Billy and Akaisha with a panoramic view of
Lake Atitlan, Guatemala behind them
The kids are back in school
and that long vacation weekend you’ve planned for months has come at last. The
Bed & Breakfast up in the mountains or on the coast is just what the two of you
needed to spruce up the relationship again. Look at the views! And this room!!
It couldn’t be better.
After settling in and perhaps
making a toast, you hear those dreaded words: “Honey, I need to check in with
the office… or email. I’ll be right back, I promise it’ll just be a minute.” The
romantic interlude comes to a screeching halt. Sound familiar?
Many Americans cannot leave
their work behind, even for a short time. We get so wrapped up in our
professional identities that the career treadmill has become our way of life,
and intrudes into our personal interactions. With the digital gadgetry allowing
us to work from anywhere, anytime, many choose to put in more than the typical
40 hour work week. There is no doubt that we are a productive society. However,
on a personal level, something has to give.
Romance suffers if you each
have one eye on the computer during dinner, or only half listen to each other,
choosing instead to bring work home. If you are losing days of your kids’ lives
or tender moments with family because you are career obsessed, you may have work
to do - but not the professional kind.
Fast Forward to Retirement
In the first weeks of
retirement maybe we no longer know who we are without the office calling,
paging, or emailing us. Our phone no longer rings asking us for answers or our
input to important issues. The office jokes don’t make it to our computer screen
anymore, and if they do, we can’t remember the people they are referring to.
We’re out of the loop and no one seems to care or even remember what we did in
It’s easy to think we might
have made a mistake in choosing retirement instead of working a few more years
‘just in case’ or for more money. Even though we thought we were indispensable
and loved by our peers, it’s mind reeling to see how quickly life goes on
without us in the work place.
We know, because we’ve been
there. Billy and I were like two ships passing in the night. Both of us were
driven by excellence to be the best we could be at our careers. We hardly had
time for each other. This was a major factor in making our early retirement
The Retirement Dream
You can retire early to spend
free time as you want; travel, study, go sailing, scuba diving, play music,
influence your community, pursue a hobby, learn a new trade, reinvent yourself,
spend time with family… We did!
In 1991, at the age of 38, we
left our fast track lives, sold everything, retired, and moved to Nevis, West
Indies, a 36 sq. mile island in the Caribbean. From there we started traveling,
and we haven’t looked back.
Are we living the life YOU
want? Is this idea appealing? Are you looking for more than just your 9-5 job
and two weeks vacation? Would you like a life that is simpler, less hectic? If
the thought of large blocks of free time to fill as you choose brings a smile to
your face or pulling out maps of the world stirs a wanderlust in you, then