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Is there anyone out there who just got fed up and decided to leave work temporarily and wing it?

Me! I quit my job last Dec 31st and have been in South America since then. A bit crazy to voluntarily leave a good job given the economy and job market, but I had been wanting to take an extended period for travel and decided that this was the time. I just turned 30 half way through my trip, and I've spent $10-15k in 6 months (I should probably be tracking this in some more effective way...).

Not exactly the best method of retiring early, but I think in the last 10 years I've been thinking about it I realized that you've got to live in the meantime and there are significant components of luck in retiring early. I've made some really nice money on Apple for example, if I could just replicate that great choice a few more times...

I will plan on getting back to work near the end of this year or early 2010. I'm thinking of trying to get a job at a large consulting firm which would potentially mean a big increase in pay, if I can remain motivated enough to work the amount those places demand.

I stopped trying to put in place a fancy plan for retirement, figuring I'm just too far away to project anything accurately now. I just try to save as much as possible and will plan more the closer I get. I think in another 10 years I'll get more serious. By then I'll have a good idea what my lifetime income will be, whether or not I end up having kids, etc. And we'll have a better idea if the Doom and Gloom (aka METAR) board's predictions are right or not. Will we be destitute serfs in a self destructing superpower with hyperinflation, ruled over by our gold-owning overlords? Or are they just a bit panicky over there?
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