Today’s the last day of my sabbatical! I can’t believe it’s been six months since I left the office on a chilly Friday evening in January 2017. A retrospective is due.
Where did all this time go?!
Our perception of time is a strange thing. Back then, the upcoming half a year felt like a foggy chunk of time with a very abstract end, the 1st of August, 2017. Now, looking back, this time is full of vivid memories but still as foggy as before.
At first, you’ll be afraid, you’ll be petrified
I was afraid of what was coming. Not because of a scary event on my calendar. Just because of the uncertainty.
What was I going to do all this time?!
I could do anything I wanted. Or don’t do anything at all. This was what scared me the most – the picture of me completely demotivated, in my pyjamas on the sofa. I was running scenarios in my head how I will come back to work in 3 months if I did feel lonely and purposeless. Now, these feelings seem laughable but this was me back then.
I had plans for the first 2 months. I wanted to give myself space and time. The remaining 4 months were going to unfold organically in front of me. I wanted to test how life would be when I reach financial independence.
To handle the uncertainty, I built a vision board with the sole purpose of answering the question:
What do I DESIRE to do in my sabbatical?
The headline appeared: New frontiers of inner and outer richness. It was going to be about:
- Expanding my network
- Inner declutter
- Delight of the 7 senses
Enough about the plan. Let’s see a few numbers and facts about the past 6 months.
- Of the 184 days, I spend 63% of the time at home (116 days) and 37% travelling (68 days).
- I visited 4 countries: South Africa, Bulgaria, Greece, Spain.
- If I combined the mileage of all my trips, I would almost have flown once around the globe. These 32 720 km (20331 miles) are 82% of the length of the equator.
- I spend approximately €12 000, half of which on my basic monthly expenses.
- I wrote 29 blog posts, finishing the 30 Day Personal Finance challenge and continuing with a post a week.
- I published 25 pictures on Instagram.
- I read 12 books.
- I travelled by bike, car, sand buggy, bus, ICE train, plane, 4×4 Jeep, tram.
- I walked 220km of a thousand-year-old pilgrimage route in Spain
- I jumped from the world’s highest commercial bridge bungee at 216 m (709 ft) above the Bloukrans River, in South Africa.
- I lost 4kg (8,8lb).
Ups! Financial freedom is twice as far as I thought …
My €1000 basic monthly expense projection stood the test of time. This amount covers well the accommodation, utilities, groceries, sports, cosmetics and personal care items.
Unfortunately, that is not all. As I crunched the numbers, the truth stared me in the eyes: I spent additional €1K a month for items beyond the basics. These include but are not limited to visiting my family, trips, side hustles, a phone, friends’ wedding, charity, courses, books, certifications, additional leisure activities, etc.
I need to revisit my initial projection of €300k for financial independence. If I want to live a good life beyond the basics, I would need at least twice as much before I can announce financial independence.
The best things are unplanned
Beyond the financial aspect, these 6 months have been the richest in experiences. I have been surprised so many times of myself and the people and events that came my way. Here are some of them:
- I became part of the Productivity Day – a weekly boostcamp, here in Berlin. The idea is to dedicate a day per week to do deep focused work. No interruptions, no procrastination and the best of the science of productivity. Enough for lying down on the sofa being demotivated and lonely.
- I became a Patron of one the Voluntary life podcast. The podcast has been the single most powerful source of inspiration and practical advice on reaching financial independence and freedom.
- I walked 220km of the Camino de Santiago.
- I felt inspired again to share pictures and videos on Instagram after 5 years of absence.
- I started my own productivity system based on the Getting Things Done book by David Allen (GTD).
- I discovered the wonderful world of technical wear and lightweight travel.
- I rediscovered and fell in love with my home city – Sofia
The show must go on
Tomorrow I am starting a new episode. I will go back to this same office I left on a chilly Friday evening half a year ago. I am excited to be part of a team again and to continue my journey in the software world.
Are you scared to make the leap into the next stage of your life?
I bet you do.
Don’t be afraid to take the first step. It might as well take you on a looong journey to your dreams!
Looking forward to hearing from you!
Photo credit: Jörg Stöber Youtube channel
Hey Kate, hope you’re well! I am absolutely loving your blog! So inspiring 🙂 let’s reconnect – I’m back in Oz now but would love to hear from you!
Kate App says
I would love to hear from you. Much love from Berlin!
I love the retrospective and the stats!!!
Super happy you made the most of it and enjoyed this valuable time off.
Oh and – welcome back @HERE!!!! xxx
So happy to have read ur blog post; and such an inspiration on how to plan better my sabbatical. I’m planning on taking sometime off to think about life and my purpose here… i want to a life of making a difference- i want to figure out how!
Awesome Stats😉 Cute nerd, lol
Kate App says
I am happy that you’re going for it. Space and time are the best gift you can give to yourself, your loved ones and hopefully will bring you one step further to a life of purpose.
I’m looking forward to hearing from you!
Financial Gladiator says
Those are some very good stats and Insights which are so often missing from others describing their journey.
After 2 years of being FI 2k€ is just about enough on average per month. I make 3k€ From my rental properties but that includes saving for the future (Teeth, unexpected surgery, the occasional new car (if i ever need one again)). Now that i decided to start a family, i definitely will need more, so i plan to go back to work to buy a larger piece of freedom next which includes taking care of kids.
Kate App says
Hi Financial Gladiator!
I like your iterative approach :))) You first reached FI-for-singles and now you’re looking into FI-with-family.
There’re so many nuances in the journey, that everyone should try it out themselves. I’m a big fan of just testing it out, instead of relying on 3rd hand information.
I’ve just checked your website – awesome content!
Financial Gladiator says
Many thanks for the kind words, Kate! Yeah learning by doing is the best thing! Being grounded I just started my garden project a few weeks back. Love it.