Road Trip Finances, Factoids, & #VanLife Wisdoms

This post is a long time coming (as are all of my post’s these days!), but I’m finally still enough to write it.  If you happen to be following along on Instagram, you know my road trip is over.  Long over.  For the past 6 weeks, instead of driving state to state, I have been hopping around from house to house and working a bunch (but more on that in an upcoming post).  I figured I could write a 10,000-word post about the conclusion of my trip OR I could just show you how it all went down.  Thanks to my friend Tonya* at Budget and the Beach, that’s exactly what I get to do!!

Can I just say how incredible Tonya is to put that together??  She has insane editing skills to be able to cut some of my inappropriate use of language and bawdy humor and still have enough to work with…not an easy task!  Of course, she couldn’t fit the entire road trip in so I feel I would be doing you a disservice to not include the following photos.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words so I am adding 10 for good measure…

FRIENDS, FOOD, and FUN (in no particular order)

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Finally made it to Carmel-by-the-Sea – on my Places To Visit list for over 10 years!  CHECK!!

Continue reading “Road Trip Finances, Factoids, & #VanLife Wisdoms”

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Oh, The Places You’ll Go…

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Seaside, FL

So far, I have been on the road a little over one week.  In 9 days I’ve driven 2599 miles and spent $290.69 on 115.42 gallons of gas…it’s been worth every cent.

I didn’t have any expectations for this journey, but I did have a variety of reasons for setting out on it:

  1. I wanted to escape the brutal chill of January in Chicago.
  2. I wanted needed to untangle some of the thoughts in my head.
  3. I wanted to shake the dust off my physical being.
  4. And financially, I could.

The road has taken me from Springfield IL to Nashville TN, Atlanta GA, Destin FL, Mobile AL, Lake Charles LA, Amarillo TX, and finally to Longmont via Denver.  I have visited with family, friends, and even dropped in on a ChooseFI meetup in Atlanta!  If you aren’t following along on Instagram (hint hint), here are a few pics from the road… Continue reading “Oh, The Places You’ll Go…”

It’s Coddiwomple Time!!

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Aka – Wanderlusting’s less known sister.  The one that takes the desire to travel and rolls with it.  I stumbled across this word a few weeks back and as soon as I read it, I knew it was created for me.  And today I roll…

THE BACKGROUND

I have always loved a nice long road trip.  The wind in your hair, tunes on the radio, random sites like a giant Paul Bunyon and The Worlds Biggest fill in the blank.  When I was in high school I got my first taste of road life while following The Grateful Dead on a summer tour.  I LOVED the idea of packing up, driving out, settling down, hanging with friends, selling my crafts (I was really good at sewing patchwork clothing and crafting hemp jewelry 😉 ) listening to music, sitting by bonfires, and camping at night.  If it wasn’t a two-night city, we got to pack up and do it all over again the next day.  The Dead community gave me my first insight into van life and all that came with it.  When Jerry Garcia died, I switched to Phish tour (cool, but NOT THE SAME).  Town after town, parking lot after parking lot, grilled cheese after grilled cheese…I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT.  Even the gas stations and Walmart bathrooms.

Soon after high school, I took to the road with my best friend Marisa.  The plan was to drive her 69 VW bus across the country eventually making our way to Boulder CO, aka the hot hippy guy mecca of our world.  The VW never made it.  Apparently, 4 bald tires, a bus with no heat (in February) or working windshield wipers, and a starter on the fritz is a recipe for disaster.  Not to worry, though the bus didn’t make it, Marisa and I eventually did…via a Greyhound bus.  I am happy to report that indeed there were a ton of hot hippy dudes to be found.  😉

Fast forward 20 years and I haven’t been on a road trip since.  I mean, I have gone on long drives with specific destinations – when I moved to Ashland OR or visited my sister in Bar Harbor, Maine.  But I haven’t driven just to drive.  I haven’t had a chance to turn left on a whim instead of going straight…until today. Continue reading “It’s Coddiwomple Time!!”

2017 – That’s a Wrap!

I was listening to a Mad Fientist episode the other day and was thrilled to hear the guest, Chris Hutchins, speaking about a habit I too have formed for myself over the years.  He was saying that each month he does one thing significant so he can look back on his life and know that he made the best of it.  He can pinpoint exactly what he was doing at the time – whether it be learning a new task, breaking a bad habit, or volunteering on a project.  I too have adopted this idea throughout the years, I just never wrote it down…until last year.

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2018 – A Fresh Start! (FYI  this picture was taken at 10am…NO SUN!!!)

At the start of 2017 I took a normal size calendar ($1 at Dollar Tree), cut all the months apart, and pinned them to our bedroom wall (very romantic – in hindsight the kitchen would have been better) – 3 across, 4 down.  In a few minutes, I had a giant wall size calendar to keep track of our crazy lives.  My work trips, my boyfriends (John) work trips, Dr appointments for us and the boys, birthdays, anniversaries, sleepover’s (for the kids, not us), vacations, dog walkers – everything went on the calendar.  Important things were highlighted and slowly, one by one, the days were crossed off.  This method made it super easy to see everything at a glance and make sure I was accomplishing all of the things that I had set out to do.

I won’t bore you with the details, but a few of my highlights from 2017 are as follows:

  • Multiple meetups hosted by yours truly via the Rockstar Finance Forum – heck, I even crashed one in MSP!
  • Travels abroad to Cuba, Budapest, and Prague
  • The almost purchase of a caboose (more on that soon)
  • Community-based events like Camp Mustache, Lola Retreat, and FinCon
  • More charitable donations than ever before including Houston Food Bank, Red Cross, Ronald McDonald House and PAWS (you know I can’t forget the pups!).
  • A last-minute opportunity to attend Tony Robbins’ seminar Unleash the Power Within (UPW)… (also, more on that soon!)
  • And taking my mom on a day trip to NY to do a crown tour of the Statue of Liberty

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I also had the opportunity to meet several friends during overnights from work.  Anyone care to guess who is responsible for this madness?? Continue reading “2017 – That’s a Wrap!”

Forget the Fluffy Recap, Here’s the Real Dirt on FinCon17…

FnCon – Where Money & Media Meet.  Pretty catchy tagline for the personal finance blogging community.  But let’s take a second to break it down for my non-blogging friends.  Basically, FinCon is a convention where financial media of all types meet to geek out over everything from new apps, monetizing, SEO, creating fabulous content, and all sorts of other stuff.  But that’s not all it’s about.  It’s also about the community itself.  Meeting people you have been talking to online for months (years for some) and deepening those relationships and the bonds that tie us together which, in this case, is money.  This is the facet of FinCon that I explored the most and that in itself was well worth the price of admission.

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So, what can I say that hasn’t already been said?  Nothing.  Instead, let’s skip the traditional FinCon recap post that my dear friends have already done (you can see a whole bunch of them on Physician On Fire’s round-up).  I’m here to spill the dirt.  What happened, what didn’t, and how to prepare if you are ever in attendance at any multi-day conference surrounded by people (and strangers) that you adore.

Swingers Convention??

First off, ignore the rumors.  Night one I was told that FinCon of yesteryear was a swingers convention of sorts.  #NoJudgement, but so so curious…  I was poorly disappointed to find that this is no longer the case (or was it ever?).  My disappointment stemmed not from a FOMO standpoint but out of pure curiosity of how one gets indoctrinated into such a club.  Was there a key bowl involved?  Would it show up at an after party?  On the table of the FIRE panel?  Would it be mentioned in the Newcomers Session??  Nope.  And believe me, I looked.  I looked for all sorts of signs that the rumors were true…and a couple of times I got close.

First, when I ran into a very popular blogger in the bar on night one.  While making introductions, I noticed he had something written on his hand.  When my eyes finally made focus I saw what was written was his room number accompanied by which elevator would take you there.  Interesting…  Naturally, I had to ask if he was aware of the swingers rumor to which he laughed and said he was not.  He explained his handwritten message (presumably in his own writing if he is a righty) was so that HE could remember his own room…  Hmmm – somewhat suspect but still a valid explanation. 😉 The Sheraton was HUGE y’all, and I did actually get lost myself at one point.  Right floor, wrong room – it can totally happen!

The second time came when The WoW’s and I were mistaken for a thriplette What?!  To be fair, we were all standing in a row getting pitched by some company when the rep looked down and noticed our name tags had Mr, Mrs, and Miss prominently displayed.  What other possible conclusions could there be??  Of course, we graciously giggled and Mrs. WoW and I played along like good sister wives do then quickly found our out in the form of Ally cookies at the next booth over.  I mean seriously, here I was the one conducting the research when all suspicion was turned our way due to our name badges.  Note to self – change my first name for next year’s event to “Monogamous”.

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In the end, I saw no hints of couples swinging.  Rumors are usually built on a grain of truth so my guess is that whomever I was talking to was looking for some partners to play with.  Actually, the person who mentioned it also happened to be staying in a lovely Airbnb with another couple.  Perhaps they found their match after all??  I’ll have to keep an eye on them for next year… Continue reading “Forget the Fluffy Recap, Here’s the Real Dirt on FinCon17…”