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. HUGETELL 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

    • That’s the plan! I’m scout­ing out loca­tions now. Plan on it being end of August, begin­ning of Sep­tem­ber-ish

  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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