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2023: My Year of Change: The overwhelming reality of preparing for retirement.

Updated: Jun 21, 2023

When the calendars and clocks changed from 2022 to 2023, my excitement for the year ahead changed also.

A women feeling overwhelmed and depressed
Feeling Overwhelmed

Overwhelming reality of retirement.

Last year, with my health declining due to medical issues triggered by stress, I needed to change my future path. I needed a new chapter in my book of life. I needed to change my life drastically and completely. To be able to do this I needed to remove two major stress triggers, my job and my house. Sometimes, life becomes a spiral, a whirlpool of choices and emotions, where you feel there is no way out. Your mind tells to to keep soldiering on, with a job that was slowly killing you, so you can pay the bills, the largest of which was a house which you could not maintain due to your on going medical issues, triggered by stress! I had made a 5 year year plan, which I reduced to a 3 year plan, but things just got worse, so I reduced it to a 1 year plan... 2023 would be my year of change, I would retire, sell the house and almost everything I own, buy a van and permanently travel around Australia. Great plan! Loved it in 2022. When the clocked changed to January 1, the reality of the year to come became overwhelming.


The plan...

This was my planning year, I bought a book, took notes on every aspect of van life (so I thought), watched as many Youtube Van life channels as I could. I researched camper vans and motorhomes. We visited caravan and camping expos and walked in and sat in lots of vehicles. I had narrowed it down to a camper van or a motorhome from looking at all types of RV's. I decided I did not want to tow a caravan nor did I want to drive a bus. I decided I wanted to treat myself and buy new instead of buying second hand, someone else's problems. What I wanted as compared to what I could afford ($) was also a major deciding factor. By visiting the camping shows, I soon realised how big and bulky motorhomes were, yes more space than camper vans but you are restricted by the height. Most motorhomes over cab sleeper was a waste of space as I couldn't climb up there. I reviewed my priorities. It simplified my choice, The vehicle had to be; New; 4 seatbelts; around $150,000. This criteria limited my choices drastically. Did you know that most motorhomes and camper vans only had 2 seatbelts? It was a shock to me. with only 2 seatbelts I could never take my 2 grandsons anywhere!

Finding the best vehicle

Winnebago Bondi 4S

Later in the year we went to another camping show at the Brisbane Ekka grounds, This show was smaller, less vehicles, but knowing I could put a deposit on a van, mum and myself went shopping. We found and fell in love with a van that fitted my restrictive criteria. At Kratzmann Caravans we saw the Winnebago Bondi 4 S. She fitted the criteria. She had less inclusions than the VW Kampervan we had previously fell in love with, but so many circumstances changed in regards to that van and I needed to walk away. So we took the leap and ordered the Van. Completion date.... December 2023/January 2024. Perfect. I could work for one more year. The excitement of ordering the Wynnie or Whynnie (I haven't decided if I am going to add the H like I do with my pets) was wonderful, I had done it! My future path was now in motion.

Hiring a Van

Van parked at Hervey Bay
Hervey Bay

Hiring the van in December for help me decided if van life was for me (long story), was adventurous, exhilarating and informative. I loved every moment and definitely confirmed that this was the life for me. I loved waking up in the morning in the van, opening the door, making a coffee and sitting in the sun, contemplating my plans for that day. I loved vlogging my journey, editing my journey and sharing my journey. I could not wait to get on the road permanently. There was many differences between hiring a van and travelling permanently in my van. When hiring the van...

  1. I was limited to time

  2. I was limited kilometres I could travel

  3. I was limited on $

  4. I always had the nagging voice... it is not my van..

  5. Still paying for costs at home.

When I start to travel full time, there will be no limit on time or kilometres. I can travel as little or as long as I like, within the accumulative weekly fuel allowance. I will have a weekly budget, which will increase once I sell the house. My bills will be different, I am not going to say it will be cheaper, but the joy of not having the costs of running a house (mortgage, rates, utilities, insurance etc.) will be amazing. I will still have bills, but amount will be drastically reduced.


When the clocks chimed midnight, the calendars changed and we entered into the new year 2023. My year of change, retirement, the year all this was going to happen, the year I was going to retire and finally leave a job that was slowly killing me. The reality of it all hit me like a ton of bricks, the magnitude of the year to come, the overwhelming amount of things I needed to do with limited time, making sure I had the correct information to be able to put all the jigsaw pieces of the year together, yet still had to, live, run the house, work and maintain my job to the best of my ability. Everything became so overwhelming, my anxiety peaked, my health declined and I mentally shut down.

A pressure cooker about to explode
Pressure cookers

When your head is too cluttered

There is so many things that I need to organise, sort, plan, research, put into action, whilst still being a good mum, nanna, daughter and teacher, my head was so clogged, so much so, it was hard to think and do what I need to do. Time is now NOT on my side. The clock is ticking to get everything done. Talk about pressure, my head feels like a pressure cooker about to explode most of the time!

I needed another journal, but ended up continuing with the one I had. I needed allocate each thing to organise, plan or research it's own page. Deal with one thing at a time. Find out what I need to, write it down and turn the page. This helped a lot.

The fear of what's to come...

There are of course many things that I need to do, that the outcome will not be good for me, like handing in my notice to retire. I was quite fearful of handing in my notice. The date I had chosen I believed will not go down well with my boss or the admin and I have a massive fear of retaliation. My fear of change was also hindering me and playing with my mind... Even though I had those genuine fears, the outcome was very different.

Needing to get back to doing what I love.

I needed to take a breath, review and renew my passion, purpose & focus...

The first thing I did was to review my purpose. Everyone needs a purpose right? I my purpose had been consumed by what was to come. My purpose? To reduce my anxiety and better my health by changing my lifestyle. How will I do that? I started a timeline.

The world works in mysterious ways

I was contacted my Kratzmann to say, the van build was progressing well and at this stage, the van build will be completed in late August so pick up would be September! This totally threw me because the last update, pick up was going to be November, December or even January 2024! September changed everything.

The first thing I did was place September 1 on the timeline. Then I had to work backwards. allowing time for the bank cheque to be created, my Super to be cleared in my account, giving notice of retirement, allow for paperwork to filled out incorrectly or be miss placed etc. Time was now not on my side and yes I panicked. Everything needed to click together like a jigsaw...

The next thing i needed to to was decide on a retirement date. I decided that I would retire on 7th July 2023, the last Friday of the June/July school holidays. This will give me time to clean out the classroom and ensure all the students records and critical information documents are up to date for the next teacher. After consulting with the union, I found out that I could give at little as 2 weeks notice... ie the last day of term! This was quite tempting after the last few years at school. I did feel guilty about not giving the parents ample notice. Then to my surprise our principal announced that in 2 weeks he would be taking long service leave and the retiring. Not knowing what would happen once he had left... I decided to send the email of my intention to retire before he left.

The day of joy and relief!

I sent the email Sunday night, Monday morning the union sent the cease of employment form I needed to fill out, which I did, signed it, gave it to the principal to sign, he signed and sent it to HR for processing, all before first break (11am)! (I found out ;later that the DRM had not sent it through but it has been now so al good.)

I then had a missed call from Kratzmann's. I called them back to be told that there was an opportunity to bring my van build forward, ie completion in July, pick up the beginning of August! I explained that I had just given notice of retirement for the 7th July, I can not claim my super until I retire. The super will take about 3 weeks to appear in my account, I then have to organise a bank cheque which can take days or weeks. With the agreement that I will pay for the van as soon as I can... I agreed. So the van will be picking the van up in August!

Everyone has been very accepting of my decision to leave mid year. I sent home thank you cards, apologising to all the parents and explaining that I was retiring and the reason for my retirement. The parents have been very supportive of my decision 😊

Let the rollercoaster ride begin....

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