Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Preview of early retirement

After requesting a leave of absence 8 months ago, my company finally let me start it. Today was the first workday since age 12 that I didn't work (other than weekends, holidays, and vacations of course).

What was the first thing I did? I went out and bought a monthly planner/journal. I've never owned one before. After detoxifying for the next few weeks by doing nothing, I want to make sure I don't waste the following months just watching TV. :)

After puttering around outside today during what previously were work hours for me, I must say I'm shocked by the number of working age people who aren't working! I was going to get a cup of coffee at Mercado's Starbucks, but there weren't any parking spaces available at 3 pm!

I have almost nothing planned, I was too busy with work to even think about plans for time off. Most people assume that I will do a lot of travelling, but I've already seen much of the world so I probably won't travel too much. I've already climbed the Great Wall of China, explored the mazes of the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, wandered the pyramids of Chichen Itza, swam in the crystal blue waters of Cancun, hiked on glaciers in Alaska, tasted wine in the Tuscany countryside, cruised in the Mediterranean, the Carribean, and in Glacier Bay, gambled (just for fun) in Monte Carlo, learned to drive on the left side of the road and around the roundabouts in UK, searched for a sea monster in Loch Ness, explored the turrets of Edinburgh Castle, dived 1000 ft in a research submarine at the Cayman Islands, scaled the waterfall of Ochos Rios, snorkelled with sea turtles in Hawaii, witnessed the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, taken gondola rides in Venice, walked through the ruins of ancient Athens, toured the ruins of Ephesus, driven the length of the picturesque Amalfi coast, watched lightning strikes right outside my penthouse window at the Grand Hyatt in Shanghai, camped in a nomadic tent and rode miniature horses in the grasslands of Inner Mongolia, admired Michelangelo's masterpieces in the Vatican and Florence, relaxed on the shores of Lake Como in Bellagio, enjoyed the cherry blossoms of Kyoto during the season of sakura, marvelled at ice sculptures in Harbin, spelunked at the Carlsbad Caverns among 500,000 bats and in the limestone caves of Thailand, hiked the Grand Canyon, been awed by the grandeur of the Forbidden City, hiked in the rainforests of Xi Shuang Ban Na, viewed the 10000 clay warriors of Xian, eaten balitong and claypot specialties at the hawker stands of Penang and Singapore, toured the Louvre in Paris, the MOMA in NYC, the British Museum in London, the Smithsonian in DC, the National Palace Museum in Taipei, the Borghese Galleria in Rome, gone clubbing in the nightclubs of Shanghai in my younger years, witnessed a 15 ft long manta ray at the Atlantis Hotel on Paradise Island, cormorant fished on the Li River, seen the construction of the Yangtze River Dam, walked along active lava flows on the Big Island, sampled paella in Barcelona, along with dozens of other adventures.

I'm only starting to think about some plans, so far I've committed to climbing Half Dome at Yosemite, visiting friends in Chicago and Memphis, spending some time with relatives in Boston, attending my niece's graduation in San Diego, travelling with my uncle to Grenada, where he used to be a missionary.

I'm sure my months will fill out quickly. A life of golf is not for me.


mOOm said...

What was the plan when you requested the leave?

tech guy again.. said...

No doubt you have already been and experienced a number of great places. I worked and lived as an expat in Asia; it was an opportunity of a lifetime to mix work with play. I remember those huge disco techs in Shanghai - one had three separate level dance floors in one huge "auditorium" I'd call it.

I was lucky to enjoy many great cultures/places in the making; Vietnam before the embargo, Treking in Nepal before it got violent ;) Much of this was done when I was single.

If you're still single, I would make most of the travel now when you are young, healthy, and without kids. Our family with kids travels quite well but the trips are limited to certain countires, and activities. We still have or make a great time.
I just have witnessed too many people (young 40s and old) including my father, that have saved so much money and was not able to spend it after retirement due to health and his passing.

In conclusion, I have decided to make the most of my time with the kids since every day lost is forever gone.

Just my thoughts -