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Let’s Meetup!


I grew up staying fairly close to home. We took a few trips to neighboring states to visit a theme park or to see relatives for a week in the summer. I did get to visit my Grandma in Florida twice, once around age 8 and once around age 13, so I was familiar with the concept of commercial air travel, at least. I didn’t really discover what it was like to travel until I got sent on a “deployment” for two weeks to Guam as a junior in college. 

Guam was incredible. It was like something out of a movie. I was instantly hooked. 

After I became an adult with a career job making Adult Money, I tried to take an international trip once a year. I went to Australia, England, Panama and Ecuador twice. I love getting to experience other cultures and trying new things (guinea pig, anyone?). 

I didn’t realize how much traveling meant to me before the Great Panini happened and I was stuck at home for 2 straight years. With both international and domestic travel restricted, I’ve been restless and anxious to get back out in the world. Fortunately, it seems Covid cases are falling enough to make me feel better about getting back out on the road. So, with the giant caveat that all these plans are contingent on where we’re at on the Covid tracker, I’m stoked to announce 3 different events where you and I can hang out. Live! Face to face! Let’s grab a drink and chat!

SIPOFI St. Louis Meetup, November 6th

No, I didn’t have a stroke. SIPOFI is the acronym for the “Singles in Pursuit of Financial Independence” group on Facebook. (or is it meta now? who knows what Zuck is up to these days!) You can find the group here. I love them as it’s great to get everyone’s viewpoints on dating in the modern world, and especially dating through the lens of FIRE. It’s witty, irreverent, and tons of fun. Even though I’m only single to the IRS, I stick around to share what worked for me and the excellent memes shared. 

Anyways, the event is at Schlafly on November 6th at 4 pm. They’re hosting a Full Moon Festival to celebrate the harvest and the event is our favorite price of free.99. Here’s the official description: 

A six-pack of bonfires awaits you each Fall at our Full Moon Festival. Join us as we celebrate the harvest with live music and a pig roast featuring hogs from local farmers.
Local chefs will also compete for your affection (and stomach space) in the deliciously-competitive Schlafly Chili Cook-Off. But despite the full moon, the stars of the night are always the kegs of White Lager, Pumpkin Ale, Hard Apple Cider, Coffee Stout and other seasonal favorites.

I hope to see you there!

EconoMe in Cincinnati, Ohio November 12th-15th

One of the hardest things about the pandemic has been not being able to see all my internet friends in person at various events/conferences. I passed on FinCon this year because it’s FinCon and it was in Texas. It wasn’t worth it or the risk. 

However, there is a conference happening in Cincinnati, Ohio that is absolutely worth going to. It’s called EconoMe and it’s being produced by my friend Diania Merriam to spread the good word about taking charge of your finances. The website is here for more information. 

I AM SO EXCITED TO SEE SO MANY OF MY FAVORITE PEOPLE IN ONE PLACE!!!!! I don’t think I can express how much I’ve been affected by being so isolated as a giant flaming extrovert. Events like EconoMe fill up my battery for the rest of the year. 

The schedule looks like we’ll have a great time. Friday night is the live Stacking Benjamins show and maybe a bonfire hosted by a local friend. I’ll be hosting the SlowFI breakout session with my blogger buddies Josh Overmyer and We Want Guac on Saturday morning. There’s a breakout session for everyone! Add in a few speaker sessions and some meals with friends and an after party that night and I’ll be having a blast! I sincerely invite everyone to join in on the fun. This is an excellent time to network with like-minded people and find your “tribe”. (Tribe is in quotes because I’m pretty sure we’re not supposed to use that anymore but I can’t think of a better term off the top of my head. Anyone?

And finally, if you’re not already interested, here’s the official recap of what 2020’s event looked like! 

Chautauqua, Ecuador, June 18th-26th, 2022

Mark your calendars! The Chautauqua in Ecuador is BACK! Long time readers will remember I’ve been to the Chautauqua twice — once in 2015 and once in 2017. 

I am very honored to be going back for a third time — but this time I’ve been asked to be a speaker! I’ll be giving a presention on flexibility and adaptability on the path to financial independence. My fellow speakers will be Karsten aka Big ERN from EarlyRetirementNow, our lovely host Cheryl Reed, and the pair behind The Fioneers, Corey and Jessica. 

If you need a refresher on what a Chautauqua is, I’m happy to oblige. A Chautauqua is …an old-time series of popular talks intended to edify and entertain, improve the mind, and bring culture and enlightenment to the ears and thoughts of the hearer.”

Cheryl takes this definition to new heights. Each year I attended has been amazing for different reasons. The first time I went in 2015 I was a fresh-faced 24 year old who eagerly soaked up any and all advice and knowledge dispensed. Our group became very knit after just a week together. Having a smaller group allows you to form incredibly deep connections over the course of an entire week. I’m still in touch with many people from the first year, 6 years later. I wrote a recap post and a lessons learned post on my week in Ecuador for a more in-depth review. 

The second time I went on the Chautauqua was a little different — because I was different. I was no longer the new kid on the block. I’d had the blog for a few years and had made friends in the community. I didn’t fly by myself to meet up with strangers. I traveled with friends to meet friends for a week. Instead of only getting advice, I was also dispensing advice on various topics. I hope to take this to the next level on the 2022 trip as a speaker! I also wrote a recap post and lessons learned post for my 2017 trip. 

Ok. Let’s address the elephant in the room. 

The Chautauqua isn’t cheap. It’s an all-inclusive retreat for a week with speakers. Transportation, food, lodging, and activities are covered for the whole week and that adds up. 

It is 100% worth every penny. The ROI for the trip will be huge. I got life advice, relationship advice, investing advice, real estate advice and even some lessons on running a business. I was able to pick the brains of some of the smartest people in the FIRE community. The connections I made with some of the people have resulted in staying with them for a weekend or them staying with me for a weekend. One of the people I met at the 2015 Chautauqua flew to help me move out and drive a truck back home. I’m getting a little emotional right now thinking of how much these experiences mean to me. 

Please don’t go into debt to attend this event. If you’re in a good spot with your finances and are looking to travel for a week with amazing like-minded people, I cannot recommend the Chautauqua enough. It will absolutely change your life, like mine has been changed in the past and will be changed again in June 2022. For official sign up details, please visit Cheryl’s website at abovethecloudsecuador.com/fi-chautauqua/

Click to view slideshow.

I hope to see you soon!!!

Love, 

Gwen <3

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