Early Retirement Journey Fall 2018 Sabbatical 2020

My Alternatives to Returning to Work After Sabbatical

So for awhile now, I’ve been toying with the idea of taking a sabbatical in 2020. Why not, you say? Well the biggest mental hurdle is that if I waited until 2025, I’d probably be able to FIRE for good. Check out my budget calculations for more details.  I don’t think I’d be able to fully enjoy the sabbatical knowing I’d have to come back to work.

Read more:
Notes on Life | Aug 3, 2018: Floor Mattress, Blogging Nook, Writer’s Retreat
Notes on Life | Jul 27, 2018: Doctors Without Borders, Repo Man, Hotel Holiday
Journey Update | Week Ending Jun 29, 2018: Evil, Gums, Chocolate

But with my ridiculous ongoing aches and pains and just the general feeling that I’m getting dumber and less functional, I can’t shake the feeling that there has to be something more to life than this. I thought I’d be okay with a mediocre life, but it turns out I was wrong. No one around me inspires me, further more they drive me to complacency and selective silence. I’ve all but lost my voice as it were. Pretty ironic for someone who works in a call center. A couple more late nights stewing on this Sabbatical vs FIRE internal debate and I recently became 51% sure that I wanted to take the Sabbatical in 2020, instead.

How did I get here? Well, I started brainstorming what it would take other than more money which I can’t seem to squeeze out of my budget (or this blog).

I asked my brain supportive questions at night and in the morning until the decision came to me. ~Natalie Bacon

What are my alternatives to returning to work in 2025?
After a couple of hushed whispers to myself of  ‘I’m going to die at this desk,’ I actually tried something I glancingly gleaned from another blogger about asking yourself a question before you go to bed a few nights in a row. I didn’t read her full post on how this actually works (or sign up for her paid course), but I tried that part of the process. So I asked my brain something along the lines of what are my alternatives to returning to work in 2025 (at age 41). The best thing about my brain is that I don’t have to give it a back story, it already knows what I mean.

So after some Googling and some late night awakenings by my brain, this is what I’ve come up with thus far.

  • Join a convent
    • A life of service that comes with free room and board. I’m not mad at that.
  • Join Peace Corps
    • I apparently have no skills for Peace Corps Response. But Peace Corps would probably take me and it’s free room and board for 2 years and I get to do some good, or at least say I did.
  • Join Mercy Volunteer Corps
    • Do some good with free room and board. This organization is new to me and popped up when I was checking out some international volunteer opportunities on the Catholic volunteer network below.
  • Find some temporary placements on Catholic Volunteer Network
    • Just stumbled upon this in one of my frantic weekend searches to try to find some way to not go to work come Monday. It serves as a job board of sorts for volunteer opportunities that usually come with room + board or a low paying job in a needy area, e.g. teaching 5 kids in a Catholic school for a year. I could that for a year, I think.
    • This I think is the more valuable of the resources I’ve encountered so far. I don’t know how much of this is true, but I like to believe I may not have to go through a rigorous application process for volunteer work because perhaps the supply is low.
    • Perusing this list actually introduced me to some possible FIRE locales like Missoula, MT-seems kinda like what I pictured in my mind when I think of an early retirement locale.  Maybe I could do a volunteer post there and get a feel for the place on someone else’s dime and do some good too.

Other options that may require a bit more effort both in applying, skill, or job duties. 

  • Apply for Catholic Relief Services International Development Fellowship
    • I applied to them before, but my heart maybe wasn’t in it. Hmm. Maybe it’ll be different if I really want it? Mmm..and the participants look extremely young. I’ll be in my 40s by then. But you never know.
  • Administrative work with Doctors Without Borders
    •  Ok, maybe not for this single 30-something. Just took a second look outside of a sleepy haze. You actually need to be extremely skilled and bi-lingual even for non-medical positions. But maybe for someone else out there. Hmm.
  • Apply for a job on an Indian Reservation
    • Maybe as a teacher or in healthcare. Seemingly they are always looking for people, but I have had no experience even getting an interview for other positions on the usajobs.gov site. Hmm.

What about you? Any alternative lifestyles out there for you that would allow you to leave your current work situation.

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  1. I’m all for taking control and changing your life as soon as is reasonably possible. I have a hard time seeing the purpose of running all out toward FIRE when you’re absolutely miserable in the day to day.

    1. My Early Retirement Journey says:

      Hi, Angela! I don’t disagree with you. Thanks for stopping by the bitty blog.

  2. You could also consider a Catholic Worker community. There are houses all over the U.S. They’re different sizes (=not all have room for extra live-in volunteers) but the bigger ones are usually very happy to welcome someone for room and board for a year. The work is usually some combination of soup kitchen and miscellaneous community service (taking people to doctor’s visits, gardening, going to the food bank, etc etc etc).

    1. My Early Retirement Journey says:

      Yeah I’ve seen some of those. There is also a well known one overseas. I just like knowing there are other things out there. Are choices are so limited to what we are exposed across all aspects. In my early life, I thought about being a nun.

  3. You owe $300K in student loans and you are going to take a year off work? Maybe I’m reading this wrong. Kudos to your wanting to do service work though. Maybe try to get this debt paid off sooner so that you have more options. Don’t let the income based repayment keep your debts out of focus. 25 years is a long time and I’d rather get rid of it sooner.

    1. My Early Retirement Journey says:

      Thanks. I figure it never hurts to try to help someone else.

  4. What about teaching English overseas? If you’re up for an adventure, it seems these can pay pretty well and you don’t need a teaching background.

    I think most of those pay a housing stipend on top of your base pay.
    If you are single and “unattached” as it seems you are from the options you’re looking at, I think there are a fair amount of options out there if you don’t mind jumping around every couple years!

    1. Hmmm, not sure they pay pretty well. But I taught briefly in China and it was not any better than teaching in America. It’s still work, but you’re right, there is some automatic adventure built in. So far I know of the program I did in China as well as EPIK, JET, and one with the Spanish government. I’m just stuck trying to improve that 20% of my life I’m not happy with with a big move like that. It’s a conundrum for sure.

      I’m so glad you stopped by!

  5. John Mariano says:

    What call center pay $40+ per hour?

    1. Hey John, I do contract work for a pharma company. Thanks for stopping by!

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