I Just Had a 2.5-month Vacation, Feeling Truly Free for the First Time.

Not worrying about work and with some passive income during vacation.

Zhimin Zhan
5 min read4 days ago


Image credit: https://pixabay.com/vectors/business-man-clock-time-lazy-lay-6719390/

This is not a technical article, but it might interest some IT professionals.

I started working as a contractor Software Engineer in 2000. As the only income earner, with two young children and no parent/relatives around, financial stress has been there (paying for my son’s treatment consumed a large percentage of our savings, and this lasted a few years).

Our family like to travel (in a comfortable way), and our favourite place is Japan. We have visited Japan several times (and are planning another one next year). The timing commonly is either Christmas or Easter breaks. Of course, plane tickets and accommodation are more expensive during that time. We often encountered long queues at popular tourist attractions, such as theme parks.

The “climate disparity” probably concerned us more. The Christmas time here (in Australia) is Summer, but in the North Hemisphere, it is Winter. When our children were small, they usually got sick quickly a few days after arriving at my parent’s place (sometimes one after the other, which was worse). This, of course, ruined the family reunion to a big extent.

Like many, we travel during the Xmas holiday period because we don’t work during those two weeks. Especially for IT contractors who earn by hours/days, while permanent staff have paid annual leaves. When we were budgeting a family trip (outside Xmas break), my wife would factor in the loss of income and the cost (hotel and other fees).

In 2018, I decided to visit my parents every year as they reached their 80s. Also, the children were old enough; I could go by myself. However, just after one trip, the COVID pandemic came. Chinese Government’s Zero-Covid policy (quite bad) lasted about three years. I booked a flight shortly after China reopened the border in Jan 2023.

It turned out to be my most relaxing holiday, and for the first time, I truly felt free. I wish I had reached this understanding ten years ago, which are

  • Importance of Passive Income
  • Do software work anytime, anywhere



Zhimin Zhan

Test automation & CT coach, author, speaker and award-winning software developer. Help teams succeed with Agile/DevOps by implementing real Continuous Testing.