Doug’s Year Off (This Might Sound Crazy)

I put a new entry in my Chocolate Notebook, the one that records chocolate I have loved and what I was doing when I ate it.

The Mo’s Dark Bacon Bar, a long-time favorite reserved only for the most special occasions, came from the Saturday afternoon we spent on a quilt on the grass in front of the Kimball Art Museum in Fort Worth.

It was Doug’s 40th birthday actually, and thanks to a sweet day of babysitting we had a really good talk.

I realized that Doug had worked hard for 25 years, and he would likely work 25 more, Lord willing. He could use a break. Suddenly it made perfect sense for him to take a year off work now instead of saving it all for the end when he retires in his old age.

My practical, common sense, saving money nature became convinced, “We can make this work. Let’s do it!”

Now, less than six weeks after that decision, Doug has resigned from his position at work, and in two more weeks he’ll start his year off. I can’t wait to see what he does when he has free time to pursue his own ideas instead of spending sixty hours a week for someone else’s.

This year will cost us, sure, but I consider it an investment in my husband and for our family.

So while I’ve been writing a little less here than I normally do, it’s because I’m getting used to this and trying to wrap my mind around the fact that when the holidays are over in January, we’ll give up our apartment, put our furniture and other belongings in a storage unit, and find somewhere new we want to live. I don’t know yet where we’ll be.

I was way too cautious growing up. I wouldn’t have tried something like this, but I’m excited. It’s going to be an adventure, that’s for certain.

About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.

Comments

  1. Wait. What? Wow.
    I cannot wait to read how this story unfolds for you all…

    jill´s last post…Caught Out After Dark Part 2

  2. When I Was 18 years old (I’m 28 now), my dad did the same. He’s a highschool teacher, and here in Belgium after a while (and some good reports), your job becomes ‘definitive’ if you want to. Normally my mom (who’s a teacher too) would take a year off, but when she decided not to, my dad took the opportunity and asked for a sabbatical.
    It was great. He read a lot, cooked a lot and was really there for us. (He already was very present before, teachers have hours that combine quite well with a family). I look back on it wath gratitude. So I think it’s a great decision and it will turn out just fine!

    Meyser´s last post…Smile

  3. wow. this is not crazy..it is absolutely sane and wonderfully brave.

    good luck and keep us posted.

    chicu´s last post…a days work

  4. I’m a new reader who is now hooked. Hurray for your family!

  5. I can’t wait to see how wonderfully this unfolds! Please share how you will pay the few bills that will need paying. I LOVE your idea and wish we could do it. We often talk about traveling in an RV. They are pricey even to rent! But there must be a way to do it.

  6. You know what? I think this is a fabulous idea.

    I just had an aha moment when I read this:

    I realized that Doug had worked hard for 25 years, and he would likely work 25 more, Lord willing. He could use a break. Suddenly it made perfect sense for him to take a year off work now instead of saving it all for the end when he retires in his old age.

    It makes perfect sense. You’re inspiring me and I think we should work towards something like this too!

    Marcia Francois, Organising Queen´s last post…5 essential ingredients to planning your day

  7. Great idea. We’ve done something similar – though not quite so brave. My husband now works for himself from home. He gets to spend much much more time with us. All the breakfasts, morning teas, lunches and coffee breaks. He’s sure he’d be much more productive and earn more if he was away from home, but we’ve agreed it SO wouldnt be worth it.

  8. This post made me smile. My family is doing the same thing while my husband figures out what his next step is (I have little babes I’m taking care of for the next few years). People keep asking me if I’m stressed out by it and I’ve wondered if I’m strange for answering “No! I am loving it!”. But our kids are only little like this once and there couldn’t be a better time for both of us to be around for them and to be able to visit far-flung family and friends as a family. I’m treasuring these weeks and reveling in them. I know your family will do the same!

  9. I follow the logic, absolutely. And if you can afford to lose his income for a year, why not? The only question in my mind is how easily will he get another job at the end of the year? Difficulties could crop up from both sides – they might not want him and he might find after a year off going back quite hard. Still, I’m assuming you’ve considered all that. Look forward to hearing how it all goes. Hope he enjoys his year!

  10. Oh wow, this is so exciting! That makes such sense. A friend of mine’s parents bought a caravan and toured Europe as soon as their youngest child left for university. It’s popular here to take a year off before starting university, but I never got the chance, so it’s definitely something I’d like to do one day!

    Becca´s last post…One Late Summer’s Day in Wiltshire

  11. Wow! This is an adventure, for sure! I hope you’ll continue to blog about it – I can’t wait to follow along.

    Debbie´s last post…say cheese!

  12. That is awesome! And from someone who is looking forward to her husband quitting his job forever in the next year – no this doesn’t sound crazy. {high five}

    Oh, and we may be moving to TX next year.

    Shannon´s last post…Four Reasons to Switch to Loose Leaf Teas and My Favorite Brewing Equipment

  13. At first, I was a little stunned, but I don’t think you are crazy. This sounds like a great challenge, and yet so freeing! My husband hasn’t been working as long as Doug (he’s not quite 30), but he has been having severe back problems over the past 5 years (and has a very “back-breaking” job). We are nearly out of debt, and preparing for a major change in the next year or so. I will definitely be following your journey as you post!

  14. SO COOL! I can’t wait to read about your adventures and live a little vicariously through them :)

  15. Wow! I can’t wait to follow this journey! I would love if you gave some practical financial advice on how to make this work. My husband is only 30 but this is something I could definately see us doing in 5 or 10 years:)

    Good on you for taking the path less travelled.

  16. Rachel, you inspire me.

    I love that you consider his year off an “investment” in his future. How poignant. I read this and wanted to call my husband right away and be like, look, let’s do this! LOL. That is, unfortunately, not a reality for us at this time, but hopefully someday. Maybe something to work towards? We’ll see.

    Awesome, awesome, AWESOME post. I hope you’ll share with us the details of finding your new space and let us all take a peek at how you are accomplishing this amazing feat.

    Ammie

    Ammie @ Domesticallyobsessed.com´s last post…Why A Homemaking Blog Is WAAAAAY Better To Learn From Than A Magazine

  17. That is an intriguing idea!!! I am looking forward to “coming along” on your journey as you share it here!

    I Live in an Antbed´s last post…Why Blog

  18. I think this is awesome! A year ago my husband decided to quit work and go back to school full time. It was a tough decision for us since it means we are living on my salary for the next three years so he can get his degree in nursing. But once he gets done with school and gets a job we have already decided that I will get a year off to go to school or do whatever else I’d like to do without working for a year. I’m really excited about it for myself and I think it’s amazing that your husband will get a chance to do it! Good luck to all of you!

    Make it Modern´s last post…Worktable Wednesday- Project Pure

  19. Now this is gettin’ good…

    juliet´s last post…Boondoggle

  20. This sounds so exciting! You’re very brave to make such a major change in your lives, but I think you won’t regret it! I look forward to reading about how it goes.

    Marie A´s last post…Finding Freedom and Passion

  21. Rachel,
    This coincides so nicely with Your Money or Your Life. LOVE that you have created a life where you have options. The kids are still young, you don’t have to worry about schools and friends yet, and if you have the funds to pull it off, I think that that is absolutely amazing. But, then again, you have always been amazing with your “funds”. I can not wait to hear all about it…and do I see a book in the near future? Perhaps, “What we did on our year off…”? (I’m sure you can come up with a better title!)

    Sharon´s last post…October Challenge- Food in the housebut charges on AMEX

  22. the cottage child says:

    Go, SN family! Your examples of what life can look like when you just stop to change lenses are inspiring. Thanks for including us, and letting a little inspiration rub off. Now I’m dying of anticipation for the next step…

  23. My husband read ‘The 4 hour work week’ and after lots of discussion we realized that we needed to reprioritize and approach ‘work’ differently. He works contract from home now and has the time and opportunity to to on family vacations any time, volunteer in the kids’ schools, we go out to lunch together — its a blissful existence. I can only hope you have the same great experience this year.

    Alison´s last post…Featured

  24. Wow! Have fun exploring the possibilities. Wish we could have done the same thing. Friends did this and it was the best thing in their lives – made them go different directions they never would have gone. Can’t wait to hear how things happen for you. Keep us posted – we’re here waiting with excitement!
    ~Adrienne~

    Adrienne´s last post…Gratitude and Early Signs Of Fall

  25. Live like no one else, so that (even tomorrow) you can live like no one else! You guys are an inspiration financially and also spiritually! Can’t wait to see what this year brings for your family.

    • “Live like no one else, …….

      That’s exactaly what I was thinking… a little D.R. plug in there.

      We’re on the same road, financially…. but have never thought of this before. Hmmmm. I wonder if your adventure inspires others to follow suit.

      Can’t wait to see the story unfold….

  26. I’m nervous for you. “Take a year off” is very optimistic in this economy. I’m not sure where you live but here in NY we don’t have the luxury of a sabbatical. We are clinging to the jobs we have with crossed fingers. And I don’t have debt but I do have expenses…

    • I don’t mean to sound like a wet blanket, but it makes me nervous, too. I haven’t followed your blog long enough to know if you have any other source of income besides your husband’s job. I could understand it if it was just the two of you, but it seems like a pretty gutsy move when you have two small dependent children. Do you have access to affordable health insurance?
      Good luck!

      • Yes we have planned accordingly. Yes, we have private health insurance in place. We have been very careful, very conservative and blessed. Please don’t be nervous. In Dallas, in my line of work things are more open for this kind of thing. My position will be waiting for me when I return if I choose, relationships have been built over the last 11 years that keep options open.

        To be honest my resignation and my plans have made me somewhat of a hero to many people on both sides of the business.

        This is going to be fun.

  27. YeeHaw!!! I am so pickin’ excited for you guys. We’re about to embark on our own similar adventure in the new year (still hush-hush on the blog) and I get so jazzed about this kind of stuff.

    Life is for LIVING, now. Not when we’re retired or when our kids are grown. But right now. And I want this for my husband also. The freedom to explore and do what he wants to do. He’s been supporting our family faithfully for years and will continue to do so but I want to give him room to explore and I’m willing to move, downsize and live with less material goods to give him that opportunity.

    Oh… I’m just so excited for your family Rachel. I think this will change your family’s future for the better. I have loved your blog since day one and now I love it even more, if that’s possible.

    You just made my day ((Smile))

  28. Awesome! I can’t wait to hear about your upcoming year, it sounds like it will be very exciting!

  29. Rachel,

    Amazing!! I’m so thrilled and cannot wait to follow along.

    Also, have been really eagerly awaiting your e-book? Coming soon, right?! =)

    Blessings,

    Jamie

    steadymom´s last post…Keeping Track of Your Family Heritage

  30. Congratulations.
    I gave my notice several weeks ago, and will finish work on November 7th. This decision was prompted by a number of things including the realization that working so you could have life insurance was stupid if the work was going to hasten the need to use said life insurance. Your Doug (I’m married to a Doug too, and am also Rachel) appears to be creative and resourceful like his wife. I have no doubts he will do fabulous stuff and that you will thrive because of this. Go get ‘em Doug!

    Tepary´s last post…One of the most important votes this election in AZ

  31. I so love this :”I was way too cautious in my youth” – god, I can so relate. I don’t know if anyone gets to the end and says , “gee, I should have had fewer fantastic experiences”. Good for you – all we are sure of is today, so makes sense to grab it by the horns and have at it!!
    Can’t wait to hear how this works out -the good, the bad, and the absolutely wonderful!!

    deb´s last post…These are Some Fancy Pumpkins!

  32. Wow! That is brave and so commendable! I cannot wait to read Doug’s story on your blog. Hope you’ll share. Best of luck and enjoy your time…it is so precious!

  33. that is so fantastic!! i cannot wait to hear how it goes.

  34. Beth Young says:

    I love, love, LOVE this post! 7 1/2 years ago when we had our first son Gabriel we were living in Denver. My husband only worked part-time and I had my own business and we had the best time of our lives! We spent time together and we just love being home so it was grand. Now, 3 kids later, my husband has his own business and I work from home and we really enjoy life, too. I can’t wait to hear where you end up next and I’ll be sure to follow your journey!

  35. Wow…I can’t believe that many people are out of work because they can’t find jobs and your husband just resigns. I’m excited for you – but concerned what will happen when he tries to get back into the work force. Have a great ride!

  36. What a brilliant idea! Life is about making the best choices for you & your family, and spending time together sounds like a fabulous choice. I love that you’re looking out for & thinking of your husband, even if it means taking a risk. Hope it’s a fabulous year!

  37. That is amazing. What a neat gift you’re giving to your husband to be able to encourage him to do this. I hope it’s really an incredible year for you.

  38. Wow this is exciting! My husband may not have a job after the holidays and this is very inspiring. We could do it. I m interested in how your financial situations will work. Please share. Also, what about his retirement and the like?

  39. We’ve also thought about doing something like this. Our version includes moving with our children to southern Mexico for a year or so. Can’t wait to read what happens next!

  40. Christine says:

    Good for you! I can’t wait to hear how this goes. We’re looking at changing things up greatly in our life too. I’ve taken time off from training for a partial career change which led straight into being a stay at home mom for the past three years. Now I’m looking at completing my training (2 years, full time) and my husband is looking at being home with the kids, at least part time. It’s a big switch for us, but we’re excited.

  41. I have been toying with this idea for a little while now. I would have to be debt free before this happens which is going to take a bit and I do worry about taking a sabbatical (I think the working world likes that term better when they ask for employment gaps). There are alot of other things to think about and I would love to hear how it goes for you both on your year off. Do you think Doug will be doing any guest posts?

  42. WOW! So radical, brave, and fantastic – can’t wait to hear about it!

    pam´s last post…My favorite time of year

  43. Wow. Is his job being held for him to go back to? It is a nice idea.

    • I was told that my job would be waiting for me if I wanted to come back. It was very encouraging, it made me feel very good when my boss said that.

  44. That does sound crazy but I think its a great idea! I am all for taking a year off when you have the chance. I took this last year off from work for that very same reason. It was a struggle and I am having a hard time getting ready to go back to work but I think it was worth it!

    Melissa´s last post…Birthday Weekending

  45. Wow. What an accomplishment. I will echo everyone else here when I say congrats and you are such an inspiration!

    Kelsey´s last post…The Efficiency of a Business Instant Messenger

  46. Wow! Very thought provoking, I never thought of my husband taking a year off in the middle of the working years, but talk about a better quality of life! I am excited to see how this journey unfolds for you as well!

    Melanie@ Addicted to Homes´s last post…Free Autumn Decor from Nature

  47. Denise C. says:

    WOW! SO AMAZING! Definitely keep us updated on your adventure! I bet Doug is super excited about having a whole year off. I’d love to do something like this with my husband someday (we own our house, so putting it up for sale is not an option.) If you’re ever out in VA/DC area I’d love to meet you both! Best of luck to you! :)

    • One thing I wanted to add, the other day I was thinking about organizing some stuff around my kitchen sink. I went back to your post (Nov. 12, 2009) & you said “you didn’t want to by more stuff, to hold your stuff”. Thank you again for those wise words! :)

  48. That is so freakin’ great it’s unbelievable! I would LOVE my husband to be able to do this! Shoot, I would love him to be able to quit work and JUST do school, instead of doing both full time :)

    The Butterfly Nest´s last post…Back to Planet Earth

  49. That’s awesome! Congratulations on taking the leap and making this happen. It’ll be a year you’ll never forget!

    Susan´s last post…Next Adventure

  50. What a loving and giving wife you are. My first thoughts would be ‘no way!’ but after I thought about it, it made perfect sense.
    Enjoy this time together. Life is too short to spend it working all the time.

  51. I forwarded this on to my husband. Wishing Doug all the happiness he can find within that year. I cannot wait to continue to read future posts of your adventures together. How wonderful!

  52. I think I would personally go nuts having my husband off work for a year, and I think he’d get antsy, too, since it’s in his make-up to work and be the chief provider. He has often said, though, that he would love to retire young and do some traveling and fix up the house and pursue meaningful personal interests, but that he is not sure there’d be a job for him when he wants or needs one later. We could do it financially three years from now (when our 3rd kid is out of college) if we were sure he could find an equally good job 12 months from now. Not willing to risk it at this point.

    I admire couples who really enjoy spending every waking moment together. I also admire people who prayerfully consider the risks, ramifications, and rewards of living unconventionally–and it sounds like you all have. Blessings to you!

    Zoanna´s last post…Postponing the Autumn Tour of Homes Here

  53. Yahoo!!!! You know how on board and in favor of this I am, and even though you’ve already told me about it, I still get goosebumps reading it here in a post. It is so, so, so worth it. You won’t regret it.

    Oh, and if you ever want to crash on a tiny red couch, you know where we are. ;)

    Tsh @ Simple Mom´s last post…Does Your House Attitude Need a Paint Job

  54. We are also doing a version of this! My DH is taking the parental (maternity) leave that I do not qualify for since I work from home part-time, so he will be home for 9 months after my soon-to-be here baby #3 is born. Like your DH, he sees it as an investment of his time in our family.
    Luckily for us, however, he will get paid for this time (though it is a reduction in his salary, I make far too little to support our family on my income alone). I feel so blessed that we are able to make this choice, and look forward to hearing about your experiences.
    My only worry is that we will have to renegotiate some of our responsibilities, but I know our relationship can take it.

  55. I had to read the post a few times to make sure I understood. I said a prayer for your family and am so looking forward to reading about your adventure. I love it. You are so intentional about your life.

  56. This post is from Rachel’s mom. Doug is my “New Son” as Rachel says. I am delighted that Doug and Rachel are doing this. I am not a bit worried. Doug is good at making money and Rachel is good at keeping it. Their daughter Lane is going into kindergarten next year so this is the perfect time. Doug helps out with the kids, around the house and with the cooking, even more, he loves it. I watch in amazement when he gets home from work he goes right to the kids and starts playing with them, enjoying them even after a hard day. The expression on his face tells the whole story. I’m confident that they willl enjoy this year, my grandchildren will benefit and their stronge marriage will be even stronger for it. This is not a spur if the moment decision, but a well thought out plan.I’m really proud of them.

    Sarah´s last post…The New Me

    • Karen (Scotland) says:

      This comment is lovely to read and it’s nice to know Doug and Rachel have the support of family.
      (I was about to say that my Mum would be panicking but, actually, she and her husband packed in permanent jobs to become seasonal caravan site wardens so I guess maybe she is more adventurous than me!)
      enjoy the company of your “New Son” over the next year. :-)
      Karen

    • Oh… I loved reading your mom’s perspective.

  57. How amazing! If my guy wanted to take a year off, I would tell him he was crazy and to get back to work! I love your dedication. :)

  58. Hi-
    My initial reaction was, “Whoa…not a good idea!” but felt I couldn’t post that, given all the favorable responses already posted! :) But, as I sat with your news, it occurred to me that you and your husband seem to be incredibly thoughtful and bright people, who are uncommonly good at solving problems. So, while this might not be a plan I’d endeavor to take on, I have no doubts that you and Doug will discover all sorts about yourselves in this next year and that you (together) will make this a positive and meaningful year. I also reminded myself that while a year off might take you in unexpected (and possibly temporarily less than ideal) circumstances, things ALWAYS do work out for the best – even if where you end up is far from where you imagined you were going. I am hopeful for you guys!

  59. Wow, I do think y’all are crazy … in a good way! This is fascinating. I’m 27 years old, not married, no children, and I often think about just quitting my job and doing something crazy. But then the “what ifs” take over. I look forward to hearing about your journey!

    Rachel´s last post…You run and you run to catch up with the sun- but it’s sinking

  60. So excited for your family! My hubby is a teacher and we relish in the few short months he is home with us every summer. You and your kids will have such a greater appreciation for Doug when it is all said and done. My husband only headed back to work just about 6 weeks ago and my young children are already asking how much longer until summer! They want daddy back home all-day every day! Can’t wait to see what unfolds this next year!

    Sarah H.´s last post…Picnic Lunch for a Hungry Crew

  61. I am in my early 60′s, my husband 65 and I know how much he missed when our two daughters were growing up. He was on the road in sales and travelled alot. How amazing a year off would have been for him back then. You can never get that time back and I think you guys will love it. I always admire folks who do the travelling around the world stuff with their kids, they are blessed forever with wonderful memories as I am sure you guys will be as well. I look forward to reading about it all!!

  62. Love it. You have really inspired me. Please, please, post updates on this – I’d love to hear how it goes.

  63. Where will you live? How will you pay for food? Do you have an RV? I can’t wait to hear the details. I’m sure my hubby would love a year off!

  64. Wow! How exciting! My husband and I have been debating moving somewhere (shhh…) and this post makes me want to up and move right now!!

    Well, if your journeys take you through Tucson, we have some sleeping bags…and maybe an air mattress soon. :)

    Jessicah´s last post…such a big girl

  65. My wish for you guys is excellent adventuring over the next year! Way to be bold!

    Teresa@where in the world?´s last post…a strange anniversary of sorts

  66. Oh, what a BEAUTIFUL idea! I think that is such a great thing you are able to extend to him, as a wife. You’re an inspiration! Please share more about this when you have a chance. I am dying to hear more!

    carmen @ life blessons´s last post…Seeking Simplicity- Cutting Back Time Wasted Online

  67. This sounds like a grand idea. I had a pair of friends each take a year off a while ago, but they were at a rather different point in their lives–late 20s, renting…it made it easy to train the puppy, with someone home all the time!

  68. Wow! You know, often the the only thing that keeps us from living a remarkable life is fear. So kudos to you & Doug for embracing this idea and running with it. I think if anyone is up to the challenge, it’s you two! I wish you the best and I can’t wait to hear (read) about your adventure.

  69. Karen (Scotland) says:

    Wow. This is huge news. And a huge decision.

    The practical side of me went “eek” but I’m 100% sure you and Doug have thought this through, planned it, done this year’s budget, done the what-if-you-don’t-get-work-in-a-year budget and have considered the realities of being together so much and… you will have made the right decision for your family, no doubts about it.

    My husband is a sailor (as you know) and, although he is gone half the year, he is also home half the year so he sort-of gets to experience what Doug is hoping to have in the next year – he does the school routine, takes them swimming, can attend school events, takes them to the park during the day and so on and so on.
    It also gives him a full and realistic idea of what being a homemaker is all about – always healthy in a relationship for both partners to have an understanding of what the other actually does all day.

    I look forward to seeing where this adventure takes you, I really do.

    Karen (Scotland)
    PS Encourage him to get out the house a lot – 24/7 company can be a bit much, even if you love each other dearly… Believe me, I know! :-)

  70. I told my husband 3 years ago after we returned from vacation either you quit or I will quit for you. After almost 12 years of the title business, his job was too stressful and the long hours made him miserable. He quit and is now working closer to home at a job he loves. Had he not quit, we probably would not have the adorable 15 month old baby boy that we have now. Cudos to you and your husband,

    tracylynne´s last post…When the boss lets you go home

  71. So not to be too much of a nosy nelly, but seriously I need more info. How is this going to work? You’re giving up your apartment but where do you intend to live, eat, play? How are you going to deal with health care, food costs etc. My husband is younger than me and I worry by the time he retires I’ll be too old to enjoy it. We always say we need to win the lottery so he can stay home with us, but your idea seems a lot more possible to happen. I just can’t see how we could money-wise. SO TELL TELL all your specifics so the rest of us can follow your lead.

    Heather´s last post…Emergency!

  72. Monica Stoupa says:

    My second husband Dave and I did this in 2006 when I agreed to a teaching exchange in Australia. Earlier in life, Dave had married young and had kids and never had time for a break from the 40+ hours a week that he put in as a carpenter. So for one year I was the full time employee and Dave’s job was to run the house and do whatever he wanted to do.

    It was very easy for me to work at a new job at a new school in a foreign country when he was in charge of everything else. For the year of 2006 I cooked only two (yes, 2) meals! Dave was in charge of laundry, cooking, cleaning, banking, shopping, paying bills, planning trips and after all that was done, he did whatever he wanted.

    Dave was able to take surfing lessons – something he never would have been able to do in Colorado. He made friends of his own and went fishing in the ocean, read countless books, volunteered for the set crew of high school musical, travel to Tasmania to fish alone for a week and helped friends with day care when they got caught without a babysitter.

    The men at the school I worked at were quite envious and were wondering how they could get this sort of deal for themselves.

    This year off did cost us financially in terms of Dave’s lost income. He was unable to get a work visa from the Australian government so he COULD NOT work. We made ends meet by setting up a home equity line of credit against our home back in the States so we could travel during my school vacations. We paid that amount back when we sold our house in 2008 and downsized to a smaller home in hopefully, our retirement community.

    A year of contemplation for Dave, outstanding support for me as I worked in a full time job in Australia. We wouldn’t trade that year for anything in the world.

  73. Woohoo! Go for it!

    My Doug and I just wrapped up almost 7 years off, time we used for traveling, learning and growth. It was the best decision we ever made! Yes, it “cost” us too, but no one can ever take away those experiences we had. We sold our home and cars and gave away or donated most everything else we owned and took off. Great adventures!

    The best thing was being able to share the stories and photos with our family and friends and now speaking about it and teaching others how to do what we did (no, we don’t make moey doing that, we just love sharing and hope to encourage more people to “check out” earlier).

    I wish you both a wonderful year (or more…you never know, it can be addicting! ;)).

    If you’re interested in our adventures or are looking for ways t spend some time, please check out our site or email me. I love sharing whatever I can to help others looking to embark on time off, BEFORE retirement.

    Kudos to you both,
    Steph

  74. Woohoo! Go for it!

    My Doug and I just wrapped up almost 7 years off, time we used for traveling, learning and growth. It was the best decision we ever made! Yes, it “cost” us too, but no one can ever take away those experiences we had. We sold our home and cars and gave away or donated most everything else we owned and took off. Great adventures!

    The best thing was being able to share the stories and photos with our family and friends and now speaking about it and teaching others how to do what we did (no, we don’t make moey doing that, we just love sharing and hope to encourage more people to “check out” earlier).

    I wish you both a wonderful year (or more…you never know, it can be addicting! ;)).

    If you’re interested in our adventures or are looking for ways to spend some time, please check out our site or email me. I love sharing whatever I can to help others looking to embark on time off, BEFORE retirement.

    Kudos to you both,
    Steph

  75. Awesome idea!! Kudos to you for taking this step – it’s the hardest bit, from now on, everything is your choice!

  76. Are you going to Belize for a year? You are an inspiration!

  77. You guys are awesome! My husband would LOVE this!!

    Emma´s last post…except for friday

  78. Rachel,

    I think it is a great idea for Doug to take time off and follow his passion. Happy Belated birthday to him.

    He can take time to re-energize or make money from him passion which seemed to be woodworking, handy construction, and more. Zenguy is doing same thing, following his passion but we have yet to make income from it. We are living barebone and my blog has made me $0.00 so far. ;-) But I think we are on right path, until we can survive.. I hope we do and I am sure you will too.

    Preeti

    Zengirl @ Heart and Mind´s last post…Honoring Beautiful People with Beautiful Heart!

  79. WOW – Congrats for taking such a huge step! I’m sure it will be different, but you are so brave for just jumping in!

  80. I think this is awesome. One thing I find so inspiring and unique about your blog is that you really support men and are pro-male. I love it! Doug is a very lucky man to have you on his side.

    Mary Beth´s last post…3191 quarterly

  81. vermontmommy says:

    In awe, amazed, happy for your family, envious, curious as to what your adventure will be but so very supportive. What an amazing time you will have. I am happy to be a reader so that I can take part in this too. :)

  82. It is so important to support your spouse. I encouraged my husband to quit his thankless job several years ago. His entrepreneurial spirit is now beginning to pay off, but it was tough for a little while. It was a great decision for our marriage.

    Sarah

    Sarah´s last post…Beginning in the Beginning

  83. That rocks!! Seriously excited for all of you!

  84. Wait, Doug is 40! I remember him being older, but when on earth did we get this old? :) Congrats on this fabulous opportunity! Priase to HIM from whom all blessings flow and the chance to do this! I am so excited to see what God will as this new chapter begins.
    Meanwhile, I was promoted yesterday to an incredibly stressful job I’ve spent years working toward. Hello Managing Editor-Americas, that’s me. And David is working on a huge Asia project now. We are running the rat race and panting all along the way. Hope to have the wisdom of you and Doug eventually.
    Love you old kids always always always.
    xoxo
    H

  85. i grew up with my father being jobless most of the time which is not fun at all, so my 1st thought is … oh don’t do it …!!

    then again, if you can afford your family life for a year (regular expences, medical, and extra money just incase), i’m thinking ‘why not’, my best prayer for your family and hope to read great post from you soon (specially the financial tactic)

    take care :)

    bimbi´s last post…wall stickers

  86. Wow! This post has my mind reeling today! What an amazing prospect… terrifying, exciting, anxiety inducing…. After working so hard to create a stable place for my family, the paradigm shift required to take the leap you are taking is astonishing! So envious of your relationship, your courage, your ability to financially pull it off! Enough so that I mentioned it on my blog http://carazymom.blogspot.com/2010/10/paradigm-shift.html.

    Cannot wait to read these next chapters in your life! Thank you for sharing!

  87. Rebecca Foxworth says:

    Enjoy! Just be sure to tally up the total of those belongings you’re putting in storage and make sure the space is worth what you’d pay to buy them again. My in-laws used to pay to move everything, before they realized they could buy couches/dressers/beds new for less than they spent to ship it. Wonder if that’s true of all the non-sentimental, easily replaced items in your home. Would selling some furniture allow you to bank more bucks monthly by renting a smaller space, then re-buy when you’re done?

    Also…have the hubs try listening to the 48 Days podcast. It’s about finding your passion. About making money doing what you love. Dan Miller also wrote a book called No More Mondays that is a great read. Who knows…maybe this break will end up pointing him in a new direction that will turn out to be even more lucrative because he’ll be doing what he loves?

  88. I hope this coming year will be a memorable one, and that lots of good things will come your way.

    Thanks for taking us along for the ride. :)

    Mika´s last post…Finding the rhythm again…

  89. We cannot live in Fear. Way to go!

  90. This sounds wonderful! it will be a great adventure. my husband did it wice for 6 month within 5 years and it was amazing. He now has such a close relationship with our children (9,8 and 5) and he would never want to miss it. We even changed countries in between! I hope you will love it like we did! All the best and thank you for taking us along with you!
    Yvonne

    Yvonne´s last post…The forest room in progress

  91. WOW!!!!! I truly can’t wait to see how this new life adventure plays out! Praying for y’all!!

    JILL´s last post…One Month Old!

  92. My husband and I for that matter tried this in 1986-87, he stayed home for the full year — and I think he enjoyed it way too much, I went back to work within about 6 months. During that time we moved from prairies to coast. It was a great time, but cost dearly, not just for ourselves but also our children paid a price we did not immediately see. If your future is guaranteed there is no reason why a family cannot test out this idea, but in our case the future backfired and my husband has not worked that next 20 years — at age 60 he was terminated – a AMERICAN owned company that went down in 2008. Now at age 62, the job offers just never reappear. We are on the edge of loosing 40 years of work and saving… Enjoy the year off while you can, unfortunately it may come back when you do not want it to…

    Susan being Snippy´s last post…Socky Things or How to keep your tootsies warm in Winter

  93. This sounds like an awesome experience-something I would LOVE to try with my husband and family. Definitely gives me something to think about and the possibility of re-prioritizing our family’s goals. I am looking forward to following your journey!

  94. Good for you! You’re an inspiration to others.

    Two Chicks and a Hen´s last post…Kneading Warm Playdough- Adding the Color After Cooking

  95. Wow!! You both are doing what many of us only wish we could do! My husband and I are both Naturopathic Doctors and we often refer patients to your site to read about how your family overcame food allergens. Looking forward to reading about Doug’s year off! http://www.healthycompromises.com

  96. As I was putting my mascara on this morning I was thinking about your post yesterday and this verse popped into my head: “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and self-discipline.” (2 Tim 1:7) I think that sums up exactly what you are doing.
    Your blog has encouraged me so much since I found it – though you are (both!) young – you have such wisdom. I appreciate Doug’s willingness to contribute to your blog and I look forward to hearing where this year takes you all. Blessings!

  97. I discovered your blog a while ago and I’ve been slipping in quietly and often to read your words. They are inspiring, wise. Thank-you!

    I am currently taking a year off of my regular job and loving it. I moved home to live with my parents during this year, to help them and to interact with my younger siblings. God has blessed me in ways I never imagined, He’s teaching me so much. It’s been a wonderful, stretching experience. Blessings to you and yours!

  98. I am SO excited for you!!! What a gift for him!

    Kait Palmer´s last post…And The New Name Is

  99. WOW! That is so awesome! We’re trying to figure out how to get me out of the office and home with the kids while the hubby is [back] in school. Is the main enabler from saving like frugal maniacs? I have to say that having my husband take care of the kids during the day has been wonderful for our family. I feel like they have a unique relationship with their father that a lot of kids miss out on. It will also make my husband sympathetic to my long days and me to his when we finally get to reverse our roles to the more “traditional” way when he graduates.

  100. kuddos to both of you for doing this! i know it’s something that so many of us wish we could do. i’ve always been cautious. not a risk taker. i blame it on my folks, which maybe i shouldn’t do, but they never took a risk nor did they encourage any of us kids to take one. i know it’s never too late to start but somehow i still have difficulties with this knowing that i have 2 teenage girls depending on mom and dad to provide and make do. i’ve worked my job for 20 years; just yesterday i said i would retire in 8-12 years, once girls are out of college.
    i applaud you & doug for being brave! yay for you! do it while you can enjoy it.

    Nancy´s last post…Sunday Afternoon Home Improvement

  101. This is wonderful! Enjoy it while you are young. I will enjoy following you as next summer I say goodbye to my job, for up to 2 years. The adventure is just to be here at home with my kids to home school and be a mom. We will say goodbye to half our income, so I am excited to see how you all go through the journey. Good luck and it will shall be amazing!

  102. Totally thrilled for you!! My husband’s taken a really long unpaid leave from work (due to health reasons) and now that he’s home , spending more time with our daughter and feeling better, he’s seriously considering extending it further. I know it feels scary and uncertain, but it is totally exciting and fun as well. We’ve had some tough times due to the income cut and all that but they’ve only served to make us stronger as a family.
    All the best and really looking forward to reading how this unfolds for all of you.
    Warmly,
    Prerna

    Prerna´s last post…Three Fun Chores a Toddler Can Help With Moms’ 30-Minute Blog Challenge

  103. Can’t he just take the day off? Like normal people do?

    • Karen (Scotland) says:

      In all honesty, the way Rachel and Doug live doesn’t strike me as “normal” in the way you mean (as in, the majority are doing it).

      They choose their priorities, think it through, set budgets, live by those budgets, re-think things, and change if necessary. They don’t buy in to doing what everyone else does just because it’s expected. Nor do they do “out there” things just for the sake of being different. They look at their wee family unit, decide what gives them long-term happiness and security and, well, they just seem to go for it, with both discipline and enjoyment.

      I’ve gleaned all that just from reading the blog for a couple of years so hope I’m not speaking out of turn, Rachel.

      I think we’d all be a bit more normal if we followed thier principles and ideas and had the discipline to put them into practice!
      :-)
      Karen

  104. This is so great. I thought, oh I want my hubs to do this! Then, I just got the thought, how sad for our culture. We work, work, work so hard that we feel like we have to take a whole year off! Too bad we don’t take long holidays at summer’s end like the Europeans do, decent vacay time during the year or get siesta during the day or generous maternity and paternity leave to begin with. You’ll have so many neat opportunities – congrats!

  105. thank you Rachel and Doug for continuing to inspire me!!

  106. bravo!

    everyone deserves time away to reflect while they are still young. happy birthday to your husband and congratulations on the new life.

    so inspiring…. if i hadn’t already quit one life, returned to school and found a new career – i might do the same.

    Tami´s last post…Saturday Senses

  107. Terrific! God has good plans, so I look forward to the story unfolding :)

    angelvalerie´s last post…why I wish I lived on an island some days…

  108. Erin (Australia) says:

    I think this is a wonderfully respectful and loving thing that a wife can do for her husband. Rachel and Doug – the way you have simplified your lives in order to live more purposefully is inspirational. I pray that the next 12 months will be all that you hope for and more.
    I have many questions to ask about how you envisage your journey to look, but I know that you will answer them in time on this blog, and I can’t wait to read all about it.
    May God guide and bless you and your family richly.
    With love x

  109. I think this is absolutely wonderful! And it made me so happy to read your mom’s response…she rocks! I am so very inspired and I can’t wait to read all about it!!!

    Kelly´s last post…Blogging Break

  110. Mika (Poland) says:

    I was reading your blog from time to time, but now I think I will follow your life adventure. I really admire your courage, flexibility and of course common sense and sense of humour. I also have nearly two years off work (but unfortunately because of health problems) and I know how much it can give you personally, how many interesting things you can do and notice , how many fascinating people you can meet. I wish you all the best for your new way of life and God bless you and your whole family. (And stay healthy!!!)

  111. AWESOME! Wishing you all loads of fun and adventure in the upcoming year!

    LobotoME {goods to keep ME sane}´s last post… weekending

  112. Robert Wilson says:

    thanks for the post

  113. You guys are such an awesome couple :) I’m happy for you and I can’t wait to read about your new adventure!

    Nicki at Domestic Cents´s last post…Cookbook Review- Simply Suppers

  114. We just took the summer off this year, and people thought we were crazy… I’m thrilled you’re doing this! (I wish my dad could have!) I’ll look forward to reading more :-)

    Eliz. K´s last post…sunday thoughts

  115. I can’t wait to show this to my husband. We would enjoy something like this too. Congratulations!

    Tracey´s last post…My Husbands Office Has Great Sticks

  116. How wonderful! And what a great idea! You are so blessed to have this opportunity. Too bad many can’t and many more that can will not. This is a fantastic choice to use your time and the life you have together. Very happy for both of you!

  117. Congrats! I’m coming upon the end of my first year of quitting my job. Yes, people thought I was crazy to do it but in the past 12 months I had my first child and wrote a business plan that received finalist distinction within a large competition in NYC. I think most people who have concerns/worries are a lot of times jealous and feel uncomfortable when they see you doing something they really want to do. It’s their own insecurities that come bubbling right to the surface. It’s been a great year off but I’m looking to return to work now especially as NYC is really expensive and we’d like to leave the state and own a home soon. Best wishes to your family!

    Quetee02´s last post…Good News!

  118. Brilliant! I hope that your year off allows you to travel to the much more inexpensicve Latin America you have thought about :)

  119. This was wonderful to read!! My husband is doing something similarly though not intentionally. It’s awesome to take a leap of faith and gain a new perspective on life.

  120. My favorite blog post of the month…possibly the year. GO FOR IT!!!

    Tiffany´s last post…75 CSN Stores GIVEAWAY!!!

  121. What struck me when I was reading this post was your obvious love and concern for your husband. What a joy to read! He’s a lucky man, obviously.

    Inspiring Kids´s last post…The Boy Who Painted Black

  122. This is fantastic! We have friends here who just started this two months ago, and most people we know still think they are insane, waiting behind their backs for them to tank. That’s got to be extreme caution and pure jealousy talking. We couldn’t be more thrilled for them! They are smart people who have selected their priorities (paid house, skipping renovations, driving older cars, no debt) and they are able to organize their lives accordingly! You two seem to be the same! Congratulations!

    We hope to be able to follow suit before too long, though with a twist. Before we had children, I pursued a Master’s degree in International Development, but I have been unable to put it to use. I would like to spend time working for a small, local non-profit helping women and children in a developing country. My husband plans to take six months to a year out so we can do this as a family (we will all go together and he will look after our girls). His job works in four year postings, and we are half-way through the current one. When it is done, off we go!

    Again, congratulations for having the courage and the faith to take this step! I’m excited for you!

    Jennifer´s last post…ANZAC biscuits

  123. irishbell says:

    Why will you be moving?

    • We want to take a chance to live in a different city that we choose without having to consider where his job would be.

  124. Since my hubby is a stay-at-home-father, I can sort of relate. My maternity leaves were wonderful/magical times. (Took maybe 6 months with my second). OF course, if we were all home all the time, I don’t think it would be so wonderful. You may also be surprised how little you spend (I still am not quite sure how we spent so little in that time frame). I would say, “Cherish the time!,” but I am sure you will.

  125. What a wonderful gift to be able to give to each other and your family. Something tells me it’ll be the best thing you ever did!

    My husband is of retirement age and he has been thinking a long time about retiring, but he has been waiting til “the time is right”. We were allowing worries about money and selling our house in this market, me not having a job dictate our life. And then the decision was taken out of our hands as the company released him.

    My husband has been home now for about a month and a half and it has been an incredible time. We still havent sold our house and I still dont have a job, but we are enjoying each others company and will be ok for a while. Once we sell the house we will be moving back to my hometown into a building my dad built as a photography studio. That will take a lot off our shoulders.

    We are so looking forward to this phase of our life and have decided to start a blog, ourselves. Just something to share memories with our families, our experience with downsizing and a place for Ron to share his memories of his life for his children and grandchildren. It is such a blast!!

    Good luck to you and your family! I will be following you and searching your archives for money saving tips and all!! We live in Texas too! Maybe someday our paths will cross!

    Jennifer´s last post…House Number Giveaway

  126. Where have I been … My RSS Feed went for a walk in the park (took a year off!!!) and I missed this wonderful announcement!!! I can’t imagine we would ever have the nerve to leap… so of course I think you are fabulous!!! My husband never ever takes a break, I guess that is the nature of running your own business… but I signed him up for a conference this week, completely unrelated to work and I was feeling quite noble!!! Then I read this and have booked us a week in the country where I grew up with no internet and no electricity… just ourselves and the great outdoors. Not a year… just a week!!! I guess it’s a start!!!

    se7en´s last post…Saturday Spot- Se7en Visit Bihari Indian Restaurant in Fish Hoek…

  127. Standing ovation.

    Jules´s last post…The Additions

  128. I think this is the most wonderful idea! Why not take one or two of our retirement years and spread them out throughout our lives. Wishing you the best year ever!

  129. What an exciting adventure! I do hope that you will keep us updated as to what discoveries he finds.

    Years ago, before my hubby became a pastor, he had a job in which he was making a lot of money. He never said a word but I could tell that he wasn’t happy (even though he initially denied it). I don’t think he was admitting it to himself even.

    Turns out that it just was not the type of work that he enjoyed. But he was doing it because it was a job, and also because he thought I wanted him to continue (as it was bringing in a lot of money). With my support and encouragement he quit that job (although some people thought he was nuts to give up the money) and went on to pursue another job. He is very happy now and doesn’t miss the job (and we’re doing fine without the money) at all.

    I will save you from my hijacking your comments with more of the long story, but let’s just say that I think it’s great that you are encouraging your husband to take a break. Right now he has the health and the ability to pursue some interests, as you said who knows what will happen after he retires?!

  130. I just found your blog. I don’t think you are crazy. Just the opposite! (I saw that you have health insurance. Sounds like you have a good plan). Waiting until retirement to do what you always wanted to doesn’t make any sense at all to me — yet for so many people that is their plan. I can’t wait to hear where this adventure takes you.

  131. Wow! Wow Wow Wow. This is so amazing. It’s been a while since I had time to catch up on blogs so I’m delighted to hear you guys are creating such a wonderful family adventure. I’m so pleased for you. I hope you find new joys in the experience.

    MD xx

  132. Ahhhh wow! Just visiting here from a link from Heather’s blog (beauty that moves), and I must say, I love adventure! I didn’t always love it either, but I am beginning to realize how much we all desperately need it! Enjoy yours!