String Theory: What’s Next After the Layoff

When I got laid off from my job as a news reporter at KGO Radio over two weeks ago, I started immediately thinking about my expenses. There was no way I could afford a room on a houseboat and membership at a fancy gym on my unemployment wages, which would equal a meager $1800 per month. I’d only have $200 to spare without dipping into my savings.

So, I did what any budget-minded person would do, who’s flexible and willing to get rid of everything and live out of suitcases, without a kitchen, laundry room, shower, internet, you know, all those creature comforts of 21st century life. I put in my  30-days notice on the houseboat with plans to move onto a sailboat, and cancelled my membership at the San Francisco Bay Club.

While this might seem traumatic and dramatic and crazy to some, to me, I felt only freedom. I thanked my lucky stars that I don’t have a mortgage or a car payment or children or debt. I can use my unemployment to sustain me without breaking the bank. I can travel while looking for job opportunities without paying for rent. I can work on my own blog and brand and travel writing, with the dream of one day being a travel writer, an essayist, something that involves creativity and writing and exploration.

I used budget string theory to become free.

Then, I started thinking of ways to make my life interesting and diverse and adventurous. Often, I think people can start to lose themselves, their identity, their drive when they become unemployed, especially from a profession they’ve thrown their entire heart and soul into. I am determined to not let that happen to me.

So, I booked a trip to Southern California (using credit card points), to see my Mom and Grandma for Mother’s Day. This trip will be mostly free.

I booked a three week trip to Southern Thailand for only $740 roundrip, with plans to travel there on $20 per day. This entire trip will equal the same amount or less than my houseboat rent.

I plan to look up gym specials on Groupon or Living Social, so I can try out a variety of gyms and yoga studios and workout classes for far less than the $210 per month Bay Club.

And I plan to look for work, pitch my writing, practice my craft.

Some people think being unemployed is devastating. I think its just the start of an adventure. Because hey, “I’ve got the world on a string.” The next chapter has begun.