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Retired at 35!

Retired at 35...sounds insane right? My husband and I made the bold move to 'retire' from our jobs in May of 2022. We had been planning it for at least 4 years. We were done with the daily grind and ready to live our lives on our own terms. This is by no means a 'How To' for early retirement and not even a deep dive into how we made it work for us, it's just...our story.

In 2018 we bought our first camper. At the time we worked in Northern Alberta and spent a lot of time away from home. We also had 2 cats and they meant the world to us. We wanted to travel more on days off, but we didn't want to leave the cats behind since we were already gone half the time. So, we bought them a fifth-wheel and they absolutely loved it! Every week we would get home from work, pack up, and hit the road to explore. Our youngest, Gir, loved to walk on a leash and explore the campgrounds while Joey, our oldest, just wandered around eating grass. Long story short this sparked an idea. Why not travel full-time?

My husband is a Power Engineer and worked in Oil and Gas in Alberta for over 20 years and I spent 10 of those years working along side him at site as an Administrator. We worked a week on week off schedule and flew to site in Northern Alberta each week; living in camp during our week on. It's a different lifestyle that doesn't suit everyone, but it worked for us.

Over the years we missed birthdays, weddings, and holidays. We worked Christmas for 7 years in a row because that is how our schedule fell. Working site based shift work means leaving home for a week at a time. There's no drinks after work with friends or catching a movie on a Friday night. We stayed in camp in the middle of the bush until the following week when we got to head home.

Don't get me wrong, it wasn't all bad. Our camp had great facilities; a full size gymnasium, a weight room, movie room, pool tables, golf simulator and more. Working 12 hour days tends to lead to early bedtimes though so, we only enjoyed the amenities occasionally. But the best part; by far, was the people. We became family! We connected with some amazing people who will be in our lives forever no matter where we end up in life.

But despite the amenities, the family, and let's face it...the money; we were ready to see the world. We just needed a plan.

Step 1 - sell house

Step 2 - quit jobs

Step 3 - start exploring!

Of course, there were several bumps in the road and nothing went as planned. We talked to our financial advisor and figured out exactly how much we needed in investments to make our scheme work and by 2019 we were ready to list the house. It didn't sell and family obligations kept us from trying again until 2021. We were finally successful, but now we were knee deep in COVID and we couldn't travel, so we rented an apartment. We had to commit to a one year lease, but this seemed better than buying back into the housing market.

But, now we had a date! May 31st our lease would be up and we were going to hit the road one way or another. Turns out the government doesn't like it if you don't have a permanent address and it can make crossing into the US very difficult. So, we bought a lake lot that was accessible year round and would become our permanent address. We gave our notice at work and we extended our lease by one month to allow us time to move out of the apartment and get settled in at the lake.

On Thursday, May 26th, 2022 we flew home from site for the last time. Leaving behind our family and friends and a decade worth of memories. It was terrifying and exciting all at the same time.

The first step into our future...we were officially retired!


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