Cultivating a Community

It's no surprise to anyone that knows me that I absolutely love traveling to meet new people. Especially people in the FIRE community.

I've written reviews on my times at…….

Ecuador Chautauqua 2015 (bonus lessons learned post!)
Camp Mustache Seattle 2016
FinCon 2016
Camp Mustache Florida 2017

Those are the major trips I've been on, but I've also had the pleasure of attending local meetups all over the US. I recently attended/co-hosted a meetup in Minneapolis with Jeremy from Go Curry Cracker. We had about 20 people show up to a park on a sunny Saturday afternoon!

This gave everyone the chance to meetup with friendly like-minded people in their area. It's so incredibly helpful to know there are real life people doing this and it's not just a crazy community on the Internet. Local meetups are even better because you get to talk to people who face many of the same issues as you.

Stories get the chance to come to life. I talk about a lot of things briefly here on the blog, but sometimes people want more explanations/details/hear me say it out loud. I know I've asked people to explain more about certain posts or things they've mentioned offhand.

I don't just go to local meetups though. I try to go to as many as I possibly can within the realm of my limited vacation days.

I love the information I soak up at meetups. I'm usually one of the youngest people in attendance and everyone loves to give me advice. I love it! I know there's a lot I don't know, you know? There's also a lot of situations in life I have yet to go through and I like hearing how other people tackled situations. What happened, how they reacted at the time, what they learned, and what they'd do now if they were in that situation again. It helps me avoid making common silly errors and lets me make new and different ones! (Like not getting references and not signing a contract when hiring someone to do work on my property!) There is just such a wealth of knowledge that exist in groups like these! You'll never know what you'll learn, or who you'll end up meeting that could change the course of your entire life!

I'm going to take a moment and give a special shout out to these two awesome guys! I first met them at Camp Mustache in Seattle and was lucky enough to get to hang out with them again this winter at Camp Mustache SE. After I figured out there were actually two of them instead of one weird guy changing his clothes all the time and having duplicate conversations with me, we proceeded to have a fantastic time. They've taught me a lot about life, land lording, and how to be the best possible version of myself.

I have a feeling we're all going to do great things for this community and I can't wait to see where the future goes! I can't say anything just yet, but know that awesome things are in the works and they're not going to happen without these two. Stephen and David, you two rock and I'm so glad we've met! Can't wait to see you again sometime soon!

I am really, really, really looking forward to 4 big events coming up in the near future. The last week of September I will be in Washington, DC for a work trip. I know a fair amount of people in that area and will probably spend each of my 4 nights there hanging out with them. If you live in the area, reach out to me and let's schedule a time for drinks/dinner/hanging out!

The second trip I'm going on is the Chautauqua the second week of October. I am so super psyched. My first Chautauqua was seriously one of the best weeks I've had as an adult. The first time I went I literally knew no one and my family and friends were concerned I'd get kidnapped, sold into the global sex trade, and never be heard from again. Fortunately none of those horrible things happened and I instead had an amazing time forging relationships with 24 awesome people. Check out this post from Millennial Revolution on the Chautauqua held in England last week for another view! Reading this got me all sorts of jazzed up. (even more than I already was!!)

My goal this time around is a bit different than last time, though. Last time I went to meet people and see what I could learn. This time, I'm going with some specific goals in mind. I've been lucky enough to score a one-on-one with Brandon from the Mad Fientist. (He's a bit baffled that I picked him, but honored nonetheless.) He is a tax optimization wizard, so I'd like him to look over my setup and help me really stream line my accounts. The best part is I'll take copious notes and share them with you here on the blog!

I'm also getting some time with Paula Pant from Afford Anything and want to see what she recommends my next move with regards to real estate be. I have ideas, but she's been there and can help me sort through a number of different scenarios I could see myself taking. While Chad Carson isn't one of the “headline bloggers”, he managed to snag a spot on the trip! I would also like to get a chance to sit down with him and talk real estate shop.

Unlike the others mentioned above, there's someone that will be there that I have yet to meet, but am very much looking forward to talking to. I was listening to the most recent ChooseFi podcast with Scott Rieckens. He is in the planning stages of filming a documentary on the FIRE Community and will also be at FinCon and Camp Mustache SE this January. However, I know those events are crazy busy and Ecuador will be my best chance to have an in-depth conversation with him.

Speaking of FinCon, I'll be headed there a week after I get back from Ecuador! Hopefully my voice has time to recover in between. These events have me talk a lot more than normal…. and if you've ever had a conversation with me in real life, you'll know that is A LOT of talking 🙂

FinCon is great to go to because I get to hangout with all my favorite blogging buddies and exchange war stories with them while having a lot of fun.

War stories being along the lines of things like, “Oh you think that email is bad? Do I have a doozy!” and “Oh yeah, don't worry about that guy, he picks fights with everyone in the community. It's like a badge of honor. Ignore him or block him if you can't.” or “Yeah, I got on Rockstar Finance one day and had to upgrade my service on my hosting provider! Traffic shot through the roof! It was awesome!” I just realized normal people don't have conversations like that…. and I'm perfectly ok being a weirdo!

It looks like this, but with less plans for strenuous exercise afterwards and more plans for drinking by a fire. ——->

I hope to meet tons of fabulous people, have a great time, enjoy spending some extended time with my long-distance boyfriend (who will be there, as he's a blogger too :D), learning more about podcasting, and maybe networking with some companies about sponsoring opportunities.

Sidenote: my friend J and I are starting a podcast soon! It's called Fire Drill Podcast and will cover a wide range of people and their side hustles on the way to Financial Independence. It would be absolutely amazing if you could sign up for our email list (get first notice of our launch!)/follow us on social media pages. You can do that at www.firedrillpodcast.comSimilarly, email us if you'd like to talk about your side hustle!

I had an absolute blast at FinCon 2016 and I'm really looking forward to this year as well!

The last event I'm looking forward to is Camp Mustache SE in January of 2018. It's hard to believe 2018 is right around the corner, but it is. Sorry for being the bearer of bad news! I loved going to CMSE last year because, hello, Florida in January is magical compared to Midwest in January AND I was around a bunch of my favorite people. Some of the usual suspects are going to be there, but I know more awesome FI people I haven't met yet will be there and I love to meet more people! I feel like I'm starting to sound like a broken record, but seriously. You can't beat good times with good people.

The next few months are going to be completely crazy, but it's going to be really fun and, I suspect, life changing. Like, I-can-point-back-to-Q4 2017-pivotal-moment life changing. It's going to be huge. HUGE I TELL YOU!

Have you been to any meetups? What have you discovered about them? Sound off in the comments below!

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34 thoughts on “Cultivating a Community

  1. Woohoo for FinCon 2017! It’s just around the corner and I’m so psyched. 🙂 I loooove that someone is making a documentary about FIRE bloggers–can’t wait to watch it. 🙂 I’ve always wanted to host a meetup here in Central / South Texas, but aside from Slowly Sipping Coffee, I’m not sure if there are many FIRE bloggers in the area. Hmmmmm.
    Mrs. Picky Pincher recently posted…Mkay, what is up with our side hustle obsession?My Profile

    • No need to just include bloggers! I love talking to everyone in the community. FinCon serves a very niche purpose, which just means I CAN”T WAIT AND I”M SO PUMPED! See you there!

  2. This October is going to be filled with Firey goodness…. We are getting more and more excited about Ecuador… and then like you we turn around and go to FinCon. It will be fun and like a little reunion… a week later.

    We need to make a meet up happen locally for us. It’s a great thing and I think people really appreciate it.

    Keep up the good work… and can’t wait to spend time in Ecuador just hanging out and chatting.

    • The good thing is you live in a LARGE metropolitan area with a thriving FIRE scene. I’m kinda jealous! See you soon!

  3. I’m 99% sure I’ll be at FinCon this year (just waiting to make sure a mandatory work event isn’t scheduled at the same time!!) I love hearing about the FI and Personal Finance community. In the few months of blogging, I have been welcomed by this supportive and amazing community and it motivates me to continue to share our story and work towards our goals of frugality and FI!

    • I’ll cross my fingers! Everyone’s got a story to tell and we love it when people start to share them!

    • Check out, look on FB to see if there’s a group in your area, check the MMM forums, and also check the Rockstar Finance forums. Those should give you a good idea who’s around!

    • 2018 is going to be where it’s at! Try not to have too much FOMO! Sorry to hear you can’t make it this year 🙁

  4. I was out of town this last weekend, it would have been great to meet you in Minneapolis! My family was off enjoying a late summer camping trip before the kids go back to school. Maybe next time.

    • Bummer! I’ll be up there often now, so I’ll have to let you know when I’m in town and we can hang out! Hope you had fun camping!

  5. Thanks for the shout-out, Gwen! I’m so obsessed with Chautauqua UK I can’t help but shout it out from the rooftops!

    Btw, I’m so impressed with how many events you managed to attend despite working full-time and doing real-estate investing on the side! Way to go, woman. You must have endless reserves of energy!

    Looking forward to being on your podcast and hopefully we can meet during the cross-over day at Chautauqua Ecuador!

  6. You’ve got some great plans for what’s coming up and your words are dripping with anticipation + excitement! *fist pump*

    Looking forward to the Fire Drill Podcast – love that you’re going to cover my three favorite topics: Side Hustles, Real Estate, Financial Independence.

    And now I’m going to go look for some FI meetups in my area…

  7. Absolutely agree, this community is amazing and we are so glad that we have found like-minded folks to connect with. Can’t wait to see you at CMSE again this year!

    On a side note, all of the photos are so awesome, but that last one has some real lookers in it 😉

  8. I have been fortunate enough to meet up (or google hang out) with some awesome bloggers and it has been super fun. Every time I feel like I have known them for years, even though we just met less than an hour ago. Also, I am not sure that I have mentioned how excited I am for Chautauqua, but I am REALLY REALLY REALLY looking forward to it ;o). Can’t wait to meet everyone there and hang out in the beautiful country of Ecuador. Oh and then FinCon, bring it on!
    Mrs.Wow recently posted…Happy National Waffle Day!!!!My Profile

  9. I have yet to attend a FIRE meet-up. There’s one here in London Ontario but I’ve missed the last two dates because I was out of town.

    Going to the first of anything can be a bit intimidating but next one I’m going for sure.

    Going to some of the different financial conferences is also on my list. There is one here in Canada called the CPFC which I’d like to attend and then FinCon sounds awesome too!
    Owen @ PlanEasy recently posted…Appreciate More, Spend LessMy Profile

  10. I heard on the Choose FI Podcast that there is a Minnesota Meetup in the works. Does anyone have any further details? My wife and I haven’t participated in any FI gatherings. We would love to change that!

    • There’s a group on the Rockstar Finance forums that gets together from time to time, as well as an MSP Mustachians group on FB. I am in the very beginning stages of organizing a week long retreat in Minnesota sometime end of August/beginning of September 2018. Stay tuned!

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