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Mini Retirement: How to Small Travel Breaks Help you Work Harder

by Steve Scott | Join Him On Facebook

Have you ever been to a retirement party? Not to sound cliché, but they’re usually thrown for people in their sixties who want to play golf every day or buy a condo at the beach now that their working days are over. I’m not really big on golf and I already live at the beach, but having the chance to take it easy for awhile and do something I’ve always wanted to do is definitely appealing. I recently took a 7-month trip through Europe for that reason.

Most people would probably call my trip a long vacation, but I prefer to think of it as a mini-retirement. I was able to fully experience Europe without rushing around the way most tourists have to do. If this is the first time you’ve heard of mini-retirements, let me tell you what they are and why they can help you work harder.

Mini-Retirements Help You Get More Out of Life

In The 4-Hour Workweek—Tim Ferriss discusses mini-retirements. He suggests taking several mini-retirements throughout our working lives, as opposed to the traditional end-of-the-line retirement (AKA the whole golfing thing.) It’s almost a way to “reset” things every now and then by taking a break and starting fresh when it’s over.

Mini-retirements differ from vacations because vacations are short– a week or two. Vacations usually involve a tourist lifestyle without any true immersion into a new way of life. A mini-retirement is longer—one to six months is a good estimate, even though my trip was seven months—and it allows you to fully participate in a new environment. I definitely got to experience European life, as the photos and videos right here on the site can show you.

Planning for a Mini-retirement

If you want to take a mini-retirement, you’ll have to create goals to help you get there just like I did. I didn’t say, “You know what? I think I’ll go to Europe today!” and rush down to the airport on a whim. I planned a long time for this mini-retirement.   I decided that a European adventure was in my future, and I had to work harder than usual to ensure I’d be able to do it.  I had to make sure that my online businesses were running smoothly and that I had enough in savings in case an emergency popped up.  All my ducks had to be in a row.

In these tough economic times, taking a mini-retirement may not be something that is easy, but any thing worthwhile takes effort and planning.  So why not start planning for your mini-retirement now?

Enjoy Life and Do the Things You Want

The main reason I left the corporate world behind and began living this dream internet lifestyle is because I want to enjoy my life. I like being my own boss and being able to do the things I want to do. This spring, I’m going to take another mini-retirement—money permitting, of course. At the moment I’m considering a road trip through the United States or a trip to the Croatian/Greek islands. I’m pretty confident that I can make it happen. My first mini-retirement was such a success, I’m willing to work hard right now so I can do it all again.

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

The Vizier

Hi Steve,

Mini-retirements is a great idea. I remember coming across this idea when I read the 4 Hour Workweek which I agree has a lot of fantastic ideas. I feel that if we were to take the traditional end of the line retirement, we would have too much free time on our hands which we won’t know what to do with. After all, we spend all our lives being busy and working and suddenly we find we have nothing to do and it is always hard to adjust. This is especially so for people who devote their entire lives to work. Without that purpose, what will they do when they retire? How long can they be happy distracting themselves?

Mini-retirements is the way to go. I love how you are already planning for your next mini-retirement. That is a sure way to keep you motivated. I would lean towards the Croatian/Greek islands because I have read so much about Balkan history. ;)

Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year to you and your loved ones! :)

Irving the Vizier

Reply

Steve Scott

hi Irving,

I am glad that you like the idea of mini retirements I do think it’s a great idea. It is something that everybody should be able to do but unfortunately not everybody can do. Many people devote their life highlights the work and not able to have a mini retirement. This is very sad. They should be able to enjoy life to the fullest.

This Christmas morning here. I want to wish you a wonderful Christmas and happy new year.

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Daniel Sharkov

Hey Steve,

I’m totally with you that sometimes taking a break is by far the best way to boost productivity. Considering the fact that there’s a lot of thinking involved when it comes to blogging, one often gets overwhelmed by the dozens of tasks and information overload. That is the right time to say “stop!”. Of course this isn’t limited to blogging only and no matter what your work field, taking a mini-retirement might be a great idea. Even though seven months as in your case seem a bit too much to me, the concept is certainly great. After you get back to work, you will be far more motivated than before, since you will be doing something, you haven’t done for a long time. Diversifying things you do is very important.

Great work mate! Merry Christmas and happy holidays to both you and your family! :)

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Steve Scott

Howdy Daniel,

I hope Christmas is going wonderfully for you!

TBH 7 months IS too long. I would not go for that long again. ANd any longer vacation should be at least a small working vacation, where one for a month or less could perhaps be completely unplugged, or at least constitute a lot less work.

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Fran Aslam

Hi Steve:

I like how you bring more interest in your writing by adding a twist. Your blog post has a good writing style. It was a good read.

Now I want to wish you and yours a Very Merry Christmas and a very successful Happy New Year

fran A

Reply

Steve Scott

Thanks Fran,

I hope you and yours also have a wonderful Christmas.

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Josip Barbaric

Hi Steve,

I totally dig the idea of mini-retirements and my intention is to make 2011 a year of travel. I wish you all the best with your plans – drop me a line if you come to Croatia, I’d love to meet you and show you around:)

All the best in all your endeavors!

Josip Barbaric

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Steve Scott

That would be awesome. I went through Croatia on my last trip and really liked it. I enjoyed my 2 days or so there, and do want to go again. It was tons of fun, having a guide for a day would be sweet ! ;)

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Ryan Biddulph

Hi Steve,

Mini-retirements are a great idea.

Pulling back a few times a year or years can help to recharge your battery. Why wait until you’re 65? Come to think of it, why wait at all?

Getting ready to book my next trip, thanks for the inspiration Steve ;)

RB

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Steve Scott

Exactly! It is a sad fact, but not everyone makes it to 65. Even if you do, who knows if you will be able to enjoy it. As long as you are working hard in between the mini, “breaks” taking a little time off is not a bad idea at all, IMO.

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Devesh @ Make Money Blogging

Mini retirement is awesome idea steve. What an amazing post man.

Thanks for sharing. Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

Reply

Steve Scott

Thanks a lot Devesh!

Have a wonderful Christmas and a very happy New year your self.

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Adam

Hello Steve,

taking time off is sometimes really necessary, it is not just about to take rest of all the daily duties but also to refresh your mind and get new inspirations. And where you can get more inspirations that on the trip across couple of countries?

If I could suggest you I would go for Greece and Croatia islands. I was on couple of them and really they are stunning. Azure see, wonderful weather, good food and friendly people, really relaxing.

Reply

Steve Scott

Adam,

That sounds just like what I’m looking for. A nice relaxing stay in a beautiful area for relatively significant amount. With all the snow and cold here today that sounds particularly enjoyable.

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Jennifer Barry

Hi Steve, that mini retirement idea is one of the best ones I got out of “The Four Hour Work Week.” I realized that you might not make it to 65 or be in good health when you get there, as you mention. I will definitely be taking a mini retirement at some point, and when I get older, probably a “soft” retirement. I plan to ramp down working instead of quitting entirely, but it will be fulfilling work that I choose and enjoy. I may not even get paid for it, who knows? :)

I hope you had a great holiday, and good luck with Snomageddon! It’s freezing here in Texas but no snow.

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Steve Scott

Jennifer,

Your ramp down idea sounds pretty awesome too. That with a few mini retirements, or long vacations, seems like pretty great way to go for anyone who is able. Which hopefully will be anybody and everybody get deeply involved with the online lifestyle.

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and also have a great new year.

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Alexa Stone

Mini-retirements are what I need right now. I don’t have the budget for a 7 months vacation in Europe but I need a mini-retirement and fast :)

Reply

Steve Scott

I hear you! sometimes you really just need a break. Hopefully you’re able to get yours.

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Alexa Stone

@Steve: I always postpone my mini-retirement but I want to change this in 2011. I deserve it.

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Chris

To add my 2 cent Steve, I think before any one reaches retirement he/she need to review his/her expenses and potential income. Yes this is obvious, but many wait until two or three months to set up a plan. One of the retirement strategies to make sure your money will last is the 4% Solution.

A quick review of the 4% Solution is that You do not want to withdraw more than 4% of your retirement savings account value. For example if you saved $500,000 you would not want to withdraw more than $20,000 a year.

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Johannes

Hi Steve,

thanks for the article. I totally agree with you. Working for something and looking forward to the next mini retirement motivates even more. I am doing those all the time…

In fact I find that while beeing on mini retirements and doing work is also helping me to get a lot of things done as well. It motivates me even more to work harder and faster, when if I spend the morning working hard I will have the afternoon for myself enjoying the beauties of South East Asia.

Reply

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