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108 Things I Got to Do On My Year Off or Things To Do Before You Die

Updated on December 5, 2013

Things To Do In a Year

Several years ago, I took time off to enjoy a much needed sabbatical year, armed with a rough idea of what I hoped to accomplish during my time off. I hadn't heard of a bucket list and didn't even write a list of things to do in a year. But by giving myself the gift of a year, I got to do the equivalent of a bucket list's worth of things to do before you die.

I took the time to write all the fun things I did while I was on sabbatical and I was blown away, astounded and oh so thankful for the time. Sometimes, you gain a greater appreciation for both the big things and even the little things when you reflect back on those things most meaningful to you when you take a step back and savor the moments.

For myself, it made me really thankful for this break in time. A friend once told me you get to really enjoy travel and other experiences at least three times over 1) when you anticipate and plan 2) when you enjoy what you're doing in the moment and in addition 3) when you take a moment to reflect on the past. I definitely think that's true three fold.

It's incredible how rewarding life becomes when you take the time to focus on what matters most. In sharing my completed bucket list of 108 Things I Got to Do On My Year Off, I hope you'll be inspired to take the time to do more of what you love, whether it's in a few stolen moments here and there, a weekend, perhaps a week, a month or the ultimate indulgence of a year off.

If it seems hedonistic, foolhardy or selfish to take so much time off, you can take comfort in the fact that the idea of a sabbatical even has biblical roots. There's the idea of the weekly rest on the Sabbath. Even God took a day off from his busy schedule. And there's also the concept of a sabbatical year where you the let the ground go fallow to allow the soil to work its magic, processing previous crops and other organic matter so that the ground will be richer in years to come. It's much the same with people. It's not just a luxury but a necessity to take a step back to allow yourself a year to regenerate and prosper in years to come.

The end result? This self-imposed sabbatical turned out to be more than just a one time thing that had long lasting ramifications that helped jump start several meaningful changes which have significantly changed my career and life trajectory in profound ways I could have never imagined.

It's hard to believe this was 5 years ago. Since then I've garnered the courage to satisfy a long time yearning to quit spending my life energy working for others and to instead work for myself writing on-line full-time. Best decision ever. I've lived overseas for months at a time in Barcelona, Rome & Vancouver. I've taken up dancing again. Everyday I wake up truly satisfied to have taken the leap.

What if you lived as if you only had one year to live? What would you do with time off or rather time on? What would be on your list of things to do in a year. What are you waiting for? What's holding you back?


A picture of me in Fez with "Momo" a Moroccan tour guide who has guided celebrities such as Robin Williams, Dustin Hoffman & Warren Beatty to reveal the hidden treasures of Fez, Morocco.

Photo Credit: Eric Jenkins

Updated 9/7 & 9/24/2013, 10/01 & 11/14/2013 11/30 12/5

Are You Focused on What Matters Most?

Are You Focused on What Matters Most?
Are You Focused on What Matters Most?

Do You Have a Bucket List?

How to Get Started | The Kitchen Timer Trick

If it seems intimidating to write a list of a hundred things, start small. Pour yourself a cup of coffee, get a blank piece of paper and set your watch, your cellphone or some sort of timer to beep in 15 minutes. Quick...Off the top of your head, what are the top 5 things you wish you could do in your life. No holding back. Put down the stuff you don't admit to anyone.

When the alarm goes off, set it again for another 15 minutes. Write another 5. Great, you've got 10. Do it again later in the day during a coffee break or lunch break. Start with a fresh piece of paper. It's OK if you repeat yourself if you can't remember what you wrote before. By the end of the week, you'll probably have at least a hundred and you can transfer it all onto a word document and either categorize or prioritize. If you're still stuck, you can also brainstorm by categories like work, hobbies, family, friends, music, sports, what ever's most meaningful to you.

Have You Written a Bucket List?

See results

My Original Sabbatical Goals

January 2008

If a sabbatical year sounds decadent, it has its roots that harken back to biblical times with the practical benefit for an agriculturally based lifestyle. By choosing a year not to work the fields and letting the crops go fallow, it allowed the ground a year to regenerate rather than be depleted of all its resources. Source: Remembering the Sabbatical Years of 2016...

Click on any of these links for more stories about how I spent my sabbatical. Here are some of the fun things I was able to do. What would be at the top of your list? And let me tell you now. You will never ever regret the time you spent.

1. Spend Extended Time Off With My Husband

2. Live 4 Months in Barcelona

3. Learn Spanish

4. Learn Sardana Dance

5. Learn to Cook

6. Summers in Vancouver With My Parents

7. Write a Book

8. Find a Gardening Job

Image Sources:

Check Mark - Dan Eriksson,

Sardana Dance - Kwong Yee Cheng,

Plan Your Own Radical Family Sabbatical - Enjoy a Life Changing Vacation in As Little a 30 Days

This is one of my favorite books that I recently read. The author, Chris Brady, in this travelogue is so encouraging about what it takes to turn a someday, maybe one day possibility and turn it into reality. He also eloquently scribes the intangible somewhat difficult to define qualities of travel that end up changing your everyday perspective once you return.

And he doesn't just share the magic. That's evident right from the start where he talks about the ugly discussion you gotta have with your significant other. It's the talk that takes some courage. I know because I've had to take a deep breath to convince my husband that what I'm about to propose isn't needless frivolous or hedonistic but rather a decision built on a larger goal of wanting to not just get up everyday and live but to really live and savor all that life has to offer. This is a book that inspire you to find your way.

Other true stories from families who've been there and done that include:

Just Too Busy: Taking Your Family On a Radical Sabbatical

One Year Off: Leaving It All Behind for a Round-the-World Journey with Our Children

Bring Your Own Children: South America! A Family Sabbatical Handbook

A Month of Italy
A Month of Italy
If you're married or have kids and think, there's absolutely no way, I'm going to be able to take any sort of sabbatical, think again. Can you find time to at least take a month off. Chris Brady covers off the joys and quiet moments of fulfillment driving around Italy in a mini-van and how he and his family overcame the many challenges along the way. A must read that's as instructive as it is inspiring.

I Won't Worry My Life Away - Press Play to Preview Song

Ask Yourself. How much time do you spend worrying instead of living? "The Remedy (I Won't Worry)" is the first single released by Jason Mraz from his debut album Waiting for My Rocket to Come in 2002. The song is about a friend of Jason's being struck with cancer and how it changed his outlook on life. From

Barcelona January 2008

Barcelona January 2008
Barcelona January 2008

#4 - Learn Sardana Dance

#4 - Learn Sardana Dance
#4 - Learn Sardana Dance

#5 - Learn to Cook

Half the fun of cooking was shopping for ingredients and I ended up tapping into our house guests for impromptu cooking classes despite our no oven kitchen. I learned to stock basics like no-fail couscous as a substitution for rice, to have basic soup stock on hand, tomatoes and canned tomato anything and that remnants of any liquor bottle could be used to add taste to most sauces, soups and dishes

I watched a friend of mine make a fabulous shrimp curry -- the key seems to be using a fresh hot pepper like jalapeno, two cans of coconut milk not low-fat and frozen shrimp will do just fine. Another friend improved upon the basic recipe with his specialty being "use up everything in the pantry" with his additon of crushed tomatoes and sauteed cashews and garlic.

What I discovered about cooking is that it is not so much about precise measurements but improvisational based on what ingredients inspire you at the market, what's leftover in your cupboard or whatever you fancy eating that day

Cooking is longer an intimidating, worrisome chore. It's great to be able to crack open a glass of wine & set out a cheese plate to enjoy the process of cooking. My husband has become my defacto sous chef and we now enjoy eating in more. It is much better value and we continue to surprise ourselves with what we come up with on the fly.

Terry's Hearty Lentil & Sausage Meal

Here's the recipe for an easy to make one-pot meal that's dead simple and if you use low fat sausage and lentils, it's good for you too.

Sopa de Marisco - An Easy to Make Seafood Soup

Homemade seafood soup using prepared fish or seafood soup stock and frozen seafood can provide an easy and elegant dinner meal.

By having friends stay with us abroad we had a chance to stock the pantry together, go grocery shopping and traded cooking tips which helped me immensely to relax into cooking.

Image Source:

Lentils & Sausage, lissame,

Ingredients for Seafood Soup

Ingredients for Seafood Soup
Ingredients for Seafood Soup

#7 - Write a Book - More Inspiration - Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.

I thought I would try something different to kickstart the writing process with the unusual approach of using Squidoo to create over a hundred lenses which will serve as a kind of rough draft. Next, I'll do a massive printout of material then either discover it was a stupid idea or figure out how to weave together a compelling narrative and turn it into my own version of eat, pray, love. My challenge is to have my prose match my passion. My secret desire is to reach as many people as Gilbert's to encourage others to do more of what they love and less of what they don't.

Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia
Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia
If you ever just felt like escaping overseas, eat, pray, love allows you the vicarious thrill without needing a passport. It's a fun read that "lets even the most cynical reader dare to dream of someday finding God deep in a meditation cave in india, or, perhaps, over a transcendent slice of pizza."

#8 - Find a Gardening Job

Found a Seasonal Part-Time Gardening Job

When we returned to Washington in May, Gardening season was already underway and I had already missed two critical months - March & April. However, about a month ahead in April, I contacted a wholesale nursery and was lucky to secure seasonal employment that would keep me busy in May & June. At that point, I had plans to head to Vancouver for the summer.

Work in the Garden Instead of a Cubicle

This is the book I was originally writing in Barcelona to help people figure out what they need to do if they want a career in gardening. With people interested in green careers, I'm hoping there's a market for it.

I finished a 100 page proposal and a very, preliminary sketchy rough draft of it overseas. I sent out query letters & proposals to potential publishers.

I was working full-time hours in May & June and intended to work on edits of it while I was in Vancouver but hearing nothing back from my proposals, my motivation took a bit of a beating. So I decided to shelve it and work again on it in Spring 2009.

I posted one of the chapters online but trying to use Blogger to build a website was a bit exhausting from a linking perspective. Perhaps I will transfer some of the information over to Squidoo to make into a lens. Anyway, if you're interested, here's a FREE preview chapter of my book.

Getting Dirty - Quit Your Job & Get Paid to Garden For a Living

Do More of What You Love & Less Of What You Don't

Do More of What You Love & Less Of What You Don't
Do More of What You Love & Less Of What You Don't

Get Out Of Your Own Way - My Biggest Obstacle is Myself

Most of the time, I just need to get out of my own way -- battling insecurities about writing and indecisiveness of what course my life should take next. If you're looking for inspiration on what to do next in your life, take 2 hours to see this movie. It's a must see if you're considering on making bold life changes.

Defending Your Life
Defending Your Life
Defending Your Life with Albert Brooks and Meryl Streep is a hidden gem of a movie that tackles the theme of overcoming your fears and insecurities. Its main theme is about taking risks. It asks what would we really want to do if we weren't worried about the consequences and the perils of hesitation when we hold ourselves back. What are you scared of? Defending Your LIfe inspires us to take that leap of faith that everything will turn out alright if we just trust in ourselves.

Favorite Barcelona Indulgences

9. Taste Test Xurros or Churros

10. Visit Las Meninas at the Picasso Museum

11. Enjoy Cafe Con Leche and Mini Croissants

12. Satisfy Pastry and Chocolate Cravings

13. Take in Menu Del Dias

14. Morning Market Runs

15. Sitting in Cafes Writing, Paid to Write Hill Rag & Online

16. Drinking Chai

17. Staying Up Late Writing With EJ & Sleeping In Late

18. Met with Language Exchange Partner

19. Visit to Florence

20. Travel with Students to Madrid, Seville, Granada, Cordoba and Morocco

21. Travel with Husband to Portugal

22. Share Barcelona Experience With Visiting Family & Friends

23. Experience St. Jordi's Day & Santa Semana

24. Escape Winter

#9 - Taste Test Xurros or Churros

#9 - Taste Test Xurros or Churros
#9 - Taste Test Xurros or Churros

#10 - Las Meninas at the Picasso Museum

When I feel creatively blocked or challenged, I attempt to write in the style of a writer I admire. It feels a bit like cheating but I know it's a common exercise for art students. I only have to think about Pablo Picasso and his obsession with a 1656 painting by Diego Velazquez.

It's inspiring to visit this one room in the Picasso Museum in Barcelona just to see a series of 58 interpretations and comparative studies by Picasso painted between August and December 1957. With such a strong artistic style, it's hard to imagine a great painter like Picasso ever feeling inadequate.

But Picasso channelled his energy and his series of studies from Las Meninas is a testament to the power of focus. I love that he doggedly pressed on for months studying just the one painting and according to the museum, his works consitute an "exhaustive study of form, rhythm, colour and movement".

Although the YouTube video is in Spanish, no interpretation is required to appreciate the side by side comparison of the original Velazquez painting to the Picasso paintings.


#11 - Cafe Con Leche & Mini Croissants

Forn De Pa Mistral

Best Bakery In Barcelona

There are plenty of bakeries and coffee shops to enjoy in Barcelona but the one that rates consistently #1 with the locals is Mistral, a hidden secret to most tourists because of its small unassuming exterior and cafe tucked behind on a less busy street. Once inside, the bustling interior and the need to take a number tell the story of its excellence. It's family run since 1879.

Best Cafe Con Leche

I'm also partial to Mistral because it's the first place I ever had a cafe con leche -- a perfect blend of half coffee & half steamed milk, never bitter. I see tourists stopping into Starbucks and can't believe it. They're missing out. Mistral's coffee is half the price and twice the value.


You know how when you have a Krispy Kreme donut in the U.S. & the secret is to go when the sign is lit and to get the glazed donuts hot off the conveyor belt. With Mistral their delectable wonder that one of my husband's students let us in on is their mini chocolate croissants. If you get them when they're fresh out of the oven, the chocolate is melted and it's the perfect bite of pastry and oozing chocolate.

Forn De Pa Mistral

Located in the Raval area near the "Universitat".

Get the mini-croissants here for the full stand-up experience

Ronda Sant Antoni, 96

Mon - Sat 07:00 - 21:00

Go to this location just around the corner for a cup of coffee & to sit down

Torres i Amat 7 is the larger cafeteria / bakery

#12 - Satisfy Chocolate & Pastry Cravings

Chocoholic Heaven

Pastry Shops Everywhere

Where I live in Washington, D.C., the closest pastry shop is at least a half an hour walk away. Whereas in Barcelona, you can't help stumble onto a pastry shop on every block.

In Europe, they bake the kind of bread that's crunchy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside -- the kind of bread that you need to eat within a day but that was never a problem. My daily bread foraging would include a crunchy ciabatta roll.

Barcelona is All About the Chocolate

Not to be missed, the one hundred year old award-winning pastry shop created by Antoni Escriba, who has been described as the "Mozart of Chocolate".

#20 - Travel to Andalusia & Morocco - Field Trips With Students Beyond Barcelona

Sometimes when you start out on a journey, you don't know where adventure will lead you. We knew that we'd be headed out on two road trips with the students and one week of personal vacation during Spring break. Barcelona was so fabulous which much to see and do that I'd get a little homesick when we left town.

Madrid, Seville, Granada, Cordoba

Fez, Morocco

Architecture of Fez, Morocco Slideshow & How To Get A Guide

Riad in Fez, Morocco Slideshow & How to Book a Riad

A House in Fez: Building a Life in the Ancient Heart of Morocco
A House in Fez: Building a Life in the Ancient Heart of Morocco
This book on my wanna read list. Fez is filled with many decrepit buildings in need of serious overhaul. But the work is tedious, requiring craftsmen to work on the intricate mosaics and more.

Cool Things I Got to Do In Vancouver

25. Work at the Pacific National Exhibition which is like a State Fair

26. See Superdog Show Everyday of the Fair

27. Attend the Burnaby Flower Auction

28. Attend Family Gathering at Two Chefs and a Table

29. House Sit A Character House w/an English Garden

30. Attend Eastside Culture Crawl

31. Karaoke with Auntie Deanna at DiDaDi Karaoke in Richmond

32. Live the Life of Semi-Retirement

33. Enjoy Small Indulgences

34. Chase Good Weather. Escape DC Humidity & Enjoy A/C Outside

35. Visit Garden Center, Lee Valley Tools, Mall Indoor Tropicals with Dad

36. Line dancing with Mom

37. Cycle the Seawall

38. Attend Ice Skating Lessons To Learn How to Stop

39. Host New Year's

#25 - Work at the Pacific National Exhibition

#25 - Work at the Pacific National Exhibition
#25 - Work at the Pacific National Exhibition

Favorite Vancouver Eats

40. Bon Ton's Diplomat Cake, Nanaimo bars, shortbread

41. Deep Fried Breaded Almond Chicken, Gai Lan, Dim Sum

42. Sushi, sashimi, Japanese food at Hi-Genki, Metrotown, Fujiya

43. Okaisan, Ochazuke, Salmon, Japanese Pickles, anchovies

44. Purdy's chocolates, ice cream, English Toffee, white almond bark, Cadbury

45. Wine gums, fruit gummy bears, macaroons

46. Cheezies, dill pickle, ketchup chips

47. Fish & Chips

48. Dairy Queen Buster Bars

49. Mom's waffles & blueberries

49. Fresh veggies at Kin's. Mini-bok choi, gai-lan. Superstore, Granville Island.

50. Wine Tour Okanagan, Lower Mainland, ice wine

51. Tea chai, Murchie's, Green tea matcha lattes

52. Avalon chocolate milk

53. Dad's butter tarts

54. Tim Horton's

#47 - Eat Fish & Chips

#47 - Eat Fish & Chips
#47 - Eat Fish & Chips

Things I Appreciate About Washington

55. Enjoy Our 1960s Light Filled House

56. Host Book Signing Party in Our Garden

57. Attend Opening Washington Nationals Ball Park

58. Nap With Cats

59. Chai at Teaism

60. Read the Newspaper With My Husband

61. Enjoy Dinners At Home

62. Read Library Books

63. Find a Part-Time, Low Stress Job to Allow Freedom to Write

64. Wander weekdays when everyone else is working

#56 - Hosted Husband's Book Signing Party

#56 - Hosted Husband's Book Signing Party
#56 - Hosted Husband's Book Signing Party

Terrific Musical Performances

I Got to Enjoy

65. La Portena Jazz Band

66. Hall & Oates

67. Tower of Power

68. Trooper

69. Billy Dixon, So Tight Band

70. Dal Richards

71. Jodaiko at the Powell Street Festival

72. Friday Jazz at the Hyatt

73. Blues Night in Southwest DC

74. Flamenco in Barcelona

Previous Years & Other:

David Clayton Thomas

Harold Melvin's Blue Notes, Vegas Lounge Acts

Jersey Boys, Other Broadway Musicals New York

Opera at CUA

#74 - Flamenco in Barcelona

#74 - Flamenco in Barcelona
#74 - Flamenco in Barcelona

Neat Things I Learned Online

75. Be in Media Again

76. Produce Content On Squidoo

77. Write for Associated Content

78. Summarize Articles for Brijit

79. Learn SEO techniques, Google

80. Code HTML

81. Blog, Picasa

82. Replace Boob Tube w/You Tube, Netflix, Streaming TV

83. Sign-up for Skype

84. Communicate via Web Cam

#76 & #77 Write for Squidoo & Yahoo

#76 & #77 Write for Squidoo & Yahoo
#76 & #77 Write for Squidoo & Yahoo

Things I Had Time To Think About

85. Overcome Imposter's Syndrome

86. Let Go Of the Past

87. Let Go of Infinite Possibilities

88. Examining "Ma" or Negative Space

89. Am I a 1 Marshmallow or 2 Marshmallow Person?

90. Redefine Myself As a Winner Not a Quitter

91. Take Personal Responsibility for Environment and Actions

92. Get Out of My Own Way

93. Be In the Now

94. Taking Gifts For Granted

95. Train Monkey Mind

Challenges That Came Up During My Year Off

96. Barcelona Apartment Fell Through

97. Budget For Limited Funds, Eating in

98. Close Chapter On Former Job, Adapt to New Job.

99. Adjust to Being Away From Husband For An Extend Period Of Time

100. Give up T.V. Cravings For Netflix, TV On Demand, You Tube

101. Help Eric's Mother Cope With Father's Parkinson's Disease

102. Distractions. Overscheduled, other job possibilities, real estate

103. Uncle Passed Away, Aunt Nursing Home, Randy Pausch, 100 Places Guy

104. Aging & My Own Physical Limitations Cumulative Injuries

#104 - Aging & Physical Limitations

#104 - Aging & Physical Limitations
#104 - Aging & Physical Limitations

Why 108?

Life is as Magical as the Meaning We Ascribe.

Did You Know There Are 108 Stitches In A Baseball?

Elizabeth Gilbert's spiritual memoir eat, pray, love of her year abroad in search of pleasure, devotion & balance is captured in 108 delightful stories. Athough any of these 108 lenses can be read separately they are intended to be part of a larger series that will be turned into a book. As I create one Squidoo lens for each item, I'll add a link.

Did You Know The Sun Is 108 Times The Diameter of the Earth?

I'm drawn to this idea of trying to frame one's experiences tapping into the spiritual significance of 108. Some say the soul goes through 108 stages on the journey to find one's true self while others talk of 108 paths converging to an open heart which leads to the path of self-realization. Another interpretation relates 108 to feelings, 36 about the past, 36 in the present and 36 about the future.

Did You Know The Distance From the Moon To Earth is 108 Times the Moon's Diameter?

One mathematical analysis 6 x 3 x 2 x 3 = 108 offers more elaborate considerations related to the 6 senses of sight, sound, smell, taste, touch and thought in relation of 3 aspects of time past, present, future and 2 conditions of heart either pure or impure and 3 possibilities of sentiment being like, dislike, indifference. All these investigations offer ways of thinking about the past year.

On New Year's the Japanese Ring a Bell 108 Times As a Reminder to Overcome 108 Earthly Temptations to Achieve Nirvana

Then again, if it all seems like a bunch of mumbo jumbo to you, other Buddhist scholars offer this very zen answer with this very simple way to look at it. While 108 does offer symbolic significance, the actual number is irrelevant. It is simply a number chosen like a road map to provide you with a way to focus.

What Do You Want to Do Before You Die? - What's On Your List?

The Bucket List
The Bucket List
In the movie The Bucket List two men with terminal illnesses head out on a road trip of a lifetime with a list of things to do before you die or "kick the bucket". Creating This Lens Was Inspired by Squidoo Lensmaster Marelisa "Stop putting your dreams off for "some day" ...Take inspiration from the movie "The Bucket List" and ask yourself: If I had one year left to live, what would I be sure to do? Create a list of 100 things you want to do before you kick the bucket." Creating a Bucket List - 100 Things To Do Before You Die

John Mayer Song "Say" - From the Bucket List Soundtrack

John Mayer talks about why he took on the project to write "Say" for The Bucket List. Check out the interview here or watch the music video below.

The Future Belongs To Those That Believe In the Beauty Of Their Dreams

- Eleanor Roosevelt

Work Less & Live More

The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Achieving More with Less
The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Achieving More with Less
I'm all about the lazy which Richard Koch actually promotes. How can you get work done in the most efficient, possible way that would allow you to spend your free time and energy to cultivate your happiness instead. What would happen if we focused on finding the "vital few hidden in the trivial many". How can you be more focused and exploit the top 20% of whatever you're working on to reap huge rewards?

How to Plan A Gap Year - Whether You're 18 or 48

Gap Years for Grown Ups: The Most Comprehensive, Practical Guide from the Leading Gap Year Specialist
Gap Years for Grown Ups: The Most Comprehensive, Practical Guide from the Leading Gap Year Specialist
Now that college tuition is so expensive, like getting married too young, why marry yourself to a career when you're so young. Sure, it's great to go to college or university, but if you're going to spend that kind of cash, it's probably best to have a clear idea of where you're headed. Consider taking a year off as a necessary luxury to figure out what you want to do for the rest of your life. That one year will fly by in the grand scheme of things. If you've long since graduated and have been in the work force, whether for a year, five years or more, now's another great time to press pause and re-evaluate with a much needed gap year. There are some great travel ideas and suggestions in this book Gap Year for Grown Ups.

Are You Making a Living Or a Dying? - If You Only Get One Book On Financial Planning

This is the one book that helped my husband and I scale down from two incomes to one income so he could go to graduate school at Harvard over 10 years ago.

Using the information provided in Your Money Or Your Life I was able to switch from a corporate career to a career in gardening.

In light of the economy, this classic book which was originally released in 1992 was re-released December 2008 and the financial lessons still ring true today..

Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence: Fully Revised and Updated for 2018
Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence: Fully Revised and Updated for 2018 Review There's a big difference between "making a living" and making a life. Do you spend more than you earn? Does making a living feel more like making a dying? Do you dislike your job but can't afford to leave it? Is money fragmenting your time, your relationships with family and friends? If so, Your Money or Your Life is for you.

The Most Important Thing - Get Your Finances In Order

While it's all lovely to talk about pursuing your dreams, when you really get serious about taking a sabbatical or doing what you really want to do with your time, sometimes you need either extra funds or time off work. Don't immediately dismiss that you can't afford it. Vicki Robin, co-author of the timeless classic "Your Money or Your Life" talks about the various issues you'll face and how to overcome the obstacles to do so in this half hour interview.

Post Sabbatical Update - What We've Been Doing Post Sabbaticals

It's a tremendous leap of faith to quit your job to follow your bliss and hope everything will turn out alright. At the time, I didn't have a job conveniently lined up to return to.

I'm happy to report even in this difficult economy, I was able to not only find work in my profession of garden retail but by forcing myself to leave a job where I was no longer growing, to put myself in a situation where I could continue to learn.

Thanks to Bell Nursery for taking me on in 2008 as a garden merchandiser where I learned a tremendous amount from a fabulous Maryland based company who work with local farmers to bring high quality flowers and plants to Home Depot garden centers across several states.

For the 2009-2011 gardening seasons, I was fortunate to have found a job as a plant buyer for a well established Washington, D.C. florist and garden center and had a blast working with local growers to provide the best geraniums, petunias and pansies to grace gardens in Northwest D.C.

With both employers, I made it a priority to negotiate a seasonal work schedule which would allow me to spend time in Vancouver, Canada with my Mom, Dad, cousins, aunts and uncles. I've now enjoyed over 5 years of summers off.

Now in 2012, I'm happy to report that I now write full-time for Squidoo and quit my seasonal job gardening and am having a blast in Rome, Italy.

Canon PowerShot ELPH 300 HS 12.1 MP CMOS Digital Camera with Full 1080p HD Video (Red)
Canon PowerShot ELPH 300 HS 12.1 MP CMOS Digital Camera with Full 1080p HD Video (Red)
All the while, I'm continuing to write when I can. Online writing for Squidoo and Yahoo have been a wonderful discovery. To get paid to write about things I love is an added delight and bonus. In the past, I earned enough writing online to splurge on All Clad Cookware and this Flip Video. Last year, I was busy documenting my latest passion soul line dancing. Check out some of the soul line dance videos I produced here.

My Husband and I in Rome Near Campo Dei Fiori

My Husband and I in Rome Near Campo Dei Fiori
My Husband and I in Rome Near Campo Dei Fiori

Postscript | Fall 2012 - The Freshman 15

After spending 4 months in Rome, we came back to D.C. but then went to house sit for friends in Vancouver which meant I was home where my Mom & Dad could spoil my husband and I. Needless to say, after all the fabulous Italian pasta, cheese and pastries followed up by the spoiled-by-my Mom's cooking AND making the leap to write full-time + sedentary lifestyle = 15 pounds way heavier. If you've packed on a few extra pounds like me while on sabbatical, check out this low carb, high protein diet by Tim Ferris, author of The 4 Hour Body.

More Great Reading - Reference Sources About Sabbaticals

Find Out About Travel Hacking - Chris Guillebeau's Travel Hacking Cartel

Travel Hacking Cartel
Travel Hacking Cartel

How to Use Frequent Flyer Miles to Go Anywhere

Earn Free Flights with Airline Credit Card Mileage Bonuses

You can get a lot of great information from Chris Guillebeau's Art of Non-Conformity site for free. However, if you don't want to have to search through his site, you can purchase his guide Frequent Flyer Master. He also has a Travel Hacking Cartel site which is a membership based site which provides up to date information on the latest offers and sends out e-mail alerts on hot deals.

Where to Go On Sabbatical - Ideas For Your Road Trip Or Destination Abroad

  1. Best Places For a Sabbatical

    Travel + Leisure

  2. Volunteer Projects & Internships Abroad

    Volunteer Abroad

  3. Get Inspired, Get Focused, Get Going

    Three Month Visa Coaching Consulting

  4. Vagabonding

    Voted Best Travel Blog

  5. Follow a Family of Six on Sabbatical

    Six in the Word

  6. The Lost Girls

    Three Friends. Four Continents. One Unconventional Detour Around the World

  7. Destination TBD

    The Call of Adventure

  8. Teach English Abroad | Teach English in China

    TEFL Uncovered

Still On My Bucket List

Learn to Play the Drums

Ride an Elephant & Camel

Visit New Zealand and Australia

Check Out the Galapagos

Visit a Rain Forest

50 Things to Do Before You Die - BBC Show

There was a BBC TV Special that asked viewers to submit their bucket list of 50 Things to Do Before You Die. I certainly share in some of the top picks which include dog sledding, swimming with dolphins and travelling on the Orient Express.

I'm not sure if the reality to see the Itarod is that it would be too cold or if it would be breathtaking. What do you think?

To Strive, To Seek, To Find & Not to Yield.

How to get started? I just came across this handy notebook the other day. You can either pick-up this ready-made workbook or

click on the picture for ideas on how to put together your own binder.

What would you do if you had time to do more of what you love and less of what you don't? Just do it.

Here's a list on of other people who want to take a "one-year off" trip and have either done it or want to do it.

If your dream is to visit Washington, D.C. but all the attractions are closed because of the government shutdown, here's a Top 10 List of Things You Can Do.

Are You Focused On What Matters Most? - You Only Live Once

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    • Adrienne Jenkins profile imageAUTHOR

      Adrienne Jenkins 

      7 years ago

      @FlowerGuy: How cool is that? I did not know that. So I don't have to travel abroad to ride such an exotic animal?

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      If you come back out to Vancouver, you can go just south of the border to Lynden, WA and ride camels. There's a guy there who has a few camels and you can pay a few bucks to ride them.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great list! I need to start planning my list! Great ideas.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Awesome bucket list, fabulous lens, thanks for taking us along LOL

      I really do hope to get a bucket list done one day, but must admit, I am pretty happy with my life. Does that sound terrible?

    • Minoru10 profile image

      Michael Yoshinaka 

      7 years ago from Honolulu, Hawaii

      Now, you got me thinking... Great lens. : D

    • lesliesinclair profile image


      7 years ago

      I like to think I'm focused on what matters most but even now am learning to refine my intentions.

    • Aladdins Cave profile image

      Aladdins Cave 

      7 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      Look us up if and when you come to Melbourne Australia. Read about me first here on Squidoo, and you can if you wish, buy my travel book. I left home at 15 to travel and see the world. Now in my later years, it's a part of bucket list to visit some of those places again. Good luck, and great lens. Gus

    • Jogalog profile image


      7 years ago

      A really inspiring lens. I have decided to start working on writing my bucket list this afternoon and hopefully start working on achieving the aims sometime soon.

    • profile image

      blestman lm 

      7 years ago

      What a great lens. Congratulations on taking the time to do what you wanted to do. I applaud your courage. Now I am solidifying my own bucket list.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Wow! I really enjoy reading your lens. Some of the things on your list I have already done and would love to do myself.

    • AussieAnnie LM profile image

      AussieAnnie LM 

      7 years ago

      I have a bucket list in progress great lens

    • PNWtravels profile image

      Vicki Green 

      8 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

      What a fabulous year of adventure and great resources for others to create their own.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      So many great ideas of things to do and places to see.

      I hope that you will be able to do all of these. :)

    • worldwidesouven profile image


      8 years ago

      It is so interesting bucket list! I would like to creat my own after reading yours. I hope my wife will do the same thing. I wll show her your lens. Thank you for sharing!

    • ESLinsider LM profile image

      ESLinsider LM 

      8 years ago

      Thanks for the reminder. If you're interested you can teach English in Asia basically if you have a degree and are a native speaker. It can be a great experience. It's a way to do something different and see some other parts of the world.

    • flycatcherrr profile image


      8 years ago

      I've never been terribly keen on other people's 'bucket lists' but yours is perfectly enthralling - and I don't think it's just because I too enjoy Spain. There's something special here - almost as if you're casting a good-wishes-for-forward-movement spell on your readers, if that doesn't sound too outlandish. Thank you.

    • profile image

      sybil watson 

      8 years ago

      This is my favorite lens of the year. You've been such an inspiration for me, caught as I am at a crossroad and quickly approaching 50. I think I'll "just do it!".

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      great lens.

    • TapIn2U profile image


      8 years ago

      Oh my - what a wonderful list! It's going to be New Year soon. I'm excited to make that list! Fantastic lens! Sundae ;-)

    • Digory LM profile image

      Digory LM 

      8 years ago

      Nice lens. Hmmm. I'm going to be thinking about a year off and what I'd do for a bit

    • montanatravel52 profile image


      8 years ago

      I thoroughly enjoyed reading every part of your page, thanks for sharing your stories and thoughts! I love traveling also, but as I get older, I find how much more difficult it is to make those decisions.... thanks for a great read!

    • Adventuretravels profile image


      8 years ago from UK

      Nice lens - you are a real live inspiration to us all -that's my job, to inspire people so I've added your fabulous lens to our Featured lenses. Come and see when you get a minute.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Nice lens! I wish I could do the things you've done!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Very nice information. Thanks for you and your Lenses.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      An awful lot of things to do and learn. Would love to know when you have finished them all.

    • RestlessKnights profile image


      8 years ago

      Vancouver, Barcelona, churros... I like it!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Nice lens, I do have something to do before I die which is traveling around the world :)

    • Elaine Chen profile image

      Elaine Chen 

      8 years ago

      I like the statement here: "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's learning to dance in the rain".

      Last two days, my friend suddenly invited me to her house to taste the cake she baked. But I rejected because I had planned to complete a lens on that day. I feel very sorry but I always act according to my plan.

      Time fly. Day by day; year by year. I like the lensmaster's idea to plan 108 things to do before die. Thanks a lot for created such wondering lens for sharing.

    • MayaIxchel profile image


      8 years ago

      What a great lens! Enjoy Italy!! It is so beautiful; I lived there a number of years ago and it is such a fantastic place. Greetings from 'the land of eternal spring'!

    • eTravelSense profile image


      8 years ago

      This must have been one hell of a year! So jealous you got to do so much! Love the lens!

    • JenwithMisty profile image

      Jen withFlash 

      8 years ago

      What a great lens!!! I think one of my favorites so far!!! I'll definitely be checking out more of your lenses.

    • athomemomblog profile image

      Genesis Davies 

      8 years ago from Guatemala

      Good for you! I love it when people follow their dreams. Life is too short to spend it working.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I need to go read more of your lenses now. Great stories and pictures.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Amazing lens. Enjoyed reading it

    • Melissa Miotke profile image

      Melissa Miotke 

      8 years ago from Arizona

      This was really fun to read. Thanks for a great lens!

    • gottaloveit2 profile image


      8 years ago

      Very cool idea for a lens. You were busy! Love it. Blessed.

    • profile image

      mysweetjane lm 

      8 years ago

      what a great lens, it's really like a gap year to do what you want. The key I suspect is to have a few clearly defined goals of what you want to achieve in that time frame and how it can be possible. A master of this seems to be Tim Ferris - 4 Hour Work Week

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      8 years ago from Central Florida

      I retired 7 years ago at age 55, so I can relate to the joy you are finding in developing your interests outside the structure of a job.

      Your method of book development (using Squidoo lenses) appealed to me also. So far I have over 30 lenses about the Civil War and my ancestor that eventually will become a book about his life. Best of luck to you.

    • sheilamarie78 profile image


      9 years ago from British Columbia

      I am on an adventure, too. What a wonderful year you had and it still goes on!

    • Adrienne Jenkins profile imageAUTHOR

      Adrienne Jenkins 

      9 years ago

      @ApekshaHA: Thanks for the encouragement.

    • Adrienne Jenkins profile imageAUTHOR

      Adrienne Jenkins 

      9 years ago

      @agoofyidea: Good luck in pursuit of your 2012 goals.

    • agoofyidea profile image


      9 years ago

      I love what you are doing. I think I need to review my life and see what I can change to make my goals come true. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Good for you for succeeding in your quest!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      wow,this lens challenged me to reflect...... congratulations

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 

      9 years ago from Canada

      OUCH. No, I'm not but I try to be sometimes. Does that count?

      Great list, Adrienne.

    • mihgasper profile image

      Miha Gasper 

      9 years ago from Ljubljana, Slovenia, EU

      I think we all choose all the time of our lives. We should max use every day we have because we really don't know what wait for us tomorrow...

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 

      9 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Yours is so inspiring - don't know which part is MORE inspiring: the fact that you took off a year or the fact that you get to do it again! Congrats :)

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      You covered the subject very thoroughly. Excellent advice.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Thank you for this. It has been wonderful to read and inspirational. Enjoy Italy! x

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Its really refreshing to see this lens and to see the message being spread around. Very few people have the guts to follow their heart and you are few of them. Life is short and if we don't live it by following our dreams, then at the end of life, we won't be left with anything but regret. Don't live someone else's life as they have theirs to live for.

      Dream and follow your dreams- the best gift you can give yourself!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Excellent lens. One of my favourites so far on Squidoo, Thanks.

    • profile image


      9 years ago


    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Just taking a year off period is an excellent idea!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Absolutely AMAZING! I've always wanted to backpack through Europe... So, maybe someday! I'm truly honored to be the 200th person to squidlike this lens!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Adrienne, what an inspiring lens! Thank you for sharing such a personal and wonderful story with us. New Year's Eve 2011 is two weeks from today and I would love to enter 2012 with a list of 108 things to do. I'm adding Eat, Pray, Love to my 2012 reading list. All the best to you and your husband!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Great lens! I recently hiked the Grand Canyon with my sister (who lives on the other side of the country from me). This was a great accomplishment for us to make the commitment, get reservations at Phantom Ranch a year in advance, train for it, leave our all of our kids entirely under the care of our husbands (lol), and just go do it. We had SO much fun! I can't wait for our next adventure!

    • profile image

      Todayhaspower LM 

      9 years ago

      Great lens, great list. :) I'm glad you had time to do these things. Kudos to you.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 

      9 years ago from Colorado

      Stopping by to leave a blessing for Thanksgiving Day. May your days continue to be filled with all that matters most.

    • BFunivcom profile image

      Allan R. Wallace 

      9 years ago from Wherever Human Rights Reign

      I don't keep numbered lists, I pay little attention to time, but I admire the personal pleasures you've planned, acquired, and shared.

      Thank you.

    • canoz profile image

      Heather Bradford 

      9 years ago from Canada

      Your lens is truly inspirational. I love how you can seamlessly tie in so many ideas until your lens is a tapestry of the subject at hand. My quest is to leave a Thanksgiving Comment for the person on squidoo who has helped me the most. I immediately thought of the great advice I have often come across in squidU via you. Recently I bookmarked and printed your response to refer back to when making my lenses better and following your link found a wealth of information via PotPieGirl. The icing on the cake has been visiting your wonderful lenses here. I just wanted to let you know that I appreciate you so much. Smiles!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Awesome work and a great lens! :)

    • sarita garg profile image


      9 years ago from Hisar

      wonderful lens..

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Such a great lens!

    • Steve Martaindale profile image

      Steve Martaindale 

      9 years ago

      I love your passion. Keep spreading it about.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      The most joy seems to come with spending time with family, wether it is going on an exotic vacation together or just spending time together in the living room of your home.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Good collection of things to do in ones life...

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      More than anything, I want to lose weight and then travel. it just seems like traveling is so much more fun when you are more fit don't you think :-)

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 

      9 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      What a great year! This is very inspiring. More people should give themselves the gift of time, if they're able--time to do things they enjoy and that matter to them, not to mention WITH the people that matter to them. Great lens. *Blessed by an angel on the Back to School Bus Trip*

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 

      9 years ago from Colorado

      Just stopping back by to leave some angel stardust. I have always appreciated the important message of this lens. Here's to doing more of all that brings us fully alive. **Blessed**

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      This is a great lens. Thanks for sharing so many things about yourself. Blessed!

    • profile image


      9 years ago


    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I'm finally taking a break from my job, I should write up a list of things to do. I'd really like to visit England. Maybe someday.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      nice page!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      i shall opt for 3 things before dieing

      1)watch live show of Iron Miaden and Metallica

      2 & 3))watch a live match of manchester united and Rafael Nadal

      Great lens.These are only 3.I still have 997 left

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Thank you for the nice ideas

    • Auntiekatkat profile image


      9 years ago

      Wonderful lens

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      This lens was really enjoyable to read. You have captured in your own way the true essence of life and how it's meant to be lived. I always believe true sense of accomplishment is fulfilled when one do the things that they enjoy. Thank u very much for this lens. Simply inspiring.

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 

      9 years ago from Vermont

      I hit on # 92 and #93 15 years ago, made a big change and the rest of my life has just fallen into place since then. I'm still trying to get my husband to this frame of mind ... will share this lens with him as another viewpoint. Bravo to you! Be here now ... and enjoy the ride, even if it gets a bit bumpy!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I Will spend more time with my family

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 

      10 years ago from Colorado

      Really enjoyed how you approached this subject and the larger context. Very nicely done!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      What a great lens! And thanks for the great song to listen to while I was browsing your lens!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Fascinating. Thank you for sharing. You have given me great ideas for my list.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      what a great list of things im doing mine at the mo and ill be trying some of yours thanks

    • JublyJem profile image


      10 years ago

      great lens, currently working on my own bucket list! wish the best of luck in completing it! :)

    • profile image

      natnickeep lm 

      10 years ago

      Wow this is a beautiful well thought out lens. You have what it takes to write a great book for sure. You really help a lot of people who need to know how to get their goals organized also. Now time for me to go check out your other lenses for sure.

    • surfer1969 lm profile image

      surfer1969 lm 

      10 years ago

      Wow you had a very nice adventure sound like.You plan on doing It again?

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      This is a great lens, and you and me share the same sort of targets, but Spanish - I've never ever ever been good at languages!

    • LisaAuch1 profile image

      Lisa Auch 

      10 years ago from Scotland

      This was great, I loved the idea of everything, and you and I will both write an ebook I see!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I arrived here amid my search for ideas for a goals lens -- very encouraging and inspiring!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      It's so awesome to see what people plan to do with their life, and talk to them about the goals they've accomplished. Great lens. I started creating my bucket list recently... It was kind of hard to keep track of until I found this cool site The poster I got was perfect! I get to fill it out with the things i want to do and check them off. I keep it on the wall in my room to remind me of my goals. Suchhh a cool idea! I'm so glad I got one!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I love how you wrote about 108. I chant with those beads that you had a picture of. 108 times, you should have inform people about that chanting process too I feel like :)

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I would like to focus on myself and what I would like to do... organize my own life rather than orchestrate things at work for everyone else. Once I have my home in order, I would like to take my family on a peaceful, relaxing trip - so that we could simply spend time together. Playing, working on special projects to help other people... expose my grandchildren to opportunities to give of themselves to other people...

      Thanks for the lens and the moment to think of what I would do...

    • jackieb99 profile image


      10 years ago

      I hope so!

    • jackieb99 profile image


      10 years ago

      Good luck accomplishing your goals!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Well I have plenty of time to do what I love, I do have to take care of my dad though- If I had plenty of money- Well I don't. I guess I should focus more on getting better habits and beliefs that will help my sanity.

      The problem I have with too much free time is there are so many lovely things I want to do but I don't know if I can do them all, if- Sometimes I get overwhelmed by all the things that I want to do. It gets a bit- I don't know, it sometimes fries my brain.

      I definitely want to get more productive with my habits like increase the amount of time I brush my teeth everyday, be kinder to myself and do things I love more often. Be a little more selfish, because I am- Doormat is so rude but am I?

      Anyway I really like these lens where you talk about 101 things to do before you die. I am probably not focused on what matters most unfortunately. I should be though!

      More of what I love and less of what causes insanity. Hum

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I want to travel the world too, meet and get to know people of all different cultures, eat new foods and learn world dances from all over the globe. I hope I have your kind of courage one day!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      What an interesting lens! It was fun to "travel with you" on your journeys.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Such culture and wonder. Thank you for filling the mind with wonderful thoughts :)

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      This is a really neat lens. I have taken sabbaticals and they are amazing for rejuvenating oneself. My last one was to Mexico to live in a rural area with some relatives. Congratulations.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Take a year off to travel? wow, that's my dream...Great lens.


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