Whenever I talk to people about my 8 month-long trip to Europe & Argentina, they tell me that I’m very fortunate to be able to do this.
So I tell them:
If I told you that taking this kind of journey is just like taking a break (timewise) and having a cup of coffee (moneywise), what would you say?
Usually they give me a quizzical look and say they don’t understand. Then I laugh and explain what I mean.
I ask them, do you have any idea how much that trip cost me for the 8 months I spent travelling? No, they would often say.
In order to help them, I ask: what is the average price for a weekly trip in the Caribbean or Mexico?
Let’s say it’s 1,250$/week. Therefore, the total cost for 8 months would be:
32 weeks times $1,250/week = $40,000.
At this point everybody tells me:
I can’t afford that! I don’t have that amount of money available, or;
I don’t want to use my economies or my RRSP because I will need them for my retirement.
The list of reasons goes on and on.
Ok, I understand you don’t believe you can afford this.
I want to show you that though this amount of money seems very big, it’s actually not that big at all.
Let’s look at it from a higher level. Say, over a period of 30 years.
Let’s take someone who earns $50,000/year. Over 30 years, they will earn a total of $1.5 million. After income taxes, their net revenue over 30 years (around 73% in Canada) will be close to $1,100,000.
Now, what is $40,000 compared to $1,100,000?
It represents only 3.64% of all this money… Now, do you still believe you can’t afford this trip???
Let’s break it down a little bit more.
How much do you think this trip would cost if you would spread your costs on a daily basis over a period of 30 years.
After calculations, this trip would only cost you $3.66 a day…
Yes, only $3.66/day.
Ok, it costs little bit more than a coffee, so let’s add a muffin.
Conclusion: for someone who earns $50,000/year, they would only need to save $3.66/day for 30 years to afford a trip like mine.
Now, do you still think that you cannot afford such an adventure?
It does make sense now, but how can I find 8 months in my life???
Let’s break this one down as well. If we use the same logic and the same type of calculations we will get this:
What is 8 months compared to a period of 30 years? Answer: 2.2%
Now, let’s go back to the coffee analogy and see what 2.2% means if we break it down on a daily basis.
What is 2.2% of 24 hours? Answer: 32 minutes.
Don’t you think everybody can take a 32 minute break during the day and buy a cup of coffee?
Therefore, when you break this problem down to a daily basis, this would only amount to a cost of $ 3.66 and a duration of 32 minutes per day.
So, if you are telling me that you cannot afford to take 8 months and spend $40,000 once in your life to go on vacation, it’s like telling me that you cannot afford to take a break and buy a cup of coffee (and a muffin) every day of your life!
What I wanted to do in this post is to show you that when we tell ourselves that something is impossible, sometimes just using a different perspective can shed light on the problem and bring us to a solution we never thought of before.
Lesson #1 — Before thinking something is impossible, look at it from every angle or break it down into smaller pieces.
Lesson #2 — If taking a break is significant for a day, it should be even more significant in your whole life.
Lesson #3 — To achieve big goals, plan for the future and act on it a little bit every day.
So, next time you take a coffee break, think about it!
Lisa Titley says
Thanks Pierre for showing us how easy it is to take a BIG goal and chunk it into small pieces! Sage words!
Pierre Dussault says
It reminds me Lisa of nuclear physics… sometimes we need to go at the smallest level to understand something!
Thanks for your comment!
Steve Mitten says
Great demonstration of the power of perspective Pierre.
Pierre Dussault says
Yes it is Sherpa Steve!