My guest this week believes that every woman, regardless of her past, can learn to create lasting wealth. She wants women to be financially liberated and pursue their dreams, and she’s here to share how she’s living one of my dreams: taking a year-long family sabbatical, traveling around the world.
Dr. Latifat Akintade is a gastroenterologist, money coach, and mother of three beautiful children. She’s also the author of the Amazon Bestseller Done With Broke: The Woman Physician’s Guide to More Money and Less Hustle, and Latifat is the host of The MoneyFitMD Podcast. Combining her knowledge of personal finance with her skills as a certified life coach, Dr. Latifat Akintade empowers women to take control of their finances and break free from the cycle of financial struggle.
Tune in this week to discover why your travel options are broader than you might think. Dr. Latifat Akintade is discussing how she has managed to take a year-long sabbatical with her family, traveling the world, sharing the truth about job security as we know it, and explaining how she’s used points throughout this adventure.
Hey everybody, I have another great guest interview for you today on the podcast. But before we jump into that, I want to let you in on the one thing that all my podcast guests have in common. What they all know is that while the best use of points may be personal, there is a secret to getting the most value from your points possible.
In fact, there's an art and a science to making sure that your expenses are earning you as many points as possible, and that those hard earned points, get you a business class flight to Asia with your family instead of a bunch of gift cards to Best Buy. But having an easy to follow guide that walks you through exactly what to do, and what not to do, in order to book the award flights of your dreams so that your points don't get wasted on bad flight deals or sit languishing in your account because you're not sure exactly how to use them hasn't been available. Until now.
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Enrollment for the next round of Points Made Easy opens in just a few weeks, but will only stay open for new members to join for seven days. This is the last time that points Made Easy is going to open for enrollment this year. So you're not going to want to miss your chance to get in there. To learn more about Points Made Easy and to get your name on the waitlist so that you'll be first have access to join the course when enrollment opens, just go to www.pointmetofirstclass.com/pointsmadeeasy. That's www.pointmetofirstclass.com/pointsmadeeasy. All right now let's get on with the show.
Welcome to Point Me to First Class, the only show for employed professionals, entrepreneurs, and business owners who are looking to optimize their higher-than-average expenses to travel the world. I'm your host, Devon Gimbel, and I believe that your expenses are your greatest untapped asset if you know how to leverage them. Ready to dive into the world of credit card points and miles so you can travel more, travel better, and travel often? Let's get started.
Devon: Welcome back to the podcast everybody. Today, I am so excited to be joined by Dr. Latifat Akintade. Dr. Latifat is a gastroenterologist, money coach, and mama of three beautiful children. She is also the author of the Amazon Best Seller Done With Broke: The Woman Physician’s Guide to More Money and Less Hustle, and the host of The Money Fit MD podcast.
Combining her knowledge of personal finance, with her skills as a certified life coach. Dr. Latifat empowers women to take control of their finances and break free from the cycle of financial struggle. She firmly believes that every woman, regardless of their past, can learn to have money and create lasting wealth. Her mission is to ensure that every woman is financially liberated to pursue her dreams.
Latifat is with us today because she is currently pursuing one of my dreams, which is what she is here to share more about with all of us today. But before we dive into that, I want to formally welcome her to the podcast. Latifat, thank you so much for joining me today.
Dr. Akintade: Thank you for having me. I would literally go anywhere you invite me to go. So if it's here, we get to have fun together. So thank you for having me.
Devon: Well, that sounds amazing. I actually wish that I was where you are, which is what you're here to share with everybody and all of us today. So tell me a little bit quickly about where are you recording this podcast from, and what brought you there?
Dr. Akintade: Absolutely. So we are currently in Barcelona, Spain. What brought me here is life. We are taking a family sabbatical. So we're traveling a year around the world. I kind of hesitated saying around the world because I'm like around the world means you hit every single country, which it's not. But we're traveling to many, many countries literally around the world.
We are in, I believe this is country number ten that we've been to since April. So it's been amazing. It's been life changing. It's been way better than I could have imagined it. I highly recommend this to every single person. I believe it's possible for everybody that wants it too.
Devon: Amazing. I know that we're going to get a lot more into that last point that you made about how this could actually be possible for so many people because I have a feeling that a lot of people, especially if they're ones where they hear about this idea of a year-long sabbatical with their families. Sounds absolutely amazing. But one of their first thoughts is going to be not possible, right? Like, I don't see how that's going to work into my life. I don't know how we could make this work.
So take us a little bit back. I am really curious to hear from you. What did your life look like in general kind of around the time that you really started thinking that this was something that you wanted to make a plan to do?
Dr. Akintade: To be honest with you, I did not plan on taking a sabbatical at all. It was not on my dream things to do. It was not on my agenda. The reason why is because I honestly loved my life. I am a gastroenterologist in America, which means not perfect health system. Nowhere is perfect, really, but we all know what's been happening with burnout and all that stuff.
I've always been FTE as a physician. I work at a large hospital system with an emphasis in IBD. So ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, and I truly, truly love what I do. Like, it is an honor of my life to do what I do. I literally would go in at two o'clock in the morning to fix GI bleeding, and I would not hate it. Of course, I didn't want to take calls all the time, but hopefully you get my point. The point was I loved what I did. I was not burnt out.
I also had the other hat, which is Money Fit MD, the podcast and the school that I have for women physicians. So those were the two things that I did primarily. My husband and I do real estate. We have three kids. We have other things that we do outside of medicine and business as well that keeps our lives and our hearts full. But, again, I was fine. I was great.
It really wasn't until last year, 2022 late summer, was when we just had a thought that maybe we should take a sabbatical. The idea came when we were actually in Aruba. I was in Aruba for a wellness conference where I was a speaker. So my husband went there with me. It was just amazing. We had a great time.
I was really intrigued by the languages there because I found out that most people in Aruba spoke multiple languages. I'm like what happens to your brain when you understand so many languages and you're able to just interact with people? It’s crazy. To be able to expose our kids to that would be amazing. So that was the entry point that traveling for more than like a regular two week or three week vacation came into the picture for us.
So my husband was just, we're talking, and I said how amazing would it be to be in a room for like six months? We're like that would be amazing. That was the end of that dream because we don't do stupid things like that. We are physicians. Sabbatical, like six months? No one's going to give you six months as an employed physician, right?
So I went back to doing the stuff that I do, minding my own business, living my life, and enjoying the life that I had, right? Then I think it was about two months later, my husband looked at me and was like whenever you're ready, I am. I'm like ready for what? He was like oh, I thought you said if we wanted to. I was joking. What am I going to do with my job? Then I pretty much walked away.
That was where the competition started. What would it actually look like if we wanted to do this? Again, this was not a long time planning. This was literally end of summer of last year was when we decided that we wanted to do this. But once, for us, my faith is important to me. We had been praying and all this stuff. It just really felt like in my heart like this is what we were meant to do. That was the reason why we said you know what? We're taking a sabbatical.
So I told my boss. I'm like hey, just so you know. Next year, I'm leaving. So let's start looking. I'm not going to put my official whatever in yet, but just to give you a heads up so we can start looking for someone that's going to take my place when I leave. So I had to quit to take a sabbatical to be able to travel. So I pretty much quit my job. We started traveling in April of this year.
Devon: Let me ask you a little bit more about that. Because from where I'm sitting and sort of knowing the path of medicine, knowing what it takes to get educated, to go through all of their training, to then find a job in practice. A lot of our listeners can relate to that as physicians. A lot of the listeners of the podcast are not doctors, but I think probably have a similar professional path where it's something that they have studied for or worked for, for a long time and take their career very seriously.
So this idea of coming up with an idea. Like you said, this had not been part of your life plan for a really, really long time. So you have this idea. It actually required that you walk into your job and tell your employer hey, just so you know, this is on my horizon. It required that you not have that job as a long term sort of security blanket that I think a lot of people experience from their jobs.
How were you able to do that? Because I suspect that a lot of people listening, again, especially ones who feel very drawn to doing a sabbatical. I expect that many of them have a concern of what about my job. That is a real and serious concern. So can you help me understand like what enabled you to still take that leap?
Dr. Akintade: To be honest with you, and I'm going to be very transparent because I want this to be as helpful as possible to your audience. I think that what really helped make it more possible was the work that we had done before we even knew that we wanted to sabbatical, right? So I'm a money coach. What I do is I help physicians be good at money, right?
The reason why I do that is I want us to be prepared for whatever. Most times people only think about bad things as the whatever. But the whatever could also be great things as well. So I knew where my money was going. We have some savings. We have investments. We have diversified income sources. So definitely those helped.
Doesn't mean that it wasn't scary. It was scary. Listen, y'all, I'm an immigrant. I moved here to the US to do great things. My parents did not sacrifice everything they sacrificed so that I could take a bougie year off. That was not on the plan at all. So I still had my brain drama.
But also, to be honest with you, there's a question that I want everybody to ask ourselves. I get that a lot of times we attach our security to our job. But one of the things that I've realized is when you sit back, I love observing things. I love observing just the natural course of people, what people are doing. I love success leaves clues, failure leaves clues as well.
When you think about the whole idea of job security, it is true that that's what we've been taught. That our security comes from our job. Until someone comes in to your work and says sorry, you're fired. You can't come back tomorrow, right? Until you get a medical illness, and you're not able to go back.
So ultimately, I personally have a fear. I have a fear of dependence on anything. I don't like to depend on anything, including my job. The way that I've been able to do that is remind myself continuously and constantly that my security actually doesn't come from my job. My security comes from what I'm able to create with my mind. Right? So my security is not from my job. It's not from even money to be honest, that I have, even though that does help.
But as long as I'm in my right mind, right, I can be resourceful. I can learn. I can do things. I always remind myself that I always have a backup plan. The backup plan may be multiple steps. For me, it may be like the real estate we have, the diversified income sources we have.
But interestingly enough because people are going to hear this and think all of that is why I was able to do this. But my brain actually still freaked out even though I had the resources, the material resources to be able to do this. I had to almost appease my brain so it can stop freaking out. I had to list out all the ways.
I'm like okay, we have to diversified this. We have that. We can do this. We can use that. I literally went down, and my brain was still freaking out. The only reason why my brain stopped freaking out was when I said I will go sleep on my sister's couch if I need to. My brain was like okay, now you have a plan. It makes no sense, right?
So a lot of times we do think that those things that we have is what is going to make our brains not freak out. But ultimately, our brains are going to freak out regardless of what you have. But you just have to ask yourself what kind of like do I want? What future do I want? What am I going to regret doing or not do? Yes, it's going to be scary, but is it worth it or not?
Like when my 80 year old self is looking back on my life, is she going to say Latifat, I hate you for taking a sabbatical? No. She's going to give me a high five and say thank you so much for doing that while our hips work, while our knees work, and while we can move around and do whatever the heck we wanted to do because I get to create all these memories. Not just for my family right now, but also for my future self when I'm 80 years old. So I get to enjoy this memory and this experience for even longer.
Devon: Yeah, I think hearing that and hearing your personal experience and your transparency with that is so important and so helpful. One of the things that you said that really struck me that I can definitely relate to is this idea that so many of us who are planners tend to plan for the worst, right? Plan for the worst so that you are prepared if it happens, even though, of course, we hope it never does.
But this point that you made about also planning for the best and how important that is. One of the things that kind of came up for me as you were just speaking is I can imagine there are going to be people who listen to this episode, especially what we still haven't covered yet, which are more details about your trip. Either they have thought about taking a sabbatical and this helps really cement that in them, or they never considered it for a lot of reasons that you never had and this is going to plant the seed for them.
But this idea of maybe this is something that really resonates with you, that you feel pulled to do. Maybe you're not in a position right now where you have already started planning for the best, but this can be that time for you. I think that it's so useful to start thinking about what is the thing that I really want to do to live my wealthy life?
You and I, we’re friends outside of this podcast, and we talk a lot about wealth in general. Not just financial material wealth, but the wealth of a life well lived according to our values. For those of you who are listening to this, and you feel pulled or called to do a thing, maybe this is the time that you get to start planning for the best case scenario and still planning, of course, for the unexpected. What would that look like for you?
Because I think that a lot of us, especially kind of our age, our generation, I feel like whether you were born in North America or you came to North American have lived a lot of your professional educational life here, I think we have a very kind of prevailing cultural narrative. That kind of what you do is get educated or get experienced or trained in an area, and then you do that thing, right? You do that thing full time, all the time, seriously, and professionally until you're 65. Then you can retire and then do the non-working things.
I feel like having and sharing stories where people have decided to shift that narrative for themselves and their families is so helpful for people to have as an example. So thank you for being one of those examples and for sharing more about your experience because I think there's so much that I can learn from you and other people can learn as well.
One of the things that I'm dying to hear more about just selfishly that I also want you to share with the audience is how is it that you and your family decided where you were going to go? Once you had made this plan. Okay, we are giving this time to ourselves. We're giving ourselves a year and a lot of the world is open and available to you. How did you decide where you wanted to go?
Dr. Akintade: Great question. So the way that I decided it was, or we decided it, was quarterly just makes sense. So we just thought to ourselves how about we can pick a continent a quarter? So four continents just made it easier to think in boxes like that. At that point, so this was, we were planning this in December slash January is when we're trying to put the final touches, actually.
So one of the things that I was talking to my husband about is like so we literally put out the map. We said what continent make sense when? So we looked at the weather. We didn't want to go to Mexico or anywhere that was easily accessible to us because we can do that at any time. So asking ourselves what are the places?
But we also knew that Aruba area was somewhere we want it to go. So that was like Aruba was there. We also know that we wanted to go to Nigeria, and we have an event happening in Nigeria in October. So those were the two things that we knew we wanted to do. So now what continents can we pick based on the weather that would make it a good time to be there? So that's literally how we planned out four continents and then decided what general areas we're going to choose.
The other thing as well, as you know, my book came out in May of this year. So that was also part of our thing too was the beginning of the year was really, really busy for us. Rounding up patient care, saying goodbye to our patients. I launched inaudible the first quarter of this year. I had my book that was coming out in May. We knew we were going to empty out our house, which we had been living in for years. So we knew all that was going to take time and effort.
Then my oldest was also turning 10. We wanted to, that was in March. We wanted to have a party so that we could see our loves before we left, right. So I knew that the first quarter was going to be super busy. So one thing we knew for sure was we were going to need a big break at the beginning of our sabbatical.
So we chose Curacao, which is right by Aruba. Everybody's really inaudible . So we wanted more of a cultural experience for our kids. So we actually were in Curacao for about six weeks at the very beginning, just like detoxing, defrosting. Just chilling, doing nothing. Literally went to the beach every single day. It was awesome. But that was the general idea of how where we chose where we're going to be.
Devon: So you mentioned that you and your family have already been to nine other countries prior to Spain where you just landed. Can you quickly tell me what are the countries that you already have visited up until now? What do you know is still on your list for the remainder of your sabbatical?
Dr. Akintade: Absolutely. So what we've done is we've been very kind to ourselves with the planning. Because a lot of times people think about, there's analysis paralysis that happens. There's fear of planning that happens. I think a lot of times people binge on planning.
So, for us, we decided that we're going to plan in batches, right. That's what works. So almost like a continent at a time was what our planning was going to be. But also, the other thing we want it was we wanted to give ourselves the gift that we'd never had before, which was a gift of flexibility. Right?
So for that reason, there were things that we planned ahead of time. There were things that we added on. So I know I talked to you that we added on Spain. We added on Morocco. We added on Greece. We're going to do a cruise of like Croatia through Montenegro and back to Venice. But before this, we have gone to Curacao, Aruba. We did England, Italy, Switzerland, which was an add on too by the way.
Because we were in Aruba, and my husband decided to do a Spartan Race with Kenji and Letty which is like the south of France. So the closest airport to that was in Switzerland. So we’re like, you know what? We're just going to go to Switzerland for about like seven days or a day. So Switzerland got in there. We drove to south of France.
Then we went back to Switzerland, flew to France. Then from France, we went to Portugal. From Portugal, we went to Cyprus, and then from Cyprus, we flew back to the UK and spent like a month or so there with family. After that we've done Morocco. We're here in Spain. Then we're doing Greece, the cruise, Nigeria, and then Southeast Asia after that.
Devon: Okay, so I have to tell you, I hear about that. I'm sitting here in my chair with my little points brain. I'm trying to do these like rapid calculations and machinations in my head imagining because you mentioned that you have three children, right? So you're traveling, it's you, your husband, and your three kids who are traveling as a unit. How old are your three kids?
Dr. Akintade: Ten, eight, and five.
Devon: Okay, and I'm imagining okay flights, accommodations, food, all of the things that I think about for a seven day vacation for my family of four. Your family of five is having to navigate this times an entire year. I am so curious to know of if and to what extent points versus cash are factoring into your plan.
I know that you are not a self-professed points fanatic like I am. Where I would probably be digging through and trying to figure out all of these little random esoteric airlines that my family could fly and using points for everything. But one of the reasons I wanted to have you on to tell this story is I think it's so important to have examples of real people doing real versions of travel, not necessarily the points fanatical version of travel that I might do. So have points played into your travel plans at all? If so, can you tell me how you've used them so far?
Dr. Akintade: Absolutely. You are right. I'm not a points fanatic at all. I'm not even qualified to be talking on this points podcast. Sorry, I snuck in here. No, but seriously, points was something that I did very mildly early in our financial journey. When I started my journey, I knew zero about money. For us, the first thing that we knew to do, I was not as educated as I was then, was I wanted to pay down my debt, pay off my student loans. So every extra cash went into that.
So we were not really even like traveling or anything, but we did a lot of like staycation. We live in California, like it's very diverse. You get to see different things in different geography. So points was what would pay for our hotels then. So that was the extent to which I used points.
Then I would do, I know this will probably give you chest pain, but I would do like the gift cards. So points was how I got gift cards for teachers at the end of the year. So my points was so I could buy a bunch of gift cards and give it to a bunch of teachers. That was what we did.
But then with our travel, now we're a little bit more educated when it comes to points. We're still not fanatics. But because we have businesses and all those things, we were able to have about, I want to say 500,000 points or so. But I actually I had to ask myself what would be the most enjoyable and most value added way of using those points for our lives?
There are two options, right? You could go the really economical way, and we could have covered a lot of travel actually using points. That's what I also want people to realize that points can help you with decreasing the cost of traveling by using it to pay for even economy flights throughout the world. Right?
But for us, I decided. I want to say I because I want to not blame my husband for that. But when we talk about the wealth of our lives, it's also about the enjoyment of our lives and having the power of moments. If you guys haven’t read that book, Power of Moment, I really recommend. It's a great book. But it's just how like little things can really enrich your life more than anything else.
So for us, we decided that buying business class flight was going to be what the value add for our lives was going to be. So like, when we're going from Curacao to UK, that was like first we traveled business class. They actually have no first class, but like we did business class, and it was amazing. It was amazing. My kids were on there. My husband was on there.
My husband came from really, really humble background, like super humble. It's like he had to sell things when he was young so they could have like, that's how humble he grew up. So I don't think it really hit him until he actually experienced it. I've been in business class before, but that was the first long flight that we had had, and we're all on it.
Honestly, me just sitting down and just like watching this guy who was this amazing giver just have that moment was like worth every single thing. The kids, of course, they enjoyed it. I have to like pick my middle one off the ground multiple times because she’ll just lay there. I'm like if you were in economy sleeping, you would not fall on the ground. But it was great.
But also there was a moment, and I will be honest with you because disparities is important to me. It's work that I find close to my heart. Honestly, I will be honest with you. When we got on that flight, it was a large flight, international. They were at the entrance welcoming people, and we are turned right. It's a large airline. So you know, business class was left, but we’re turned right. We thought it was like the usual arrangement, right?
When we got there, they're like oh no, the numbers starts at like six or something, and ours was like three. So we turned back, and we were going to go the other way. Someone stood in the way and was like oh, can we help you? I'm like yeah, we’re going to business class. He’s like oh, is your seat in business? I'm like yeah. Then paused for a moment. I was like, forget you. That's what we frigging sit in. If all I get on this flight is the fact that people of color can sit down on the frigging front of the plane, it's done the job of all the points that I had.
So that was what we chose to be our experience with that. We've looked at other ways. Like, for example, we're going to book from London to Nigeria using points. We did, but not business class. It's going to be economy, but that is value for us. The one I'm looking forward to, and this is what we're saving a lot of our points for. I think we have like almost 400,000 points left because we've also accumulated so more is going from Nigeria to Thailand. It’s going to be Qatar airline. So I cannot wait.
Devon: I cannot wait for you. That, I think, is going to be such an incredible experience for your family. Please continue to take all the pictures and post them on Instagram. People have been following you obsessively to see all of your pictures.
But I think one of the points that you just made is so important. I think everybody listening to this, including myself, can remind ourselves of this idea as we are kind of going around on our points journey of earning points and using points, which is this question that you asked yourself about what would be the most enjoyable or the most value added way for you and your family to use your points?
I think that is so much more of an important question than what I think we tend to ask, which is like what is the best way to use points? Or what is the best flight that I can book using my points? Those sound like really similar questions, but they're not. I think the big difference is starting with getting really clear for ourselves about just what matters to me personally out of this experience.
Because I agree with you. Sometimes the answer to that is going to be a long haul business class flight if we have the points to be able to do that and the availability exists because of the experience of that gives us or someone that we love. Sometimes the answer to what is going to be the most value added way for me to use my points, it's going to be economy. Both of those are amazing choices.
I think it can be very easy sometimes to see how other people are using their points and for us to very accidentally get an idea that that's how we should also want to use our points. As much as I'm a huge fan of long haul business class, I think it's so important for people to be able to understand how can you use your points for that if it's something you want.
Because I agree it's so important for so many different reasons to see so many different types of people at the front of the airplane, especially if that is not an experience that you have had before or that you were grown up being told hey, this is available to you. You are welcome in any part of this airplane, in any part of this experience. I think all of those things are really important and to not lose sight that we always get to be the first and best determinant of what use of points is going to be the most enjoyable for us.
So thank you for being really explicit about that. I think especially in this type of experience where you have a year to travel, you have the benefit of seeing there are so many different ways that you can use points that are all going to be value adds to you that I think for those of us who might be taking a four day trip or a seven day trip, we don't have quite that length of experience to be able to make lots of different decisions about different potential uses of points.
But I'm also super curious because you mentioned that as you're traveling, you are continuing to accumulate points. So in your experience having been moving through all of these different countries and having more countries, more areas of the world that you plan on visiting. When it comes just the day to day practical decision making about where are you going to purchase food, or how are you going to pay for certain accommodations, the things that you are using cash equivalents for. Are you using rewards credit cards on your current travels? If so, what cards are you bringing along? What points are you earning?
Dr. Akintade: Absolutely. I mean typically I don't spend cash when I'm in the US. I rarely ever because it's just easier to use credit cards, especially if you know you're going to pay it off. It's automated. You're disciplined to not spend more than what you'd normally spend. So I rarely ever spend cash.
We do have cash now because, well we do have intermittent cash because of the places we're traveling, some places are more cash friendly and all that. However, when it comes to like booking our flights or booking our hotels, or we do a lot of like Airbnbs because it's more comfortable. Like right now, I have an extra room where I can do my work and do business and do podcasts. That would be harder to do in a hotel setting with like three touch crazy like their mama kids kind of deal, right.
So for us the credit cards we've been using, we've prioritized no fees. That was a big thing, like international fees. That's one thing that I just don't like paying fees necessarily. It feels like late charges on my body. So, and it does accumulate as well. Right. So that's been the primary thing that we prioritize.
So we do use a lot of our Chase Sapphire and also Amex Business Plat. Those are the main ones that we use. At first, I was using my Freedom card because I use that a lot in the US. But once I realized that there was fees being charged, I'm like no more. So now that's what we use primarily for our travels.
Devon: Yeah, I love those as options. I think that's one of the things that is important to consider, again, whether your travel looks like a yearlong sabbatical like yours or if it looks like a couple of days, especially if you're traveling out of the country. Really great reminder that the cards that you may use for a lot of your everyday spend in the US are maybe not the cards that you want to bring with you internationally if they are ones that are going to charge foreign transaction fees.
So just a little tip for those of you. Whatever your next trip is, if it happens to be out of the country, make sure that you review prior to your trip which credit cards you're planning on bringing and just confirm that you have at least one card that you can use internationally that is not going to charge you those foreign transaction fees. All right.
So one thing that you sort of mentioned that I wanted to hear more about because one of the things that, especially as I have started to do, travel with my family of four can be a challenge for us sometimes is finding accommodations where the four of us will fit.
Especially certain parts of the world, their hotel rooms tend to be smaller than what maybe we have access to as sort of the norm in North America or in other places. So especially if you're doing long type of travel, slow type of travel like you are. You mentioned doing some Airbnbs. Have you guys stayed in any hotels at all? Or have you really relied on more local type of accommodations?
Dr. Akintade: So we've done Airbnbs, I would say, 90%. Actually, almost entirely. The only hotels we've done, because the experience is also different when you're in a hotel. Because, for us, we want to have a cultural experience. We don't want to feel like we're on vacation per se. We want to be grounded. We want to go to the playground, and we've done that a lot which has been great. We've met people. Our kids have met locals. We've connected with. So it's hard to have that kind of experience when you're in a hotel because they do treat you like guests.
So we did a hotel in Aruba, but that felt more like a vacation from even our travel. Right? So we were in a hotel. But ultimately when you're in a hotel to the places you're recommended to go eat, it's more tourist places. So we'd rather do Airbnb so we can get the more traditional experience. So that's what we've done.
Then in Morocco, which they have the Riyadhs, which feel more like all smaller hotels. We've done that as well, but they're small. They're usually ranging between four to like nine room buildings, but they have staff there. They really feel like bed and breakfast. So you really get that cultural experience as well. So to answer your question. In short, rarely hotels, mostly Airbnbs and things like Riyadhs locally.
Devon: Okay, let me ask you a couple more things that I imagine if I was trying to do this with my family, I would think, personally, I would have a lot of stress around trying to make decisions about. So I'm really curious if these were also points of stress for you, or if it was just very easy for you to make decisions around this.
Because I bet a couple of other people are questioning as well. Well, how does this actually work, especially when you are traveling with kids? So what are y'all doing for education? What does education look like when you have three school aged children that you are taking out of their conventional educational environment and taking around the world with you for a year?
Dr. Akintade: So with everything, it starts with mindset. So the first thing we had to do was number one is we're not on vacation. That's a big mindset shift. Because most times that we will travel, they're on vacation, and there's a bingy kind of energy. Like, I have five days to see everywhere. We were like number one is that's not a mindset that we want. That's going to cause you to hustle and tire. That's not one thing that I wanted. So that's one.
The other thing we had to shift our mindset about as well is when you go into places, most times you go to things and experiences that is the most recommended in the world. We're like no, we're not going to do that. We're not going to do that. We're going to do things that's important to our family, that feels like good experiences, nurture to our souls, relationships, see places, but not with that mindset of like I got to see everything because ultimately that's what causes burnout. That's why people need vacations from their vacation, right? So those were some of the mindset stuff that we did.
But in terms of education, pandemic has made it really, really easier. There are lots of resources out there. So what we did was we signed up for a private school online, and there's a ton of options that you can look at. What they do is they provide you with the curriculum. So before we left, that was something that we researched into. So all of our kids they were in school. Now, two of them are out of school. The youngest was kindergarten is off cycle. So she's still doing school, but really they provide the curriculum.
If you think about how kids go to school, a lot of times they're not spending all hours of the day learning. They're spending a small chunk of time learning. They're engaging with their colleagues, with their classmates, and also the teachers. They're getting recess. The teacher’s also settling fights and all that stuff.
So when you think about the actual educational content wise because even though play is important and fighting with other kids is also important to their development, but school content wise, it's not a lot of hours. So average school day for us in terms of like material is like two to three hours.
So most times what we'll do is we would wake up in the morning. It's been so good. I mean, I have to tell you the truth. It's been amazing. We’d wake up in the morning. I wake up early. I'm an early morning person because I want to enjoy the peace and quiet and pray and meditate and walk and all that stuff. So most times, I wake up super early.
But they would wake up. They would get ready, bathe, brush. They would fix their food because that was the thing that was important to us as well. We wanted our kids to be independent. It's hard to learn that when we're so busy when we were back home, and it was literally getting them ready as quick as possible. Feeding them as quick as possible. Efficiency was the most important thing, but we want them to learn how to do things.
So now they fix their breakfast. They would make pancakes. They would make sure their sister eats. They will turn on the tea. We will help them poor. Like little things like that. But in general, school is usually like two to three hours. They would do school. The two older ones are independent, but the third one we would help.
My husband is a more patient human than I am. So thank God for him. So he's the teacher and the teacher's assistant, but ultimately, like the resources is provided. So we're not trying to make sure they're educated. There's already a curriculum. We just have to follow it. We submit. We make sure we have a printer available. So those are some of the small plannings we do.
So anytime we're anywhere, we ask the Airbnb folks do they have a printer? Or is there a place close by we can print because that's the most important thing. Being able to print so they can do their schoolwork, take pictures, submit, that sort of thing. So you'll figure it out, but ultimately, there's a lot of resources to make it easier on parents these days.
Devon: That's so helpful to know. I think anyone who probably has school aged children, I think that would be one of the primary sort of concerns or considerations is just what do I do about that educational piece knowing that, of course, the experiential education that kids get from traveling is amazing. Also, we have this thing about having to make sure that they're able to keep up with what they're supposed to be learning sort of in their traditional educational curriculum. So it's really great to know that there are resources out there to help families with this.
The other big logistical area that I imagine I would have a lot of stress around so I'm curious how you navigated is around health insurance. Hopefully, of course, everyone's healthy and happy during your entire travels. I think most of us probably do take into consideration how do we make sure that we are protected in case something does happen, someone gets sick, or someone falls down or has an injury.
I'm just curious what that looked like for your family in terms of making sure that you had health insurance, especially because you're not just going to one place for a couple of months. You have the world open to you. So how do you even begin to navigate that?
Dr. Akintade: You should see my pharmacy bag. I have like a oh gosh. I think I actually have a video. I created lots of content, but we're not really sharing most of it online just because I didn't want the stress of keeping up with anything. I really wanted this to not be a stressful time for us.
But yeah, so before we left, we did the health clinic. They were definitely overwhelmed. Because they're used to people traveling to one place. We're like no, we've got all these places. So y'all figure it out, and we get all the shots.
The funny thing is so I had the health insurance, and I stopped work on a Friday. This is a tip guys. So if you're going to be traveling or quitting your work, keep in mind that a lot of insurances will end at the end of the month. So if I had known that I probably may have stopped working a day later to move into the next month so that I have an entire month of insurance.
Because I literally found out a day before I was finishing work that my insurance was ending, and I hadn't gotten my shots. So thank God for relationships. I pretty much reached out to like nurse managers and just be resourceful, and they were able to figure out something to help me get my shot. But we have all of our medications for all the countries that need prophylaxis. We have that already with us.
Of course, things like Tylenol, ibuprofen, those are, in my opinion, required when you have kids. So we’re always stocked on that, and we refresh in many countries if we need it. Medications for allergies, we've needed to update those. Epi pen is something that I also think is important because you never know what you're going to need. So we definitely have epi pen as well. So I have my pharmacy set in that regard.
But in terms of health insurance, there is, and I'm forgetting the name of the one that I use. I'm happy to send you the specific name. But there's resources for international health insurance. The one you choose, like any health insurance, depends on the deductible and whether you want to be covered in the US or not. So that affects how much you pay, but it actually wasn't horrible. It definitely is cheaper than the insurance that a lot of people pay when they're in the US. Just keep that in mind.
So a lot of this is fear based as well. What I will challenge people to do is when those questions of but, but, but what if, like answer that question. Because what I tell myself is any question that I have, there's someone in the world that has encountered this before, and they've solved it. What would I do if I'm not employed, and I have my own business, and I need health insurance? There are 5 billion people in this world that are not employed that have. So just answer the question.
So that's what we did. It let us realize that it's actually cheaper than if we had had health insurance even within the US, and we will be well covered. You can have flight home if need to you would be able to be taken care of in the US, any countries, those sorts of things.
But, of course, as a normal human being, when I'm in a place that doesn't have great health system, as a physician I do have just a mild layer of concern. I just know that that's my own fear. It doesn't mean that something bad is going to happen. We have insurance. We’re prepared.
Like a couple of days ago, I had some like GI bug. I was like okay, I'm feeling my GI. I'm like I better not have a fever because if I have a fever, I want to make sure. This is an add on country. This was one of the list of things that we told the health people about. Is there anything? So there's that physician part of my brain that gets to work, but, again, realizing that some things are fear based and not necessarily reality based. I was able to recognize that and calm myself down.
Devon: Well, thank you so much for sharing that. Yeah, if, at some point, you're able to dig up the name of the company that you guys decided to get your health insurance through, you can send it to me. I'll put it as a note in the episode show notes just so that when people listen to this episode or if they come back and find this months from now or a year from now, and they want to have a starting point for at least one plan that they can look into for health insurance, it'll be great to have that as a resource for people to fall back on.
So before we wrap up today, I'm just curious that for people listening to this, if you have any sort of last piece of advice for someone who is thinking that they would love to have a sabbatical be a part of their life at some point, whether it's this year or in the future. Up until now, it's sort of been a pipe dream for them because they just don't think it's going to be possible for them.
I'm really curious. Do you have any last words of wisdom that you want to offer to people, especially to women, about how they can incorporate or plan for a sabbatical even if it seems impossible right now?
Dr. Akintade: I actually think it's more possible for more people than people realize or acknowledge. I think that a lot of it is that fear base, right? That's because of how our system is built where we're taught that we do this work or whatever it is that you do forever until you're 65.
I mean, my dad died two years ago, and he died what you would consider two years after traditional retirement, right? A lot of what I talk about now and how I live my life, they've always been my principles. However, it was also a reminder that I will do it after retirement may not necessarily be something that we all have a choice about.
The other thing that I asked myself is what's the worst that could happen? If I take a break, there's literally no downside to taking a break. If I take a break, I'm going to be a better doctor, a healthier doctor. I'm going to be doing it because I want to, not because I have to. Who knows? I may want to work until I'm 70, but it will be on my terms, right?
So the fact that you take a break right now doesn't mean that you're going to be working at the same speed with the same attitude as you are right now. Because that's what happens. People are like I just want to do this work, work, work, retire, and never have to do this again. Sometimes a break is what you need. So just keep that in mind.
I actually did an episode on my podcast, and I will send it to you. It was an episode that I did out of this frustration of how can people fund a sabbatical? So I did an episode on that. Some of the things that I suggested there are not usual stuff, like save forever. They may be a little bit not typical, but you get to decide. This is not a financial advice, but you get to decide how you choose to live your life.
But you have access to money, probably. If I was going to kidnap your kid, and I'm not going to because I've got three of mine. I'm not. I'm not going to find a Airbnb that's going to host like six of us, including your kids. I'm not going to kidnap your kid.
But if I was going to kidnap your kid unless you found me $150,000, how would you go about? Like, where in your life would you find that $150,000? Just play around and answer that question. Whatever you come up with, come up with at least five. Let you know that it doesn't have to be your kid being kidnapped by Latifat who doesn't want your kid for you to be able to tap into those, but that is possible for you.
The other thing as well is when I look at how much we spend in the US in our general life, one of the simple questions that I asked myself was if I could spend what I spent in the US outside of the US, I would have a great time, right? I would have a great time. So that may also help you in terms of getting set and thinking about things to do.
The other thing as well to add on, and I wouldn't necessarily, there are some things that would be the mainstay of the foundation of your plan. There are some things that will be extra bonuses. So an extra bonus would be maybe you can rent your house out while you're gone. You don't have to worry about your mortgage if you rent. You want to make sure it's okay with your landlord. Right? So just asking yourself questions that you may not have asked yourself before and being kind enough with yourself and being patient enough with yourself to actually answer those questions.
Because sometimes behind those questions and those answers is going to be the most creativity that you've ever had before. So just keep that in mind. I am adamant about the fact that it is more possible. It's possible for more people than we acknowledge. Actually, most people can take a sabbatical. It's a small percentage of people that cannot take a sabbatical, but I'm going to challenge you guys to be creative about the how and answer the questions that your brain is offering you that comes with the but, but, but what if. Answer that question, and you will be able to take a sabbatical.
Devon: Those are amazing words of advice. Thank you so much. Latifat, thank you so much for joining me today and sharing your story. I wish for you and your family continued amazing journeys on this sabbatical experience. Stay healthy, stay safe, continue having an amazing time. For those people who are listening who wants to learn more about the work that you do or just follow along your sabbatical adventure, where can people find you?
Dr. Akintade: The easiest thing is if you listen to the podcast right now. My podcast is Money Fit MD. So that's easy to go find. But you can also find me on Facebook and Instagram, Money Fit MD or Latifat Akintade. It will come up with that. My website is also Money Fit MD. So it's really easy to find me. Find me. Let me know if you have any questions. My goal is that I want us to look back at our lives with less regret. That's my goal. If there's any way I can help you do that, it will be my pleasure.
Devon: That's absolutely amazing. We will be including all of those links about where you can find Latifat in the show notes for this episode. So it should be very easy for you to track her down and learn from her. Thank you again so much for joining me today. I hope you have a fantastic evening in Barcelona. It seems like it's probably not dinnertime yet. It's not midnight there, but it will be soon. I hope you guys have a wonderful, healthy, happy stay there. Thank you for being here today.
Dr. Akintade: Thank you for having me. Thanks for all you do.
Thank you for joining me for this week's episode of Point Me to First Class. If you want more tips on turning your expenses into travel, visit pointmetofirstclass.com to learn more. See you next week.