Relaxed Travel Departure


We are overseas as this post publishes on Monday morning in the USA.   We left yesterday for our summer vacation to Japan.  We are going to spend 11 days in Tokyo & Kyoto.  It is our first trip to Asia as a family and our first since early retiring in April. 

Many people leave for a dramatic trip immediately after retiring.  My friend John left for a 3 week trip to Germany (including a river cruise on the Danube) just a few days after hanging up a 30+ year career at his company on the May 31st.  Still, another friend is waiting for the end of the year before taking a European vacation because his wife is still working and they are going to cap off her early retirement when she finishes up in December.

Our trip schedule has been mostly dictated by our son’s schedule.  I retired on April Fool’s Day, but he still had two months left in his senior year of high school.  After the graduation ceremony came all of the graduation parties – four full weekends of events at all of his friend’s houses – many of which my wife and I attended too.

Our trip to Japan is a ‘gift’ to our son.  He (like a lot of teen boys his age) is very interested in the land of the rising son.  Having grown up in a world of electronics with Nintendo, Pokemon, and anime movies, he has been very influenced by the Japanese culture.  We surprised him on Christmas Day last year that we would go to Japan this July.

It has been fun planning the trip over the last 6+ months.  I enjoy getting trips booked early, so that we can get all of the details well planned out and learn a bit about the place we are going through books, shows, and movies.  Since we booked the ridiculously expensive tickets last January (snagging one of them on a frequent flyer points award) we have had a lot of time to prepare.  

If fact, we were so well prepared all three of us had our suitcases completely packed more than 24 hours in advance of leaving on Sunday.  Never had we been so far ahead of the game.  Early retirement means that there was no last minute work obligations to interrupt our planning.  Plenty of time to run to the store for last minute errands.  Plenty of time to make sure the packing list was double and triple checked.

That certainly takes a lot of the stress out of planning to go half away around the world.  In fact the other thing that makes this trip different is that there isn’t any work obligations to think about ON the trip either.  No projects to hand off, no updates to give in advance of leaving.  We took a spring break earlier this year without access to email, but I did sneak a few texts back to the office to check on a couple of things while I was gone.

We haven’t planned any more trips after this one.  When our son leaves for college in September we plan to head out for at least a week somewhere, but we haven’t talked in depth about where.  Should be good fun to start planning when we get back!

18 thoughts on “Relaxed Travel Departure

  1. Enjoy the trip! I’m sure this one with taste different with no work hanging over you head while on the trip or looming when you return. My teenagers can related to the world of electronics with Nintendo, Pokemon, and anime movies. The spend a good part of their weekend chasing down Pokemon on Pokemon Go!

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  2. Did you notice your very charming Freudian slip? You wrote that your son is very interested in “the land of the rising son.”

    All my best wishes that this is who he indeed is. There may be nothing more satisfying than watching a child.grow up, discover what his dreams are, and fulfill them.

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    • Wow – that is quite a fitting slip isn’t it?! I never noticed that I typed it that way. It works as a theme for this whole vacation!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I have never been to Asia before but it is definitely on the bucket list. Sounds like you guys are doing it right and giving yourself plenty of time to explore Japan. And what a very memorable family vacation as your son heads off to college. My parents did a similar trip for my family when my older brother graduated college, we went to Europe. We had a blast planning everything together and we still look back on that vacation and tell stories of all the fun memories we had. Hope you have a blast!

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    • We’re just waking up on Tuesday morning after a long travel day to get here. I’ve been to Asia before (on business), but this is the first trip for my son & wife. Should be great memories!

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    • Last night (Monday) we went out to eat in an area by our hotel with 100s of little tiny restaurants – very interesting!

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  4. We are already planning our big trip for summer of 2018 when we hit our date. Oh the joy of not having to look at an iPad or IPhone to keep the lid on excessive email. I’ll look forward to that for sure.

    With you on the stress of project hand offs prior to vacation. Why is the week before vacation always nuts at work? I swear there are more things than ever to deal with. Or maybe others just like to ramp up the load to make sure we don’t forget about what will be waiting on the desk upon return.

    Enjoy Japan. Sounds just marvelous. Our oldest kid would love to go there also.

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    • You are SO right about something always going wrong right before leaving work for vacation! Then again, work is full of weeks that get nuts unexpectedly.

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    • My wife would say I take too many pictures! China is wonderful – I enjoyed some business travel there.

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  5. Pingback: Relaxed Return From First Early Retirement Trip | Mr.FireStation

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