Once upon a time, in a not so distant land, the majority of people would commit their lives to something known as the rat race; commonly referred to as the forty year plan, whereby people would trade forty hours of their time each week, for forty years of their life, then retire on forty percent of their income.
In part, times have changed due to the economic climate of the new world, but also, there’s been a paradigm shift in terms of how people think and feel about their lives. In the “old world” people would prize getting a good education, followed by a good job for a good company that would provide them with a good standard of life – yet, a good standard of life was somewhat one dimensional in that it related only to the financial standard.
People would earn a high income, but they would have barely any time to enjoy their life, and whilst they might have a fancy car sat in the driveway, they would have no time to go on impromptu road trips with their partner or family. Life was work.
Today, however, due in the most part to the internet, people are working to live rather than living to work. Remote working lifestyles, portfolio careers, and the concept of the ‘freedom lifestyle’ abound.
In many ways, people are no longer focused on the success metric of financial wealth, today, they are much more focused on the metric of freedom. Of course, money is a component of freedom as the equation is along the lines of having enough time + money to enjoy the lifestyle they desire; living life on their terms rather than being beholden to someone else, a hamster on a wheel, trapped in the rat race.
Today, the emphasis is on having a “freedom lifestyle” where the idea of mini retirements (first introduced by Tim Ferriss in The Four Hour Work Week) is promoted as a better way to the archaic 40×40 plan.
In the “old world”, it was only at the point of retirement when people would start having the time freedom to enjoy their life and able to pursue their plans to travel the world, yet at this late point in life, their bodies weren’t as vibrant and able to take on the challenges they may have wanted to do in their earlier years
In the “new world” people are embracing the idea of having mini retirements throughout one’s life, whilst they’re still young and in their prime. The idea has been promoted for the past decade and today, we have a genre known as ‘professional nomads’ that essentially travel the world whilst maintaining a successful career.
In many ways, the greatest currency we have in life is our time. Money is great, and in many ways it’s as vital as oxygen, but time is the most valuable and scarce resource we all have.
This article encourages you to make the most of your time on earth, and consider the possibility of taking a mini retirement in order to squeeze the most out of life whilst you’re still young.
See, there’s a time and place for having a settled home life where one focuses on comparing broadband prices on moneysupermarket and energy prices with lumo, but there’s also a time to take a leap, take life on, and take a break from the routine. Sometimes we need to spread our wings and discover a whole new world in order to grow and feel fulfilled. A mini retirement is a great option to achieve this.
WHAT IS A MINI RETIREMENT?
A mini retirement recognises that life is unpredictable and taking some time out whilst you’re still young enough to fully embrace life is probably a good idea.
A mini retirement could be viewed as a gap year or sabbatical, but it’s not necessarily about not working, indeed, the ideal would be to keep earning in a strong currency such as pounds or dollars, but then travel to a country that offers a higher standard of living; some could say “more bang for your buck”.
As an example, you could rent a beautiful four bedroom house that’s right on the ocean with pristine water, freshly picked fruit, the most succulent seafood, and a staff of cleaners, cooks and drivers in a country like the Philippines for much less than a one bedroom flat in London or New York.
Today, it’s less about making tons of money; it’s about squeezing the most out of the money people do have in order to squeeze the most out of life.
Now that you’re probably sold on the concept, it’s a good idea to look at a few destinations to consider for your mini retirement.
It doesn’t have to cost an arm and leg – it could be as cost efficient as house swapping like in the film The Holiday, or even working for your accommodation by doing a workaway. The core consideration, with regard to the destinations below is that of finding a place where your money will go a long way, but at the same time, you can live in comfort (maybe even luxury).
You might expect to find a country such as Nepal on this list, as it known as one of the cheapest countries in the world, but that’s not the only metric to consider, as you’ll essentially be living and integrating within the local culture for an extended period of time, and on that basis, whilst Nepal is a beautiful country and very cheap – it might not make for the most fulfilling mini-retirement unless you’re into mountaineering.
If you’re in search of an experience akin to Eat Pray Love you’ll want to head to the island of Bali. Bali isn’t as cheap as other places within SE Asia but it’s considerable cheaper than Europe and the US.
Bali is a vibrant island that has something for everyone; whilst is is touristy the beauty of Bali remains, particularly when you get off the beaten track, and there are still plenty of serene places to relax.
Thailand remains a firm favourite for almost all tourists. It has an unfortunate reputation for ‘adult entertainment’, which can be seen in some resorts, but on the whole Thailand is a wonderfully safe and welcoming destination for families and couples.
Also, whilst Thailand has signficant tourism infrastructure when compared to neighbouring countries such as Laos and Cambodia, there are still some unspoilt places left to discover; particularly in the Northern region of Mae Hang Son, Udon Thani, and around Krabi and Koh Lanta in the South.
That said, if you’re looking for somewhere less developed (and cheaper) Laos can offer a great alternative to Thailand.
Chiang Mai, in the North might be of particular interest for nomadic entrepreneurs as it is known for its remote working culture with plenty of modern coffee shop hangouts, coworking spaces, and a well educated youthful population due to being a university town.
There are also direct flights to Krabi, Phuket Bangkok and Koh Samui for as little as $10 that take just 1-2 hours. This means that if you were to have a base in the (cheaper) Northern Province, you can then hop to the exotic islands of the south or hustle and bustle of the capital. Indeed, with flights this cheap and convenient, you could go to Bangkok just for the day.
South East Asia is a clear favourite for mini retirements, yet Morocco can be an equally enticing yet perhaps more diverse proposition. In the most part, Morocco is an incredibly safe country to travel around, though if you’re travelling as a solo female, you can expect to receive some unwanted attention; so probably best for families and couples, but Morocco benefits from a surprisingly low rate of theft and violence (particularly against tourists).
It can, however, be a real culture shock – so if you’re looking for something “different” it definitely won’t disappoint. Marrakech in particular is an incredibly colourful and vibrant city that is known as the tourist epicentre.
The majority of people visit Marrakech for just a short while, as it really does bombard your senses due to the hustle and bustle, sweltering heat, and frenetic pace – particularly in summer. However, in winter, Marrakech would be a great place to have as a base. The days are warm but not too hot, the sun is always shining, yet the nights are cool enough to warrant an open fire in your home. Indeed, winter in Marrakech can be a very romantic experience.
However, to live there might be a bit too much. A more relaxed alternative is found in the coastal town of Essaouira which has a much more chilled out vibe. Almost everyone falls in love with the quaint fishing town which is far less intimidating than it’s bigger brother, just a couple of hours drive east.
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