Mid-Life Gap Year

I am often asked how I had the means to resign from a great job, rent out out my house, buy a one way flight and just take off by myself to embrace the unknown.

My answer is always more geared towards mustering up the courage to go for it vs. worrying about money. Adventure travel is my passion and when I become laser focused on achieving a goal, I will stop at nothing to succeed.

Let me explain……I am not rich or a genius or overly lucky. But I believe in making things happen so that the right puzzle pieces just naturally fall into place. Force the hand to your favor and let destiny takeover.

I am notoriously a saver and very frugal. I made a choice early in life to prioritize experiences vs. stuff, so besides my Disney craze (when you are a cast member with great discounts you find yourself collecting trinkets and limited series in hopes of selling them later in life). I have always prided myself on being debt free except my house mortgage, so I purposely live below my means. I don’t eat out often by choice and cut out drinking in my early 30s as well. I’ve planned for retirement and push everything into savings, but (not to be morbid) I believe I will die young so I want to enjoy every last waking moment experiencing this wonderful world.

I had dreamt for about 8 years of taking a year off to travel but knew there was probably a slim chance of it ever becoming reality (much less irresponsible). But when the pandemic reeked havoc over most professions, I woke up one day and just knew my path was being illuminated in neon lights saying “go for it”. That leap of faith seemingly would have been the hardest decision of my life, but I felt it so deeply that I knew it was part of my future journey. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how gut retching it was to leave behind my amazing peers & colleagues when I still felt there was work to be done in my awesome community, but I for once had to put myself and my overall health first. For a servant leader, that line is often blurred and forgotten. And I wouldn’t have been comfortable leaving everything behind if I hadn’t spent years pouring all my heart/energy into my careers and nurturing relationships.

So my idea of fun is sifting through and pricing out new places to explore. On sleepless nights, I would research wild destinations and daydream often of the freedom of the open road. So I grouped bucket list items in notes and got inspired by like minded travelers on my previous group trips. It is insanely addictive.

So when it was “go time”, all my stresses melted away and I forged ahead jumping off the cliff with both feet. Most people ask why I don’t take a break and slow down, but to me exploration is invigorating and I would rather push the envelope to the max. I can sleep in my afterlife.

I’m in disbelief that 10 months have now expired, and I can’t help but smile…….really really WIDE & BIG!!! What a rush! This gap year has been the greatest gift I’ve ever given myself!

And the icing on the cake is that I had few progressive professional opportunities organically present themselves just like the universe’s plan for me was predestined. Time to return to the real world and make a difference.

So with a lot of planning, a relentless attitude, making tough life choices, and of course some luck, anything is possible. I hope you find your own piece of life to latch onto and, more importantly, have the fortitude to plunge ahead with no regrets.

Published by elliottcm

Love adventure travel, work hard & play hard, happy in both extremes - relaxing on a remote beach or rappelling down cliffs, take joy in simple things, love being on & near the water, visited 55 countries & 47 states so far in this crazy beautiful life! Goals by my 50th birthday - 50 states. 75 countries. 50 national parks. Be in Antarctica on my big day.

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