Showing posts from October, 2023

Arizona and Utah: Two of our favorite states for travel, full of national parks, national monuments, and natural wonders…

  Horseshoe Bend, Page, AZ My wife and I are no strangers to either the states of Arizona or Utah .  We’ve visited several places like Scottsdale, Phoenix, Grand Canyons National Park in Arizona, and we’ve visited one of our favorite national parks, Zion N.P. in Utah. When we were planning our 2+ months long cross country road trip going from North Carolina to Southern California, we knew we wanted to revisit both states, but really see them in much more detail.  There are just so many wonderful, world famous attractions in both states, and we wanted to explore many of them during our trip. We knew we wanted to visit national parks/monuments/landmarks along our travels, including Petrified Forest N.P, Meteor Crater Natural Landmark, Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon in Arizona and all 5 Utah national parks including Arches N.P., Canyonlands N.P., Capitol Reef N.P., Bryce Canyon N.P., and Zion N.P. These are iconic places that all Americans revere.  I grew up watching them in Discovery

What’s life really like after 3 years of early retirement: A journey of FIRE (financial independence retire early), our observations, and our thoughts…

  Capitol Reef National Park, Utah George Bernard Shaw:  “You don’t stop laughing when you grow old, you grow old when you stop laughing.” One of the most frequently asked questions my wife and I get from our friends and family these days is what’s life like after 3 years of early retirement.  Each time we think about the question these days, we have a hard time believing we’ve already lived through 3+ years of retirement! We still remember the days just before we jumped off the rat race, selling our home, selling most of our stuff, quitting our jobs, then heading out into the sunset in August 2020, during the peak of Covid-19 pandemic.  We remember packing everything left over into our Chevy SUV until 8:45 a.m. the day we were supposed to leave our home of 14 years, getting ready to arrive at our home closing at 9:30 a.m. We closed on our home that morning right outside (not inside the office as is usually the case) the settlement agency thanks to raging pandemic.  We remembered our c

What does a 2+ months long cross country road trip in the USA cost? Our breakdown of costs and our observations…

  Bellagio pools, Bellagio, Las Vegas  Key summary: Lodging costs for 72 days (11/28/2022-2/9/2023):  $3744 Food costs:  $2412 Gasoline costs:  $896 Miscellaneous/Entertainment:  $3750 Total spent:  $10802 Back around the summer of 2022, my wife and I started planning for a cross country road trip that would take us from North Carolina (where we are based), all the way to Southern California.  Our planning coincided with the passing of our furry and extremely cute Pomeranian Toby the previous months. We both felt bit awkward and frankly bit lost without that fur ball, and we both felt the time was right to start traveling further out than our usual modus operandi of traveling within the Eastern United States.  We thought, correctly, that a cross country road trip would be the one to take. There are so many reasons why we chose to do a cross country road trip rather than take a ‘normal’ vacation and take a flight somewhere and visit a destination for a week or so.  Here are some of tho

Why we gave up on AirBnB when booking our stays: A perspective from someone who’s stayed at AirBnB for roughly 8 months out of the past 2 years…

  Our Toby (2020) Since our early retirement in August 2020, my wife and I have been traveling about 8 months out of the year, and just about every time, we chose AirBnB as our default choice for our month or longer stays.  It worked out great, as we were initially traveling during the peak of the pandemic when not many people were traveling. This allowed us to get reasonably priced rentals using AirBnB.  Our first month long stay was in Ocean City Maryland , where we paid $865 for a small one bedroom, 3rd floor walk up unit, about 2 blocks from the famous Ocean City boardwalk.   We didn’t initially like the unit as it reeked of smoke, wasn’t very clean, and the shower was sized like a college dormitory where it was maybe about 4 square feet.  We kept hitting our elbows and knees each time we took showers.  Despite all that, we learned to like it after deep cleaning the place and airing it out.  We, of course, liked the price above all else. Ocean City was followed by a 3 months long