travel now or travel later?

we’re so humbled that we’re within a stone’s throw of 100 followers on twitter within just six weeks of starting this whole story-telling mission here at our next life. thank you to everyone who is reading us here and following us there!

we love the immediacy of twitter, and the ability to connect with so many of you so quickly. we follow a lot of personal finance bloggers, and a lot of travel bloggers. and while some personal finance bloggers talk about saving in service of travel, and some travel bloggers talk about how to save money or afford traveling, there aren’t too many folks we’ve found (yet!) who are doing what we’re doing: focusing now on saving big so that we can travel a lot without necessarily having to be digital nomads or whatever the buzzword will be in the future. but let’s assume that everyone wants to travel, and that the travel bloggers are in the travel now camp, while the personal finance bloggers (and everyone else, probably) are in the travel later camp.

where are we?

truthfully, we’re in both camps. we travel a little bit now, like one big trip a year plus a few little ones, and we’re saving like crazy people for a much more travel-filled future. like weeks and months at a time of travel, like we blogged about a few weeks back. it could end up being a pipe dream, depending on how much we’re able to save, and how the markets do, but we want to be able to travel as much as many travel bloggers without having to hustle for the income to support the journey. maybe it’s how old we are (mid-thirties), and how long we’ve worked without a break in demanding professions (current average is 15+ years), but work-filled travel doesn’t sound like fun. fortunately, we believe that by working hard for a few more years, we’ll be in a position to make this dream happen in real life.

but at the same time…

it is super hard to read the posts of so many incredible travel bloggers, and to see their photos on twitter and instagram, and not want to drop everything now and buy a couple of round-the-world plane tickets. that’s a huge temptation all the time, for everyone, but not gonna lie — it gets harder as you get better at saving, and know that what you have saved up already could support you for a loooooong time, especially in developing countries. (but not long enough to count as real retirement, and that’s why you gotta keep going with the working and the saving.) we were recently scrolling through comments on a blog we read from time to time, and saw that, in response to a comment along the lines of “this looks great, i’ll add it to the bucket list,” the author basically said, “screw bucket lists. just book your ticket.”

and it’s true. bucket lists tend to get longer, not shorter. and at a certain point they become mostly academic, not truly about action. and that’s not the life we want for ourselves. we want to do things more than we talk about doing them. so it’s tough. we’d love to be traveling more now. but we feel really fortunate to be in a position to save, and to have gotten great info about how to make early retirement a reality. and with the finish line in sight, it feels like a pretty good trade-off: work hard a little longer for a long life of payoff, rather than quitting now and jeopardizing our retirement dream in exchange for just a few more years of travel.

what’s your travel approach? travel now, or travel later?

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Categories: goals

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11 replies »

  1. We travel quite a bit right now. We figure nothing is stopping us from doing it now (except for limited paid vacation days!). However because of the limited time off we have at work we tend to take shorter trips (long weekends, 1-2 weeks at most). We would love to do more slow traveling (spend 1-3 months in one place) and this is something we will definitely look into when we reach financial independence. The other limitation right now are our two lovely pups. We don’t like to board them for extensive periods of time and finding friends (since we don’t have family nearby) can be a challenge at times. For this reason we try to do more road trips and take them with us on our long weekend camping adventures (which they absolutely love!). How do you both deal with this (I believe I read that you have dogs)?

    • Dogs are a big challenge! In the past we tended to get pet sitters to drop in a few times a day, but now are lucky to live near family who can watch them when we travel (mostly for work, unfortunately). We hope to bring them with us for road trip travel in the future!

  2. ONL-wonderful blog! My husband has read all your posts and I’m starting from the beginning.
    It sounds as though we are very similar-one couple mid thirties, one dog, working hard to reach financial independance as soon as possible. Although we will be working a little longer than you-we have a 7 year goal :)
    And we love travel! I suggest bike travel! We love it. It keeps us fit (which lets us eat lots of goodies on our travels), it’s slow so we see places more in depth than road tripping, its outside all day, everyday, and it’s amazingly cheap-especially if you wild camp! And we take our 50lb dog along with us too (he rides in a trailer)-keeps the whole family happy.
    Looking forward to reading more of your blog!
    Happy travels

    • Thanks so much, Jenn! And you guys definitely deserve a medal if you’re really reading back from the beginning! That’s more than 200 posts that get increasingly longer. ;-)

      It’s cool to connect with other folks like us! Bike travel is definitely on our list for the future. A friend recently did an eastern Europe bike tour and gave us a lot of pointers… can’t wait to do that in a few years!

  3. We also hate to think of putting off everything until ER so we find a healthy balance. Our salaries and generous vacation (we each get about 21 days + buy 5 more each year) allow us to satiate the travel urges now without blowing the budget completely up. It helps that we’ve already laid out the plan to be out early 2022, we know how much we can afford and being miserly wouldn’t really pull the date ahead appreciably.
    Also we try to keep some time free for unexpected opportunities like this summer when my parents asked us to join them in Ireland to housesit for a friend – how could we turn down 10 days in Ireland for under $2k total???

    • How do you get to buy more vacation time each year?? That sounds like magic! ;-) Especially if you can spend it on incredible trips to Ireland for next to nothing! So glad you guys aren’t putting all the good stuff off for later, and are enjoying that travel balance now.

      • Our employer is a large German corporation so I think vacation is prioritized a bit more (and they know how to do it in Germany, more days from the start and a much clearer work/life separation). They started offering the chance here in the US to buy up to 5 days many years ago and I jumped at the chance. If nothing else I always saw it as a tiny profit to be made years later on those days when I left (weird way to look at it but it works out). It’s a win-win since company sheds that liability and we can afford the days, but we’re always surprised more people don’t take advantage of it.