123 | Mid-Life Retirement with Brent Dusek

family gap year photo
Our family gap year is an experiment in doing life differently.  In this episode Brent shares more about his travel back story, how the gap year came about, how we are funding it and what he is learning through the process.

When this drops we will be in the arctic circle exploring a part of Alaska you can’t drive. If weather cooperates we’ll be visiting 2 more National Parks.  This week also marks 6 months of travel on our family gap year.  I brought my husband back on the show to talk through how we got here.  He referred to this as a mid-life retirement and I loved that analogy.  Much of our family gap year is an experiment in doing life differently.  He shares more about his travel back story, how the gap year came about, how we are funding it and what he is learning through the process. If you want to know even more, I suggest picking up a copy of my book, Beyond Normal (linked in the show notes).  

Our guest today rarely sits still, enjoys strong coffee and can fix just about anything.  He wasn’t born wanderlust or with the same amount of spontaneity as his wife, but together they have crafted an adventurous life with three kids.  Brent Dusek is Mr. Ordinary Sherpa who takes more black diamond trails, my co-pilot, and most often seen in the driver seat of our RV while traversing North America.  

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Key Takeaways

  1. RV travel for the Dusek family was inspired by the kids missing the dog during family travel experiments.  
  2. When the gap year idea was suggested the idea of more intentional family time and the flexibility to travel when and where they wanted.  Being a teacher for 18+ years it felt like his life revolved around the school year.  Skiing mid-week was one example of what that might look like.  
  3. The two challenges Brent had to work through is What would I do for work? (Because that is what makes this possible), and How would the kids do schooling differently? 
  4. Part of getting your partner on-board is allowing them to do things on their own timeline.  When Brent told Heidi he was going to resign she stated “I’m surprised it took this long.” 
  5. Breaking away from the educational system, the hardest part was stepping away from the meaningful part of work which was working with students.  The mindset of “I am closing this chapter for now, I can always come back if I want to.” 
  6. When the kids went back to school in the fall was when he realized his routine was different.  However during his time substitute teaching confirmed he made the right decision.  Defining the parameters of what he enjoyed and what he was willing to do helped him gain clarity of next steps for hands-on technical skills type work.  
  7. In order to financially support the idea of a gap year required Brent to save his salary when both partners were working. Knowing in the end it was going to allow us to do something bigger and better later on. It started out as a retirement savings plan and when the gap year idea became more realistic (much faster than expected) they were able to accelerate their savings and allow their gap year to be a mid-life retirement.  
  8. A gap year in his forties allowed him to practice what he wanted retirement to look like.  “I couldn’t ski like we skied when I retire.  I don’t know what my body is going to be like in my sixties.  I’m not going to be able to ride the Going to the Sun road with my two boys because they are going to be older and have their lives doing what they want with their families.”
  9. The HOW became much easier once we were clear about WHAT and ultimately WHY we were doing this.  We ended up hitting the threshold much sooner than expected.  
  10. Space becomes less of an issue when you go outside.  Finding time and defining boundaries helps each person thrive in smaller spaces.  

Resources mentioned in this episode
Insider Guide to RV Rental
So You THink You Want to RV? 
Making Crazy Decisions with your Partner

Where to Listen

Apple Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher,  Google Podcast, anywhere podcasts are played