taking a sabbatical

Why I’m Taking A Sabbatical This Summer

I’ve got a big announcement to make. It may not be all that big to you, but it’s huge to me:

I’m taking a sabbatical from The Retirement Manifesto this summer! 

Today, I’ll explain why.

why I'm taking a sabbatical

A Sabbatical For The Retirement Manifesto

I’ve been thinking about mixing things up this summer in conjunction with The Great American Road Trip.  As you read these words, our home in the North Georgia mountains is 24 hours behind us, and a great big country is starting to roll out in front of us. On Tuesday morning, as this post gets published, I’m likely drinking a cup of coffee by the shores of Lake Guntersville, Alabama.  

I suspect I’m smiling.

Last night was the first night of our big trip, we’re officially underway! We’ll be driving to Mississippi today, where we’ll be staying a few nights at Wall Doxey State Park.  I don’t know if they have wifi, so don’t be surprised if I don’t respond promptly to the comments.

And that is exactly the point.

I'm taking the summer off from writing The Retirement Manifesto, and I wanted you to know why. Click To Tweet

Tip For Those Who Want To Follow Our Trip: I’ve had a lot of readers asking for updates as we travel.  While I won’t be writing on a regular basis, I will be providing photo updates as we travel.  I’ve included some links at the end of this post for those of you who’d like to follow along.

Arches National Park – the last week of May

During this 6,000 RV trip with our 4 dogs:

I DON’T Want to…

  • … worry about whether our campground has wifi.
  • … feel a sense of obligation to writing a weekly post.
  • … stare at a computer screen when I’m in the middle of a beautiful National Park
  • … try to hunt down a coffee shop to find time to write.

I DO Want To…

  • … make seeing this wonderful country my #1 priority for the next 3 months.
  • … disconnect a bit from online life, and give my brain a well-earned break.
  • … connect more with my wife, my daughter and our new granddaughter.
  • … spend time in nature, whenever and wherever I can.
  • … enjoy a morning coffee in a campsite whenever I happen to get out of bed.
  • … have a campfire and eat s’mores.  Often.

Therefore, I’ve decided I will be taking a sabbatical from blogging for the duration of our trip.

Every week for the past 4 years, I’ve sat at this keyboard and tapped away at whatever was on my mind.  Whatever the topic, my brain was seldom in Neutral, always in Drive.  I truly love writing and I’ve enjoyed the challenge, but retirement is all about the Freedom to mix things up. 

To try new things.  To disconnect.  To enjoy the scenery.

It’s the right time to be taking a sabbatical.

It’s time to put it in Neutral.


The Oregon Coast – we’ll be camping here in June.

The Evolution Of Retirement

Retirement is a time to experiment. For the first year of my retirement, I’ve been spending my time hiking fly fishing, rescuing dogs, helping my wife start a non-profit, mountain biking and doing various other activities with any free time that isn’t absorbed by this blog.  For the record, it’s been one of the best years of my life.
 
I recently read this post from Can I Retire Yet, where Darrow Kirkpatrick asks the probing question, “What Is The Point Of Retirement?”.  It’s a great post, from a great writer, and I strongly encourage you to read it.  I was inspired by his concept of the evolution of our life during retirement. Darrow has recently pulled back from the regular routine of writing his blog, and the concept of mixing up the routine in retirement intrigues me.  It’s important to try new things in the mix up our routine from time to time. 
 
Now is one of those times.

Clearly, I love to write (and I sincerely appreciate all of you who love to read!).  However, there are times when other things will be a priority, and I told myself in my Ten Commandments Of Retirement that I’d “Make No Obligations”, and “Stay Flexible To Change”.  With that in mind, I’ve decided that taking a sabbatical from The Retirement Manifesto is the right thing to do this summer.  

I’m going to be intentional about enjoying every moment of our adventure, and I don’t want this blog to become an obstacle in our quest to take our time, to smell some roses, to see some sights and to truly enjoy this beautiful country we call home. 

Yellowstone National Park awaits…

 


I Write For The Reader And You Deserve To Know

I debated about publishing this post.  Many bloggers simply fade away for a time.  Sometimes they return, sometimes not. Was I being vain in publishing a post about taking some time off?  Do you really care?  I’m not very significant in your lives, and I realize that.

However, I feel a real connection to you and felt it was only right for me to be transparent with my plans.  I thought about what I would want if I were in your shoes as a reader of The Retirement Manifesto.  I’d wonder why, after 4 years of weekly posts, the airwaves suddenly went quiet.

You deserve better.

So, now you know.  

I trust you understand.

This article starts with the word “Why”, and that was intentional.  I felt it only fair to give you some insight before I disappeared for a while.  I hope you’ll miss me, but I know your lives will go on. As will mine.  Smiles.

I plan on returning to the keyboard when we return from the Pacific Northwest at the end of the summer. Until then, you’ll be seeing less of me, and me of you. I’ve got two killer Guest Posts already in the hopper, and can’t wait to share them with you while I’m traveling.  I may stop by from time to time and share some thoughts, but I want to fully remove the sense of obligation I sometimes feel for maintaining this blog on a weekly basis.

You can rest assured I’m still out there enjoying retirement and learning lessons which I’ll share with you upon my return (for the record, I have 87 draft posts sitting in WordPress in various stages of completion, so I still have a lot to say).

Thanks again for all your support of my blog, and I look forward to seeing you at the end of what I’m hoping will be a summer I’ll never forget.


Glacier National Park, we’ll see you this summer.

To Get Updates During Our Trip:

While I won’t commit to writing any blog posts during The Great American Road Trip, I will likely be active on my other Social Media channels.  For those who are interested in more frequent “updates from the road”, I’ve included some links below to the places you can find me while I’m taking a sabbatical.  If you’re not yet a subscriber, I encourage you to subscribe to my e-mail here.  I may be sharing some direct emails while traveling.

Pick your favorite “channel”, and consider following along on our adventure!  


I enjoy Instagram as the “best” site for sharing photos of “our early retirement life”.  As we’re traveling, I’ll be using Instagram as the primary spot for sharing the “best” photos from our journey.  


I’ll post occasional highlights along with some photos.


I never really understood what Twitter was all about.  Then, I tried it.

With 8k followers, you can be sure I’ll continue to Tweet!


  • My E-Mail List – I may shoot out some “special” emails to subscribers.  I may not. Wink.

For those of you who may have missed my post on the trip, here’s a summary map of our itinerary.  If you were in my shoes, wouldn’t you think about taking a sabbatical, too?

the route for our great american road trip


Conclusion

Don’t be afraid to live the retirement you choose for yourself.  If you feel the calling, consider taking a sabbatical from your “normal” routine.  Get outside and see the world.  Mix it up a little.  Have some fun. 

Live Life!

Your Turn: One of the things I love most about blogging is my interaction with you, the reader.  I’ll warn you that I’m not going to be as active in replying as I normally am, but I’ll read every one of your comments.  What do you think about taking a sabbatical?  Have you ever done it?  Any thoughts or tips as we begin our adventure?

42 comments

  1. You’re making a wise decision man. A trip like that requires you to slow down and enjoy it.

    As I wrote on someone else’s blog one time – “recharging only really happens in the absence of USB ports, not with them”

    Enjoy!!

  2. We went dancin’ across the USA
    On that crazy king’s highway
    Too much passion
    Too much play
    We went dancin’, dancin’, dancin’ across the USA

    Enjoy, my friend. No one deserves this more than you and Jackie. Peace.

    1. Have a wonderful road trip and I’m looking forward to catching up with your adventures on the road once you return. We’ve been talking about getting an airstream (have only rented one up to this point) and I’d enjoy hearing how the RV trip went.

  3. Great decision Fritz! Enjoy and drive safe!

    When you return I will have joined you in retirement land. My employer made me an offer that I could not refuse to stay on through July.

    1. I agree with Jim, have a wonderful “vacation” and I look forward to your return. That will be my post retirement as I leave at the end of July.

  4. I SO hear you! Good move. Enjoy the beautiful scenery and beautiful women in your life! Retirement is personal, just like finance, and you have the power to write your own script.

    One thing. Taking photos can become a chore for me sometimes. If that holds true for you too then you might consider fighting the urge, except for big ticket items and moments – the things YOU want to remember ten years from now.

  5. I’m so happy for you and very glad you let us know. I’ll sign up to follow your trip on Instagram. This post makes me super excited as we are in the process of buying a used RV and will be exploring a lot of the same places you are. This has been my husband’s dream for a few years and it’s finally going to happen. That is what retirement is all about. Woot woot. Have a super safe fun journey and I’ll look forward to your future posts.

  6. Enjoy your time with your family and what a wonderful idea! Have a great time and I’ll keep my eye out for your emails after the summer!

  7. travel safely. 87 posts in the hopper? no wonder this blog is so good. i hope it doesn’t get too stinky in the RV with 4 dogs for all those weeks. i’m glad they got to come along. wise move in shutting off from all this for a while.

  8. I don’t reply often, but this post reminds not just why I am retiring, but encourages me to retire sooner!

  9. Have a great time and drive safe! I think it’s great to take a sabbatical from blogging.
    I’d do the same thing if we’re going on a big trip like that. Blogging gives my life some structure so it’ll be hard to give up. Enjoy!

  10. Have a wonderful and safe trip! I’d love to read about your travels when you are inclined to document your adventures. Travel is a journey, same as the road to and through retirement. Enjoy a much deserved break!

  11. Enjoy your trip and congrats on having the wisdom to understand the role of the blog in your life!

    I took multiple sabbaticals from my original blog and Darrow brought me on at CIRY? to lighten his load, as blogging can certainly start to feel like a job if you let it. If you write good stuff with sincerity, you can always pick it back up and you’ll find your audience. And if that audience gets a little smaller because some people move on in your absence, so be it.

    IMHO, it adds a bit of authenticity to your retirement blog if you can walk away from it for weeks or even months at at time. That’s what separates a retirement HOBBY-business that you can do for fun & personal fulfillment, from a regular BUSINESS-business that you need to put food on the table & keep the lights on.

    Cheers and safe travels!

  12. This is such a beautiful country we live in. We’re so lucky and I know you’ll enjoy seeing as much as you can in 3 months. I look forward to following along on your Instagram.

  13. Life is a Highway.

    Life’s like a road that you travel on
    When there’s one day here and the next day gone
    Sometimes you bend and sometimes you stand
    Sometimes you turn your back to the wind
    There’s a world outside every darkened door
    Where blues won’t haunt you anymore
    Where brave are free and lovers soar
    Come ride with me to the distant shore

  14. I used to say my old job came with ghosts; it didn’t leave me easily when I was at home, and I thought about it all the time. I would imagine that blogging is a bit like this. Especially a blog that blew up the way yours has. We absolutely love to hear your thoughts, and enjoy every time you post. But you are not our performing monkey, and I love all the reasons you are unplugging.

    I applaud you prioritizing your experiences, family, dogs, etc. over these random strangers (awesome though we are!). Go, enjoy, and we’ll love to hear all about your experiences after you have unplugged from this, and plugged into that great summer you have planned.

  15. Hi Fritz
    I totally agree.
    Have a great break, and enjoy your summer. It’s far too easy to give yourself an unnecessary self imposed schedule. It’s not your job. Retirement is all about being flexible. Like you, last year, I took a voluntary break while we were in Rome for 6 weeks. I have also slowed down my blog posts since. I now post when I have something to say, not because it is a week since I last posted. It is a far more relaxing way of fitting my blog into my life.

  16. Congrats! The trip is absolutely amazing and I think it so wise to take a break from your daily world so that you can enjoy it! Cheers!!!

  17. Fritz,
    Good for you. Focus on your family and the trip, we’ll all still be here when you return. And then you can share not only the photos, but also the financial/retirement related lessons that I’m sure you’ll encounter during the trip. I look forward to periodic updates and to your return.
    Hope you have a wonderful time!
    Charles.

  18. Fritz,
    I wish you safe and wonderful travels. What a great thing to experience and I am sure you deserve it. It is what you have worked for.
    I know it is important to get away and unplug. With that being said, I just found your wonderful blog and have not devoured it all. You have inspired me to look at retirement in a different way. It is now something I believe I can achieve with relative certainty. You also turned me onto Roger Whitney and the Rock Retirement Club. You and Roger share such great information and tools! I hope you are refreshed when you return home and continue to add your wonderful insight to this topic.

    Safe travels
    Stacy

  19. Great decision Fritz! You will not regret focusing on your wife, your life, your daughter and granddaughter! We love your blog, but we are not your real priority… they are. Not being retired yet, I’m sincerely jealous, but excited for you! Enjoy your downtime. You’ve more than earned it.

    Respectfully,
    Scott

  20. Hey Fritz – with that view I am not surprised you are taking a break. Look forward to your return as I really enjoy your blog and have learnt lots from it.

    Enjoy!

  21. Ah, Fritz, I wondered if you would do this…
    I’ve found that I already have to “step away from the computer…” from time to time to be fully present in the moment, not just thinking about how I can use it for my blog.
    You know that Dan and I will be following in your footsteps next year and so we want to hear all about it. Although we think we are going to go for 9-10 months. Plant ourselves in places we really love for weeks at a time and really get to know places.
    At any rate, 4 years deserves a break for sure.
    I already subscribe so I will be looking for those “special emails.” I do have instagram but confess I have not caught its bug, but I’ll look for you there, too.
    See you on the other side.
    Best to Jackie and the doggies, yours and the ones she frees.

  22. My favorite line, “have campfires and eat s’mores. Often.” Yessss! Enjoy your summer sabbatical. It will be so lovely to not feel a sense of obligation and, no doubt, you’ll end up enjoying this beautiful country in more spontaneous ways.

    I am thinking about taking a sabbatical in a year or two to go teach in Africa or something…Who knows maybe I’ll do it. Life is short, live it!!

  23. Thanks for letting your readers know (so we didn’t worry about ‘cha).

    Our canine crew LOVED life on the road, and I’ll bet yours will, too. Whenever we’d land at a new campsite, our Border collie would stand by the RV sofa, wagging her tail furiously and “ordering” us to hurry up and open the dang door!

    Have a wonderful trip:)

  24. Looks like you might be passing close to Crater Lake Oregon. If you haven’t been there before, it is worth little detour and at least a drive by with a few minutes to gaze (I preferred the southern most lookout but the whole place is beautiful and the water looks too blue to be real). Timing looks like “Juneish” so I’d still expect to see snow too.

  25. 87 drafts in the hopper, eh? Sigh, Fritz… I have, oh, zero?!?! Nice work gathering up your powder, good sir!

    Do enjoy these next few months away from the routines and screens. You deserve it and I know if I were in your shows, I too would chuck technology for some “serenity now”. Darrow is a good egg to say the least – as are you. Thanks for pointing the way!

  26. In other words you are really retiring 😊

    For me retirement is having the freedom to do what you want when you want with as few obligations as possible .

    So when you want to write I will enjoy it and am so glad you have chosen the path of real freedom. Enjoy that fabulous trip and the wonderful memories coming with your new grandbaby! Safe travels!

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