Camp Mustache 2016


Ever since I attend­ed the Chau­tauqua last year, I’ve been ramp­ing up my involve­ment in the FI com­mu­ni­ty. I’ve inter­act­ed with a vari­ety of peo­ple online through Red­dit, Twit­ter and this blog. This includes but is not lim­it­ed to a few Skype con­vos, email­ing back and forth with var­i­ous blog­gers, and tweet­ing all the time.

I’ve also made it a goal of mine to attend as many fun FI relat­ed trips as pos­si­ble this year. I went to Oma­ha at the begin­ning of May for the Berk­shire Hath­away Annu­al Investor’s Meet­ing and the asso­ci­at­ed FI meet­up after­wards. That was an absolute blast (minus me get­ting ter­ri­bly sick after­wards). Com­ing up, I will be hang­ing out in Chica­go with friends from the Chau­tauqua, fly­ing to Maine to hang out with oth­er friends from the Chau­tu­aqua, Fin­Con in San Diego and maybe even meet­ing some Euro­pean com­padres on my trip to Lon­don.

This last week­end, I was lucky enough to be able to grab a spot at Camp Mus­tache. One advan­tage of being young, sin­gle, and rel­a­tive­ly fan­cy free is ease of deci­sion mak­ing. I saw reg­is­tra­tion was open and about 2.5 min­utes lat­er I was going to Seat­tle! Events like these are a reminder that my stage in life does have some pret­ty great perks.

For those that don’t know, Camp Mus­tache is a retreat that was start­ed by 3 peo­ple from the Mr. Mon­ey Mus­tache Forums a few years ago, and has kind of tak­en on a life of its own since then. Now, Mr. Mon­ey Mus­tache him­self goes for the week­end along with an assort­ed vari­ety of already FI peo­ple, blog­gers and oth­er FI com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers (includ­ing a very cute baby!).

For me, the peo­ple were the main attrac­tion. Every­one at the retreat was incred­i­bly awe­some. I’m glad I got to spend more time with those I already knew to deep­en those friend­ships, and I’m very glad I got the chance to meet so many new peo­ple as well. I’m glad to see some oth­er youn­gins come to these, espe­cial­ly because I wasn’t the youngest one there this time! It was great to be able to sit down and talk over our expe­ri­ences thus far, par­tic­u­lar­ly the chal­lenges of dat­ing and try­ing to be FI. I’m not just accum­mu­lat­ing mon­ey on this jour­ney to FI- I’m amass­ing a net­work of like mind­ed peo­ple who can help, sup­port, and cel­e­brate each of us on our jour­ney.

Seri­ous­ly, the kind of peo­ple who are attract­ed to the FI lifestyle just seem way cool­er than the rest of the world’s pop­u­la­tion. Every­one there had a fas­ci­nat­ing sto­ry  or two (or more cough Kei­th cough) to tell. I found myself talk­ing less and lis­ten­ing more because the chance to learn from their mis­takes and suc­cess­es was price­less [although don’t wor­ry I still talked enough to have my voice drop an octave or two]. I got some­thing out of every sin­gle inter­ac­tion I had!

I received some excel­lent guid­ance and advice that I’m very excit­ed to start putting into prac­tice. We had some excel­lent pre­sen­ta­tions on a num­ber of top­ics that includ­ed tax­es, man­u­fac­tured spend­ing, cred­it card churn­ing, real estate invest­ing and so much more. My only regret is not being able to be in two places at once because some ses­sions were held at the same time. I also got help and guid­ance on things oth­er than finances as well that var­ied from get­ting my old Mac­Book lap­top back up and run­ning, to new plu­g­ins for the blog, and all the way to rela­tion­ship advice/helpful tips.

Fun­ny sto­ry, if I had a dol­lar every time some­one said some­thing along the lines of “Wow! You’re start­ing out so young! If I’d start­ed when I was your age, I’d be retired by now!”, would be retired by now. Or at the very least, I’d be 5 dol­lars rich­er because 5 dif­fer­ent peo­ple told me that dur­ing the retreat.

The view from halfway up Mt. Si
The view from halfway up the moun­tain

The venue for Camp Mus­tache is a Chris­t­ian retreat cen­ter (com­plete with Bibles in the bed­side tables!) set at the base of an hon­est to god moun­tain. This was my first time in the Pacif­ic North­west and I was blown away by how beau­ti­ful it is. The woods are full of what some­one called “Pow­er Line Pines”, which are very tall, very straight pine trees that smell like a Yan­kee Can­dle. The first part of the week­end was a bit on the cool and rainy side, but that made the fires they had going all over even more appre­ci­at­ed. The sec­ond part of the week­end was absolute­ly gor­geous weath­er with nary a cloud in the sky and plen­ty of sun­shine! I’m not sure I could live there per­ma­nent­ly due to the rain and gloomy atmos­phere, but it was cer­tain­ly nice to vis­it for a lit­tle bit.

The unof­fi­cial theme of the week­end for me was to just have fun, and we had that in abun­dance! Lots of jok­ing around, var­i­ous board games (includ­ing my Cards Against Human­i­ty set which has now been through 5 dif­fer­ent air­ports in 2 coun­tries), bon­fires, and tasty alco­hol helped us achieve my goal. I can’t say the hike up the moun­tain was super fun, but the view from the top and the street cred I got from fin­ish­ing the hike made it worth the 3.5 hours of straight up and down suck. For­tu­nate­ly, I had some excel­lent con­ver­sa­tions (when we had the breath in the super thin air) on the way up and down that helped dis­tract me from the fact my legs felt they were going to fall off. It’s been awhile since I’ve been in that much pain, but I would make the same choic­es if giv­en the chance for a do over. I was also helped by a cowork­er who gave me a mag­ic oint­ment that almost instant­ly made my calves loosen up and my knees to stop hurt­ing. Look up Arni­care gel if you like to pre­tend you’re in shape and tack­le stren­u­ous exer­cis­es like I did.

Over­all, I’m incred­i­bly grate­ful I got to attend Camp Mus­tache and I’d have to rec­om­mend it just as much as the Chau­tauqua! I learned a lot of great infor­ma­tion (about both finance stuff and myself), met some real­ly cool peo­ple and hung out in an amaz­ing cor­ner of the coun­try. Check out some more pic­tures below!

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10 thoughts on “Camp Mustache 2016

  1. This sto­ry is real­ly cool. It is always nice to meet like mind­ed peo­ple.
    Myself, I look for­ward to FIWE week in Budapest. IT will be the first time to meet some oth­er blog­gers.

    Keep enjoy­ing the com­mu­ni­ty.

    If you ever pass by Bel­gium, you know where to find me…

  2. That retreat was about 5 min­utes from my house! It is a ridicu­lous­ly beau­ti­ful area and I was so bummed when I found out that the retreat was sold out. Bum­mer — maybe next year!

    Thanks for the write up!

  3. I’ve been look­ing for­ward to read­ing your trip report! Super jeal­ous!! Sounds like you had a great time! I recent­ly joined the Bay Area MMM group which has been a fun way to meet oth­er peo­ple into this stuff. Being around like­mind­ed peo­ple is so inspir­ing and moti­vat­ing! PS — your descrip­tion of the hike as 3.5 hours of up and down suck cracked me up!

    • Argh! I’m so jeal­ous of your group. I don’t think there’s enough peo­ple in my area total to start up a group like that.…… unless we’d like to include the farm ani­mals!

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