I booked my airplane tickets! My whole family gets to visit Vietnam for 30 days in January!
“You are lucky.”
I hear that one all the time…. Or
“You must be financially independent?”
“Do you live of your dividend income?”
And my kids at school hear this one “Damn, you’re rich!”
No, no, no and not yet!
I will always remember that summer day back in 2014 when my wife and I were chatting around a nice cabernet sauvignon on our terrace and in fifteen minutes we decided to quit everything and leave for a one-year trip around North America and Central America.
Fifteen minutes. That’s about the length of time I use to make the largest decisions in my life. I take many decisions in fifteen minutes and then I go deeper and determine the feasibility of my new projects. I must admit that sometimes, it goes bust and I go on to the next “life changing decision”. But instead of spending weeks and months “thinking” about decisions I could/should/would take, I just go all-in first and see if I can make it.
That time, it took us almost two years of preparations to leave. Buying the RV, renting out the house, building a one-year school program for two of our children, writing down the itinerary, etc. I didn’t know back then, but those fifteen minutes changed my life forever. When I came back in 2017, I officially quit my job and started working full-time on Dividend Stocks Rock. Becoming an entrepreneur is one thing, but the real change happened in my lifestyle. I will get there in a moment, but first, let me tell you about my project for 2020: going to Vietnam!
For the entire month of January, my wife, my three children, and I will visit Vietnam from starting up North and going down to the South. During that month we will:
- Eat so much street food, we’re foodies,
- Trek across mountains and rice fields in Sapa,
- Spend a night on a boat in Ha Long Bay,
- Explore caves, swim in underground rivers,
- Discover the Vietnamese culture, visit their temples and ruins,
- Drink egg coffee (!?!),
- Relax in the mountains in Dalat,
- Then relax on the beach in Mui Ne,
As you can see, we have lots of things planned. We will arrive at Hanoi on January 2nd (after celebrating New Year’s on a plane!) and leaving from Ho Chi Minh on January 31st. The trip will include bus sleeping, night trains and one internal flight. This time, we are backpacking our way through this country! We will also drive scooters as it seems to be the best way to go from one place to another.
Since we are not part of any organized tour, we book our stays and transportation ourselves. Most of our stays will be Airbnb’s as it is complicated to get the 5 of us in a single bedroom ?. It will sometimes be luxury, and others are very basic as we want to taste everything this country has to offer.
How do I finance it?
Ah! The eternal question of money. How can I finance a trip for a month only two years after being one for a year? I won’t lie to you; the business is doing well. It is hard work, but I enjoy every moment. However, I don’t finance my trip the way most people would. This means that I didn’t save a penny ahead… but I’m not borrowing for the trip either. How do I finance my trip? By generating money as we go!
My wife got a temporary job to generate extra income. My business can pay for our needs, while her paycheck is literally banked to finance the trip. We bought our airplane tickets last summer. It was a big expense but could be swallowed over a few months. By combining my points and the extra money my wife generates monthly, I was able to pay for the tickets within 3 months.
Then, I am booking stays and activities each month until we leave. This gives me a few hundred bucks of expenses each month instead of using a big chunk in January. Another advantage of booking through Airbnb is to be able to pay a part of it now and the rest at a later date.
Finally, I’ll continue generating money in January through my business. I intend to work 20-25hr per week while I’m there. It will be easy to spread a few hours in the morning or at night when everybody is sleeping. My trip will have virtually no impact on my income as a good part of it is passive. DSR works as a membership program meaning that each day, people are paying to access the site no matter if I work or not. Ultimately, I need to put content there, but I also have a team working for me to make sure the site is running while I’m traveling.
What about school? Yeah… what about it?
If you have a family and you wonder if it’s worth it to have your children skipping school for a big trip, the answer is HELL YEAH! I’m not talking about going to Cabos San Lucas or Cuba to roast on a beach. I’m talking about life-changing trips that will open you and your children to other cultures, other point of views, other ways of living.
When we left for a year, we homeschooled our children. It was challenging to manage the relationship child-parent vs student-teacher (read: it was the worst part of the trip! Haha!). When we came back, our kids improved their grades. They learned how to adapt to any kind of situations and when they hit an obstacle, they now have the “it’s going to be okay, we are dealing with it” mentality. No more panic, no more doubts, they dive right into life without any questions.
For this reason, I’m saying they are not skipping school. They continue their learning experience at another school for a month. This is how I presented it to the school’s principal too.
That is not vacation – that is a lifestyle design
I’ve already mentioned that I’ll be working during my trip to Vietnam. Some people will tell me that’s because I’m not FI (financially independent) nor RE (retired). I don’t even have passive income since I have to work.
All those comments are true. Instead of reaching to FI or RE or FIRE, I reach for lifestyle design. I’ve taken the last two years to not build my business, but rather build an entire lifestyle I want. This lifestyle includes full schedule flexibility (done), one-month family trip abroad each year (done starting 2020) and a couple of small trips (like going to NYC for 4 days or Belize for a week) throughout the year (work in progress).
I will be able to achieve that while not having $1M in investments or making $200K/year. I will achieve this lifestyle because I’m designing it. I think of each component and cut them down on expenses that I don’t really mind spending and focus my money on what matters to me (family and traveling). I’m not taking any vacations anymore and I don’t mind because I don’t need it. If you enjoy the life you design, you don’t need to take a vacation from it.