Hi RIP followers,
This month is being a real mess at House RIP. After a relatively cheap and tranquil August, with just a big trip to Hooliland and few guests hosted (like RIP Sr), we’re planning trips like crazy this month.
Planning and actually traveling too. I’ve been spending 3 days in an amazing European capital with my large team for a Hooli Offsite event at the beginning of the month, then two weekends in Italy to kick-off a big family project – more on this will follow – and last but not least I’m going to Rome before the end of September, till October 9th for a 6 days hiking trip with one of my best friends along the old Appian Way, from Formia to Rome.
I do love traveling and I do love hike and bike travels. In general I love slow and physically intense trips, where the destination doesn’t matter and you take your time to feel in contact with the territory you’re crossing. I’m looking forward to starting this short (6 days only) but intense trip!
As I said, we (the RIPs) are also planning like crazy:
- Another two trips to Italy mid October and beginning of November for same reason explained before (family project)
- A definitely non-frugal two weeks trip to Mexico by mid November with a couple of friends
- Some Christmas vacation in Italy again by end of year.
I won’t be at home for more than 2 weeks (and never spending 2 consecutive weekends in Switzerland) till mid January, at least according to our current travel plans, which don’t extend beyond end of 2016. And this is happening since beginning of September.
If you asked me 10 years ago what my ideal life would be in 10 years I’d probably say “work for Hooli and travel around the world”. Holy sheet how priorities change… I’m kind of burning out due to so many activities. Maybe these are first signals of becoming old, I don’t know.
Travel is obviously fun, and most FI seekers put it on top of “what to do after” list. I’ve read a post by AmberTreeLeaves where traveling experiences are compared with “tastes of FI“. Such a strong comparison makes me both agree and complain. Let me explain why I’ve controversial feelings on this:
1) As I just said, I’m traveling a lot these days, both for work and for personal life.
“Cool RIP, you’re going to Mexico! You can’t complain! That’s gonna be awesooooome!!”
You know what? I’m not as enthusiast for the Mexico trip with our spoiled couple of friends, visiting everything in 2 weeks with a guide driving our rented car. Distances between destinations will be perceived as enemies in Mexico. Risks will be faced with money instead of creativity. Comfort will be a priority along with “intensity”, whatever that mean. It must be an unforgettable trip, because we all will return to the hell of our workplaces.
The exact opposite of what I’m going to do on the Appian Way. I’m looking forward to going with my friend along the Appian Way, it will taste like FI, a super cheap trip, where we’ll try to couchsurf and eat street food, spending almost zero for the entire trip (there will be a post about it).
In general though, I don’t like to travel at this very high frequency. I like to have spaces between experiences to give them the right weight. These days while I’m on trip X I think: “oh, I should buy tickets for trip X+1 before they become too expensive“. No, it’s not fun.
2) I hate to travel with a return ticket in hands.
Yes, I love to go on open ended vacations. I did it in the past and it’s amazing. Well, not truly open ended… let’s say when I changed jobs (take a look at my professional story) I usually took few months of sabbatical and went exploring the world.
Having something like 2 month upper bound on my vacation time is awesome and yes, it tastes like FI. Then, most of the time after 2-3 weeks I feel the urge to go back home and enjoy freedom at home, with Miss RIP, my books, boardgames, videogames, computers, friends… I also love to cook and do my chores, if I have time (not these days, ahem, we’ve actually hired a cleaning lady). But if I go for a two weeks vacation I feel forced and I can’t enjoy the trip in the same way.
Anyway. I know it’s hard to do when flights are involved. That’s why I don’t see the necessity to go so far so frequently.
3) I hate to travel to a specific destination and be a tourist.
I don’t like taking a plane to the other part of the world and just stay there and behave like a tourist, watching things that are there to be watched just by tourists. Like I used to mock asian tourists in Rome when they were lining up for hours to visit the Colosseum. Come on, that’s not Rome! I hate to feel like a weird looking foreigners lined up with an umbrella who spends tons of money to visit “La Sagrada Familia“.
I do love the process of going from A to B, it tastes like FI. If not a physical intense experience like hike or bike, I’m also ok with a road trip with a car. Better if an RV or a Volkswagen Hippie van though!
4) I hate traveling as a form of “escaping from a life that I hate”.
When you need to take a vacation to “escape” reality, to “take a break” or to “recharge” you start dreaming about your trip a month (or several) before, counting the days, the hours. You use your vacations to help time flows, else the burden of an uninterrupted series of days at work would be unbearable. You need to go to the most exotic locations of the world, flying on weekends when tickets cost double than usual, to impress coworker and friends and to feel like you have an exciting life (because when you are sitting in your cubicle you don’t) and that the heavy work you do during the rest of the year matters, because it enabled this amazing five digits dollars vacation! You need to go veeery far. What a sheetty life would it be if you had to go on vacation close to home? You also need to never touch the same country twice or you’re a loser. Shame on you. I don’t even want to think you’re thinking to visit the same actual location twice. Shame on you! Better if you touch every continent as soon as possible. You’ve not been yet in New Zealand? Shame on you!
I do love staycations though, exploring my neighborhood, biking, hiking, do daily trips. That’s several times a far better alternative! They taste like FI.
5) I hate to visit a place like I visit animals in the zoo.
If you go to Machu Picchu you’re visiting a zoo. If you go checking out the Colosseum in Rome, you’re doing a Safari. Boxed experiences. You’re better off watching a documentary video of the same place. No stress, on your couch, no flights, no mosquitoes, zero costs.
I like to think that after a visit to a place I could discover I like it so much I want to live there, at least for a while. I like to talk to people, especially old people. I need to feel connected. It requires time and genuine curiosity. I like to go exploring places where people usually don’t go. If someone lives there, there will necessary be something fun to do and interesting to experience.
6) I like to be able to keep up with my habits while visiting a place.
If you go for two weeks to the other part of the world it’s hard to do sports or meditate. You’ve to handle jet lag and the checklist. And you have to have fun! I’d like to be able to go running, read my books, play my games. Traveling shouldn’t necessary be “special time“. It could just be “normal time” but on a different place (I’ve discussed this in a previous post about cycles).
For example, I like the concept of digital nomadism, even though I never tried. I may one day join the hacker paradise for a quarter or less.
Travel is awesome. Too much travel interleaved with workdays is not.
My ideal trip is open ended, with at least a month or two of free space. It doesn’t start on Saturday or just after a day in the office, but it demands a couple of days of preparation at home before and at least equivalent time when back home to revive the feelings and contemplate. It’s cheap, as cheap as possible. Hiking, biking, hitchhiking, couchsurfing. It’s filled with interaction with people, nature and history. It’s physically intense, but it allows space for relax and introspection. It doesn’t put pressure on you to complete checklists. It allows you to feel at home and productive if you wish.
Most important of all, it doesn’t have to be an escape from reality.