I’ll never forget the moment I realized an adult gap year was what I wanted to do and 100% possible. It was in the Fall of 2017. Dylan and I had been debt free for a few months and were trying to determine what was next! While on a walk near Mount Rainier, we realized that we wanted to quit our jobs, take time enjoying life and plan out our next chapter.
So we got to work figuring out how we could make this dream a reality. We knew this was more than a “lifestyle goal”, quitting our jobs and taking a year off of work at its core, is a financial goal. We created a plan to balance our daily life and our needs for a year off of work.
Preparing for an Adult Gap Year
Our top priorities were 1) To continue covering our current living expenses for day to day life 2) Save enough money so that we could live off of savings for about 12-months 3) Continue to max out our retirement contributions. Because, future self! 4) While continuing to travel and have fun that would ultimately help us stay happy, healthy, and motivated
Doing all 4 of these things at once might seem crazy, but with a well thought out plan it was doable (so doable we coach people through the process as our new profession). Learn How to take an Adult Gap Year.
It is also worth noting that we were not in a rush to make this dream a reality, but we were focused. Although we were excited about the idea, we were adamant that the price of a “rice and beans” lifestyle was too high. We weren’t willing sacrifice our sanity. Because not surprisingly – too much delayed gratification is actually just as bad and too little. So even if it meant it would take a bit longer to get to our gap year, living a balanced life in the meantime was high priority.
Once we reached our financial goal of saving enough to live on for a year in cash, we were more confident in our decision, and started to plan our adult gap year in detail. The most important and exciting part of the entire year was traveling. We had been living in the Pacific Northwest for the past few years but had been so focused on work, we hadn’t explored as much as we wanted. That was about to change.
Oh the Places We’ll Go
The first trip we booked would take us to Alaska where we kayaked the fjords, explored glaciers, visited Denali and tried to keep count of all the moose and grizzly bears.
Having kept our home as a “basecamp” so to speak, we could recharge for a day or two before heading back out on our next adventure. This made it easy to bounce around from Alaska to Banff to Olympic National Park, Mount Rainier and the North Cascades. We had a pact that we would stop traveling and enter the next phase once the summer wildfires started – but they never did.
So we kept on exploring all summer until finally it was time to pack up our lives and move to Chattanooga, TN. We were excited to check out this up and coming outdoor town and enjoyed our visit a few years before.
While this may sound like nothing more than the ultimate summer vacation filled with travel and leisure, it was much more than that. Yes, it was incredibly enjoyable – to this day I am in awe! What made it such an important personal journey was the work that we did on ourselves.
A Year to Heal
Taking an adult gap year for us was more than R&R. It was intentional time to get centered and heal. It was a time of healing from burnout, extreme anxiety, stress and depression. A time of exploring our relationship, growing together and seeking our purpose. We decided to create, develop and build this business, our relationship, and a life that we loved! Deep conversations about where our lives were going were held on every trail, mountain or glacier bay we explored.
All this to say, taking an adult gap year was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made.
Without it, R & D Financial Coaching would not be here today to help others find their way to financial freedom. Freeing them up to create their own path, focus on personal growth, recoup from the hard times and come back swinging.
So are you ready to learn more about how to start planning for a gap year of your own without going into debt?
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