Retired in our 30's, having adventures with Bruno, enjoying our newfound freedom!

11 Sep

Making Money With Airbnb in Asheville, NC

We’ve mentioned several times about our foray into the world of hosting strangers in our home overnight; this phenomenon made popular by the online company Airbnb. But how lucrative has it been for us? Over this Labor Day weekend, we hosted a group of five 50 year old guys who were in town for a soccer tournament. They paid us $930 to stay in our basement suite for three nights and were close to perfect guests. Money is certainly the upside, but what are the downsides?

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01 Aug

Bruno Gets Punched In The Gut, Enjoys Rockies All The Same

As with any travel adventure, you often see the best and the worst of people. We heard strangers giving words of encouragement on a difficult hike in the snow. People picking up litter out of the goodness of their hearts (this was usually Travis) or giving a jump to someone on the side of the road. On the flip side, we witnessed road rage (sometimes Amanda’s) and pure unkindness towards fellow man (to which Travis left a note asking to “help make America great again” by not stealing other people’s parking spots). Bruno had an unfortunate run-in with a bozo, but remains optimistic about the future.

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12 Jul

Yellowstoners & Wyoming’s Nice Tetons

“That’s so Yellowstone” could be heard several times inside Bruno over the last few days in Wyoming. We had a marvelous time in the Jackson Hole Valley: beautiful free campsites and snow hikes in Grand Teton National Park. Further north we encountered a buncha crazy Yellowstoners in Los Angeles-level gridlock. Technically not gridlock. It was Bison-lock.

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05 Jul

Hoodoos, The Narrows, and Latter-Day Saints

Bryce Canyon National Park is smaller and more subtle than its Park neighbors. What grabs you is the varying shades of rust color and how fragile it all seems. Over in Zion Canyon, we experienced our first taste of Disneyland – National Park style. Most memorable was hiking 4 miles up a river through a narrow canyon. We then finished off our tour of Utah by gettin’ down with The Book of Mormon. We’re impressed!

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28 Jun

Bruno Meets Moab

Off-roading is one of Bruno’s great loves and something I had been looking forward to on this trip. Southeastern Utah is where we let it all hang loose! And speaking of, we’ve been seeing a lot of Smokey Bear signs along the road. If there’s one thing we’re learning, it’s that Smokey doesn’t like shirts. He only likes pants. Dislikes shoes and absolutely no socks.

Shafer Trail in Canyonlands

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20 Jun

Go West, Young Man – Reaching The Rio Grande

Well, it took us all of four days to complete the horizontal leg of our trip. We reached the Rio Grande in Albuquerque, New Mexico and set out to follow it northbound. Since our trip to Central America, we’ve significantly improved our camping arsenal. We added a secondhand tent, propane fuel burner, and killer Klymet Static V air mattresses. Swapping our 12V refrigerator for a plastic cooler alleviates auxiliary battery headaches, but requires constant monitoring of the ice situation. After a few days, our food tends to float like a raft on Tennessee’s Ocoee River…

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30 May

Bruno’s Got The Travel Itch

He’s adopted a sedentary lifestyle for the past year and made an asphalt driveway his home. He’s hauled lumber, rocks, mulch, and our sorry asses around town, but Bruno the 4Runner hasn’t gone more than 450 miles from home in over a year. He was proud to roll us over to the Women’s March on Washington back in January, but we didn’t even camp! All Bruno’s dreams are about to come true, as we pack up to leave NorCar for the summer.

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23 Jan

Bruno & Co.’s 2016 Spending

2016 was a big year for us! We finished touring Mexico with Bruno, hunted for the Best Early Retirement City and decided to buy a house with cash in Asheville, North Carolina.  At the end of the year, we found a wonderful house-sitter who cared for our foster cat – Fluffles – and also managed our Airbnb reservations while we traveled to Canada and spent one month with family. In this post, we’ll do a total financial breakdown of our spending and income for the year 2016. In short: Are we broke yet!??

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18 Dec

News Alert: Credit Card Companies Are Making It Rain

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It’s no secret that people who struggle with credit card debt are making executives and shareholders rich. For some reason, these credit card companies are also using these profits to give away free money to people who sign up for certain credit cards. All you need is a good credit rating and the ability (read: willingness) to spend $4000 on the card in a period of three months.

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13 Nov

Somehow Trump Got Elected – Should We Move Back to Canada?

Normally I try to avoid political issues on this blog, but given the seriousness of the political nightmare that is currently unfolding in the US, I feel compelled to share some thoughts. There is a general feeling down here that the inmates have taken over the asylum and I think we all need to talk about it. Whether you’re a classic liberal, conservative, libertarian, or progressive – I think we all feel uneasy about what just happened.

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24 Oct

The Deck That Georgie Built

Bruno the Blog may be suffering from neglect, but Bruno the 4Runner is still proving his unlimited worth! What’s kept us away from the blog, you ask? Well, we’ve sufficiently finished our indoor repairs to dabble with hosting Airbnb guests. This lucrative side hustle will definitely show its impact in year-end financial posts. The arrival of Amanda’s parents at the end of August also kicked off the marathon work project that is “landscaping”.

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06 Oct

The Honest Truth: You May Want More Than $1M Before Retiring

We were pretty confident that $1M would be more than enough to retire on. All our research indicated that it should be pretty straight forward with just a bit of self discipline and smart money management. After all, for the most part, all one needs to do is live in a city with a reasonable cost of living, right? Well, for Amanda and I, it turns out that this advice is easier said than done.

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Blue Ridge Mountains in October

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25 Jul

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Material Possessions

July in the South East is hot hot hot. You would think that spending 8 months in Central America would have prepared us for the heat and humidity of the Carolinas… not so. I’m still melting. Another confession: I never read the classic Financial Independence book: Your Money Or Your Life! I was able to fit it in around the new home renovations and hiking with our friends: some of the four-legged variety that we check out of the local adoption center for a fun day out.

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27 Jun

The Impossibility of Early Retirement

The front page of MSN.com recently featured an article titled How this couple saved $1 million and retired in their 30s. Bruno was happy with this, since it’s always a great opportunity to potentially inspire and encourage new readers about financial independence. However, unbeknownst to Bruno, the posting of this article also turned out to be a poking stick that gently nudged a hornets nest. The incalculable fury of two notorious internet gangs was henceforth invoked. They call themselves The Doomers and The Denialists and upon reading about Bruno, they conspired to join forces and unleash a rainbow of disgruntled comments online. Tighten your internet seat belts folks, shit’s about to get serious.

It started with The Denialists tap-dancing all over the comment section of the MSN article, dropping such golden denial nuggets as:

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08 Jun

An Idea for Retirement: Painting A Mural

I’ve wanted to paint a mural for a number of years. While I actually made some progress on this mission while living in Oakland, CA, it turned out the spot I wanted to paint was a freeway underpass and I ran into serious permitting issues. On top of that, who the hell has time for painting a mural when working a full-time job? Ultimately I threw in the towel.

Now that we’re in the artist-embracing city of Asheville, NC, what better time to accomplish my dream of painting a mural! Since we’ve bought a house, but can’t actually move in until July 1st, I’ve got plenty of spare time on my hands.

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16 May

The Day We Watched $270,000 Leave Our Bank Account

As early as 2007 I can remember Travis saying he wanted to live somewhere with more trees. We were living in Calgary, Alberta at the time, where the Great Plains of North America meet the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. We set our sights on Northern California and thoroughly enjoyed our time there until just last year. 10 months of traveling southbound into the jungle climates of Central America taught us that we longed for cooler temperatures – but not long winters. Say hello to our newest friends: the trees of the Appalachian Mountains of Eastern North America!

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25 Apr

Our First Year of Early Retirement

A year ago our portfolio hit $1 Million and we quit our jobs, packed up Bruno the 4Runner, and began our journey driving south from California to Costa Rica. The following twelve months became the best of my life to-date, hands down! So now that it’s been a whole year – how much money did we end up spending, and how well did our portfolio survive?

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Our last camping trip in the San Francisco Bay Area (on Angel Island) before quitting our jobs and driving south into Mexico.

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05 Apr

O Canada, Our Home and Native Land

We modified the tail end of our road trip and decided to spend more time in the country of our birth. It was two weeks packed full of love before reaching our final destination in Nova Scotia. A memorial for a cousin who left us too soon. Reconnection with family and quality time with old friends. After being on the road for a year, the visits filled our hearts and reminded us how much we cherish our relationships. There were also plenty of cute kiddies to enjoy without taking them home! Bruno has not been child-proofed.

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