I like to run for exercise. Running can be done just about anywhere, it doesn’t require equipment, I can do it solo, and there’s no special ability required (I just adjust my pace accordingly). In fact, I've ran five half-marathons (none of them very fast, mind you). When I train, I work on improving my physical endurance, my speed, AND my mental fortitude. These three mindset shifts have revolutionized my running performance AND, interestingly enough, my financial well-being.
December 10, 2021 was my last day of full-time employment, and if I were to sum up my first year of semi-retirement in one statement, it’s this: I am prioritizing myself like I’ve never done before. And while this could be a side effect of the fact that no employer owns my workday, this is also me making a conscious choice… I’ve chosen this. I’ve re-prioritized. I’ve identified what matters to me, decided how I’m going to live my life, and I’m doing it. And ever since then, this choice has shown up in my life in several ways.
“Julie… where was your favorite place in Europe?” I’m not a mom, but I reckon it’s kind of like choosing your favorite child: each place I visited is unique and special in its own way, so I literally cannot pick a favorite! So, instead… how about I do superlatives, high school-yearbook-style (in a completely biased, non-scientific way, of course)? And the award for most beautiful city, prettiest old town, best food, and nicest people goes to...
Traveling doesn’t have to break the bank. Trading and bartering has been around for centuries, and the internet has made it more possible than ever to exchange work, expertise, and camaraderie for lodging. So here are four actual, real-life, TACTICAL ways to travel without spending bucket loads of money... and all you need is a keyboard and a mouse to get started!
My third month in Europe has rolled to an end, and I'm here to share another spending recap. But first, in the last month, I’ve been in five countries, I’ve taken buses or ferries in between 10 cities, I’ve spent 20 nights in hotels or Airbnbs, and I’ve dined out about once per day… What do you think I spent? Please, close your eyes and guess. (All will be revealed momentarily!)
Health insurance! With the astronomical cost of healthcare in the U.S, I've heard from a lot of Americans that losing company-sponsored health insurance is one of the main concerns they have when it comes to quitting their job before they’re of retirement age — and that was once one of my main concerns, too. The company I used to work for paid 100% of my medical, dental and vision premiums — meaning, I did not pay anything additional out of my biweekly paycheck. Not a bad deal! And I’m a healthy person with no pre-existing conditions, so I’ve never really had to deal much with health insurers… until 2021. In May 2021, I broke my foot — and then a few months later, I tore my bicep. Minus a few co-pays, everything was covered. And so, because it was a huge relief to have my employer mostly cover my health care troubles in 2021… I wondered what I would do once I quit my job, became uninsured, and started traveling outside the U.S. Here’s my experience.
I was 15 years old when I got my first job working at Panera Bread for $5.25 an hour. Like most people, I’ve been working ever since, without so much as a few weeks off or a few months between jobs — until my “great resignation” at age 36. I’ve worked at coffee shops, restaurants, big box retailers, golf courses… and then post-college, in two TV newsrooms and a few big corporate organizations. Sometimes, I worked side gigs and temp jobs simultaneously with my salaried job, to the tune of 60-70 hours a week, just to pay the bills or get ahead. (Damn, those days were rough.) Then, I quit. I took a chance on myself and my future: to grow and monetize this blog, publish a memoir about my journey, and THOROUGHLY ENJOY MY LIFE. I call this Julie’s Financial Independence Recreational Employment (my take on FI/RE)! Hereby, these are 7 confessions of a corporate job escapee... who's never been happier (spoiler alert).
I have another 30-day, full-time-traveler, nomad-in-Europe spending update for you! I spent most of my second month of my stint in Europe in the Balkans and Mediterranean, so you'd think my mini-retirement spending would be lower than western Europe, buuuuuuut... I had a couple bills come due and a few "splurges," like my 7-day sailing trip in Turkey. So, in days 31-60 in Europe, I spent (and please excuse me while I mentally cringe)...
“How can you afford to travel?” is something I hear fairly often, and to be honest, as an American without a job and a home, traveling is the only thing I CAN afford! The USA is the 15th-most expensive country in the world. Compare that to Mexico, where the same lifestyle generally costs about half as much, and compare it to central and eastern Europe, where almost everything is a degree or two cheaper than what Americans are used to… and traveling is a bargain! If you’re new to my blog, I published spending updates every month during my six months in Mexico… and the purpose of those and future updates is only to inform and educate on what my lifestyle choices cost in varying parts of the world. This is not “how to do it on a shoestring” content — I’m drinking the wine, eating the gelato, and going on some tours, but I’m definitely creative when it comes to maximizing my budget. Drumroll please. In my first 30 days in Europe, I spent $2,009.09, or $67 a day. “Wait, Julie, what?!” — I’m sure you’re thinking — “That’s less per day than you spent in Mexico!” It is, and I’ll explain why…
After I quit my job, transitioning from an earner to a spender was not emotionally easy for me… but this is how I adjusted, and now, I'm at peace with it.
Well guys, my six months in Mexico have sadly come to a close. To say my time there was incredible is an understatement… and I’m still processing! At the time of this writing, I’m in Austin, TX for the 4th of July weekend to get some of my USA errands handled before I head up to Kansas to see family. Then, I'll head overseas in late July. (First stop, Slovenia!)
I may WANT to work again, should my choices dictate. But probably, definitely, not in the way that a lot of people work — because they have to, because they're trapped in a debt cycle, because the lifestyle they've chosen comes with a never-ending financial responsibility, because they care about status and appearances and bigger and better and more. Not me.
In May 2022, this little retired nomad went to Mexico City… staying in CDMX’s Condesa neighborhood (May 1-23) and Oaxaca (May 23-31 and ongoing)! Mexico City reminds of New York City, and according to this cost-of-living index, it’s 60% less expensive than NYC. And in general, Mexico is 47.21% lower than the United States. That math seems to check out with my experience!
When you’ve been traveling full-time for almost two years and part-time ever since your first international trip at age 17, you pick up a tip or two. Whether you’re traveling by air or by car, here are some of my top tips for digital nomads and long-term travelers. Read on… I guarantee you’ll learn something!
Is it possible to be a fashionable minimalist? I really don’t know, but I think I look pretty put-together most days, and many of you seem to agree! So how do I look so “chic” without breaking the bank and without collecting too much stuff, especially since I’ve been living out of my SUV (one suitcase and three bins) for almost 2 years while traveling North America? Let's get into it.
Boy, does time fly. I’ve now been in Mexico for four months, and I have a number of new cities under my belt! After leaving Puerto Vallarta in early April, I went to La Mazanilla, Melaque, Mazamitla, Morelia, and Patzcuaro. I spent the long Easter weekend in San Miguel de Allende, a night in Querétaro, and the rest of the month in Mexico City. I have now traveled over 4,200 kilometers in Mexico!
Hola mis amigos, I am back with another spending recap for my THIRD month living in Mexico after quitting my job and taking an early (temporary) retirement to travel!! Damn, time flies! My January spending was just a bit inflated since I had some immigration and vehicle import costs and a 6-month policy for Mexican [...]
Hola mis amigos, I am back with another spending recap for my second month living in Mexico. As you know, month one was just a bit inflated since I had some immigration and vehicle import costs and a 6-month policy for Mexican car insurance. So, how did I fare in my second month (segundo mes)? [...]
Before you say, "I’m one of those people who will never get ahead, who will never be able to save, who will never be able to not work"... in 2017, I had no job, a car I owed on, a $1,350 house payment on a house full of stuff I never used, peanuts in my 401K, and only $1,500 in cash. That was my situation, and I made changes. You can too.
I’ve never believed in living a life of restriction and deferred enjoyment, of saving up your money for a luxurious retirement that may never come. It’s just not me, nor is it what this blog is about. I’m ok without designer purses, new cars, and brand name clothes. I don’t stay or eat at the [...]