Every Problem has a gift for you in its hands - Richard Bach

I was listening to The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss the other day and this quote nearly made me stop dead in my tracks. “Are you having a Breakdown or a Breakthrough? “. You know when you have an understanding that something in your life is super tough. A time when you are struggling to find meaning. A time when people are saying things to you like ‘Everything happens for a reason’ and ‘One door closes and another door opens’ and ‘You will be FINE’ (Freaked out, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional!). You know that these moments usually lead to something bigger and better, but in the heat of it all, you can really feel like you are in the middle of a big fat breakdown.

By the way, it has been a while since my last post. But frankly, life has been a little crazy lately. Yep, the mother of all months hit me like a ton of bricks. Long story short, on top of hubby’s little surfing accident and subsequent operation, we both lost our jobs in the same week. It is only now, a couple of months later, I am ok with writing about this. So, I was just about to go on a long awaited holiday to Malaysia and Singapore (more on these two in a later post), and BAMMMM my boss dropped me a bombshell – I would have no job to come back to. Whilst I was disappointed after three and a half years with the company, I could deal with it.

That was Monday, on Thursday, hubby’s boss rang (yes rang him) to say “You don’t have a job to come back to”. Nice to hear when you are laid up recovering from an operation. Fair? Not really. The boss didn’t even have the respect to speak to him face to face. Did we both proceed to have a mental breakdown? Pretty much. But deep deep down, we both intrinsically knew that something would change. This was the catalyst of all catalysts for change. I don’t think the Universe (or whoever is in charge) could have made the point any stronger.

Our plan prior to Breakdown has been to save a little to travel (8% of our after tax $$), and pay the mortgage off ASAP by putting every spare cent into it. The ultimate aim at the end of it was to work part time/casually while building businesses to support us down the track, and also to travel for more than 2 weeks at a time and more than once a year.

When we started thinking clearly about our situation, we both realised how trapped we felt in our jobs and by our mortgage. We thought if we put in the time now with our jobs and 110% effort then we would negotiate flexibility with our bosses later on so we could travel more. Well Breakdown has turned that right on its head. No more being controlled by our jobs. We will work on our terms, no one else’s.

So here is the new plan.

Part 1 of The Plan

Part of any income I make will be skimmed away into the travel fund at the rate of a week for week expense to slow travel. So say it costs a couple around $1500 per month to travel slowly, living in apartments rather than holidaying in a resort or staying in a hotel, then I will attempt stash $350 for each week that I work into the travel fund. Effectively this means that for every week we work, we can travel slowly at a later date. It is a big stretch and will depend on many factors, but as I have only been working part time and intend to work full time moving forward, it is a possibility that we can pull it off.

Part 2 of The Plan

Any excess income outside our expenses and travel funds from both combined wages will go to paying off the mortgage. This may mean that we are looking at a payout date a bit further in the future, but we can always decide to pay travel money off the mortgage if we feel no real desire to go somewhere. Any extra income will be as per our previous Conscious Spending Plan and be broken down as such.

The downside of this plan is that we will most likely have to relocate to achieve it due to a lack of work in our area. It is the price we are willing to pay. In the meantime, ironically, I have my job back. Albeit temporarily, but it will hold us over until such time as hubby has made a full recovery. He is getting closer and stronger every day.