I’m not sure how many times I can say I’ve just come back from the Best. Weekend. Ever, but.….. once again.….
I JUST HAD THE BEST WEEKEND EVER.
I started off the weekend early with a night in Chicago before I flew out Friday morning. Miss Mazuma graciously offered to let me crash on her couch for the night. It was a night full of playing old school Pole Position, varying levels of sobriety, laughs, and recording podcasts. You can listen here to the first one! Shout out to Millennial Money and Distilled Dollar for having me!
— Millennial Money (@millennialmoney) January 13, 2017
Friday was mostly uneventful. I spent a good chunk of it at the airport waiting for my friends to fly in so we could carpool up to the retreat center. Getting to catch up on the way up was even more valuable to me than the money we all saved.
Everything after getting to the retreat center was kind of a blur of saying hi to old friends, meeting people who quickly turned into friends, laughter, and learning! However, I can give a high level overview for those dying to know 🙂
Where do I even start? Everyone was really great. At Camp Mustache, you have to be aware of how you spend your incredibly limited time. There were 40 people there and I wanted to have a deep chat with everyone. Unfortunately, we had to sleep and do other activities so that wasn’t possible, but I gave it my best shotten. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the many entrepreneurs, medical professionals, software engineers, and more (to include a former federal prosecutor — how cool is that!?). To see how someone’s profession influences the way they look at life is fascinating to me. I’m so incredibly glad I got to expand my FI network even more! Look at me putting my 2017 goals into action already!
In addition to the attendees, we had several renowned bloggers come to Camp Mustache to present. J.D. Roth talked about crafting a mission statement and why it’s vital to living well. I am in the process of drafting my mission statement and it’s easier and harder than I thought it would be!
We had a guest appearance from a local guy who is in the process of starting a co-housing development in Gainesville. The whole concept really intrigued me, as I haven’t heard much more on them other than the fact they existed. Totally a neat idea and one that I’m filing away for the future as a possibility!
Joshua Sheats recorded a LIVE podcast for his presentation on “Why bother to wait until you’re FI to live like you’re FI?” and the Q&A that followed. He is way more on top of things than I am and already released the episode!
Speaking of his Radical Personal Finance podcast, Joshua and I sat down on Saturday and recorded an episode. This is now the 5th podcast I’ve been on and I’m so glad I said yes to it. We had a really great talk that just so happened to be recorded. I’m happy I will have the recording to reference as it was a conversation that challenged beliefs I’ve held about myself for years! Look also for a related post where I delve deeper into some of the things we discussed.
We also were treated to what I thought was an amusing presentation by Keith, the Wealthy Accountant. There’s only so much humor you can inject into a talk about accounting and taxes but he did an excellent job. I got some great tips and ideas on things I can implement in my life to make my life easier.
In addition to his presentation, I donated $100 to charity for an hour of his time in a private session. This is far lower than his normal hourly fee, so I jumped at the chance to schedule a chat despite participating in the Uber Frugal Challenge month. As a tax professional, former landlord, and current blogger, I had way more questions to ask him than our hour permitted. We did our best to cram it all in but with two people who like to talk as much as both of us do, we didn’t quite manage it.
We had a quick break and then Emma Lincoln and Zeona McIntyre did a presentation on leveraging real estate to early retirement. I stayed for the first part but started to feel overwhelmed, so I took the opportunity to go down to the lake and soak up some peace, quiet, and Vitamin D.
It was an absolutely beautiful day. The sky was full of puffy little white clouds, a very small breeze, and it was almost perfectly quiet. Amid the hustle and bustle of Camp Mustache I needed just a little bit of recharge time. These events take a lot of social energy. I listened to the plop of frogs hopping off lily pads into the water, the wind rustling past my ears, and the tweets of unseen birds behind me.
The last official speaker was Brad Barrrett of Travel Miles 101 fame. He spoke on Travel Hacking 101. A lot of people found his chat to be full of useful information and I can see how it would be super useful to those starting out. I am a member of his Facebook group and also frequent /r/churning (not about making butter), so I got less out of it than I could have. But! I still had a great time at the presentation regardless of how many notes I took.
Before I move on to another part of the weekend, I want to give a special shout out to my internet twin. We ‘met’ on the Mustachians on FB group earlier in 2016 and quickly realized we had a TON in common. To the point where we started keeping track of the differences because we couldn’t keep track of everything that was the same. I think after the weekend we discovered a dozen differences. It was SO AMAZING to get to meet her in person and get to hang out with each other! It got to the point where the other attendees started to get a little creeped out, especially when we were in the same conversation and making a slightly different version of the same joke at the exact same time.
We stayed at a Lutheran Church Camp and Retreat Center on 400 acres in Gainesville, Florida. Coming from the cold, dreary, dark, icy reaches of the Midwest, I was in heaven. I got to run around in shorts and a t‑shirt and I wasn’t cold! In January!! The grounds were absolutely gorgeous as well. They had a whole network of clearly defined and well maintained ‘hiking paths’ (which were really walking paths since there wasn’t any change in elevation because, Florida).
As stated above, I really enjoyed getting to be by the lake. We had access to a whole floatilla of watercraft and so I went canoeing. As a former camp counselor/lifeguard, I taught little girls how to canoe and I miss it something fierce. Getting to paddle around the still lake as the sun set behind the trees was almost magical. I also really appreciated getting to chat with Pete as we very delicately paddled in a wobbly canoe.
In addition to lakeside activities, we did the teams course, played kickball, worked out, did some archery, and had a bonfire. If I could live there year round, I’d be one very happy lady.
All in all, it was well worth the money I spent on the travel. Warm weather, gorgeous surroundings, and in the company of very intelligent and friendly people. What wouldn’t be to love?
Compared to 2016, this year is pretty tame travel wise.
In February/March time frame I will be going skiing in Wisconsin. While I’m there, I’ll try to hit up as many blogger friends as possible. I have 1.5 days left of vacation to use until mid-May. Then my vacation resets and I get a whole whopping 13 days off. Woo. However, I have the option to “buy” 5 more days, which I did last year, and will probably do again this year.
I will also be headed up to Minnesota at some point to do a Rockstar Finance Forum meetup with those that live around there, but due to Apathy Ends having a baby, plans are a little undefined at this point.
In late summer time frame I’ll be headed back to Chicago to enjoy a Cubs/Cards game with some friends I met at the 2015 Chautauqua in Ecuador! A little friendly rivalry while we get to catch up and hang out is my idea of a pretty great time.
I’m sad to announce I won’t be going back to Camp Mustache in Seattle over Memorial Day because I didn’t get a ‘ticket’ through their lottery. I’m honestly not super bummed out because I made plans to attend the first session of the Chautauqua in Ecuador! That will be the second week of October, and I’m very much looking forward to going back. I’ll be there for my birthday and I get to explore a new part of Ecuador since we’ll be up high in the Andes Mountains.
After Ecuador, I’ll have one week at home before I fly to Dallas for FinCon 2017!!! I cannot wait for all the good times we’ll have there. I’m also hoping to develop firmer relationships with some of the vendors that have reached out to me.
After that, I’m going to go collapse and recharge my social batteries until the next event comes along in 2018!
If you haven’t attended an FI gathering/meetup of any sort (local, national, or international), I highly encourage you to go! The relationships you form there will last you a lifetime and pay back anything you spent on them 10 fold. Guaranteed!