By , July 1, 2011 3:36 pm

June 30th was a milestone day that we’ve been waiting a long time for.  Yesterday it came and went.  June 30th was the last day we were both employed.  The day we received our last paychecks.  And it was our four year wedding anniversary (surprisingly Mike was the first to remember.  We’ve been so caught up with preparing for our trip that it almost went unnoticed).

With June 30th passing, we open the next chapter in our lives.  No more alarm clocks, no more commute to work, no more income.  As an exciting new feature we’ve reversed the direction of our travel funds progress bar and it will now begin its (hopefully) slow descent towards 0%.  For those that are relatively new to this blog, we’ve long said that our trip will end when we get tired of traveling or we run out of money.

This post is a little different than past posts in that we decided to team write it.  Not exactly collaboratively, but independently one after the other.

Comments from Ashley:

Yesterday was my last day of work.  It kind of feels surreal.  I can no longer introduce myself as a high school math teacher (at least, not for the next little while), but I will always be a teacher at heart.

I think the moment it really hit me was when I selected all of my files on my work laptop and hit the delete key.  I kind of thought that deleting over four years worth of work would be more epic and time-consuming, but ten seconds later everything was gone.  Symbolically, deleting all of my notes, assignments, and tests meant saying goodbye to my four years of teaching at that school. To all my teacher friends: I’m not totally crazy… I do have all my work saved on a flash drive which will be backed up before I go).

Handing in my laptop and keys to the secretary was an equally emotional moment.  It was the equivalent of a police officer handing in their gun and badge.  In that instant, I was unemployed.  Gone was the schedule.  (And gone was the bathroom schedule… I will no longer have to wait for the bell to ring to be able to go pee.)


Handing Over Keys and Laptop

Handing over my keys and laptop to our school secretary, Lorrie. Photo credited to Mr. Joshua Bekker.

I have to admit, I cried a couple of times when I had to say goodbye to some of my colleagues that I have worked closely with and who have become great friends.  Thanks for four great years guys!

Over the past couple of years I have been working with teams of teachers to do innovative things with Grade 9 classes.  During this process, we were often told to “go slow.”  And now, that’s exactly what I’m about to do.  “Go slow” is our new traveling mantra.  There’s so much to see and experience in this world… there’s no reason to rush through it all.

Comments from Mike:

I’m not going to get all emotional and blubbery, it’s just not my style.  Yesterday I left the company that I’ve worked for since my last year of university 7 years ago.  One thing I intended to do, but didn’t get around to on my last day, was to send out an email to my co-workers thanking them for being so great to work with and to give them the address of this blog.  If you happen to be one of the lucky few that I managed to give a Traveled Earth Buisness Card to, please feel free to pass on my thanks and this blog’s address to any co-workers that you think may be interested.

Work was kind enough to throw me a bit of a sendoff party at my favorite Regina establishment: Bushwakkers.  I’d like to thank everyone that made it out, I had a lot of fun.  For those that couldn’t make it, no worries, I received your well wishes by email, phone, and word of mouth and appreciated them all.  So, one last time – goodbye, thanks for making the last seven years so great, take care.

18 Responses to “The Newly Unemployed”

  1. Shane says:

    Congratulations on your new freedom and poverty. I bet it is feeling so real now. Good luck for Wednesday – you’ll have to wait for the bus driver to stop before you pee now.

    • Mike Lenzen says:

      Thanks Shane, things are feeling very real now. At least airplanes have working bathrooms on board.

  2. Shannon says:

    Hi Mike and Ashley, I’m Shannon. Congrats on embarking on your new lifestyle! I came across your site looking for others who are doing RTW trips in 2011. I gave my notice to work last week and I leave for my RTW July 30th. Yay!! Looks like we have the same approach to traveling-finding work along the way and go as long as possible. You guys have a lot of great information here. I look forward to following you!

    • Ashley Lenzen says:

      Hi Shannon! Thanks for checking out our blog! When we first came up with the idea to travel long term, we were amazed by how many other people are out there doing the same thing. The next month is going to fly by… trust me! Good luck with all your final preparations!

  3. Josh says:

    Thanks for the photo cred. I’m on my way to fame! If you’re ever in Japan, let us know – Sarah’s parents would probably put you up.


    • Ashley Lenzen says:

      Josh – Before you know it, you’re going to be earning millions in the iPhone photo market. It takes a special touch to get a great photo. Don’t forget to email us a list of your favourite Guatemala locations… we may be there sooner than expected!

  4. Will says:

    Hey, congratulations!! I’ve managed to establish a pretty good history of unemployment and must say, I really enjoy my time off. I share the same sentiment – when people ask me how long I’ll be here (currently Peru) my response is usually “until the money runs out”.

    Again, congratulations and good luck!

  5. Congratulations! I only wish I could be doing the same.. my RTW is on hold at the moment until I can pay off my student debt. Take care of yourselves, be safe, and above all, enjoy every single moment! I’m living vicariously through you now! Haha. 😉

    • Mike Lenzen says:

      Don’t wory Carrie, if you want to go on your own RTW, you will. It’s been a lot of hard work for us to get here. We too went through racking up student loans and eventually paying them off (last one only a couple of months ago). Thing is, once you have a goal to work towards, it’s amazing how fast you can get there. I only wish we had figured out what we wanted to do years prior.

      • Thanks Mike. That is really encouraging. I keep hearing “Once you start your career you’re not going to end up being able to go on your RTW” and for a second there I was starting to buy into it. (It’s amazing that when you keep hearing something, even though you don’t believe it it eventually becomes believable…)

  6. Kris Koeller says:

    Congrats, that’s a HUGE first step!

  7. Stephanie says:

    Hi Mike and Ashley,
    All of us here at the pit wish you both the best of luck and hope that you enjoy your trip it sounds very exciting!!I had a blast getting to you know you both better Thursday night at the “Farewell Bash”! I would also like to Congratulate you guys on taking this exciting and courageous journey!
    Again we all wish the both of you the best of luck and look forward to following your blog and reading about all of your new experiences and where this journey will take you!

    Good Luck on your flight tomorrow!!

    I would like to wish you farewell and the best of luck in everything!

    • Mike Lenzen says:

      Thank you Stephanie, it was also nice getting to know you a bit better Thursday. Give our regards to everyone at the pit.

  8. Pam says:

    Well, it’s a good thing I was not at school that day, I would have made your departure worse……I would have cried, it is truly sad to see you go, you will be missed, and I will miss our lunches we had together. All the Best!

    • Ashley Lenzen says:

      Thanks Pam! I’ll miss our lunches and conversations too. I have definitely shed more than a few tears from all the goodbyes over the last week.

  9. Chris says:

    Hi guys,

    Thank you so much for sharing your journey! It looks like so much fun! I wish I would have done this before we had kids. I am not getting far convincing my family it’s the best way to spend our life. But I am not ready to give up yet…

    You mentioned a travel funds progress bar…I bet it’s super obvious but I am not seeing it?
    Where is it located?

    Cheers and if you ever get near the Columbia River Gorge you are welcome to stay with us..we live in the woods right across from the high school I teach at!


    • Mike Lenzen says:

      The progress bar has been and gone… Once we finished saving up and started spending we decided to remove it. It’s fun to watch a progress bar go up. Watching it fall is a little less exciting. At least for us.

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