Thursday 1 June 2017

FIRE Escape to our Gap Life

Thursday 1 June 2017

Today is the first day of the rest of our life.  Today we start our 'Gap Life'. 

For many years we've been planning our FIRE Escape, aiming to retire early and live our dream.  By being frugal, overpaying on our mortgage (now a distant memory) and saving hard, we're in the position that we have enough passive income to stop paid work and do the things we want to do. 

The original plan was to finish at the end of March 2018; that's when we were forecast to 'hit the numbers' on our savings and investments.  But a couple of things happened earlier this year, which led to a change of plan.  So we sat down, had a long chat and a good, hard look at the finances and decided to finish work earlier than planned.  Ideally we'd have held on until we hit our financial target, but we realised we'd be OK if we jumped early. We have no debts, we have savings and investments and I'll have my armed forces pension from next year.  We can always make more money, but we can't make more time.  

We realise we're really, really lucky.  Many have to work on well into their old age, with little chance of a comfortable retirement. Others never reach retirement, my parents included. So, you know what?  We're going to make this work!

Several people at work were also really interested in our FIRE journey and wanted to learn more, so it was cathartic to chat to them at lunchtime and send them a few links to others in the FIRE community.  

So leaving my job yesterday was very much a bitter-sweet moment.  But I left with very happy memories working with a great company from the very early days of building the software development team; I know they will continue to grow and achieve amazing things.   As for Cathy - she retired three weeks ago - she is one happy bear!  

So what next?  Well, today we're heading off for a short trip to Northumberland in our campervan.  We just want to decompress for a while and let it all sink in.  Then perhaps a couple of Trusted Housesitting gigs; we already have one arranged in mid-Wales in August. We're also planning our first long campervan trip to Europe, heading for southern Spain and Portugal later this year to avoid the worst of the UK winter.  It's going to be an amazing trip and give us time to chill out, explore and think about what we want to do after that. We have a list of places we want to visit over the coming years: Greece, Croatia, Slovenia, Scandinavia, to name but a few.  

The next few weeks are going to feel weird, more like an extended holiday. But once we settle into the routine, we have a whole bunch of things we want to do. Our house is up for sale as part of our plan is to return to living by the sea.  We have a target to walk 5 miles a day and I want to get out on my road bike more.  I'm going to get back into cooking, including making more bread and perfecting some spice and masala mixes. We'll also continue with learning the basics of the languages of the countries we'll visit.  As we start to travel more I'll also be writing more blog posts.

So here we go, we've leapt off the FIRE cliff - yeeeehaaaaaa! The world is ours to explore. We have the rest of our life to enjoy.....this is our Gap Life.