It’s been a while, ladies and gents!! Let me give you a quick catch up before we can move on to the latest…
- PORTLAND – Far Away Friends, Couchsurfing, & Lola Retreat!
Have I mentioned how much I LOVE the Pacific Northwest? I DO!! Many moons ago I lived in Ashland OR and, looking back over the years, I still consider it one of those magical times in my life where my surroundings had the ability to refresh and energize me. The trees, mountains, and clean air (compared to city life, that is) were a true delight. Every time I am back, I feel right at home…
I arrived in Portland a day before Lola Retreat so I could meet up with my friend, Angela. Angela and I met in 2013 while hiking the first ever European Peace Walk (EPW). The hike itself was tough, but the friendships made on that trip were solidified by an unspoken bond that only happens when you hike painfully long days in excruciating heat across 6 countries with little-to-no route information. Such a BLAST!! 🙂 Since then, I have met several of my US-based EPW buddies on work overnights, some met me in Spain to hike, and last year while on vacation, I met Angela in her home town of Dublin. It was only proper that I meet her when she visited the states.
We made our plans a week before Lola but when I checked for accommodations I realized the downside of our timing – the fucking solar eclipse! NOOOOOOOO!!! As awesome a sight for many, this “once in a lifetime” event put a damper on our plans…until we consulted Couchsurfing. Now, I have stayed in a ton of random places during my travels (barns, old classrooms, churches, monasteries), but I have never Couchsurfed for fear of being murdered in my sleep. I am happy to say that fear is now gone…and it was so easy! Not only were our hosts super accommodating, they were also very informative (all for $0!!!). They told us about a local hike called the 4-T Trail.
The trail starts via Train (to the zoo stop), then you hike the Trail to the highest point in Portland then back down to the hospital where you take the Tram to the city, then the Trolley which will drop you off within stones throw of any of the local breweries that Portland is well-known for. Get it? 4 T’s!! Highly recommended if you’re ever in Portland!!
As for Lola Retreat…
What can I say?? It was AWESOME. Literally. I am in awe of the ladies, Emma Pattee and Melanie Lockert, who put this event together. These bad ass chicks saw a hole in the male dominated personal finance space and successfully blew it wide open. The weekend was full of conversation, laughter, incredible food, education, and of course, tears. 😉
We talked about debt, real estate strategies, relationships & money, entrepreneurship, financial independence, and more. The first night consisted of many introductions but by the last day we were a sisterhood united (sounds cheesy but it’s true!!). I can’t get into details because, you know, what happens at Lola stays at Lola, but if you want to have a peek at what we were up to, feel free to check out the #LolaRetreat hashtag on Twitter. 😉 And Ladies, if you have the chance to make it next year, PLEASE GO!! I can’t think of a better way to spend my money than supporting an event that supports my own demographic.
I can NOT believe I am back here!! 🙂
A few years back, I jumped at the chance to buy my studio knowing full well that I couldn’t/wouldn’t live there for long. The plan was to eventually turn my unit into a cash cranking investment property. I immediately added my name to the rental list (only 25% of the units in our building can be investment – all others are owner occupied) and kept my fingers crossed for a swift climb to the top. It was not swift, y’all. It took 35 months (and some faltering back and forth whether I should sell or not) but on 7/28 I finally got the call I’d been waiting for…I was FINALLY given permission to seek a tenant. Bring on the money, Honey!!
I immediately placed ads on Craigslist, Apartments.com, and Zillow and eventually found a super tenant…who needed to move ASAP 5 days later. After working 2 of those days, I had 3 days to get the place sorted which resulted in a mad furry of patching, painting, fixing, and moving that can only be described as complete and fabulous chaos. I did, however, take time to enjoy my proximity to good sushi during a well deserved break…
A few days later, as my new tenant was moving in her first few boxes, I was grabbing the last of my mine and heading out the door. Perfect timing!!
The financial aspects of the deal aren’t so shabby either:
- Rent = $975/mo
- Taxes/Assessments/Insurance = -$300/month
Overall I am netting appx $675/mo minus any repairs, vacancies, or other issues. I am elated to finally be on the positive side with an investment property – owning it outright certainly helps! Of course, I wouldn’t be telling the truth if I didn’t say I still have some PTSD from my past real estate experiences. After going through what I went through, this lease transaction seemed to work so seamlessly that I can’t help but wonder when the other shoe will drop…* Stay tuned to find out!
So here we are in September. Just like the Pacific Northwest, I love everything about September. Though I don’t get all jazzed up for pumpkin spiced bullshit, I do get quite giddy over jean & sweatshirt weather, the changing colors of the leaves, and the crisp mornings followed by cool but sunny afternoons. Seriously…what more could you ask for??
After a long 12 out of 14 day work marathon, I took a few days off to go to my “Happy Place” – Lake Geneva, Wisconsin (LG). I don’t know what it is, but being there makes me feel completely at peace. I filled my days with hiking, cooking, writing, and taking Bubs to the dog park, beach, and creek. It was wonderful to get away and appreciate nature for a bit without any distractions. And look what I got to see instead…
It occurred to me that the reason my trip was so relaxing is because I wasn’t trying to optimize my time. In the past few years, maybe the past decade, multitasking has become my norm…even in the moments that I am doing the things I love. Don’t get me wrong, being productive can be a very positive attribute, but not at the expense of your own joy. The things we do for joy are meant to mentally reenergize us in the moments when we are away from the things that drain us. It’s counterproductive to optimize your time while you are enjoying pleasure. I mean, you wouldn’t try to optimize sex, would you?? If your answer is yes please feel free to elaborate in the comments below. 😉
On my walk around the lake this week, I made a conscious decision to stop the madness. No podcasts, no music, and no ringer (ok, I actually never use my ringer). Instead, I took pictures, stopped whenever I wanted, peered over the edge of every bridge I crossed, saved multiple creatures on the path from imminent death, and truly enjoyed every step of the way. I didn’t think of the things I could be doing to be more productive or to make an extra buck. I didn’t worry about rushing back to get to Bubs (she is no longer able to walk long distances around the lake). I didn’t think about my upcoming deadline or the work week ahead. Instead, I thought about all the things that bring me joy and what made me optimize them in the first place. Why did I need to make a walk more efficient by listening to someone elses thoughts (podcasts) instead of my own?! All of my creativity comes in the moments I am quiet. Why smother that creativity with noise? If taking one walk without noise got me to this point or reflection, imagine what a few more will do! I’m super pumped to find out. 🙂
This past week has been a great start to the month but also a super way to end the age of 38. In a few days I will turn 39, which actually means I am beginning my 40th year on this giant spinning orb. It’s nice to know that no matter how old you are, you are constantly evolving and learning more about what makes you tick. Right now, for me it is silence. What’s making you tick right now? Alternatively, what is ticking you off??
Until next time…
*First emergency call came from my new tenant 2 weeks after her moving in. More details in a future post. 😉
PS – If you happen to be curious about the Camino de Santiago in Spain or long distance hiking in general, be sure to check back here on Monday. Jeremy at Go Curry Cracker asked me to write a post on the camino (So You Want to Hike The Camino De Santiago) which is due to launch on his site this Monday. In partnership, I wrote a second post for my site, The Do’s and Don’ts of Long Distance Hiking (some of which are specific to the camino), that will also be published on Monday. I hope to see you back here (or there) then!