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 winner’s 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 outdoorsy 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, even 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”

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

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 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 on 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 fair 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”