Personal Burn Rate

The assortment of currencies I had with me in NK
The assortment of currencies I had with me in NK

A while ago, I read about the concept of a “personal burn rate” and at the time I worried that mine was too high. I had a well paying job, but lived in an expensive city, and a significant proportion of my income went on “stress tax” – stuff (mostly travel) that made me feel more okay with the life I was living.

And I wondered how I would ever be able to walk away.

Eventually I realised that my major outgoings were rent, and tax. And realised that if I earned half as much and moved to another city I could pay half as much rent, and less than half as much tax. At that point, freedom started to look a lot more possible.

It’s amazing what having a goal did for my burn rate. Yes, those shoes are totally cute, but I would ask myself “is freedom more appealing” and often (although not always) it was. It would be totally great to go chill in Chiang Mai for a few weeks, but the cost of 3 weeks could easily be 2-3 months if I waited.

And so I waited. And now my burn rate is really low.

Honestly a big part of this is having no fixed address. Conferences have started covering my travel and accommodation, and when I need to be in London I can get a last minute surprise hotel. I left my stuff at my parents place, so I’m there periodically but since part of moving back to Europe after 7 years was to spend more time with my family who I still barely saw whilst living in London, this is OK for now. The last part of this year is quite broken up with conference travel, and I’ve yet to decide what to do in December (probably Romania), but next year I plan to start taking longer trips, unless I move back to Canada.

This was written at a surprise hotel in Copenhagen. Now, it’s time to explore the city.

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