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

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.

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Asheville, NC (Joe Franklin)

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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!

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16 Feb

We Never Planned To Go To Mexico City

Mexico. Land without chocolate chips or sunglasses. If you think you can find gafas de sol easily in Mexico, think again. Mexicans don’t wear sunglasses! Sharing one pair between the two of us is no way to live. And then the chocolate. In the absence of other desserts, we usually keep chocolate chips on hand for a dose of sweet. The ones we had from Costa Rica lasted until Mexico, where we promptly found out that Mexicans don’t bake with chocolate chips! The avocados, though: plentiful and cheap. Almost makes you forget you’re having sugar withdrawal while squinting into the sun.

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10 Feb

Yucatán and the Ruins of Southern Mexico

We’re back in Mexico, a country full of topes (speedbumps) and delightfully large supermarkets! After being in remote areas of Central America for 8 months, nothing says Welcome Back To Mexico like being launched into space by an unmarked surprise tope, or stepping into a giant Wal-Mart Supermercado and having your brain explode with how much stuff there is. In this post we cruise through the Yucatán Peninsula, swim in a Cenote, see the relatively unknown Salto de Eyipantla waterfall, and climb some amazing Mayan temples.

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03 Feb

Belize smells like Crême Brulée!

It takes about 5 hours to drive across the tiny country of Belize. We stayed 3 days for good measure. Passing countless fields of sugar cane, you’ll eventually reach a processing plant or two, where the wafting smell of burnt sugar fills the air. Belize is the last Central American country we’re visiting before heading back to Mexico, kind of like dessert at the end of a long Central American meal!

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13 Jan

Honduras-Guatemala Border Crossing @ El Florido

A short border crossing report for those overlanders venturing away from the Pan-American highway. The crossing between Honduras and Guatemala at El Florido is fairly well-organized, and it has an actual concrete building to boot! Not many other travelers, just transport truck drivers vying for the attention of the Customs agents. Naturally, we got by using our apologetic Canadian nature and our elbows when needed.

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16 Dec

Nicaragua-Honduras Border Crossing @ Las Manos

A new country! One we hadn’t spent any time in during our trip south, and one not as frequently traveled by overlanders who follow the PanAmerican Highway down from Alaska to the southern tip of Argentina. The Las Manos border we used to cross into Honduras was tiny with only a handful of travelers, but hoards of transport trucks clogging the roadway. There were surprisingly low levels of bureaucracy; they were happy to admit us and we were happy to have arrived!

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16 Nov

Bruno’s Next Big Adventure: Costa Rica to Nova Scotia

The bikes and surfboards have been sold, and there’s less than one week left of our life in Costa Rica. Our northbound Central American trip is taking shape and has a destination: we’re headed to Travis’ home province of Nova Scotia, Canada! We’ll be on the road for about 3 months and covering over 6,000 miles (close to 10,000 kilometers). We’re hitting up some sights we saved especially for the return voyage: the Mayan ruins of Tikal in Guatemala, the mountainous National Parks in Honduras, and all the wonders of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. It will also be our first time visiting such U.S. hot spots as Austin, New Orleans, and Nashville. We’re excited! Here’s the route for the next few months:

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10 Nov

Bruno’s Path to Financial Freedom

Hi everyone, Amanda and Travis here! We’re a young couple in our early thirties and we saved $1,000,000, quit our jobs, and began our journey of financial independence. We planned our first big adventure: driving from California to Costa Rica. We bought a used 2000 Toyota 4Runner and aptly named him Bruno. We fixed him up so that we could sleep in the back, then we hit the road to camp and travel our way through Central America!

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Crossing a river with Bruno (our Toyota 4Runner) near Sámara, Costa Rica!

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21 Oct

Six Months of Early Retirement

Back in March, everything was coming together nicely: we had reached our financial goal of $1M, quit our jobs and cleared out our two-story rental home in Oakland using Craigslist. We had successfully purchased and fixed up Bruno – our used 2000 Toyota 4Runner, and we started driving down to Costa Rica from California. It’s now six months later and in this post I’ll answer such questions as: Have you run out of money yet? What do you do in Costa Rica? and Did Bruno break down and fail you yet?

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Playa Pelada, Costa Rica – This is our beach, a two-minute walk from our back yard!

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15 Oct

Storing your vehicle in Costa Rica at an Almacen Fiscal – Part II

The time has come! Bruno is to be freed from the chains of bondage. Well, that may be a little strong-worded. I’m pretty sure he just sat idly in a grass field during the bulk of Costa Rica’s rainy season. Could be worse.

What did it take to jail-break Bruno? A lot of patience, paperwork, and an entire day to waste away… at least, this was our experience. With these handy tips, we hope you can do it a lot faster!

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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!

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