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First Taste of Freedom

First Taste of Independence


Every so often in the travel world, amazing deals arise and if you’re flexible enough to take advantage of them, you can book some incredible trips for very little money. Up until now, my work commitments have kept me from booking any of these deals but since I’ll be leaving my full-time job within the next month or two (whoa!), I was finally able to book one of these ridiculous bargains.

Foiled Plans

This story starts with some broken dreams, however.

I has a sad

As I described in my American Airlines Explorer post, I had previously planned a big trip to slowly take my wife and I to Asia after leaving my job. This trip relied on the American Airlines Explorer Award so I had been busy building up my AA miles so that I could book the award soon.

Without any warning, however, American Airlines killed the Explorer Award. Many people, me included, spent months or years accumulating miles to book one of these awards so to just discontinue them without warning was a very customer-unfriendly move.

Back to the Drawing Board

Since my entire plan was destroyed, I needed to figure out another way to get over to Scotland and then Asia. Luckily, an incredible fare that fit perfectly with our plans fell into my lap.

For only $277 per ticket, I was able to book a one-way flight from New York to Milan, Italy and then another one-way from Prague, Czech Republic to Bangkok, Thailand three months later! Three continents and half-way around the world for under $300 a ticket!

Fuel Dump

For the more advanced travel hackers out there, this fare did not contain any fuel surcharges so it looks like the open jaw (i.e. flying into one city and then flying out of another) caused a fuel dump for this particular fare.

New Plan

Assuming everything goes through with our house sale on time, here is our revised plan:

  • July – Quit jobs, leave Vermont, and start driving (stop in Boston, New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh)
  • August – Fly to Denver and then take a train from Denver to Oregon to visit friends
  • August – Rent a car and drive up and down the West Coast for a bit
  • August – Return to the East Coast and drive south (stop in D.C., Charlotte, Atlanta)
  • September – Establish residency in Florida (I’ll explain why in a future post) and go to New Orleans for a conference
  • October – Fly to Milan and spend three days there exploring the city and surrounding area
  • October – Fly to Glasgow and spend three months there catching up with our Scottish family and friends
  • January – Fly to London and spend two nights there, fly to Prague and spend two nights there, and then finally fly to Bangkok

Once we’re in Southeast Asia, we’ll just figure everything out as we go. We’ll likely stay there until April, at which point we’ll fly to Kathmandu, Nepal to begin a month-long trek to Everest Base Camp. After we finish our trek, we’ll head back to Scotland where my wife will start working again and I’ll finally get to figure out what normal life after FI is really like.

Costs

I just want to highlight the benefits of travel hacking because it really does make trips like this possible for someone who doesn’t want to spend a lot of money. Here’s what the train, flights, and hotels will cost:

  • Train from Denver to Oregon in a private room for two (meals included) – 15,000 Amtrak points
  • NYC-Milan-Bangkok flight – $277 each
  • Three nights in Milan hotel (near Lake Como) – 24,000 Choice Hotel points
  • Flight from Milan to Glasgow – 4,500 BA miles plus $27.50 in taxes each
  • Flight from Glasgow to Prague with a free stopover in London – 4,500 BA miles plus $27.50 in taxes each
  • Two nights in 5-star London hotel – 50,000 Club Carlson points
  • Two nights in 5-star Prague hotel – 44,000 Club Carlson points

So for only $332 and 71,000 miles/points each, we’ll be taking a train half-way across the US, staying in extremely nice hotels in cool cities in Europe, and traveling between three different continents. The best part is, once we get to Southeast Asia, our expenses will drop considerably since the cost of living there is so low.

Twitter

If you’re interested in being notified about ridiculous deals like the USA-Europe-Asia flight I discussed above, follow me on Twitter and I’ll make sure to tweet about any crazy travel deals I find.

Thanks, FI

The parts of this trip that I’m most excited about are the things that wouldn’t have been possible with a full-time job. Stopping in cities all over the country to see friends and family wouldn’t have fit into a 1-week vacation. Taking a train to Oregon wouldn’t have been an option if I needed to get back to work. Booking a flight from America to Asia with a 3-month stopover in Europe would obviously have been completely out of the question under normal circumstances.

Financial independence gives you the flexibility to do exactly what you want to do and the flexibility allows you to potentially do it very cheaply.

Let’s Get Together

Since we’ll be stopping in a lot of big cities during our trip, it’d be great to organize some in-person meet-ups. The best part about having this site has been the real-life interactions I’ve had with people so I want to try to meet more of you in person.

Let me know in the comments below which cities I should try to arrange a meet-up in and I’ll try to put something together!


Image: Loco Steve

150 comments for “First Taste of Independence

  1. June 5, 2014 at 10:02 pm

    Indianapolis!

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 6, 2014 at 7:46 am

      Hey Lindsay, I don’t know if I’ll be able to make it up there on this particular trip but since I’ve never been to Indianapolis before, I’d love to visit at some point so I’ll let you know when I do!

      • June 16, 2014 at 4:18 pm

        Please do! Indy’s a great crossroads for a lot of things and we host some pretty awesome conventions. Would love to meet you when you have a chance!

    • sx2
      June 30, 2014 at 3:24 pm

      We second Indy!

  2. Pat Dennis
    June 5, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    I’m in DC. Lets get together while you’re here!

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 6, 2014 at 7:47 am

      Definitely! D.C. is a definite stop for us because we’ll be visiting some friends there (the friend we’ll be visiting actually works in the White House so when I spoke to him last night, he offered to give us a private tour of the West Wing!)

      • IronMule
        June 6, 2014 at 9:41 am

        Keep me posted on DC (or Baltimore if that’s on your list); sounds like fun!

        • The Mad Fientist
          June 7, 2014 at 6:22 pm

          It sounds like DC is going to be a huge party! I’ll let you know when I set a date

      • Niraj
        June 6, 2014 at 11:11 am

        Would love to meet up when you’re in the DC area! Food / drinks / general shenanigans

        • The Mad Fientist
          June 7, 2014 at 6:24 pm

          DC’s going to be fun :)

  3. Kevin
    June 5, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    Definitely in Pittsburgh.

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 6, 2014 at 7:50 am

      Pittsburgh is going to be our longest stop because we’ll be visiting my friends and family there (I was born and raised in the ‘Burgh).

      Where in Pittsburgh are you located? I grew up in the South Hills (Scott Twp).

      • June 8, 2014 at 1:44 pm

        My parents grew up in McKeesport and I lived in Squirrel Hill for two years (when I went to CMU). I’m waiting to see what your dates are in DC/Pittsburgh – I can always drive up and visit my mom in Pittsburgh!

        • The Mad Fientist
          June 9, 2014 at 10:35 am

          CMU is such a great school. I almost went there for undergrad but decided to stay down south (I went to high school in NC) and go to UNC (can’t beat the in-state tuition there).

          I’ll keep you posted on dates!

    • James
      June 9, 2014 at 12:55 pm

      Second for Pittsburgh! I also grew up in the South Hills but am in Robinson now.

      • The Mad Fientist
        June 10, 2014 at 10:29 pm

        I actually lived in Robinson before I moved to the South Hills (I went to Berkett Elementary before transferring to the Chartiers Valley school district).

  4. Wes
    June 5, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    Would love to meetup in DC!

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 6, 2014 at 7:50 am

      Nice! D.C.’s going to be a fun stop (see my reply to Pat above).

  5. Joe (arebelspy)
    June 5, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    Let me know if you pass through Vegas, I’d love to get together!

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 6, 2014 at 7:51 am

      Definitely, Joe! I may have to figure out a way to work Vegas into this trip. I’ll keep you posted.

  6. Jay
    June 5, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    Houston, if you’re ever in texas, that is.

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 6, 2014 at 7:52 am

      I’ve never been to Texas so I’d love to check it out. We’re still planning the tail end of our trip so I’ll let you know if we manage to work Texas into it.

  7. June 5, 2014 at 10:59 pm

    Holy cow, nice work!

    Do you have Denver dates yet? We are out of town for a couple weeks in August, so I hope your dates will coincide with us being here.

    Of course, you can camp at our house and we have a surplus of vehicles, so you can borrow one if you want to explore. Rocky Mountain National Park is in our backyard.

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 6, 2014 at 7:55 am

      We don’t have dates yet but the main reason we’re starting our train journey from Denver is because we want to visit you guys so I’ll make sure I check with you before booking anything! It think it will probably be late July or early August.

      Any update on your possible trip to Vermont? We’re meant to close on our house on June 27th but it looks like things may be delayed a bit so we may still be here for the first few weeks in July as well. We’d love to have you up if you’ll be in the area so shoot me an email!

  8. June 5, 2014 at 11:04 pm

    Great to hear, the trips sound fantastic. I guess I never really understood the AA Explorer until I read about it going away. Is there anything like this out there or a world travel of some sort?

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 6, 2014 at 7:58 am

      Sadly, there’s nothing out there as good as the Explorer Award. Some carriers allow multiple stopovers on award bookings and you can also book “around the world” trips but nothing compares to the 15 stopovers and cheap prices that the Explorer Award offered.

  9. June 5, 2014 at 11:17 pm

    Los Angeles! Or for something a little more central to San Diego, there are a lot of great breweries slightly in between. As a dark beer fan, Port Brewing/Lost Abbey would be a great option ;)

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 6, 2014 at 7:59 am

      I’m a huge fan of dark beers so thanks a lot for the suggestions! I don’t know how far south we’re going to go on our West Coast tour but I’d love to see both LA and San Diego so I’ll keep you posted.

  10. Cody
    June 5, 2014 at 11:17 pm

    If you’re passing through North Dakota hit me up!

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 6, 2014 at 8:09 am

      I can’t imagine we’ll make it all the way up there this trip but I’d definitely like to at some point. I’ll be sure to get in touch when we eventually do!

      • June 6, 2014 at 11:06 am

        I’d just like to 2nd the thought on North Dakota – I could give you a tour of the Bakken! Haha.

        • The Mad Fientist
          June 7, 2014 at 6:35 pm

          I had to Google it but it sounds like fun :)

  11. June 6, 2014 at 12:51 am

    Whenever people ask me how my husband and I plan to afford so much travel in our early retirement, I should just direct them to this post. You made my points exactly. Extended stays, creativity and flexibility. FI’ers can take advantage of travel deals that the rest of the working population simply can’t!

    And…your plans sound AWESOME btw. We’ll be in New Orleans for FinCon as well. We’re staying with the Moneyseeds, and I think the 1500s are staying with us as well. Maybe we’ll catch up with you at FinCon!

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 7, 2014 at 6:49 pm

      Exactly, Laura!

      I’m looking forward to meeting you down in New Orleans. We actually may be staying in the same house! Johnny Moneyseed asked if I wanted to stay in their place and I said I did but I wasn’t sure I’d still be in the country in September. Now that our flights are booked, I know that I will be going to FinCon so I need to get in touch with JM to see if he still has space for me.

      • June 7, 2014 at 7:50 pm

        Yes sir, I believe it IS the same house! A cool-looking old mansion near the French Quarter that Moneyseed found on AirBnB. I sure hope there’s still room, would be great to have you there!

  12. rpr
    June 6, 2014 at 2:42 am

    This is awesome. Can you elaborate what it took to get all those points?

    • Matt
      June 6, 2014 at 9:22 am

      Credit card sign up offers, and spending on cards is (I’m guessing) the basis for most of the points. That’s the most common way to collect points in the travel hacking world.

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 7, 2014 at 7:00 pm

      It actually didn’t take much work at all to get the points necessary for this trip. Here’s how I got them:

      * 15,000 Amtrak points – Transferred from Chase account, obtained via Chase Ink Bold 50,000 point signup bonus
      * 24,000 Choice Hotel points – Bought during Amex’s Daily Getaways promotion for $90
      * 9,000 BA miles – Obtained via 100,000 point Chase BA Visa signup bonus
      * 94,000 Club Carlson Points – Obtained via promotion where you’d earn 50,000 for a stay in any Radisson (stayed two nights in a hotel we would have stayed in anyway)

  13. RayT
    June 6, 2014 at 7:15 am

    Hi, Mad Fientist.

    I’m in Tampa, Florida. Which part of Florida are you planning to visit? I really enjoy reading your posts. Great ideas.

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 7, 2014 at 7:05 pm

      We’ll be heading to Lecanto (so about 1.5 hours north of you, I think).

      Glad you’ve been enjoying the site! I’ll let you know if I arrange something in Tampa.

  14. June 6, 2014 at 7:51 am

    Good work on the travel hacking. We’re hoping to go to Cancun for 6 days for less than $250 but that doesn’t compare to going all the way to Asia. As I am sure your aware Scotland is wonderful. We just got back from Inverness/Edinburgh about 2 weeks ago. My wife even commented that she could live there. It just seemed to rain…allllll the time.

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 7, 2014 at 7:10 pm

      Six days in Cancun for $250 is nothing to sneeze at. How’d you work that out?

      Haha, it does rain all the time there but it is beautiful. What was your favorite spot?

      • June 10, 2014 at 1:15 am

        Richmondsavers had a post on the exact Cancun trip we’re taking a few weeks ago so you might want to check that out. To cover the airfare we had accumulated enough Delta Sjymiles from work travel.

        Our favorite spot was a restaurant outside of Inverness. Oakwood club? not sure the exact name but it had oakwood in the title. Mom and pop place and the people were very personable and the food was incredible.

  15. Kaizen
    June 6, 2014 at 7:56 am

    I’m in Belfast, so if you decide to pop over from Scotland for a quick visit, I’d certainly show you the sites.

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 7, 2014 at 7:14 pm

      When we lived in Scotland, we took our car over on the ferry and got to check out Belfast and the surrounding area. I’d love to go back though so I’ll be sure to message you when I do. It’s always better seeing the sites with a local than just driving around aimlessly :)

  16. Adam
    June 6, 2014 at 8:55 am

    DC!

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 7, 2014 at 7:14 pm

      Party’s on in DC!

  17. June 6, 2014 at 9:18 am

    That sounds awesome! We hacked out a 5 week trip for the summer. Up the east coast and then we’ll be spending most of the time in Canada. $900 for 5 weeks of hotel and 1-2 BR apartment rentals, plus whatever gas and food we consume. I think we used 31,000 Starwood (Sheraton) points for 8 nts in hotels.

    If you’re heading through Raleigh/Durham area along 85 (from DC to Charlotte), look me up. Or you can crash at my pad for the night if you’d like. We’ll be back from our adventure in early August (and in fact might pass you on the roads since we’ll be traveling back south from Upstate NY through DC to Raleigh).

    It’s a nice feeling to know you can hit the road for extended periods. We aren’t viewing our road trip as a “vacation” as much as “we’re living in Canada for a month”. We won’t be hitting the tourist trail every day, and hope to relax and let the kids enjoy the local parks and trails, maybe stake out a sidewalk cafe or coffee shop, find the library, etc.

    I guess congratulations are in order since this will be your first taste of the FIRE life. And good luck!

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 7, 2014 at 7:28 pm

      Nice work, Justin! Are you driving up to Canada through Vermont? If so, definitely let me know.

      I’m hoping to visit your neck of the woods sometime in August. As you know, I’m a UNC grad but I haven’t back to Chapel Hill in years so I’d like to visit on our way down south.

      Hopefully we can get together at some point!

      • June 7, 2014 at 11:05 pm

        Looks like we are headed up I-87 through upstate NY from NYC to Montreal (which might be a long day with the kids). We decided not to go through Vermont or any further east on this trip.

        • The Mad Fientist
          June 7, 2014 at 11:47 pm

          Ahh, bummer. Montreal is great though so I’m sure you’ll have a blast once you put the memories of the long drive behind you :)

      • June 9, 2014 at 10:11 pm

        Definitely make sure you stop by in Raleigh/Chapel Hill!
        I’m not a big commented but I’ve been following your blog for a while and would love to meet in person.

        Maybe we can even put together a little meet-up here in the Triangle area with Justin, myself, and any other interested readers. What do you think?

        -Jake

        • The Mad Fientist
          June 10, 2014 at 10:34 pm

          Sounds like a good plan! I’m really wanting to visit Chapel Hill since I haven’t visited there in so long so I’ll probably plan something at one of my old college stomping grounds.

          • June 13, 2014 at 7:36 pm

            Awesome! Looking forward to it!

  18. Matt
    June 6, 2014 at 9:25 am

    Philly! Or Harrisburg on your way to Pittsburgh. Although I’m getting married in late July so it might be a challenge to work around that.

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 7, 2014 at 7:30 pm

      Hey Matt, congrats on getting married! I’ll actually be in Philly next weekend for my uncle’s wedding. I’ll be sure to let you know if we swing by there on our way to Pittsburgh.

  19. Randy
    June 6, 2014 at 9:27 am

    It sounds like your trip will be amazing and that we are approaching a good amount of people for a DC meetup! Let us know!

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 7, 2014 at 7:31 pm

      There’s a ton of people for the DC meet-up. I’m really looking forward to it!

  20. Eric
    June 6, 2014 at 9:28 am

    Congrats again on nearly achieving FI and thanks for sharing your tips with the rest of us!

    Hope you can make a NYC meet-up work this time around.

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 7, 2014 at 7:33 pm

      Thanks a lot, Eric! I’d definitely like to arrange something in NYC so I’ll let you know.

  21. Nick
    June 6, 2014 at 9:29 am

    Sounds like some exciting plans! Best of luck to you. I’m here in Tampa so let me know when you establish your residency!

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 7, 2014 at 7:35 pm

      Thanks, Nick. I’ll be down near Tampa for a while so I’m sure I’ll arrange something while I’m there. Look forward to finally meeting you in person after chatting online for so long

  22. Rich
    June 6, 2014 at 9:31 am

    I’m over in London, so let me know when you’re in town and perhaps we could meet for dinner? It’d be great to meet with another FIer! :-)

    • June 6, 2014 at 10:24 am

      Rich

      I second your vote for a London meet up. There are not many FIers in London but I am one!

      The Escape Artist

    • GM
      June 6, 2014 at 5:36 pm

      +1 for an London FI meetup!

      • The Mad Fientist
        June 7, 2014 at 7:43 pm

        Escape Artist and GM, let get together for a pint or two in early January!

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 7, 2014 at 7:39 pm

      Definitely, Rich! We’ll be there from January 2nd through 4th so hopefully we can arrange something.

  23. June 6, 2014 at 9:36 am

    Wanted to add my voice to the chorus for DC. Looking forward to meeting all of you!

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 7, 2014 at 7:44 pm

      I can’t believe there are so many readers in DC! It’s going to be a really good time :)

  24. Ben
    June 6, 2014 at 9:42 am

    Of course, if your in NYC prior to Milan shout out the tweet-up and I’ll join you for a nice EU sendoff!

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 7, 2014 at 7:45 pm

      Sounds good, Ben! We’ll be heading through NYC in early July as well so I’ll let you know if I arrange something then.

  25. zut
    June 6, 2014 at 9:45 am

    Milan is ok but I highly recommend either taking a train to Cinque Terre and visiting the 5 little towns there along the sea. Or taking a train to Venice.

    Venice and Cinque Terre are much more magical than Milan.

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 7, 2014 at 7:51 pm

      Thanks for the recommendations, Zut. We’re going to rent a car and stay outside of Milan so we’ll try to drive to some of the places you recommended. Can’t wait!

  26. Tyler in Seattle
    June 6, 2014 at 10:01 am

    Congratulations on FI! It’s motivating to read this post. Also – Seattle! if you make it here on your drive up and down the coast.

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 7, 2014 at 7:52 pm

      Thanks, Tyler. I’m not sure we’ll make it that far north but I’ll let you know if we do.

  27. Eric
    June 6, 2014 at 10:11 am

    MF, do you worry that lack of regular employment in FIRE will make it more difficult to qualify for new credit cards and therefore hamper your ability to travel hack?

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 7, 2014 at 7:59 pm

      Yes, that is a worry (I’ll also be living outside of the US so that won’t help matters). I’ve been building my balances over the years in preparation for this move so hopefully my miles/points last a long time. The game is definitely going to change for me but I’m more excited about the post-FI possibilities than I am worried about what credit cards I won’t be able to get in the future.

  28. Jesse
    June 6, 2014 at 10:35 am

    The trip sounds awesome! That $277 ticket is incredible. Can you give me some insight into how you go about checking for deals like this? Are there specific websites you use, or do you just check dates/locations very frequently?

    Also, congrats on reaching ER in couple of months!

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 7, 2014 at 8:03 pm

      Thanks, Jesse.

      I follow most of the major travel blogs (e.g. Mile Value, Travel Is Free, The Points Guy, etc.), I follow Airfare Watchdog on Twitter, and I keep an eye on the Trick It and Mileage Run forums on Flyertalk.com

  29. June 6, 2014 at 10:40 am

    Well played, MF!

    We’ll be here in NH until July 6th when we head to my in-laws’ beach house in WI for the rest of the month.

    Back in NH until heading down to Ecuador August 9th for the Chautauqua. Not sure how long I’ll stay after the event, but definitely back by Sept for the beautiful New England fall.

    So, before you abandon the area for your world travels, let’s make a time work!

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 7, 2014 at 8:05 pm

      Thanks, Jim! What’s the end of the month look like for you and your better half? We definitely want to try to get you guys up before you head to Wisconsin.

  30. kato
    June 6, 2014 at 11:05 am

    Nice job! Anxious to hear about residency in Florida.. buying a lot? living with a friend? I’m looking into Florida residency starting this winter myself.. don’t want to be here for another New England winter ;)

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 7, 2014 at 8:08 pm

      No, luckily my parents just moved down there so I’ll be able to easily establish residency there before we head abroad.

      This past New England winter was particularly brutal, wasn’t it? It was actually the first winter in my life I was ready to see the end of.

  31. Aaron
    June 6, 2014 at 11:32 am

    Hey Mad Fientist: if you make it as far south in California as the Bay area in August, you’d be welcome to crash with my wife and I in Cupertino! We’re suffering through the workaholic culture of Silicon Valley right now to push through some savings goals, but have plans in a year’s time to take off on a yearlong round the world trip. I’ve enjoyed your podcasts and would love to have a chance to meet up if you’re in the area.

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 7, 2014 at 10:40 pm

      That’s a very kind offer so thank you. As an East-Coast software developer, Silicon Valley/Cupertino seems like a mythical place so I’d love to visit and chat with you about what it’s like to work in the nucleus of the tech world.

    • CT
      June 7, 2014 at 10:42 pm

      Bay Area would be great!

  32. June 6, 2014 at 11:45 am

    Come to Los Angeles, my friend.

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 7, 2014 at 10:41 pm

      Schof, good to hear from you again! I’ll definitely let you know if we make it down to LA. Hope you’ve been doing well

  33. Andria
    June 6, 2014 at 11:59 am

    Have a great time!!!

    I hope you guys make it to Chicago in the future. Would be nice to meet you.

    • Justin
      June 7, 2014 at 7:09 am

      +1 Chicago!

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 7, 2014 at 10:43 pm

      I was just in Chicago a couple of months ago on a business trip so I wish I had organized something! I had a great time though so hopefully I get back there soon.

  34. June 6, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    Great stuff! Still sucks about the Explorer award, but you made out incredibly well. With Avios you can easily hop anywhere you want, and you still have a ton of AA points, so the funny thing is this might work out better in the long run (fewer points spent). Not nearly as fun or elegant, but not bad still…

    Definitely keep me updated on the East coast swing. If you’re in DC I can definitely make it up there, or like we talked about, you should try to stop in Richmond on the way down. You guys can definitely stay at our place and it is convenient to I-95.

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 7, 2014 at 10:48 pm

      Yeah, I can’t really complain with that $277 fare!

      It looks like Richmond is right in our path from DC so we’ll definitely plan to meet up with you there on the way down.

      By the way, I made your “Mexican Shredded Chicken” and my wife and I both loved it so thanks for that!

  35. June 6, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    If you end up coming to So Cal after Vegas let me know! I’ve got an air mattress I could put in my livingroom for you two!

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 7, 2014 at 10:49 pm

      Awesome, thanks! I’d love to visit So Cal so hopefully my wife’s up for traveling all the way down there.

  36. Miles Dividend MD
    June 6, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    Definitely spend some time in Portland. You’ll love it.

    And if you need a place to stay, no miles required.

    Alexi

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 7, 2014 at 10:55 pm

      Thanks, Alexi! I got sent on a business trip to Portland last year and I absolutely loved it. My hotel gave me a bike to use for the day and I just went around to a bunch of breweries and spent the day drinking all the delicious beer you guys have there (and since I was there on business, my company paid for most of it)!

      By the way, Brad from Richmond Savers said I needed to subscribe to your blog so I did and I’ve been loving it! Keep up the good work and hopefully we can chat more soon.

  37. Ken
    June 6, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    I’m in Denver as well, right out by the airport too. It looks like there’s a few of us around Denver so maybe a meetup would work well.

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 7, 2014 at 10:55 pm

      Excellent! I haven’t booked my flight out there yet but I’ll let you know when I do.

  38. Trying to FI in LA
    June 6, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    Try to include LA in your California coast trip if you can. As a married couple in our early 30’s trying to figure out FI in an expensive location, we could always use a pep talk in exchange for some food/drinks.

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 7, 2014 at 10:56 pm

      I’ll trade a pep talk for food and drinks any day :)

  39. Daniel Born
    June 6, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    Hey,
    Look us up in New Orleans! You’re welcome to crash in our extra bedroom if you want. And/ Or we can show you the good stuff in town if you have time. Although the Hyatt Fq is a decent redemption as is the Blake for choice points.

    The w on poydras as well if you want to burn Starwood points.

    Anyways, happy to show you around town so you don’t get caught up in all the tourist bs.

    Best,
    Dan

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 7, 2014 at 11:18 pm

      Thanks a lot for the kind offer, Daniel. It’d be great to get shown around New Orleans by a local so let’s definitely try to get together. I think we’ll be there from September 18th through the 21st or so.

  40. Jen
    June 6, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    San Diego! It’d be great to meet you.

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 7, 2014 at 11:19 pm

      It’d be great to meet you as well. I’d love to visit San Diego so I’ll let you know if we decide to head that far south.

  41. G-dog
    June 6, 2014 at 10:17 pm

    Congratulations! Your trip sounds fabulous. If you are ever in Des Moines, let us know. I am also interested in learning more about travel hacking. Neither I nor my spouse travel much for wor, so no good path to lots of FF miles. I also don’t use credit cards to get travel miles, I get different rewards instead. So is there something I am missing? I hope to be FI by this time next year!

  42. Jason
    June 6, 2014 at 10:18 pm

    I’ll meet up with you and Justin in Raleigh! Maybe the Station or Pie Birds.

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 7, 2014 at 11:24 pm

      Despite going to UNC for undergrad, I never really checked out Raleigh so you guys can pick where we go!

      • June 7, 2014 at 11:33 pm

        Wherever works for me. I’m not familiar with the Station or Pie Birds unless Station = Seaboard Station downtown.

        I’ll be back in Raleigh August 3rd or 4th.

      • June 29, 2014 at 11:15 am

        Keep me posted about the Raleigh plans, restaurant or meetup – I’m in! I’ve been following your blog for some time and it would be great to meet in person. If there is a meetup, I know several people that would be interested.

        As for the travel hacking, I just returned from a month long trip to Europe. Thanks to travel hacking, I took my Dad to Spain with me for a week before heading off to Turkey for three more weeks. The total cost for our round-trip transatlantic airfare was just $101.20 per person. I learned some tricks to keep the cost even lower next time and I’m sharing all the info on my blog, Jones’n 4 A Deal.

        • The Mad Fientist
          June 30, 2014 at 9:47 pm

          Will do! Nice work on the Euro trip, by the way. What miles did you use for the flights?

  43. G-dog
    June 6, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    Aha – I see much travel hacking info in the archive. Sorry – newbie error!

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 7, 2014 at 11:24 pm

      No problem, G-dog. Shoot me an email if you have any questions.

  44. Jon
    June 6, 2014 at 10:30 pm

    You mentioned traveling along the west coast. How about a meetup in San Francisco?

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 7, 2014 at 11:26 pm

      I think we’re planning on hitting up SF while we’re out there so I’d say a meet-up there is very likely

  45. Matt B
    June 7, 2014 at 7:56 am

    Well, guess I’ll have to live vicariously through you for a while. Sounds awesome, and congrats for reaching the milestone!
    I’m sure there are more people in either the New York or Philadelphia area looking to meet up, and either would work for me. I’m about midway between just outside of Trenton, NJ along the train line, so, Central NJ would be awesome, as well!

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 7, 2014 at 11:28 pm

      Thanks, Matt. We plan on visiting friends that live in Jersey but I’m not exactly sure where they live. I’ll let you know when I find out though.

  46. June 7, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    Portland! There’s a good community of FI dreamers around here that would love to meet up.

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 7, 2014 at 11:30 pm

      I’d love to go back to Portland. I owe JD Roth a beer or two for coming on my podcast and he lives there so hopefully we make it up. I’ll let you know if we do!

  47. Chris
    June 7, 2014 at 8:07 pm

    Sounds fantastic! If you get to Portland, Or and like to hike and see waterfalls give me a shout. We can give you a local tour of the Columbia Gorge!

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 7, 2014 at 11:31 pm

      That sounds incredible! I’ll keep you posted

  48. Prob8
    June 7, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    Congratulations! I’ve been wondering when your days in the trenches would end. As your post illustrates, problem solving and remaining flexible when plans change are key elements of early retirement. You have both abilities in ample supply.

    Enjoy your travels and, of course, if you pass through the St. Louis area be sure to let me know. I look forward to more posts once you are a free man.

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 7, 2014 at 11:42 pm

      Prob8, great to hear from you! I hope you’ve been doing well.

      It’s a shame FinCon is not back in St. Louis this year because it would have been nice to get together again.

  49. CT
    June 7, 2014 at 10:59 pm

    Congratulations on finally reaching FI and actually leaving your job for a fantastic journey. As mentioned earlier, if you make it to San Jose – Cupertino area that would be great.

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 7, 2014 at 11:44 pm

      Thanks, CT! I’d really love to make it down there so I imagine we will. I’ll keep you posted

  50. Reepekg
    June 8, 2014 at 12:23 am

    Chicago. Or Philadelphia/South Jersey on select weekends when my wife drags me back for various wedding related events.

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 9, 2014 at 10:41 am

      Haha, I’ll let you know if we plan something in any of those places

  51. June 9, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    Congratulations !! This is very inspiring !
    But what is the hurry ? Take it easy. It seems to me you are travelling like if you are on a short holidays, but longer. It is tiring, costly and can leave you and the people around you frustrated.
    For instance, traveling in Nepal is not like traveling in Europe. I suppose it might be a necessary step before you realize you don’t have to travel that way. Everest base camp trek is a hard trek. You are going to do it at the hottest season. i hope you are starting at a very low altitude. I have done twice the round-the-Annapurna trek in this season, and it is nice to walk in the morning but past 2 pm, no so nice :)
    Anyway you ll have a great time !!! I envy you !! Take care

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 10, 2014 at 10:43 pm

      You obviously haven’t read my Travel Hacking and Slow Travel post yet. We’re aren’t booking our return flight so that we can take it slow and only leave places when we’re ready.

      In Nepal, we’ll likely be starting our trek in Jiri (elevation: 1900m) and I plan to have at least 3 cups of tea for every 1 mile I hike so I can’t imagine us doing much walking past 2pm even if it’s cool out!

  52. daira
    June 10, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    Are you buying any travel, medical evac. insurance? If so, from what co. and why? Enjoy your travels.

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 10, 2014 at 10:45 pm

      Since we’ll be leaving for our trip from Scotland, we’ll likely buy some UK travel insurance before we go. I haven’t investigated our options yet but we used to get travel insurance a lot when we lived over in the UK so it shouldn’t be a problem getting something for 3-6 months.

  53. Blair
    June 10, 2014 at 11:06 pm

    Would love to grab lunch or a beer if you plan on swinging through Las Vegas.

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 19, 2014 at 8:29 pm

      Doubt I’ll be through there this year but I always get drawn back to that city, despite my best efforts to stay away, so I’m sure I’ll make it there at some point :)

  54. RateRace
    June 11, 2014 at 7:53 am

    Another in DC

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 19, 2014 at 8:30 pm

      DC is going to be ridiculous!

  55. May
    June 19, 2014 at 2:53 am

    San Francisco!

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 19, 2014 at 8:31 pm

      Hey May, I think we’ll be getting off the train in San Francisco so hopefully I can arrange something there before we drive up to Oregon. I’ll keep you posted

  56. June 22, 2014 at 10:59 am

    Hi there! Any chance you’re in Boston on your travels?

    Jacob

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 23, 2014 at 9:24 pm

      That may actually be our first stop so I’ll let you know when we plan on being there.

      P.S. I just checkout out your site and your watercolors are amazing!

      • Jared
        June 25, 2014 at 1:28 am

        I’m over in Boston as well. If you’re going to be making an appearance, it would be very fun to meet up.

        • The Mad Fientist
          June 27, 2014 at 8:37 am

          Nice, I’ll let you know!

  57. June 23, 2014 at 12:29 am

    Man this looks quite fun. We are living in Hannover Germany, and if you stop here, we would love to meet up. Your story and tips are quite motivating. If you are going to be commuting by bike a lot then check this out

    Thanks and happy travels

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 23, 2014 at 9:32 pm

      I’ve never been to Hannover so I’d love to make it out there at some point. I’ll be sure to let you know if I do.

      Your site will come in handy because bikes will likely be our primary mode of transportation after we leave the States.

  58. Weston
    June 26, 2014 at 10:30 am

    A premature welcome to the Sunshine State. Would love to meet up on either your initial foray or when you establish residence. What part of Florida are you looking at as base of operations?

    • The Mad Fientist
      June 27, 2014 at 8:45 am

      Hey Weston, my parents live about 75 miles north of Tampa so we plan to establish residency there before moving abroad in October. Where are you located?

      • Weston
        June 27, 2014 at 12:20 pm

        I live in a suburb of Fort Lauderdale and work in North Miami Beach

        • The Mad Fientist
          June 30, 2014 at 9:49 pm

          Cool, we may fly in/out of Miami at some point so I’ll let you know if we’re in the area!

  59. Lynn
    July 7, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    Another shout out for NC… I’ll be in Durham from 7/31-8/15 if there’s a gathering during that time :)

  60. The Mad Fientist
    July 24, 2014 at 8:18 am

    Hey D.C. fientists, we’re all going to be getting together on Thursday, August 7th at 6pm at City Tap House!

    Hope to see many of you there!

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