How we enjoy life to the fullest NOW. A WTF Moment.

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It was the last sentence of the comment on an interview we did in our local newspaper about our trip around Australia that got me. Like a balloon suddenly losing its belly I was struck with a huge deflating WTF?

Am I in the right place? Do people really think like this?

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The six sentences previous to the last one was sort of an indication, but too some extent I can see where that brainwashing comes from. I’m also starting to put parenting alongside religion and politics as the three things you should never talk about.

I kinda just laugh now when people tell me what stupid choices we’ve made for taking our kids travelling and making them miss out on a solid education with routine, discipline and the chance to socialise. If only they knew.

The verdict

As a mother who’s travelled with their kids out of school, and as a former primary school teacher of 15 years who taught in five countries (Australia, USA, UK, Ireland, Thailand) is that traditional education is a broken system and the “life experiences” they gain from travel will help set them up for a solid future. (School does have its place, but it’s not the only place!)

Standley Chasm - West MacDonnel Ranges, Northern Territory, Australia

Are you for real Happy Vanner?

Pushing that aside, Happer Vanner’s comments on our interview about school and education really didn’t bother me. Until I got to the last sentence when I felt as if I just arrived into a scene from the Walking Dead, naked.

You have to work hard the early part of your life to save for retirement. There may not be a pension when this couple retires in the future!

Is this really a reality?

I felt in need of a good cleansing ritual.

I think it’s tragic that this person thinks the pension is the deciding factor of how you live your life. It’s a fear-based approach to life which leaves little room for nourishment or growth. Life offers so much more fun and ease than that.

I couldn’t stop thinking for days.

What would I have missed out on if I thought like this?

Highlight reels rolled through my head: jungle trekking in Sumatra, Eurovan tour, backpacking through Africa, living in London, teaching English in Thailand, road tripping the US, starting this travel blog, and our road trip around Australia with our girls.

I have a soul that bursts with joy every time I trip down memory lane. What would I remember if I lived for the pension instead? It felt so empty.

How could any other life have meaning?

Take the chance on a meaningful life

I know a life of travel is just MY interpretation of a meaningful life, and for each person it is different, but I HOPE that it is NOT waiting until you (hopefully) get the pension to live it well. Especially not with the rising costs of living in Australia.

Don’t get me wrong, there are many ways you can live it well that doesn’t involve travel. I focus on travel as it’s my thing. I’m guessing since you’re reading this, it’s yours too.

I’d rather take the chance on life. I’d rather live this life floating from one country to the next and filling it with memories than going through the ground hog day waiting for a promise that might not come.

It’s worth risking the possibility of one day living off the streets. I know that’s easy for me to say now in this comfortable life when I’m not living on the streets. But, truth is I don’t believe I ever will.

I’ve fallen flat on my face over and over again, but I’ve gotten back up and I’ve rebuilt. I’ve always been supported and I’ve always found a way. That’s the proof you need to feel secure.

You have to believe in your own power because in the end it’s all you got. It’s far too risky relying on the government and stable stocks.

It’s a pattern repeat based upon life experiences and truth. Not what someone tells you. You fall down, you get back up. You fall down, you learn, you get back up. You always get back up again. If in those moments between getting back up and falling back down, your heart is full of life, then you’ll gladly take the fall down.

You know the risk is worth it for the spaces in between. You know you’ll rise again a little higher this time and you’ll work it out.

The future does not matter. We can’t predict it. We can’t control it. We can’t live in fear for it. All we can do is enjoy NOW.

Enjoy life to the fullest NOW

The 401K and Super balance is not going to mean squat to you if your time runs out next month. What will matter?

That you didn’t do what you really wanted to do? That you worried and feared too much and lived too little.

I don’t pay attention to any impending financial forecasts, or stock plummets, or the Dow Jones index. I don’t even know what any of this means.

All I know is that I’ve experienced a life of travel AND I’ve completely screwed up my finances. I did all of this despite the economy flourishing or being in recession. I rarely even know what state it’s currently in. Even when I lost it all I still got my life of travel back and arrived here now – well supported and rich with memories.

A part of me feels irresponsible about my lack of super savings and I am focused on getting better at providing for my future, but I’m not going to do it at the expense of living now.

I’m creating a solid foundation for my future by growing our business, living in the present, embracing life, living out loud, taking risk and creating my own pension.

I’m not sold on the idea of Super or 401K’s. I just don’t get it. And Happy Venner is right, the pension may not be around when I’m 60, that’s why I’m busy creating my own financial cushion.

And you want me to hold off living now so I can be safe when I’m sixty? How do I even know I’ll be alive then? Or able to walk? Why would I delay living a good life now for something that might be in the future?

I’m tired now at 40. What’s going to happen when I’m 65, the legal retirement age? I’m physically more capable of doing activities now than I probably will be in my 60s and 70s.

I’m going to be screaming, “Give me a hammock, a Jimmy Buffet tune, and a margarita.” I’m probably not going to want to scale mountains or dance the night away like I do now.

Redefine retirement

Lucky Bay, Esperance, Western Australia
My retired life

My big dream in life was to retire by the age of 40. Because society says retiring later in life is a big-dream goal.

What was I thinking?

I laugh at that now and when I look at my superannuation, I get a glaring insight into my delusional self. There’s no way I could retire at 200, let alone at 40.

BUT, what is your definition of retirement? If I look at the old view of it, the work to get your pension view, retirement is when I can hang up the work boots and enjoy my life.

Here’s a modern definition for retirement:

Create a life you don’t need to retire from!

Tim Ferris talks about this in his book, “The Four Hour Work Week.” I don’t believe he’s working only a four-hour week, but I do believe that his life is one that doesn’t feel like work. It’s full of mini-retirements and living life on his terms!

That’s what retirement is. It’s not defined by age or pensions, it’s defined by control and choice.

Take back the control and choose to be supported

I’m five months short of 40 and I’m already retired. I’ve achieved the big-dream goal.

In fact, I’ve been retired my whole life. I’ve never held down a job beyond two years. I’ve got shit all super in savings, but I’ve got a rich and fulfilled life and memories that run deeper than the roots on a red river gum in the Red Centre of Australia.

I’m retired. At this time of my life, I’ve never worked longer hours. But, I’m working on my passion, my beliefs and I’m enjoying life so I feel so supported that I don’t ever have to worry about the pension.

Sometimes the voice rings in my head, but what about your children? How are you providing for them?

Well, this is a definite concern. But, again what is your definition of providing for them? Are you going to be the fisherman that hands it to them or are you going to show them how to be the centre of their creation?

We’re not going to leave our kids high and dry and we work every day to give them a stable financial future and by what we teach them about living a full life NOW and tapping into their own ability to create that life NOW rather than waiting until they are 65 when the government says,

Congratulations you made it. Now go collapse in that hammock with a margarita. Only one though, as the pension won’t cover two.”

Holy Shit. I beg you not to live your life for this. I believe it has more enjoyment for you now.

Don’t be brainwashed by the powers that be who tell you the only way to get a good education is by marching through the school gates of a morning in a straight line to sit at your desk, put your hand up to gain permission to speak, and rote learn useless facts that have no bearing on the real world.

Try it if you must, but don’t be afraid to learn the rules and then BREAK a few.

The reasons why you can’t take a risk on life now

I know there are a million reasons why this might not apply to you.

You might come from a broken home, live in a third world country, be in huge amounts of debt, suffer from depression or anxiety, concerned about losing out on a career, be a struggling single mum, gone through bankruptcy, lost your job, and so forth.

I understand.

Those situations lead you to relying on assistance, from the government pension or elsewhere. I’m not knocking this, I do believe these services are worthwhile and valid and I’ve used them myself to crawl out of my black hole. And I’m so grateful for them. Do what you have to do.

I’ve been there and it sucks and I have so much compassion for you.

But I know you can climb out of it. I know you don’t have to worry about not living now so you can have what you want in retirement. That’s what you need to focus on.

Your challenges are real and aren’t going to disappear with a wave of a magic wand. But, I think what you discount is the power you possess to create something entirely different.

For every reason I have listed above there is someone who has gone through it and defied all logic to overcome adversity and change their life. That’s the human spirit you have that we don’t hear enough about.

It’s all the evidence you need.

If they can do it, you can too.

Our circumstances may change from person to person, but the inner strengths and capabilities all come from the same place that we all have access to.

The key to open the door to it is belief

Belief that your life is worth more than waiting around for the freaking pension.

This evening I chatted to my friend Beth through Facebook. I had tears thinking about how blessed my life is that I know her. She lives in Charleston, South Carolina. I met her because I decided life was for living now. Pension wasn’t even an idea in my head let alone a friend.

A few hours later I was chatting with my other friend currently traipsing around Europe and berating him for not coming to stay with us instead. Another good friend made because of travel. And then later I texted a friend we made travelling around the country to let her know red wine wasn’t the same without her. And yes, our daughters socialised together and became great friends.

Friends who taught me that skin colour, gender, sexual preference or religion doesn’t matter. You can laugh with anyone from anywhere. These are the things that have made my life rich.

How grateful am I that I did not delay living and missed out on this until I was 65 in the hopes the government would look after me.

If I arrive to that place where I’m not taken care of or supported, then I‘ll take my hat off and I say,

“I’m happy because my life until this point is amazing. I don’t need anything else. I have passion and joy. I have my memories.”

I truly believe anyone who embraces living to the fullest NOW won’t ever be confronted with this problem. When you play full out, despite all the risks and the fear stepping in your way, then everything works out for you.

You just gotta leap and grow your wings on the way down so you can come to accept this truth too.

Are you living life for now or the pension?

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