Spreading the FIRE

As a flight attendant, there are no two things more important than your base and your seniority.  The base becomes your home and your seniority gives you access to the best trips and vacation weeks possible.  For a few years now, my seniority in Chicago has been stagnant due to the droves of flight attendants jumping ship from MDW (Chicago Midway Airport) in favor of the DEN base.  To add insult to injury, DEN has been voted Best Base 4 years running (dethroning MDW from our own winners streak) and has quickly become the more junior base.  What does that mean for me?  My decent seniority in MDW would be muuuuch better if I too took the DEN bait.  Hmmmm…  In early July, I decided to jump a flight to Denver to see what all the hullabaloo was about.  Maybe I too would jump ship.

Let me start by saying, I love the mountains and all the fresh water lakes that they create.  I also love the oudoorsy life and all it has to offer including the fresh air, camping, hiking, kayaking, swimming.  With the exception of skiing (grace is not a word best used to describe me), I love it all!  The closest I ever got to that type of lifestyle was when I worked in the ski shop at a resort in Ashland, OR.  Being surrounded by the mountains and their constant unrelenting beauty, made me feel alive.  In that regard, Denver didn’t disappoint…

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Breathtaking, right?!

After a few days I decided that as much as I loved Denver and all it has to offer (and despite the urging of my DEN friends), I have no plans to move at this juncture. 🙂  Instead, I made a mental tally of the things I liked (Happy Hour, dog friendliness, mountains, outdoorsy peeps) and didn’t like (altitude sickness, cost of living, car dependency) in the event I decide to revisit the DEN base idea in the future.  But don’t worry, folks, this trip was not for nothing.   I’m happy to report I did accomplish something while I was away…

Anita

While visiting, I had the pleasure of staying with my dear friend, Anita.  I spoke about Anita in my last post, how we met through a volunteer trip in Thailand, but I failed to mention we are the SAME EXACT person…minus the fact I am 10 years her senior.  Up until now, our lives have followed similar paths including adventures in real estate, travel, and flight attending. While both of us have no children, we are both dating men in their mid 40’s with teenagers (I happen to live with mine, she doesn’t).  We are both entrepreneurs in various outlets, and love to create new streams of income.  We don’t eat meat, though she is vegan and I a pescatarian.  We both relate to our spiritual sides more than religious.  She has solo traveled all over the world, as have I.  She cranes her head out the window to yell at people riding in horse-drawn carriages on a sweltering city street (witnessed by my own eyes in Golden, CO) and I yell at people who leave their dogs unattended in hot cars.  We both love animals, after all.  😉

Oh, and we are both complete dorks.  But that’s beside the point.

During my stay I was able to catch a small glimpse of Anita’s life in Denver and, ever more fascinating to me, her overall spending habits.  This is where I discovered one glaring difference between us.  She is a spender, ya’ll. Continue reading “Spreading the FIRE”

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Money & Morals – Using Your $$ For Good

A few months back I had the experience of a lifetime – I spent an entire week volunteering at an elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai, Thailand.  This trip is one that I had been wanting to do for 10 years.  I first heard of The Elephant Nature Park from a flight attendant who had gone there on her honeymoon.  Though I thought it an odd choice at the time, as my honeymoon was spent sipping rum punch on a beach in Jamaica,  I have since come around to realize her experience far outweighed my gluttonous week of all you can eat restaurants and sand in my crotch…as far as honeymoons are concerned, she won.

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The result of 800 lbs of food each day…times 71 elephants!

I arrived at ENP unsure of how the experience would shape me.  I knew the basics of what we would be doing – prepping food (Did you know elephants eat 800 lbs of food a day?), picking up shit (400lbs a day…each!), and cleaning the park of the discarded corn tusks the elephants deemed inedible (picky, picky, picky).   I had no idea there would also be 460 dogs there (most saved from the flood of Bangkok in 2011), herds of water buffalo, endless cats, goats, chickens, and any other type of animal that has needed rescuing in the past 25+ years.  I also had no idea what the tourism industry had done to these magnificent creatures including torture, mutilation, and murder of many of the mothers in order to take the young.  That week I learned a lot.  I saw more than what I thought my heart could handle.  That week, I became a voice for those who can’t speak… Continue reading “Money & Morals – Using Your $$ For Good”

I am Grateful For YOU

This week has been a HUGE one for this here little blog.  Though I have been reading about personal finance for the past couple years, I have only been writing for 5 months.  In that time, the amount of encouragement I have gotten from the PF community has been mind-blowing.  I want to write this post to give a big THANK YOU back to those who have helped me along the way (in no particular order)… Continue reading “I am Grateful For YOU”

The Aunty Fund – Teaching My Nieces and Nephews All Things Money

This weekend was awesome.   I had a chance to spend time with my mom walking around my favorite lake in Lake Geneva, Wi., I maxed out my Roth IRA (!), and I was reminded of the importance of giving back – not once, but twice.  

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The first reminder came when I read The Giving Fund on Ms. Montana’s blog, Montana Money Adventures.  Though a giving fund (charitable giving) is not a new concept, her post really put into perspective what these accounts can do and sometimes at just the right time.  The story she wrote is truly inspiring and a definite must read.  🙂

The second reminder came when I interviewed my BF’s 13-year-old son about money.  Here is a snippet of that conversation:

Me – What do you think is the most important thing about money?

Him – It can help you live.

Me – What if you had all the money in the world.  What would be the most important use of your money?

Him – Giving it to other people so they could live too.

So cute!  He didn’t want to buy a big mansion or a jumbo jet…or maybe all the money in the world had already bought him those things.  The point is, after he had it all, he wanted to give back.  It is in that vein that I have decided to put my money where my mouth is.   Continue reading “The Aunty Fund – Teaching My Nieces and Nephews All Things Money”