Kirk Horsted is a part-time hedonist who believes that anyone who is able should Retire Now & Then, rather than wait until the end of life—even if you have to work a few more years before mastering shuffleboard. Offshoots of that passion include simply prioritizing free time, unplugging, photography, a devotion getting outside and, of course, long-term faraway travel.

Since 1990, Kirk has taken four “BreakAways” and traveled routinely, researched and written about the topic, and offered advice, speeches, and workshops that have moved others to chase their own dreams.

When not pursuing those priorities, Kirk spends real time in the real world as a Marketing Consultant and Wily Wordsmith (and—best of all—a dad). He has been a freelancer for…ever?, and before that worked in agencies, magazines, and public radio. He also taught advertising and writing courses in Twin City art colleges until, in 2016, a nasty bout with cancer put that on hold. But, so far, Kirk is still kicking, and still kicking cancer’s ass.

Kirk holds a BA from St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, and an MA from Hamline University in St. Paul.

Although Kirk typically prefers authentic experiences over staring at a screen, he is easy to reach and welcomes your message at [email protected].


For nearly three decades, Kirk has believed in, preached and practiced the radical concept of taking temporary retirement throughout life, rather than waiting for some promised nirvana at the questionable end.

5 primary themes permeate his work, website, and life:

  • There’s more to life than work.

Work is necessary, and ideally meaningful. But for your life’s work, it’s also essential to BreakAway—to recharge your batteries, chase a dream, and make time for what matters most. Why not Retire Now and Then, even if it means adding a few years to your career?

  • Live within your means—no matter what that means.

Here are a few ideas how.

  • Keep your sense of self—and humor.

The stuff that can steal our time, energy, and hope will come and go. Including, in Kirk’s case, cancer. Just don’t let go of your inner compass and laugh-ability.

  • You CAN have it all…just not all at once.

When it comes to timing a BreakAway, rushing rarely works, but faith rarely fails. Live by the mantra: Everything is right on schedule.

  • The world, and its people, are a beautiful gift.

Open it up. Meet. Discover. Explore. Share.

Selling this pitch isn’t necessarily easy in modern-day America. But despite the fickle, cyclical tsunamis of change, Kirk has stuck to his story. And he has become ever more convinced that his message is relevant, regardless of the times. (Test audiences have overwhelmingly agreed.)

when | where | why

Here’s a rundown of his most bodacious adventures:

  • 2008/09—The Great Escape: 69 days in the West Indies & Caribbean

Mission: to show his children another way of learning and being, attempt home schooling, escape winter, live on island time, and launch this site

  • 2000/01—The RTW Tour: 18 weeks in Italy, Malaysia, New Zealand & more

Mission: to explore unseen corners of the planet (with his then-wife & young son), chronicle it online and write a book

  • 1994—The Fantasy Trip: 1 year in the Virgin Islands & Europe

Mission: to take a year off to find roots and bliss, and to test the portability of his business

  • 1990—The Sanity Break: 7 months at Midwestern Lakes & Europe

Mission: to commemorate a convergence of endings and beginnings (jobs, houses, relationships, all that stuff—and to wander around Europe for the first time)


To capture the ideas, Kirk has drafted two books, Retire Now and Then and 355 Days, and logged an “around the world” getaway with photos and essays online.

He also launched this website and blog—with a little help from his friends—on December 17, 2008, the same day he left for the 69-day BreakAway in the Caribbean.

Special thanks and high fives go to the many tech-savvy collaborators who have made this website work, the many friends who have believed in my Big Idea and helped make BreakAways come true, and to the countless inspirational and lovely people all over the world who made the travels safe, transformative, and one whopping helluva good time.

This planet is a beautiful place. Your fantasy (destiny?) awaits. Go.

Thanks for listening…

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