we leave now, today – to make sure we don’t regret anything!
Consider a drive along highway 22 in Alberta (the Cowboy Trail). Really nice. The Banff/Jasper highway is a must see!
t’is interesting that you’re breaking from your circuitous route to trek northward into Alberta. when you’re on your way to Edmonton, give me some heads up & perhaps we can meet for a bite/bevvie on your passage thru.
Somewhere along the way you gotta stop in Louisville, KY!!