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  #1  
Old 9 Mar 2021
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World trip / sabbatical - what is the ideal age?



What age would be the best for starting an extended journey?

Each life section has his own advantages and disadvantages, with more or less hidden costs. As later we start our journey, as more resistors we had to fight with.

"One year off" most of us should be able to get, without a payback who isnt good at the end. This one year off during the "working years" - does have different costs during different life sections. Not all cost are based out of $$$...

Article: https://vanlife.4x4tripping.com/2021...ideal-age.html

Am I being too conservative, to mention these hidden costs? To mention the time after the "time-off" is relevant too?

Surfy

Last edited by Surfy; 9 Mar 2021 at 11:43.
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Old 9 Mar 2021
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My most enjoyable travels have been done at the age of 30 plus, by then I had a better idea how to travel without getting into too much bother and with getting the best value for money. I had enough experience in my chosen trade mechanical engineering that on my return I could apply for more or less any related job and get it and eventually bought a house that I was happy with so there was always somewhere to return to.
Don't leave it too long, some do and either loose the urge, get too old or even die before it happens.
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  #3  
Old 9 Mar 2021
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I'm 54. I think the ideal time to do an epic journey would have been 40-ish: young enough to have lots of youthful energy, old enough to know not to do anything too stupid.

Until now my trips have never been more than 3 or 4 weeks; that limit is imposed by lack of funds and vacation time from work. For perhaps 20 years I've had an ambition to do a much longer (at least several months) tour through South America, but the financial/vacation resources just haven't been there yet.

I hope to do it when I retire sometime in the next few years, but now I worry less about the finances of it and more about whether I'll have the health and stamina to get the job done.
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Old 10 Mar 2021
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Interesting question - as said I believe there are merits and drawbacks at any age, though of course we only experience time in one direction, so the earlier you do something in life, the greater the proportion of your life you will reap benefit from it.

For me, I knew from an early age that I wanted to travel and learn through experience by means of a long journey. I left at 25 and came back when I was a few months short of 30, after 4.5 years on the road. That gave me a huge amount of life experience and confidence early on and set my value system for later life (i.e. what I valued as worthwhile motivations in life and what I wanted to achieve). I came back and was able to do a Masters degree, join a graduate program and then succeed in professional life, though knowing all the time that there is more to life than money and professional status; I am not in the corporate game for the long run. Having a non-standard CV (resumé) and plenty of life experience as well as decent qualifications made me stand out.

I think doing something like this young is one of the best ways to set oneself up for life. Others mention making mistakes early on - that's natural but I don't think I was too reckless at that age to look after myself. There's also the (widely recognised - see the reminiscence bump) case that we record our strongest memories in adolescence and early adulthood, so to do something positive and memorable at this stage has obvious life-long merits.

As for down-sides, I don't see many. I was able to re-join life where I left off, though it took several years to really plan ahead and know what I wanted to do, after achieving what I regarded as my life's dream. But it's nice to be able to nurture a new 'life dream'. There was also some difficulty in relating to relatively naïve peers who had done the standard school - university - work path, though this just forced me to seek out more interesting people.

The best thing of course that comes from doing things young - as long as you don't ruin yourself doing it - is that you can potentially give it a try again at a later age - or do something totally different. I'm now in my late thirties and am planning to spend most of my forties travelling again. I'm sure there will be certain benefits that come with age, maturity, and more financial stability (i.e. not just spending savings), though I suspect it will never feel quite as fresh and life-defining as my trip in my twenties. When I travelled in my twenties I was confident of the future and didn't worry about what I wanted to do after the trip ended. With age, I find myself worrying about the future far more, even though my current asset-based position is far better than it was then.

So, my advice in short - do it as early as possible. You can travel early, then go back to mundane life, get the career, the family, the mortgage etc if that's what you want (though travelling may also tell you that its not necessary to do the same as everyone else). I imagine it's very hard to do it the other way round. Plus, we have all recently had a timely reminder that the future is uncertain. If the current pandemic gets worse (e.g. widespread vaccine evasion, rapid mutation, major recessions, unrest etc etc) we may find that we are looking back on a golden age of open borders and free movement. I don't believe this will be the case, but it's not implausible.

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Old 16 Mar 2021
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Sarah and I took off for a year when we were in our late 40's. Perfect time for us, Mortgage on the house just cleared so we could rent it out while we travelled and travel on that income. Worked out great. Age wise, it's good too as we were young enough to take multi day backpack hikes, and mature enough to appreciate we were in the very small percentage of people who get to do what we all love.

We went for a year, got back almost 3 years later. We found work quickly, and plan to go again at some stage when the piggy bank is refiled, and this Covid disaster is sorted to some degree, but now probably have a a level of confidence that overland travel brings: Basically a belief that there are not actually big bad wolves in every forest, and that people are generally good and love to see visitors to their country.

We met folks travelling at all ages, from 20's to 80's. Some lived like mobile homeless people, others travelled like kings, and just about everything in the middle. Travel is a massive leveler, as we all have similar goals.

If we had not gone when we did, we would be on much bigger salaries now, probably driving nicer cars or whatever, but I will never trade our trip for anything. Best thing we ever did.

Last edited by Mervifwdc; 17 Mar 2021 at 12:39.
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Old 16 Mar 2021
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Hi all

I have been on the road since I was 17 and never stopped loving it. It was easier when I was younger and happy to sleep in a ditch, but that wears off over time and having a wife means spending more on comfort.

All trips have been heading South for the winter for 6 months as I don't like the cold. I can turn a hand and work, picking oranges in Australia (3 tons a day at $18 per ton). Cladding houses in Florida, farming in Canada all earned me enough to get home and learn a bit more about local life.

Now we have our own overland camper and rent the house out (short term lets used to be 6 months but you can now do any period), and that pays the bills and means we don't need to worry about money too much. I usually budget on a £1000 per month for both of us, obviously we could reduce that by not drinking so much!

There is no good time, doing it is the most important thing, all you miss is loads of depressing news.

Bon voyage.

Bruce
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Old 17 Mar 2021
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mark manley View Post
My most enjoyable travels have been done at the age of 30 plus, by then I had a better idea how to travel without getting into too much bother and with getting the best value for money. I had enough experience in my chosen trade mechanical engineering that on my return I could apply for more or less any related job and get it and eventually bought a house that I was happy with so there was always somewhere to return to.
Don't leave it too long, some do and either loose the urge, get too old or even die before it happens.
Agree with not waiting too long. Kids, wife too hot on spending days at a time on the bike, aches and pains, too many pills and machines to carry, all that piles up with time. Travel still possible, especially with the kids grown up, but sometimes sleeping on the ground at "golden ages" isn't as much fun as at 30.
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Old 17 Mar 2021
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Strangely enough I was just talking about this with my wife over breakfast an hour ago. Our conclusion was that young is better to actually do the trip - more energy, enthusiasm, wide eyed innocence, that sort of thing, but older is better to appreciate what you're doing. With age comes 'cynicism', health issues - pills and machines as mentioned - and an 'easier life' approach (for some anyway), but also context, 'wisdom' (also for some ) and an appreciation of things other than bars and err ... lets call it 'beach wear'. The worst time - we concluded anyway - was the bit in the middle where you're wearing the responsibilities of life, work, families, money etc like a millstone round your neck.
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Old 19 Mar 2021
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Yesterday.

Because tomorrow might be too late.
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Old 19 Mar 2021
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I'd say the right age is more like five to ten years ago. No matter how old I get, that always seems like the golden age.
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  #11  
Old 19 Mar 2021
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Originally Posted by *Touring Ted* View Post
Yesterday.

Because tomorrow might be too late.

And today is the first day of the rest of your life, so no regrets about the past, just get out and go!
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Old 19 Mar 2021
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Originally Posted by markharf View Post
I'd say the right age is more like five to ten years ago. No matter how old I get, that always seems like the golden age.
If you listen to the media it's always 20yrs ago that was the golden age, the time when everything worked. It's mainly, I suspect, because the reporters have either no perspective (due mainly to their age) or a very short attention span. If a week is a long time in politics, 20yrs must be not long after the dinosaurs vanished. Strangely enough that 20yr period seems to have been a constant - in the 70's it was the 50's that were the golden era, in the 90's it was the 70's etc.
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Old 19 Mar 2021
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I thought about expressing an opinion, and then decided simply to share my own experience, in the hope that it might help.

Born as a nomad - family moving every few years, living in Europe and SE Asia.

University in Scotland; member of the University Exploration Society, with lots of weekend camping/exploring/birdwatching/geological/biological/ecological trips as well as some longer trips in the summers (Europe and Asia).

First full time employment in Botswana, with travels in RSA and what is now Zimbabwe; at the end of the contract hitch-hiked through WIKZ, Zambia, Tanzania, to Kenya then flew to Europe - 80% work / 20% travel.

Subsequent employment mainly in various bits of Europe, Canada, USA, Congo, Venezuela, and Colombia, with lots of trips which ranged from business travel through “typical” vacation travel, through what we now call overlanding, on six continents - 85% work / 15% travel.

In the last 11 years I’ve spent 8 years travelling about 40% of the time, most of which has been within my home country, although we’ve travelled for short periods in the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Africa, with about a third of that being overlanding. In the other three years we’ve made three “big trips” - overlanding in South America, Africa, and Australia.

So for me it’s been a lot of travel overall, with a limited amount of overlanding in the period of full time employment. and a significant increase in overlanding in the last decade or so.
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Old 19 Mar 2021
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Originally Posted by *Touring Ted* View Post
Yesterday.

Because tomorrow might be too late.
True! You can get into an accident tomorrow or get cancer next week. Your partner can get early onset dementia next year and you would like to be by her/his side the next 5 years.

One day were all gonna die. But all the other days were gonna live....so do it, go out and live your life! Roam the world, give a bit more f*** in general but be nice to the people you meet on your way....
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Old 5 Apr 2021
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The ideal age?
For whom?
You?
Me?
Someone else?

As far as I'm concerned, when I find the ideal bike, the ideal route, the ideal bank balance, the ideal partner, the COVID situation is ideal and the weather is just...ideal, I'll let you know what my age is!

Too many variables, mate.
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