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 most 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 needs 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. Continue reading “Why I Travel Despite It Delaying FI”

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Knowledge Gained From A Month Of Financial Celibacy

May came and May went and I survived.

For those of you following along, you are very much aware of my addiction to spreadsheets and tracking.  It is a nerdy hat that I wear well and take much pride in.  The hat, however, started to stretch out from overuse and was slowly slipping further and further down my face to the point that it was covering my eyes.  I needed a break and I took that break in the form of a month long challenge.  May began my month of Financial Celibacy.

The month started out slow.  I had to delete all financial apps from my phone, iPads, and bookmarks from my computer in an effort to make logging in less habitual and more intentional.  Each time I felt the urge to do so, I was stopped by the fact that I no longer had quick (relatively) access.  If I wanted to log in I now had to go online and do so manually or download the app again.  Taking those extra few seconds to reflect gave my mind the space it needed to move on to a different task.  In time, the habit faded and I was no longer reaching for that crutch to fill random moments of downtime.  So, Goal #1 to break the habit was accomplished.

My second goal was to spend my time doing more fulfilling activities.  Two weeks into May I found it easy to disconnect when my BF and I went to Cuba for a few days.  Without access to data or wifi I was pleasantly surprised how much more focused we were.  I didn’t check in with Twitter.  I didn’t text with my friends.  And, without the use of Google, I was tasked with lead navigator using a simple paper map.  How refreshing to find that my brain still works in an efficient manner!!  The last week of the month found me in Seattle attending Camp Mustache, making new friends and enjoying every moment of it.  One thing that I noticed, and couldn’t help but comment on, was the lack of cell phone use during that weekend.  We were all able to chat and get to know each other without endless interruptions from outside realities.  Each of us was there 100%.  Due to my experiences in Cuba and CM, I am starting a new June goal of less online activity.  So far so good.  I do love my interactions on Twitter but I completely deleted my blog FB page in an effort to simplify my interactions in general.  At one point, in an effort to keep my life compartmentalized, I had 3 different FB profiles: my regular one, one for work, and Miss Mazuma.  It was time consuming and ridiculous.  I am just me, after all.  I don’t need FB for the blog or for work.  If you need to find me, look here or on Twitter – I’m always lurking. 😉

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See the bee?  Yup, that’s me…lurking.  😉

On a (more) personal note, I can’t stress how perfect the timing of this challenge was for me.  I learned first hand that time is more important than money.   Continue reading “Knowledge Gained From A Month Of Financial Celibacy”

Traveling on a Dime…OK, 2!

Many people have asked how it is that I can travel so cheaply…you know, besides the obvious of the free flight perks my job allows me.  If you have been reading here awhile you know that it helps that I am more frugal than most, but I also take a fare amount of time to prepare for my trips in advance.  Here are some tips I have learned over the years to get the most bang for my buck while globetrotting this big round orb…

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Just a Bit of Money I found While Hiking Lamma Island, Hong Kong

As an avid traveler (both on the job and off), one of the largest expenses while on the road is…wait for it…

Continue reading “Traveling on a Dime…OK, 2!”

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 Wrote My Will Today…

Everyone should have a will…Right?  Right.

Truth be told, this is something I preach but don’t practice.  You know, like eat healthy and work out.  Sounds great but I rarely do it…the working out part.  Let’s face it – that’s the hard part.  And, like working out, planning for your death is hard.   Hard, but important.

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Next week I leave for Thailand to cross off one of my Bucket List items.  I realize this is a trip many have made before and I realize that volunteering with elephants is not likely to be my cause of death.  But… I also realize that shit happens.  And, though I have no intentions of getting swept under a stampede, I am not the type to sit on the sidelines and watch the world go by…I’ll jump (or attempt to jump) on the elephants back and enjoy the ride!  

With all that in mind, today I wrote my will.  It isn’t official but I have no doubt it will stand up in court – it is basic, but informative, and will most likely cause those to read it to both laugh and cry…as any will should.  The will is brief.  One printed page of instructions (front and back) for my assets, my Bubs, and my vacuum (My BF will be so happy!)…

Continue reading “I Wrote My Will Today…”