End of (paid) work and back to school

11 March 2017

(written by Nancy)

 This week Dave and I went back to school to update our first-aid certificates by taking an all-day refresher first-aid course.  Because the course was in Australia, in addition to the normal CPR training there was a heavy focus on dealing with venomous spiders, snakes, jelly-fish and those sorts of threats.  But because many Australians like to swim and interactions with sharks and crocodiles can result in large gashes and potentially heavy bleeding, the class also covered how to help someone in this situation.

There was no mention of bears or other large manuals that one might encounter in North or South America, but I think from a ‘sharp claws and big mouth full of teeth’ standpoint, it probably doesn’t matter if it’s a croc/shark or bear/mountain lion.  The best advice is to avoid contact – which seems pretty smart.  I am aiming for that but am also now up to date on how to wrap a bleeding wound – though I am not sure if we will actually have enough bandages (or frankly limbs left) to wrap a bear wound…

I was able to spend all day in a class in part because I am no longer working.  Yes, I finally pulled the plug and am now formally a “semi-retired” finance lawyer.  I’m not sure about the ‘semi’ part but as we plan to take a couple years off for our upcoming trip, that’s the story I’m sticking with.

It was hard to leave my job at the CEFC, Australia’s green bank.  Not only did I work with a lot of really great people, we also did some really good work.  The CEFC provides funding to great projects that ultimately should help lower the greenhouse gas impact that humans have on earth – or at least the Australian humans, where the CEFC projects are based.  And, while the CEFC funds projects using taxpayer dollars, the funding is done by way of loans (or through equity investments), so creates a double win – moving toward a greener, cleaner world while earning a positive return on the taxpayer money invested.

I don’t think there are many jobs as a finance lawyer where you can get that sense of doing something ‘good’ for humanity – where it is about something bigger and more important than making the highest return.  I am thankful for the opportunity that the CEFC provided – as well as the chance to work with such a great team of people who believe that every little (and big) step helps and are willing to fight the battles required to take those steps.

Leaving the professional world does have an impact on your ego.  I used to have a very clear answer when asked what I did by someone at a cocktail party.  Now, I’m not sure what to say.  To help me with this transition, my team at CEFC gave me a new ‘stamp’ – instead of ‘Nancy Peterson, General Counsel’ I am now officially ‘Nancy Peterson, Intrepid Cyclist – General Adventurer’.  I’m quite pleased with the new title and have already changed my online professional profile to reflect this.  Don’t worry long time readers, rest assured that I am also still also President and CEO of leavewithoutpay.com.  Dave will keep his old, and decidedly more junior, titles.

Nancy Stamp

Nancy’s new title

Aside from first-aid classes, we are working on the other thousand things we need to do before the trip – arranging for travel insurance, cancelling mobile phones and home internet, vaccinations, banking arrangements, dealing with the apartment, moving stuff to storage, getting trip gear sorted and ready, spare bike parts, mail forwarding, etc, etc, etc.  It seems like the list goes on forever.  Dave got through some of the items while I was working, but there still is much to do.  In many ways, getting back on the bikes will be the easy part of our new adventure.


Don’t leave home without your vaccination books

I had hoped for a few months to relax and enjoy Australia but because I ended up working a bit longer than planned to help with the transition at work, I now have to soak in as much of Australia as I can in the next couple of weeks to last me until we get back.  I think that means lots of egg and bacon rolls, flat whites, good Aussie reds, fish and chips on the harbour, spending time with friends, etc.  I think to Dave that means riding as much as possible in the sunshine, so we have a bit of ‘negotiating’ to do.  I think I have the higher ground, given I have been working the last 2 years while he learned to swim, don’t you think?

Speaking of swimming, I must give public kudos to Dave, who after a lifetime of aversion to being in the water, has now learned to swim like a fish.  I did give him encouragement along the way, helpfully telling him regularly to act like a dolphin and making dolphin sounds (ki ki ki ki…) as he went off to swim, which I am sure was of great assistance to him.  He would not allow me to go swimming with him while he was learning, but he has now advanced to such proficiency (he can now swim a whole mile!) that he allowed me to accompany him to the pool this week.

Swimmer Dave


I swam when I was a kid (was on the local swim team) but have not really done any swimming in the last 30+ years so it took me a couple visits to get up to the mile with him.  My mom pointed out to Dave that I did win some ribbons back in the day so of course I was a good swimmer – moms are always good for a confidence booster!  I don’t know if winning ribbons for backstroke over 40 years ago has much bearing on my swimming abilities today, but I will take what I can get.  Now Dave and I can race each other in the pool and maybe I’ll have a chance to beat him at something…

We are still planning on being back in the USA at the end of March and looking at late May to kick off in Fairbanks.  It’s getting close now.  And thankfully, I know what to call myself and have that official stamp just in case anyone asks.

10 thoughts on “End of (paid) work and back to school

  1. Great story! Thanks for sharing. I can “see” your work and list, as you check things off. I teach my students to make their writing “show” the reader, not “tell” the reader the story. Yours certainly shows us what this time is like….. and even brought a tear to my eye thinking about all that your green bank and employees do to help the environment. The end of March is approaching quickly. Good luck with all your chores!

    • You and I competing in swimming is a little like a cat playing with a ball (I’m the ball).  I’ve only managed to swim a mile 5 times now.  I’m afraid that Nancy makes me sound a little more “Thorpean” than I actually am.  Give me another 6 months and a chance to ditch the water wings.

  2. ….and I need 6 months to get swim fit anyway….so I’ll let you off this time 🙂 but, notwithstanding – proud of your new found love of the water and your kikikikiki achievement…..

Leave a Reply to Dave & Nancy Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s