The idea of taking a long break first occurred to us in 2006, when some mindless channel surfing led us to the TV show, Radical Sabbatical. Each 30 minute segment would tell the story of someone who had suddenly woken up to realize they hated their career, life was passing them by, and they needed a change, fast.
While reality shows are generally crap, watching how these people worked to make their dreams happen provided much of the inspiration we needed to get moving on our own dreams (well, that, and Jerry’s illness).
Neither Jim nor I had ever taken an extended break. In my 20s, my friends went backpacking around Europe after college, but I had student loans to pay, so I took the first dumb job that I could get. By the mid 90s, I was handing over my paycheck to student loans and credit card debt. And as for Jim, well, he’s always been too responsible to slack off.
Now that we had paid some dues in life, we became giddy at the thought of reverting to slackerdom. But the more we thought about it, we knew we couldn’t just split without some kind of goal in mind.
Not Just Slacking: Time Off with a Purpose
The book, Six Months Off, helped us determine what we wanted to get out of our break. We spent some time interviewing each other about our wants/needs, our talents, and ideas about our future. Then we turned this information into a gigantic wall chart, and put it where we had to look at it every day, to stay focused on our goal.
As you can see from our relocation worksheet, we came up with lots of ideas about where we want to live. We also did a skills and talents chart. But the biggest thing for both of us, was to learn what kind of new business venture might make us happy for at least the next decade. A tourism and hospitality businesses ranks high on our list.
Getting Our Hands Dirty, Down at the Ranch
And so we begin our next workamping assignment. We’ve landed in Lake City, Colorado for the summer, at Vickers Ranch, a family run historic property dating back to the 1800s, on 1800 beautiful acres next to Lake San Cristobal.
Our assignments: maintenance and housekeeping — from building decks, to cleaning cabins, to gardening. We’ve only been here a couple of weeks, and already we are getting a good feel for the kind of ass-kicking work it takes to run a real resort.
With only two days off each week, you might be hearing from us a little less than before. We are done slacking off seven days a week, and are hard working fools now (or at least until the end of summer!).