I absolutely loved working as an Electronics Engineer and could not have imagined getting to a point that would make me walk away from my voluntary 80+ hour weeks. But my last job, which took me to Scotland on an Oil and Gas project, brought me on the adventure of a lifetime. It was truly a million dollars worth of fun. Until it wasn’t. I mean really wasn’t.
We’ve just returned from an epic trip to the Eastern Sierra. I love hiking, but I’m definitely not John Muir. I’m also not Mr. Money Mustache or Paula Pant either. But I was able to quit my job at age 51 and I’ve hiked some of the most incredible trails in the Sierra Nevada. How did I do it? By finding my own pace and my own path.
Running out of money — it’s one of our biggest fears. But my in-laws never gave it any worry. With their high incomes and a home in the heart of San Jose, we never dreamed there was any financial problem. And neither did they. It was just the beginning of a year that we spent solving their late life crisis. Against the odds, it has turned out great. Because they were saved by the bubble!
In August of 2003, I was flying from San Francisco to Paris, joining a friend of mine on a trip to Europe. But just as my plane touched down in New York City, the power went out across the eastern seaboard. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was going to be three days until the lights came back on and normal operations were restored. Here I was, without power, without technology, without food and without money.
I just returned from my 2nd backpacking trip ever! I am still filled with a sense of enthusiasm and energy. What an experience it is to put everything you need to live for a few days on your back and head out into the wilderness. As I went out the door, I could not help but think of so many similarities between backpacking and the pursuit of financial independence.
We’ve ended up with a much safer retirement nest egg that we had worried about before quitting our jobs. Why? Partly, because just after I left my real job and entered the world of financial freedom, I “bought” myself a side gig. It was 2011 and real estate was on sale everywhere. Even crazy, leaky, old falling apart places with great possibilities to someone just crazy enough to try it. Like me!