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Mid-40s -- Taking a Gap Year

Seat24A

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  • Added on: February 21st, 2008
Glad to find this forum! I'm turning 40 next year and have been planning to take a "half time" break for a year long RTW trip. I've got 10 months until I leave and am starting to research renting out my house, vaccinations, etc.

It's great to find out I'm not the only one to do this - most of my co-workers think I'm crazy to quit a "great" job in tech. It's very encouraging to read this, but I'm wondering what ever happened to the people who originally posted here. How were the trips? Is there anyone else out there who is also planning right now?

CAJ

Lost in Place
 
Posts: 51
Joined: June 21st, 2007

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  • Added on: February 21st, 2008
Seat 24A,

I've done an enormous amount of research on this subject, and I have yet to find someone who regretted it.

I had dinner with a friend a few weeks ago, a hard-charging workaholic Wall Street type, who took a year off to sail halfway round the world.

When I asked him about the risks of stepping out of your life and career, he said: "It'll all be there when you get back. Go."

So we're going.
CAJ
www.thewidewideworld.com

Scribetrotter

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Holds PhD in Packing
 
Posts: 115
Joined: July 18th, 2007

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  • Added on: February 21st, 2008
Hello kindred spirits...

I had a yearning to pack up and go at 43 and I did - sold the car, packed up the appartment, quit the high-paying job (to everyone's dismay) and bought a one-way ticket to Cape Town. I planned on being away about six months.

Three years later, I finally decided it might be a good idea to come back, because of family reasons.

As I look back, ten years later, that decision was the best one I EVER made for myself. I came back a better 'me' - more anchored, better aware of myself, sharper in my goals and aspirations, calmer, more tolerant, patient, understanding and above all, less afraid. I found out I could cope - with everything.

And oh yes, after a few months back, I did find a job - at a lever higher than the one I'd left, in large part due to my "field experience".

I was full of fears when I set out, a woman on my own, off to face the hordes of younger backpackers among whom I thought I wouldn't find friends. So not true. On the road, age doesn't count. I made so many friends that there are few countries I don't know someone. I keep in touch with many of them, and over the years we've exchanged visits and phone calls. I have my community at home, and I have my world community out there.

And I may yet decide to do it all again! Smile
Women on the Road
Inspiration for women who love to backpack on their own

homeschool

Holds PhD in Packing
 
Posts: 118
Joined: May 1st, 2007

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  • Added on: February 22nd, 2008
Greetings to those who sill travel with a young at heart spirit about themse1ves!!
I am traveling with my 13 year old daughter for 90 days with a backpack and only 45 percent of things planned out. It is thrilling as well as hard work but I am keeping up at the age of 51 quite well.
I have some great suggestions for travel...but I am only on day 25...out of 90....check in with me again if you have some questions...in Rome now...going to Morrocco the beginning of the week....have fun planning....

WT

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Posts: 706
Joined: February 19th, 2006
Location: 3 years into an open ended world tour as a family

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  • Added on: February 23rd, 2008
By all means go! Life is short and by mid-40, the truth is, most do not have that much time left to see all those places you always wanted to get to. The world is big and there is soooo much beauty and goodness to take in. The trip will change you and enrich you forever. A year goes by very quickly and you will take in more than most people do in ten or twenty years. It will change you and expand your consciousness.

I love this quote that says it all:

quote:
“To my mind,
the greatest reward and luxury of travel
is to be able to experience everyday things
as if for the first time,
to be in a position in which almost nothing
is so familiar it is taken for granted”

Bill Bryson


It will make you live in the now, so you will feel more alive than you have since you were five years old. You will have a whole new appreciation of the kindness, love and creativity in humanity and the glorious beauty of nature and man made delights.

I am probably the oldest replying and I have mobility challenges. We left just past 50 years old, with a 5 year old in tow, some 18 months ago, and it has been the best experience of our lives. I don't know how people go back to a normal life after experiencing such freedom and bliss. I suppose someday we might settle down, but maybe not. We travel slow and todays technology makes it easier to do than ever before.

As they say, just do it! Wink
http://www.soultravelers3.com

I am always doing that
which I can not do,
in order that
I may learn how to do it.
PABLO PICASSO

nancy sv

Holds PhD in Packing
 
Posts: 282
Joined: March 14th, 2008

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  • Added on: March 15th, 2008
I was 45 when we left on our one-year bicycle trip around the USA and Mexico with our (then) 8-year-old twins. Now I'm 47 and we are getting ready to take off again - this time from Alaska to Argentina. I think taking time in your 40's to travel makes perfectly logical sense!!
Join our family we cycle from Alaska to Argentina! www.familyonbikes.org

bytesandbrushes

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Thorn Tree Refugee
 
Posts: 6
Joined: November 22nd, 2006

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  • Added on: March 16th, 2008
How brilliant to find this forum-thread!

My husband and I are selling our small farm, selling off tonnes of household and building supplies, paring down to the barest of household items to return to, putting it into the tiniest storage unit that we can rent, and hitting the road again for a minimum of a year's RTW. And that's how me met years ago -- while eating breakfast as fellow travellers in London!

We're in our 40's and 50's and we let people in our village know about it this past Saturday night at a party -- and the support and good wishes were fab. Not one single person had a negative attitude and several of them said that if they didn't have aging parents to look after (we're all empty nesters at this point), they too would head off.

We may not have any real financial security when we come back to Australia (if we come back!) since the two of us have been gypsying around the world for decades on and off. But I notice that our friends who have a lot of "stuff" are not usually the happiest folks I've encountered.

I actually don't mind -- and neither does the darling husband -- if we end up living in an intentional community and just let GO of the whole ownership mentality.

Thanks for sharing all of your OWN wonderful stories for the last few years (which I have just caught up on!). We DON'T fit the mold of what is 'normal' -- and isn't that simply grand!

bytesandbrushes

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Thorn Tree Refugee
 
Posts: 6
Joined: November 22nd, 2006

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  • Added on: March 16th, 2008
One quick question for all of you experienced RTW travellers...

Did you buy one way tickets for airfare and then purchase the next segment along the way or did you purchase an entire RTW ticket? Also, if you went the way of the RTW ticket, how much hassle is it to change the departure date to the next country if you fall in love with one place and want to extend your visit (by a few days, weeks, or in some of your cases -- years!)???

Thanks in advance for any answers!

TravlAndy

Lost in Place
 
Posts: 79
Joined: July 12th, 2005

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  • Added on: March 17th, 2008
Yeah, we purchased a RTW through BA and it wasn't a problem to change our departures along the way. It came with six "coupons" that we ball parked dates and deaparture cities, keeping it to the major ones. Small hops, we did on our own and purchased along the way.

Good Luck!!

bytesandbrushes

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Thorn Tree Refugee
 
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Joined: November 22nd, 2006

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  • Added on: March 17th, 2008
Thanks! It's good to have that clarified a bit.

WT

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Street Food Connoisseur
 
Posts: 706
Joined: February 19th, 2006
Location: 3 years into an open ended world tour as a family

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  • Added on: March 21st, 2008
quote:
Did you buy one way tickets for airfare and then purchase the next segment along the way or did you purchase an entire RTW ticket?



RTW people do it both ways. We are going the slow right and like maximum freedom, so we have only bought one ticket so far.


Keep in mind that air fare is the most expensive item, so the slower you go, the cheaper it is.
http://www.soultravelers3.com

I am always doing that
which I can not do,
in order that
I may learn how to do it.
PABLO PICASSO

Pelke

Holds PhD in Packing
 
Posts: 124
Joined: May 1st, 2005
Location: Austin, TX

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  • Added on: September 10th, 2008
Hi Everyone:

Just thought I'd give you all a quick update on my plans. It's been a few years since I made my original post in this thread. When I first made the post, I had no idea so many people would respond. As time passed, you probably figured I had drifted away and given up on my travel plans. But, all that time I was following your posts and getting more encouraged to follow through. Now the time has finally come and I'll be leaving in a little over two weeks to start a 3-4 month trip around Asia!

I know -- my original plan was to take a year off and do a round-the-world type trip. But, I thought I'd take the middle path and try a quarter to a third of a year off and do some more extensive exploring in one region. The shorter trip gives me a chance to get away for a reasonable amount of time without the hassles involved with a longer leave (selling the house, quitting the job, etc.).

Now here is the good news. When I asked my boss for a 3-4 month leave he hesitated for about 10 seconds, then his only question was "when do you want to start?" Not only did he approve the leave, but he gave me the flexibility to extend a bit if I want/need to. I must be the luckiest guy in the world to have such an understanding boss. I guess the message here to everyone else is -- if you you want to take time off to travel but are affraid to ask, just do it! I thought I was going to have to argue and negotiate. I was almost embarrassed at how simple it was that I wish I had not put it off for so long.

So, after many years of dreaming, I'll be heading off to do a trek in the mountains of Nepal, visit a friend in Bangladesh, explore Northern Thailand, float down the Mekong River in Laos, then wrap up with some exploring around Cambodia.

Thanks again for all the support and encouragement. I really do appreciate it. Please know that all of your comments did make a difference!


Pelke
Pelke

Seat24A

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Posts: 23
Joined: February 15th, 2008

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  • Added on: February 26th, 2010
Hi everyone. I posted on this forum almost 2 years ago and just happend to see my old question. I thought I'd follow it up now to tell you that I just got back from 15 months going RTW. I'll be 41 next month, but feel like 21. It was a great decision even though I'm back and looking for a job in the worst economic conditions.

So, to answer my own question from 2008, Go! You won't regret it.

Any one else still out there?

kayajoy

Thorn Tree Refugee
 
Posts: 8
Joined: May 7th, 2005

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  • Added on: February 27th, 2010
I last posted here over 4 years ago - in 2006. Wow time flies. I did go away for 10 months - to New Zealand, Australia and Fiji. Had a great time and did amazing things. And I even managed to find work just 3 weeks after coming back home.

Anyone reading this thread who is looking for encouragement - to them I say - just do it!

Michaela Potter

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Thorn Tree Refugee
 
Posts: 6
Joined: October 28th, 2009
Location: New York City

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  • Added on: March 2nd, 2010
I just came across this thread and love that it started in 2005! And what's even better is to hear the follow ups from kayajoy, Seat24A, and Pelke. I would love to hear more about your stories and have a website to help inspire others to do just what you did! Please message me!
Michaela Potter
Briefcase to Backpack | Twitter:CareerBreakHQs


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