Today is the 33rd edition of our periodic guest post series called 10 Questions. We have a list of 17 questions we pose to fellow financial bloggers, and they are free to pick and choose 10 or answer all of them. Let us know if you would like to be featured in a future edition of 10 Questions.
This week we hear from Amanda and Travis, a Canadian husband and wife team that moved to the U.S. 7 years ago. They achieved financial independence at ages 30 and 32, respectively, then immediately set out to travel with an epic road trip through Mexico and Central America. They are currently happily homeless. I am currently jealous…
Tell me about your blog and why it’s great.
Our blog is a bit different as it combines two communities that shape our lives at the moment: Financial Independence/Early Retirement (FIRE) and Overlanding.
The idea for our blog started out as a way to let family and friends know we hadn’t died during our travels. There was a general consensus that our driving through Mexico and Central America was only something crazy people do. The more research we did, the more we realized that there’s a whole community of people traveling the world “overland” (driving). What sets us apart from many of them is that we’ve worked our asses off for many years saving money up front to ensure we never have to go back to work! Bruno is our Toyota 4Runner whose thoughts permeate the blog posts, as he takes us to new places on a daily basis! We’ve been “retired” for over 6 months now. Here’s our update on living in Costa Rica and how the finances are looking: Six Months of Early Retirement.
What goals do you have for your blog, short and long term?
When we first started exploring the possibility of financial independence a few years ago, it was not a widely discussed topic online. We found Mr. Money Mustache and were both greatly inspired by the example he and his family provided. Now it’s years later and we’re financially free ourselves! The goals for our blog are to simply share some of our travel and life experiences, as well as to hopefully inspire others the way that MMM inspired us. Financial independence really is possible, and we plan to spend our time traveling in search of a locale that suits the kind of life we want to live.
Tell us about you
If blogging isn’t your full time gig, what is?
Blogging is certainly not a full time gig for either of us, but we take the time to do it because we enjoy sharing pictures, thoughts, ideas. Introducing a country that maybe you’ve never thought to travel to before. Traveling has made us appreciate the richness of our lives. It has taught us that people are generally welcoming and happy you’ve taken time to see their country and learn their language. When we’re not on the move, we enjoy surfing, reading, working out, cooking, movies, learning Spanish, and debating Bernie versus Hillary. In our working lives, Travis was a Systems Administrator and Amanda was an Engineer.
When you are 90 and look back on your life, what do you hope you have accomplished?
Travis: Ohh wow, for starters I’m really excited about the future. My primary mission is to accomplish a long, happy life. Watching the advancement of the human species is simply an amazing experience, and I want to stick around as long as possible to witness as much as possible! Technology is moving so fast, it’s really hard to grasp how unique this day and age is. For one thing, it’s been amazing to grow up in the 1990’s and see the explosion of the internet. 59 years from now I’ll be 90 and I can only imagine what kind of things humans will have accomplished. I would love to see a Universal Basic Income system around the world to end poverty. I would love to see our species have a permanent settlement on Mars. More selfishly, I would love to attain immortality! Fingers crossed!
Money, money, money
How do you handle people with different views on money, i.e. spendy people?
As with most things in life, we are of the ‘live and let live’ mentality. The real question is how do we socialize with spendy friends and family? We try to steer the good times towards dinner parties, cocktails or movie nights at someone’s home. Potlucks are great, if we’re hosting a large group. If we can’t get out of meeting away from home, we try to aim for drinks or coffee, which ends up being cheaper than a full-blown meal (even choosing breakfast or brunch over more expensive dinners).
What is the best money management or investment tool you have come across?
Signing up for Mint.com back in 2012 really opened our eyes. The colorful charts and graphs allowed us to eagerly watch our savings grow and helped us target every corner of our expenses for potential reductions. We’ve just recently signed up for Personal Capital, so we’ll have some fun comparing the two *free* online tools.
Did you grow up with money? How did your money situation growing up influence you?
Amanda: I grew up in suburbia Montreal, Canada and was paid a few bucks to do chores around the house. A reasonable allowance was given as I went through high school. Saving was encouraged and my parents opened a bank account for me in my teens, but I often found money burned a hole in my pocket. I heard the ‘money doesn’t grow on trees’ speech more than once! My parents are responsible with debt and were always able to pay off credit card bills in full. Without having a very formal sit-down about dealing with money, watching my parents behaviors taught me to be fiscally responsible as I grew up.
What is the best thing you’ve read lately.
Amanda: I’ve been on a kick reading classics that never got read when I was working: Lord of the Flies, 1984, Pillars of the Earth, Anne of Green Gables. Also really enjoyed The Martian and the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. Travis has been diligently working his way through much heavier audiobooks like Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, The Search for Modern China, and biographies of Reagan, Jefferson, and Cleopatra.
What do you do for exercise?
Amanda: I have a deep love for the game of soccer! The Women’s World Cup that took place in Canada last summer was excellent to watch. I’m a basketball player too, despite my 5’3″ frame. I’ve never been one to drag myself to the gym, so team sports is really what gets me off the couch. Travis is into running, cycling, core workouts and yoga. I prefer to be chasing a ball around.
What is the worst financial mistake you made?
Amanda: Financing my first car *brand new* with my first paycheck after college. It was a super sweet manual 4-door Mazda3 with leather interior! In hindsight, thinking about the car’s depreciation upon rolling off the lot makes my stomach turn. Once I met Travis and wised up, we managed to be a one-car household and ran that baby into the ground. Used cars for us from here on out!
What are your food-related weak spots?
Travis’ answer is easy: Pies. Cakes. Cookies. Baked goods in general without discrimination. Including pizza pies. Amanda loves olives and tacos. We’re both big fans of chocolate. And cheese! For whatever reason, cheese is incredibly expensive in Costa Rica where we’ve been for 6 months, so we’ve deprived ourselves for some time now. We appreciate your sympathies.
A HUGE thanks to Travis and Amanda for taking time out from their jealousy-inducing lives to answer our questions. I know you’ll want to live vicariously through them – keep up with their travels on freedomwithbruno.com, Twitter, and Facebook.
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