Showing posts from August, 2023

Our third year anniversary of our early retirement: A journey of FIRE (financial independence retire early) and our observations/thoughts…

  The Narrows, Zion National Park, UT Ernest Hemingway:  “Don’t you ever get the feeling that all your life is going by and you’re not taking advantage of it?  Do you realize you’ve lived nearly half the time you have to live already? August marks my wife and myself’s third year anniversary of our early retirement.  It is amazing how quickly three years went by when looking back, and this past year has been, without a doubt, the best one so far, thanks to our epic cross country road trip going from North Carolina to California! To be able to do something for three years is meaningful and fulfilling in any endeavor, but to be able to retire early , is definitely something else.  Like anything, we’ve had our ups and downs during our three years, as life happens, but overall, we’ve had the best of times in our personal journey of FIRE (financial independence retire early). Our first two years went by in a blur, with us needing to make multiple adjustments to our newfound freedom and indep

Review of Gold Strike Casino Resort in Tunica Mississippi: The worst casino we’ve visited out of all the MGM Resorts…

  Lobby, Gold Strike , Tunica, MS On the morning of February 3rd (2023), we were headed ever closer to our home, back to North Carolina from our over 2 months long cross country trip.  We had traversed through the states of Arizona, making a stop at Flagstaff for 2 nights, followed by Albuquerque, New Mexico, then Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Stops in Albuquerque and Oklahoma City were both overnight stays, just getting a good night’s sleep before continuing ever closer to the east coast.  We marveled at how big the United States truly is.  It is a continent after all, with tons of empty spaces to roam.  It is hard to fathom how big this great country really is, until you drive through seemingly endless continuation of prairies, deserts, forests, mountains, and valleys. Even though we had done a similar cross country trip 20 years ago, this trip, this epic trip of more than 2 months, really opened our eyes to the beauty and the immense size of this land.  At times, it seems we’re just driv

Review of Wupatki National Monument: An unexpected place full of indigenous peoples’ culture and history

  Wupatki National Monument, Flagstaff, Arizona  As a kid growing up, I was always fascinated by history.  I loved stories of how humans interacted with their own unique geographies, sometimes succeeding and sometimes failing, but in many ways they’re entertaining and fascinating stories of survival and human ingenuity. As my wife and myself were visiting Sunset Crater National Monument ’s visitor center, we got more than just natural history of the lands.  We fully expected the place would feature the remnants of the impressive volcanic eruption that happened about a thousand years ago, but what we didn’t expect was the human story behind that eruption. While speaking to a friendly park ranger, we learned about the native inhabitants ( Pueblos ), who had settled around what is now the Sunset Crater , who were forced to move by the eruption.  Their farmlands were devastated by this cataclysmic event, and in search of a suitable habitat, they settled north, to what is now Wupatki Nation

Practicing gratitude: A very important pillar for FIRE (financial independence retire early) and for life…

  Death Valley National Park, California  Maya Angelou:  “This is a wonderful day I have never seen this one before.” As the war in Ukraine is going on for over a year (and counting), I can’t imagine what the Ukrainians must be going through, to try to survive day to day.  War seems so old school, something out of a history book, yet, here we are, talking about a major war in Europe. Each time I hear about the war, I think about the bombings (in frontline but also civilian infrastructures), the children rounded up and forcibly settled in Russia, and the devastating hardship each citizen must endure.  When you’re living in a wartime Ukraine, life must be hell. There’s probably the daily struggle to find food/water, grieving for loved ones lost or missing, and hoping to just survive today for a better tomorrow.  The uncertainty, the despair, but also the seething anger at Russians, must all be incredibly taxing. Looking at the war from a distance, and knowing how difficult it must be for