03 Mar

Planning the Trip

Costa Rica has been on Travis’ bucket list of places to travel to for some time now.  The allure of incredible weather, surf beaches and rain forests is hard to resist.  It didn’t take much to convince me! We’ll spend the next 3 months driving from Oakland, CA to the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica, camping and sleeping in our 4Runner Bruno along the way.

Here is roughly what the route will look like:

View Larger Map

Read More

12 Aug

50 Best US Cities for Early Retirement

Upon becoming financially independent, we decided to move away from the expensive San Francisco Bay Area. Although we’re currently enjoying life in Costa Rica, we will soon be driving Bruno back up to the US and need to figure out which cities are good candidates for living in.

To help us make this decision, I wanted to see which US cities have the lowest cost of living, are considered somewhat liberal, and also have mild winters.

Read More

07 Oct

Exploring New York City with Citi Bike

While visiting New York City as tourists, we quickly began to appreciate just how huge the city is. So what is the best way to get around and see this amazing place?

The NYC subway is great and all, but with a $2.75 flat fee ride, it costs us $11 round trip anytime we want to go somewhere in the city. Travis thoroughly researched the Citi Bike program in NYC, as we’ve been seeing docking stations all over town. It turns out that at a cost of $10 p.p./day or $25 p.p./7 days, this absolutely saves us money and we also get a workout in between pizza slices!

1-IMG_4645

Read More

29 Feb

Texas for The Win & A Taste of Mardi Gras

When you’re living out of a sixteen year old truck, home just happens to be wherever you stop for the night. Now that we’re rolling in Texas, Bruno has discovered a new amazing place to sleep at night: state-sponsored rest stops! Wonderfully clean and safe, they have great restrooms and spacious picnic table areas for cooking your meals. We could plan a whole other road trip trying to hit every rest stop in Texas, but that’s an entirely different trip. Welcome to Texas!

CRW_6555

Read More

14 Mar

Hunting for the Best Early Retirement City

Without a job dictating where we’ll live, we’re able to develop our own criteria. We’d like to live somewhere with a happening downtown core, reasonable cost of living, good weather, bike friendly, open-minded people, decent public schools, and lots of nice trees. Quite the list, right? For our 50th post and the one-year anniversary of this blog, we’re sharing our hunt for a U.S. city to settle down in, with Bruno of course. A place to hang our hat until the next trip starts to take shape.

asheville2

Asheville, NC (Joe Franklin)

Read More

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!

CRW_7156

Read More

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.

CRW_7235

Read More

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.

crw_7666

Blue Ridge Mountains in October

Read More

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”.

crw_7607

Read More

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.

pic-donald-trump-as-fat-lady-pic-1024x652

Read More

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.

Read More

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…

Read More

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

Read More

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!

Read More

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.

Read More