five months unasked for ‘free time’- suggestions?

It looks like the job I thought I was starting in September 2009 is actually not going to start until January 2010, or maybe March.

[Edit later: actually very late March; so basically nine months from end of bar exam to start of job. Additionally, I am definitely not assuming that the job will actually be there in nine months, so more long-term suggestions/offers/etc. are also welcome.]

I’m definitely not whining here, or asking for sympathy. I’m very conscious that I’m waaaay better off than a lot of folks- I sincerely wish good luck in finding what comes next to all those who really get laid off today and tomorrow. The economy really is bad, so I understand why the firm did it, and lots of people have it much worse off than me, so I’m grateful for where I am.

Because of the stipend, Krissa’s job, and because I’ve got some money put away, I’ve got some flexibility, and this might be the last time in a long time I’ve got five or more months that I can use outside the traditional regimen of a job. So I’m looking for advice from friends on what to do. There are some obvious options, but I’d like to make sure we investigate everything we can.

Some current options I have on the table, from most conservative to least:

  • most conservative: We stay in NYC (though moving to a smaller place), Krissa stays in her job as long as makes sense, I work at some pro bono task- presumably SFLC but other worthy causes are welcome to make themselves known :)
  • I work a full year at some sort of pro bono firm on a stipend from my firm, if that is an option- not clear yet.1
  • we move someplace cheap where we live on our savings, but isn’t pure vacation because we have some purpose that will be useful later in life- for example Costa Rica (Krissa learns Spanish, I polish mine) or maybe some place where she can learn more about small-scale farming (WWOOF?) or I can learn more about technology use in education or the developing world?
  • least conservative: we say ‘screw it’, pack our beloved Eagle Creek backpacks, find cheap around the world tickets, and hit the road for five months.

So I’m wondering if my (creative, insane, what have you) friends have any better ideas with what I can do with my time. Got an idea? email me, put it in the comments, whatever.

  1. This is less conservative because of a common presumption that despite making this an option, the firm will look on this as a sign of lack of gumption/interest/etc. Partners who wish to reassure me that this is not the case know where to find me. :) []