Sabbatical Fund

We reveal our strategy for funding a year long Sabbatical road trip, which will take our family around North and Central Americas.

Following on the post couple of days ago, I started the countdown. Sitting at my desk in my luxurious cubicle, I can’t concentrate on anything else. Today is Thursday and there will be only 14 more Thursday’s, 12 more Friday meetings (April 22nd and July 1st are holidays), 4 more monthly KPI’s, only three more Operations Reviews, one objectives setting and no more performance reviews! I just had my last one yesterday. During a phone conversation with my boss, who’s based in Spain, I was asked about my short and long term plans. Obviously I wasn’t ready to disclose all of them just yet. I’m afraid that an honest answer, at this stage could negatively impact my annual bonus payout calculation, or as I refer to it, the „Sabbatical fund”.

People often wonder, how is it possible to travel the World for extender periods of time. Most assume that it has to cost a lot of money and that you have to be born rich or acquire wealth before you can set of on an adventure like that. In fact, none of it is true. If you apply the right strategy, living on the road can be much cheaper then living in your own house. This however is a subject for a whole different post. Today, I’d like to discuss the savings we will accumulate to finance this trip.

My annual bonus is the single, most significant funding source for our big trip. Instead of putting it into savings or buying a new motorcycle, it will finance about six months on the road. Assuming we embrace the frugal way of living.

The second largest, or about four more months on the road will come from Uncle Sam. No, the government has not agreed to sponsor this extravaganza. The IRS is expected to return some of the monies, my Company has handed over on my behalf as income taxes. By the way, it’s a weird concept, isn’t it? You’re being taxed or penalized for working and earning a living. If you don’t, you don’t work and don’t earn anything, you don’t have to pay! I’ll join the ranks of non-paying citizens in about 14 weeks.

Coming back to our big trip funding, as I explained in some posts before, we’ll sell most of our possessions, and hope this will generate enough dough to stay on the road for another four of five months. First to go will be my motorcycle, followed closely by my car, then the big screen HDTV in our basement, lawn mower, snow blower (yippee!), all electronics, kitchen tools, furniture, etc. We’ll keep appliances and rent out them with the house.

I’m saving vacation days, so that I’m paid off for them, when we part our ways with the Company. Five weeks of pay can finance another three or four months on the go.

Finally, I have a little stocks portfolio, which is not doing so good right now, but it didn’t loose much value in the past year either. I’m hoping my fortune will turn while we’re on the road, so I treat that as an emergency fund or a home warming gift after we return.

All in all, we don’t have much, so being frugal on the road will be a must. At the same time however staying on the same continent, rather than circumnavigating the Globe will definitely help us keep our sanity in case anything bad (knock, knock) happens. Visiting places that are considerably cheaper then the USA is also going to help achieve that goal. The bottom line is, assuming our house stays rented thorough out the entire trip, we’ll be able to travel for about 18 months without having to work on the road. However, if we can find a supplementary source of funding, who knows where it will take us…? And I’m sure going to try to figure it out.