My one goal this year

Yearly goals are a thing for me. They have been since I got pregnant with my son in college. I really do attribute my success in finishing school, after having a kid, to the focus that goal setting gives me.

Back then I used to do it every semester, but now I set yearly goals. I have a tendency to over do it, but this year I am not. This year I have ONE goal.

Usually I separate goals into categories: family, money, work, travel. Then I choose 3 or 4 or more for each category. ( If you don’t believe me, check out my goals for 2015) This year just ONE.

The goal: to take a Mini Retirement.

This year all I really need to focus on is getting from here to there. A major component of the mini retirement is going to be travel. I want to take an international trip for 2 months, Visiting Ecuador and El Salvador. Before that we are going to take a 3 week road trip across the U.S. At the end, we are planning to take a month to settle in to our new home state of Michigan. All in all I need to prepare our family for 4 months of unusual living.

Of course to get this one goal accomplished there are a lot of other tasks I need to tick off. But, that is my focus. The question this year is: Is this helping me plan my trip? (Is this getting us ready for our Mini retirement?)

Time is ticking fast and some of you may have noticed the count down clock I added.

As of today it says 30 weeks and 3 days.  That is just 7 months out.

The launch date of this adventure is October 1, 2017.

I literally have 7 months to get all the following smaller items checked off my to do list.

Some of the tasks that tie into my Big Goal are:

  • earn 100,000 chase rewards point to offset expenses ( our first ever credit card churning experience).
  • Purge 90% of our belonging, so that we can travel for our road trip to Michigan in only our cars.
  • Save/ set aside $12,000 to cover trip expenses along with 1st month in Michigan.
  • Get kids’ passports.
  • Max out Mr. roamers 401K before leaving ( get him laid off to get severance package or at the minimum unemployment).

That’s just a small sample, there are so many more. The topics will still focus on minimalism, money, family and of course travel. All of which I will need to make this mini-retirement work.  To keep me on top of my stuff, I am instilling a new monthly series. Where I will tell you all the things I need to get done. Then review how everything went the month before.

I have a month by month to do list. I built it by referencing checklists made by others. Sites that talk about long term travel, family travel and even moving cross country.

Today I will talk about our February goals and the plan for March.

My February to do list had the following items:

  • Get Jr & Minnie their passports (Not complete)
  • Get Jr’s Dad to sign off on trip (complete)
  • Get life insurance for Mr. Roamer and Me ( Not complete)
  • Mr. Roamer and I dentist appointment  ( Complete)
  • Get detailed projected budget (Complete)
  • Sign up for Chase credit card to earn bonus for me (Complete)
  • Return some big furniture ( Not Complete)
  • Email family in Ecuador and El Salvador (Complete)
  • Finish travel course ( Not Complete)
  • Purge, purge, purge (in process)

While I made an effort on all these I didn’t get them all done.

I screwed up big time with the passports. I have been trying to get my kids passports for years but it can be challenging in a modern family scenario. Finally we all were able to coordinate our schedules. Guess what?! I did not grab their social security cards. I was grabbing their birth certificates and I have the cards right there. I looked at them and thought”I should take these too just in case”. But I didn’t.  Long story short no passports. We set up another appointment in March.

Jr’s dad said YES

The biggest hurdle and therefore accomplishment last month was finally finalizing what was really going to happen. I have talked about this trip on here with qualifiers such as: I hope, maybe, possibly. The reason, which I hinted at, was that it wasn’t just up to Mr. Roamer and I. Why? Well, we have a modern family. I had Jr while I was still in college with his dad. But that isn’t who I married. This situation adds more complexity. Something I hadn’t realized until I started having big travel dreams.

We all get along well and Jr spends time with his dad every week. So asking to have 2 whole months was a big request. I was very nervous but it’s why I kept telling everyone and myself that a month in each location was the dream. Realistically it could be much less, but hopefully not anything less then 2 weeks in each place.

Don’t get me wrong it’s not like I just dropped the bomb and it worked out in my favor. No. I have been mentioning the trip for months. Stating the 1 month desire but  always with ” I hope”. Jr’s dad always said it was a good opportunity for him and didn’t want Jr to miss out.

Finally though I needed to get a straight answer. We talked about the whole plan. The road trip, the trip to Ecuador and El Salvador and the move back to Michigan. Then, I got a solid yes. I could go ahead and start buying tickets.

Writing this post has made me anxious because I can see I really need to stay on top of stuff. I don’t want tasks to keep rolling on to the next month just to become an unbearable pile at the end.

March to do list:

Rolled over tasks from last month

  • Get Jr & Minnie their passports
  • Finish travel course
  • Get life insurance for Mr. Roamer and I
  • Return some big furniture

New tasks

  • Mr. Roamer read How to engineer your layoff
  • Research and apply TSA precheck
  • Schedule doctors appointments
  • Get temporary job
  • Check/ book airline tickets with points
  • Find paid writing work

Most of the items on my to do lists should make sense. It should be clear why they are there. They’ll have something to do with Travel. Other things might not and I will try to explain how they tie in. If you have questions please ask in the comments.

For example having Mr. Roamer read how to engineer your lay off. Reading it won’t help with the trip but it will help us have a more secure mini retirement if he can pull it off. Getting laid off provides the opportunity for some extra cash.

How about doctors appointments and getting a temporary job. Currently I am not working and getting a temporary job will give me a chance to earn some extra money. Again giving us a more secure mini retirement. The doctor appointments are actually recommended, when you are traveling outside the country. That way you can find out if there are any special shots required.

So there you have it the 1st installment of my monthly series to keep me on track. For our 1 goal of having a mini retirement.

What is the number 1 goal you want to accomplish this year? If you have any advice on planning a long trip with kids I am all ears, please share in the comments.



The Roamer traveling wallet

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