Why I Travel Despite It Delaying FI

Some would argue that we have everything we need in our own backyard and, for those some, that may be true.  If you have had the great honor of meeting your mate, having a child, and/or retiring in a home you love with a community you are involved in, you very well may have won the game of life and may not feel the need to search further.  You have cultivated your own utopia and are completely content with your surroundings.  If that is you, I give you my sincerest congratulations.  I, on the other hand, am not quite there.  My seeds are still being sowed.  🙂

Last week I tweeted about my gypsy soul and my homebody nature always being at odds with one another.  From the responses, it seems I am not alone.  This is a constant battle I fight within myself.  While I appreciate all that I have, my ideas for utopia and my reality are not quite matched up.  Some of that is work-related, a fair portion is timing, and some other shit I have brought on myself.  I love the idea of “home” and being completely settled…I can even picture what it looks like in my head!  But a life of contentment takes a certain amount of polishing.  It takes time to figure out what works for you and what doesn’t.  It takes time to build that tribe around you.  And it takes freedom to fully explore the ideal life outside of the glimpse you get before or after work.

All that being said, I can’t pretend that once I find “home” I won’t still be tempted to travel.  Because travel does more for me and my insight than any book in the world can.  I’m one of those weirdos who need to actually touch and feel something to have it make an impact.

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Few books would have included this fabulous street art on a random wall in Cuba.  Even if they had, could they also describe the wet heat of the pavement or the smells emanating from the gutter while lingering to take it all in?  Guess you had to be there!  😉

While I don’t often write about my travels, they are always being planned or occurring behind the scenes.  For someone who writes about money, that may seem counterproductive.  And I get it.  Travel takes money.  Money that, for me, would otherwise be allocated to savings which in turn could bring me days, weeks, or years closer to financial independence (FI).  So why do I do it??  Why do I sacrifice the financial gain for a series of adventures?  To me, the answer is clear – because traveling brings me so much more than the experience of going someplace new.   When you leave the safety net of “home” you are a child once again.  You see things and gain the pleasure to experience different smells, sounds, and tastes that you wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity.  You get lost, get found, and gain knowledge from both.  You test your boundaries, expand your horizons, and round out the edge that you have unintentionally set in your personal opinions.  You grow.

Leaving home will certainly cost you money, but I can almost guarantee the return on investment will be a positive one.*  To explain my gypsy side, I want to share with you 3 reasons why I choose to travel over FI in an effort to calm the nerves of some of you who may be struggling with the same issue.

#1 – Making New Friends

I have hiked all over Europe.  I have hiked solo across Portugal and Spain several times, every time arriving in the same city.  A city that feels like a home away from home even though each time I stumble into town the neighbors have changed but are always welcoming.  I have hiked a different not so fabulous, terribly gruesome, and unmarked path through 5 countries with a group of complete strangers and, due to the challenges and triumphs such a hike entails, I made lifelong friends out of several of them (and a nemesis out of one…nobody’s perfect!).  I volunteered in Thailand with a different group of fantastic people and came home with a few friends that, again, will be around for years to come (one whom I get to visit this weekend in Denver)!  I went on a retreat earlier this year and met a tribe of people I instantly connected to, some of which put a mark on my heart not soon forgotten.

Anita & I unloading the melon truck.  See you soon, girl! 🙂

In all of those examples, camaraderie brought us together.  A shared interest shared passion, and/or a shared struggle (for realz, that 5 country hike was a BEAST!).  We knew nothing of each other when we arrived but shared sacred things about ourselves before our departure.  It is amazing to see what happens when all your walls are down.  Or when you are in survival mode.  You never know what part of YOU has been hiding until you force it out with discomfort.  ;),

BONUS!  You get to visit your new friends in their hometowns and host them when they come to yours.  From 1 night to 2 months my couch has been a bed for many.

Pushing yourself outside your own backyard gives you the opportunity to see what else is out there…who else is out there.  If you are perfectly content with your life, your family, your friends, ask yourself how you got to where you are today.  It wasn’t by staying in your own backyard.  It wasn’t by never leaving the nest.  Your parents pushed you out because they knew there was a whole world out there waiting to be explored.  Don’t be afraid to open yourself up to those experiences.

#2 – Learning New Cultures &  Appreciating Your Privilege

Leaving your own country gives you the chance to understand another countries issues far better than reading about them in the paper or on the internet.

When I met my ex-husband, I was enthralled by his background.  Having grown up in Sarajevo, he witnessed his entire country fall to pieces…a devastation I can never imagine.  Losing his father in the war and moving to the states soon after is incomprehensible.  In my years with E, I learned a lot about his country, the faith he was brought up in (Muslim), and the political and economic issues his mother, sister, and the rest of his family constantly faced back home.  In 2009,  Russia cut off gas supplies during the height of winter leaving everybody to wonder how long they could go without.  Can you freaking imagine???  Getting that call was complete insanity, but before I traveled there, these were only stories.

When I finally had the opportunity to step foot in Bosnia, my life was changed forever.  Our relationship was changed forever.  I had never seen anything like the destruction I saw there.  My American mind wondered why they wouldn’t rebuild.  Why they didn’t fix what was broken.  It took days to wrap my brain around an answer and with it I finally had a slight understanding what it meant to live the way he had.  When we visited his father’s grave, surrounded by thousands of other men who died fighting for their country, I gained a small bit of perspective on what it meant to lose the way he had.  When I saw the bullet holes scattered on the face of the buildings and the crumbling divots formed by mortar shells in the streets, still there 15 years later, I learned what it meant to have a country completely under siege for five years and how much pain and suffering that came with it.  I also understood that I would never understand completely.  

IMG_4368On the volunteer trip in Chiang Mai, I worked at an elephant sanctuary and gained an insane amount of knowledge on all things elephant. While there I swore an oath that I would do my part to educate others on the perils of elephant rides, circus acts, logging industry, and any other wild animal related “experiences” that tourists participate in that are largely harmful to these magnificent creatures.  I also learned oodles about the Karen tribe, Mahouts, and Buddhism while visiting Thailand as well as Hong Kong.  I learned to appreciate our advancements in plumbing.  I learned what to eat and what not to eat (durian…never eat durian and, if you do, never ever bring it to your hotel room.  Trust me.).  I learned never to wear my bathing suit to hot springs or horrified looks ensue (my bad!).  And I learned that I should never be afraid to explore a new country just because I don’t speak the language…there is so much you can communicate without the spoken word.  I left Asia knowing I had only scratched the surface and the hope that I can return someday.

This year, in Cuba, I learned what it’s like to live in a communist country.  To have to stand in line for supplies and food.  To wait your turn in another line at the bank for your government stipend.  To not have access to feminine hygiene products.  To watch the young boys run after the water truck and stick their tongues under the leaking spout just to catch a few drops before the truck takes off again.  Despite the fact that Cuba is surrounded by water, safe drinking water is scarce and treated as such.  These are all issues that I have read about and pondered for moments, but I never had to endure.  I came home with a higher sense of gratitude for the USA and the freedoms we are allowed as citizens.

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Paella, anyone?

Travel opens our eyes to the people we meet abroad…but it works both ways!  I met a man on one of my hikes and after a couple hundred miles walking in sync, we soon became an item.  For over a year we flew back and forth visiting each other’s countries and learning each other’s cultures.  He taught me the difference between Spain and Catalan, all of the issues with their government and economy, and which of the coastal towns was the most authentic and unspoiled (that I’ll never tell).  He taught me how to make paella, tortilla Espanola, and instilled my love of freshly grilled sardines.  On the flip side, when he visited the states for the very first time, he learned a ton about my culture.  n case you were wondering, yes, McDonald’s tastes the same here as it does in Barcelona.  After expanding his palate with Chicago delights such as hot dogs and deep dish pizza, we moved on to other nuances.  Try explaining to a 45-year-old Spanish man why people are walking around with coffee cups instead of sitting at a cafe for 2 hours to savor every drop. “Noooo…this is ridiculous!”  Try explaining downtown Chicago and the hustle and bustle of a moderate 6% unemployment rate compared to the 35% his country was suffering at the time.  As an engineer and no economic growth in sight, his job was included in that number.  Seeing my world through his eyes gave me a greater appreciation for certain things and a definite yearning for others…culture being one of them.

BONUS!!  You learn how to cook all new cuisines!

All this being said, you don’t have to board a plane and leave the country to gain new perspectives or widen your horizons.  Volunteering your time outside of your house, even within your own community, can be an enriching experience.  Heading to a nearby city works just as well!  There are many ways to blow your mind out there.  Pick one and move forward with it.  See how other people live.  Who knows, you might just find something new to bring back to your bubble!  🙂

#3 – Blowing the Stink Off

The type of travel I do does not usually fall under the “rest and relaxation” category.  For people with high-stress jobs, I can definitely see the allure of laying on the beach or hitting the spa.  You know, a vacation that you can mentally check out and unravel the physical stress of a 40+ hour week.  Now, I am not a great candidate for laying out on a beach or going to the spa (unless I am getting paid for it by my company).  But, believe me, no judgment.   Just because I don’t value them, doesn’t mean they don’t have value.  Relaxed people are happy people and those are the type I like to surround myself with.  And while I can certainly see the enjoyment in a luxury vacation, I tend to get bored within a day or two of lazing about.  Instead, I enjoy the type of travel that explores my unknowns and tests my boundaries.  I get to a new destination and hit the ground running.  There is no right or wrong way to relax, but it is important to do so.  Getting out of your norm is necessary to blow the stink off your mind.  That shit gets dusty if you aren’t careful.

Me, stinky while also blowing the mental stink off.   700 km down & only 100 to go!!

As much I love exploring the world and all it has to offer like the people, the food, the hidden gems you never knew existed, I also love the way it feels to return back to the familiar…my dog, my bed, my family and friends.  I think that is an amazing side benefit.  What do you look forward to when coming home and what would you like to change??

Getting out and about is the perfect reset button.  It gives you the chance to continue the cultivation of your home life.  Take all the things you enjoyed about your travels and find a way to fit them inside your bubble.  Adapt.  Evolve.  Expand your horizons.

BONUS!!  Relaxing makes your mind open up in ways that nothing else can…breath.

I am extremely grateful for every bit of the life I have.  Does that mean I shouldn’t want more?  Does that mean I shouldn’t want different?  After learning all of the above, you would think that would be enough for all that new gained perspective to stick.  And some things do.  I don’t use paper towels.  I don’t waste food.  I don’t eat meat (seriously, the greenhouse effects of factory farming are alarming!!).  I walk as much as possible (even if it makes my friends chuckle..Fritz!).  I advocate for animals and volunteer on behalf of them.  I take time to gather people in my community who otherwise wouldn’t have a chance to meet.  But let’s be honest, despite our best intentions, we soon forget many of the things we have seen and learned.  We go home to our creature comforts and forget about the struggles we faced mere days ago while on the road.  Our new appreciations turn into old expectancy.  We turn on the tap and water comes out.  We go to the bathroom and have a plethora of toilet paper and tampons (or a Diva Cup for my environmentalist friends).  We go to the grocery store and can pick out whatever delights tickle our fancy.  Are we assholes for that?  Not really.  We forget because those struggles aren’t our reality.  They are temporary hiccups in an otherwise smooth lifeline.  So we go on about our lives until a few months later when you read something that inspires you to step back out into the world and do it all over again.  Learn something new, see something different.  For that, I am always willing to step back out.

With all this talk of travel and making friends, it is only fair that I share my schedule with you guys in hopes we can meet up!  My work schedule varies, but these dates won’t… Here what’s on the horizon:

  • Denver June 7-9 – As mentioned above I am meeting up with a friend I met volunteering in Thailand.  She also happens to be a flight attendant!  If you have any burning questions about our biz and are in the area shoot me an email!  🙂
  • Portland August 18-20 – Lola Retreat.  If you haven’t already heard, Lola Retreat is a 3 day Women & Finance type of event.  I’m looking forward to the retreat and also getting to spend some time in Portland…I may even come a day early to explore!
  • Dallas October 25-29 – FinCon.
  • Budapest/Prague November 15-22 – If you have any tips, send em my way!
  • Gainesville FL January 5-8 – Camp Mustache Southeast.  Thanks to Gwen for giving me the heads up after week 2 was already full.  😉  Love ya, girl!
  • POSSIBLE September 2018 trip to Peru.  Machu Picchu has been on my Bucket List for years.  I will be turning 40 next year so what better way to celebrate than to be among other ancient relics and ruins?

That’s it for me!  Who else is going where??  

Until next time…

* Please know that I am not advocating going into debt to travel the world.  I believe there is plenty to gain from a fabulous vacation, however, to be paying for it years after seems counterproductive to what my goals are.  There are plenty of opportunities beyond your back door.  Volunteering is my go-to cheap vaca.  Hiking is the other.  That being said, you do you!  🙂

54 thoughts on “Why I Travel Despite It Delaying FI

  1. Travel is a lot of fun. It keeps life interesting and give you a chance to get away. I love traveling and never had any regret. I’d rather save somewhere else. It’s all about priority.
    Traveling is so much better when you’re young so I don’t think anyone should put it off.

    Have fun in Portland. You should stay a day extra and see the eclipse!


  2. Hendrick

    When in Prague make sure you visit Vysehrad, Troja and Petrin. For great views of the city from all sides. And if it rains, spend an afternoon at the Kampa Museum.


    1. Wow – thanks for the tips!! I will definitely look into those. 🙂 Hoping for no rain but we will roll with whatever the city brings us. It’s all part of the adventure!


  3. For shame!!! Just kidding. Travel is where you create those lasting memories. And isn’t that what it’s all about come death-bed time? Morbid I know, but you gotta take stock of what regrets you might have down the road and try to cross off ones like, “wish I’d gone to FinCon that one year they held it in Aruba in mid-February “… With travel I’d agree- use CC rewards to offset the cost where you can.


  4. Chris @ Keep Thrifty

    If you’re not using your money for the things that are important to you, you’re not using it right. I think your passion for travel is awesome and it’s definitely well-worth every dollar you’ve spent!


    1. So true, otherwise what’s the point! I really admire what you guys are doing – stepping back and taking the time to enjoy life now. I think this year is going to steer you in a completely different direction than you may have thought at the start. It’s strangely awesome to see what doors open easily when you stop trying to bang them down. 🙂


  5. We just got back from 2 weeks in MT and ID in what was a “scoping” exercise for potential retirement spots. Yeah, we have the lake lot now, but those were our initial top 2 places. I’d ahve to say, checking places out, even for just a week is eye opening. While they seemed perfect and amazing in lots of ways, there are a lot of other reasons that we’re sticking with our current plan. I did have Mrs. SSC convinced to go look at my top 3 houses for sale in Coeur D,Alene though, prior to us deciding, “Nope, we’re good. Stick with the plan.” 🙂

    I feel the same about travelling and being a homebody. I love the idea of a hobby farm with some goats and chickens or some other type of animal roaming around. Even though it would be a lot of work, it seems attractive to me. Then, I realize we cant really travel if I have a handful of goats to take care of every day, and chickens to tend to, and gardens to deal with… Too many options, too little life to live them all. 🙂

    It is nice pushing yourself out of your comfort zone often though. I realize I haven’t done that in a while so it might be time for a reboot. Well, except for starting triathlons, but that is a different kind of discomfort, lol.


    1. Glad to hear you are sticking with your plan…doesn’t it make it so much better when you can compare your current address to others and realize that you are already “home”? Another added benefit of travel – THERE IS NO PLACE LIKE HOME. 🙂

      I too would love a home with some chickens, 2 cows (one would be too lonely), a couple horses and tons of cats and dogs. But I too realized that it is hard to get out when you farm yourself in. If only there was a community living arrangement for FI people…

      Did I already tell you how much I loved your interview on Choose FI?? It’s always great to put a voice to the name but also to get more details on the how and why of everyone’s journeys. Great job and I look forward to hearing more!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I grew up an army brat and schooled in 11 different schools. I worked in 3 different cities in India, and then migrated to the U.S. My parents have migrated to Botswana. My sister has migrated to Amsterdam. I think it is safe to say that my family has travel in our genes. Toddler BITA turned 3 two months ago – she has been to Denver, the San Juan islands, NOLA, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain. If the journey to FIRE had entailed me staying put for years on end, I would have fallen off that wagon in a hurry.

    So looking forward to rooming with you at Fincon!


    1. Your story is pretty unique which is why I love it so. 😊 Toddler BITA is going to have a ton of stories to tell!! I can only imagine what you guys will be up to in a few years from now. At least I know where to track you down in a few months!! October is fast approaching. 😁


  7. theteacheronfire

    Your travel plans make me jealous! I share the exact same feeling towards travelling. It’s a feeling I can’t brush off when I arrive in a new city or a new country. I have to make some plans now, arghhh!!!


    1. I know! As much as I would love to FIRE tomorrow I really really need to scratch the itch that only travel can provide. I always thought being a teacher would be a great alternative to my job because I would have the summers off. But then I read most teachers do summer school or tutor. Perhaps later in life when I don’t need the money year round. 🙂


  8. Love this post and this line in particular: “You never know what part of YOU has been hiding until you force it out with discomfort.” I’m such a creature of habit and it’s hard to push myself past my comfort zone. You have a true calling for travel!

    As you know, we’re going to MT. Beyond that we have no plans, although seeing the rest of the country is on the horizon plus a bunch of travel outside of the U.S yet to be determined.


    1. I was quite fond of that line myself though not the words in particular but the feeling it stirs inside me. I too am a creature of habit (and comfort!). If left to my own demise I would never leave my home and gain 500 lbs. It is the action of getting out that awakes my soul. Getting out reminds me that there is so much more yet to be discovered. Too much, in fact, to just sit on a couch and let the days slip away.

      I’m so excited for your trip to MT and for you to meet Ms Montana!! You guys are going to have such a great time exploring all the US has to offer. I can’t wait to read all about it!!


  9. Love this post. I am a great fan of travelling. It probably delayed my retirement, but as I hadn’t heard about FIRE, it didn’t worry me then, and doesn’t now. We’re still travelling…

    Too many places to detail but highlights are China in 1997, just as Hong Kong got handed over from UK to China – the world was full of red banners celebrating it. (20 years ago – scary!)

    Machu Picchu was really good. We also loved the train across the Andes from Cusco to Lake Titicaca. Didn’t really like Lima much, although I understand it has improved.
    I would add The Galapagos to your list if you get a chance

    Budapest & Prague are definitely worth a visit. Krakow is also good.

    We had 6 weeks in Barcelona last year. I understand the Catalan / Spanish dilemma. They have an independence vote coming up on October 1st – I wonder how it will go… We’ll be in Madrid then, so we’ll find out I am sure.

    Don’t knock the spa’s and the beaches. We did, and then one year our planned trip Brazil / Uruguay, Chile didn’t work out and we just grabbed a special offer of 2 weeks on a Caribbean beach in December, when the snow was falling in Scotland. We were sold, and went back many times. It is still one of my favourite places in the world. Total switch off, no newspapers, tv, wi-fi, just sun, beach and great food. So relaxing after crazy workloads.

    Have fun and keep on travelling


    1. Thanks for all your insight! I would LOVE to go to the Galapagos so that is a very real possibility. 🙂 I keep in touch with my ex boyfriend so I hear all about the votes and his excitement (then disappointment) every time they try to succeed. Barcelona is one of the richest cities in Spain so I don’t see them letting go of it any time soon but a guys got to dream! To be in Madrid during a vote I can only imagine there will be much celebration but I’ll keep my fingers crossed for Jordi in Catalan. 😉

      Haha – on the beaches! I do get my fair share due to work but I can’t imagine it for weeks on end. I imagine I will eventually get there. Perhaps when I learn to control my mind better than my body. It is that constant hamster wheel that never stops that makes me antsy after a few hours of sitting still. I need a bit of zen! That being said, I took advantage of daily hour long massages when I was in Thailand so I guess I CAN sit still for at least one hour. 😉

      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave such an amazing and useful comment! I aspire to keep my travels moving forward for many years to come. Hopefully we will have a chance to cross paths one day…I have a suspicion you have a TON of great stories to tell.


      1. Did your Jordi tell you of St Jordi day in Barcelona. We were amazed last year when the whole of Barcelona and the surrounding areas were transformed for the day. The tradition is that the man gives his girl a rose, and the girl gives him books. Whole streets were taken over, and even small street corners had stalls. It was fantastic. A real festival atmosphere. Helped by glorious sunshine


        1. Yes!! In fact, he is a painter and quite talented. On St Jordi’s Day the year we met he was here in the states and insisted we go to the store to buy a single rose. He then painted a picture of me with the rose. It’s one of my prized possessions not because of our relationship but because of the passion with which he could paint. I always admired that. There is nothing more amazing than to watch someone do what they love. That painting reminds me to keep on exploring until I find that same intensity for something. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  10. ChooseBetterLife

    Hi Bianca,

    I hope you’re having a fantastic weekend. I love this week’s post and it’s strange but awesome that we’ve both traveled to many of the same places AND we both can’t stand to sit on a beautiful beach for too long 😉

    My husband and I will be visiting Chicago August 13-17. I was only there briefly for an exam years ago and didn’t have a chance to leave the airport hotel, so I’m excited to check it out. If you’re around, maybe we could meet up sometime. I think there’s a free Broadway Hits concert at Millennium Park on Monday the 14th if that interests you and/or we could grab dinner.

    Take care, Julie

    *www.choosebetterlife.com *


    1. Julie – I have to apologize!! I just found some weird back door area (dashboard?) to my comments and saw this one was pending approval…from months ago!! I don’t know why it was flagged because none of your others have. Anyway, I just “approved” it and realized that the date of your visit is already past!! I would have loved to catch up with you. Please shoot me an email next time and we will make it happen! I am so so sorry again for the late reply!


  11. ChooseBetterLife

    “Just because I don’t value them, doesn’t mean they don’t have value.”
    Love this quote! I share your views on spas/beach-sitting, and on hiking/backpacking, though many of my friends and family disagree.
    I’ll send you an email about our Chicago visit- hopefully we can meet in person!


  12. Love this post and all the reminders that there is a huge world out there to see and experience! We haven’t gone overseas at all but it is in our plans for the next few years. It will definitely take us out of our comfort zone but we’re ready for that. We’ll see you at FinCon and possibly at the SE Mustache meet-up! Mr. 1500 just gave me the heads up on that too. Kids are home from college then – makes it tough to plan around. But checking plans now! If you’re ever at ROC as one of your SW stops, let me know!


    1. Thanks, Vicki and congrats on your recent retirement. 🙂 You definitely have plenty of time to do your travels now!!

      Looking forward to seeing you at FinCon. I’ll definitely keep ROC on my list to visit!!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. luxestrategist

    I’m totally with you. I’m super happy I decided to do the non-responsible thing after college and went to Europe instead. Travelling is really not the same when you get older. My friend has a toddler and told me to travel as much as possible before having a baby. And I get depressed when I travel with my mom and she can’t do stuff, like, hike with us. I don’t want to be like that.

    I also don’t value beach vacations where you just kind of hang out and relax. Call me Type A but I don’t see a reason to do that stuff in Aruba when you can do it in Florida or closer to home. I much prefer more off-the-beaten path places where I can stretch my worldview a bit. My favorite was in Southeast Asia where I hung out with locals, rather than other tourists.

    Also not afraid to travel alone. Those times are when you meet the most people!

    In December we’re going to New Zealand, and I’m beyond psyched!


    1. You’re so right! I didn’t really have the college experience but I did move cross country and go to a community college in a little hippy town. I might as well have been in Europe it was so different from anywhere I had ever been! I am past the point of kids but I see how it limits some of the things he can do. I just go on my merry way alone! 😉

      YESSSSS to how you travel. There is a difference between being a tourist and traveler. and I much prefer to travel! I feel like getting to know the locals is the beauty of going somewhere new. Come things you just can learn sitting on a beach with a frosty drink in your hand. I can do that for a day or two but then I need to stretch my legs and my mind.

      Yeah, New Zealand!!! I can’t wait to hear about it…especially the long ass flight to get there. For some reason that scares the crap out of me!


  14. Love this! That was one of my biggest hesitations about learning more about FI. It seemed like you had to be hardcore, all-out, live in a box and never do anything until you reached financial independence and could finally start living.
    I am keenly aware of my biology, and by the time I am able to achieve FI (even if it normal retirement age), I won’t be able to do the things I want to do if I wait.
    I used to work touristy summer jobs when I lived in Alaska. I would see flocks of old people come to visit, but they were too weak to hike the mountains and their eyesight was too bad to see the vibrant colors in the gardens clearly. I always thought that was a shame – they had waited too long.
    When I left Alaska, my biggest regret was that I didn’t get out and see more of it myself. Hopefully I’ll make it back someday, but in the meantime, I’ll be jetting off to Peru for a couple weeks with a friend in September! It’ll be my first-ever international trip, and my first backpacking-style trip. I don’t even speak Spanish – I’m so nervous, but I’m excited to get out of my comfort zone!


    1. Such great points! You don’t know how long your life is or even how long you will be able to do certain things. If you have the chance to do them now, go for it! I am so so so excited for your trip to Peru. You will have to report back and let me know how it goes. Hopefully I will be able to get my act together and book my trip for next year. 🙂


  15. I think it’s brave of you to take those trips! For myself, it’s sometimes scary to spend money because I want FI so badly. But at the end of your life, it’s not the money you saved, it’s the experiences you have that are going to matter. Most people hope that by saving, they can have more experiences later on, but if you can have them now, go for it! I like the Mad Fientist’s last post – he talked about how he became so obsessed with saving that he started becoming depressed on his journey to FI. Life is about being happy. And if traveling makes you happy, I say go for it!


    1. Matt, that is precisely why it matters to take some time to relax your finances. When we first hear of FI it becomes that obsession. I remember last year barking at my niece and nephews while we were at Subway when they wanted to get chips and cookies with their subs. I scared myself with how cheap I was being when I rarely even see them! I heard MF on a podcast months ago and he talked about that depression. I decided then to lighten up but it took time to put it into action. Now I’ve decided what I will spend and what I won’t. I probably still wouldn’t buy the chips and cookies! 😉 Haha – those rug rats need to earn the meal deal!!


  16. For me, the whole point of FI (or even just getting better with money) isn’t to put all of my better days in the future. It’s to try to make sure I’m not working against myself today while still enjoying myself today. I haven’t done near the traveling that you do, but we always make time for a few trips a year. Yes, it’s an extra couple thousand dollars we could invest, but who knows if old lady Penny will be into zip lining or hiking pyramids. Better do it now while I can! 😉


    1. Old lady Penny sounds fantastic!! I made my mom go long distance hiking at 62 and zip lining at 65. She loved both!! Plus, you may have some grandkids to push your limits. Here is to today AND tomorrow!! 🙂


  17. Ok now just wait a minute. I didn’t know you’d want to go! (plus I’m sure a spot will open up and we can hang out together). If not, you can come see me almost any time since you’re totally not that far away from me!

    As for the whole point of the article….. YES. I just got back from Vegas and it was amazing. Going to London and Amsterdam really opened my mind to a lot of new concepts and ideas. Seeing people live happily on so little in Ecuador was sobering and a stark reminder that I really do have it pretty great in the States.


    1. Haha – don’t you worry. I’ll be there but missing you with by a week. 🙂 And, yes, I shall soon be knocking on your door.

      As for Ecuador – that is a trip I am also looking forward to making one of these days. I hope to be in Peru next year and Ecuador is just a little skip away! Regardless of where you go, it is important that you are open enough to the experience that it leaves an imprint on you. That you take a small part away…even if your mind gets lax about the discomfort once you return home. To know you experienced it for a moment make you know you can expose yourself once again.


  18. Dan and Don

    We’ve always said: “What’s the value of the dollar if you aren’t willing to spend it at some point?” Great post.


  19. TheRetirementManifesto

    Haha – a hidden shoutout! (Yes, I read your posts, every word!). But walking 3 miles to dinner!? Smiles.

    What good is FI if we don’t live life in the process? We’ve travelled every year of our FI Journey (notice it’s called a JOURNEY, not an FI Seat), and I wouldn’t trade the experiences for anything.

    Great post on the benefits of real travel! Bravo. I’m off next week with Jackie to The Bahamas….the travel tradition continues, and will until I die.


  20. I don’t see a single thing wrong with traveling before FI. We can’t pull away from the rat race yet and it’s a bit sad. I’m not a huge traveller but for food, I would literally do anything. I binge those travel food blogs on YouTube (like Mark Wiens). We don’t have kids yet but I want to be able to travel with children so I can eat and they know how good they have it in America 🙂 well that’s the plan 😉


    1. Nothing wrong with it at all. I feel like I put some harsh restrictions on myself just to reach that magic FI number because that is what I was reading other people were doing. It’s not necessary!! Seeing the world gives you a better understanding of what you want out of life. And isn’t this what financial independence is all about? Doing the things we want to do instead of what we have to do? How will I ever know unless I test a bunch of shit out. Travel is my wingwoman to a fulfilled FI.


  21. mrspickypincher

    Your travels look badass! I agree that travel is one of those things that are worth delaying FIRE. As long as it’s done reasonably, of course! But why not travel when you’re young and full of energy and discovering yourself? I think we all need to travel a lot more. 🙂


    1. Girl, I was such a tight wad last year (despite a few frugal travels) that this year I through all budget sense out the window. I mean, I’m not going broke anytime soon but I am enjoying more along the way. Life is short and, as you mentioned, I don’t want to be an old fogey when I finally get out there. Carpe Diem (within reason)! 😉


  22. etozier24

    Awesome article MM. I just went to Vegas over the weekend and loved it. It was about $900 for the plane tickets, lodging, food etc, so it was definitely worth the expense.


    1. Woohoo, Vegas!! Gwen from Fiery Millenials was there too. 🙂 My favorite part of Vegas is the INSANE people watching. You can see it all if you sit in one spot and watch the world go by for 5 minutes. Oh, and there is an amazing Thai place near SLS that is not to be missed!


  23. Wow great post Miss. M! I’m the same as you in the I live between being settled in a utopia-like community, and the other side…my other side being more of I have no idea where this utopia is! I probably want to “test-drive” some locations at some point in my life…probably sans cat when that happens. 😦 Anyhoo, I was thinking about the trip I was on just yesterday and that child-like wonder I had when I was there. You couldn’t keep me at my accommodations more than one hour before I HAD to get out and explore more…even if that just meant walking around aimlessly. I never do that at home. I watched, like, 2 hours of TV yesterday. I just don’t have that same sense of wonder at home. And you do make loads of new friends…especially if you travel solo.


    1. I am writing post right now about the time I went to test drive Asheville. I had it in my mind to take the 4 cities I wanted to move to the most and spend 3 months in each before deciding. Life intervened but it’s still something I hope to do soon.

      Child like wonder is hard to find within yourself unless you break free of your comfort zone. I remember the first time I arrived in Spain, looked around and realized I couldn’t read a single sign. My instinct was to smile from ear to ear with complete glee. But I am like you, if I am home I fall victim to the niceties that have been provided me. TV is a huge time suck as is anything internet related. When I lived on my own it was easy to shut it all off. In this house with the boys it is damn near impossible…it’s also impossible to stay away fro junk food! 😉 That said, I am always working on pushing my worlds together. The one I am in now and the one I aspire to be in soon. Every day is a step in the right direction.


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