Wow. This is it. May 4, 2018. Grumby Financial Independence Day! Our access badges have been turned in to our employers and we’ve deleted all work-related apps from our phones. It will take some time to experience and process the many emotions of this humongous transition. What’s most clear right now is how grateful we are to all of the people and circumstances that made our FIRE dream possible.
Family and Friends
We would not be here without the support and encouragement of our family and friends. These are the people who help us through life’s challenges and who are always there to cheer us on at the finish line. They will be the ones that we call if our tent is swept away by a tornado or if we win the Powerball in North Dakota. Some of the ways that our friends and family are helping us out while we are out on Undaunted Porridge:
- storage of our remaining belongings
- our domicile
- logistical support
- temporary lodging
- peanut butter chocolate chip cookies
Employers and Co-Workers
Of course, we could never have executed our FIRE-Vision without a little help from our employers, and Mr. G and I were fortunate to work for organizations that provided excellent benefits. Some of the incredible perks offered by our most recent employers:
- Retirement savings with company match
- Pension (Mr. G)
- HSAs / health insurance
- Free transit passes
But what made the 9-5 enjoyable were the kind and interesting people that we worked with. We were both with our most recent employers for 15 (me) / 10 (Mr. G.) years. That means that we spent more waking hours with some of our co-workers than anyone else in our lives besides our mothers.
So, these people are like extended family. And we thank them all for the daily dose of laughter and for sharing inspiring stories about themselves and their families.
The most incredible surprise of this journey has been the inspiration and support that we’ve found through the Personal Finance and Cycle Touring blogging communities. We owe our Grumby FIRE-Vision to these amazing people. And thanks to our friend Kathleen, we were able to add Grumbys on the Move to the voices of the blogosphere.
Personal Finance: Gurus and Co-conspirators
Two of the people who convinced us that early retirement was a realistic goal were Mr. Money Mustache and Mrs. Frugalwoods. Their stories made it clear that planning and discipline build opportunities. And that by un-shackling ourselves from the status-quo, we could create our own definition of freedom.
Then we discovered, through Rockstar Finance, that there are over 1,000 bloggers who share their knowledge and passion for personal finance every day. A few of these people have been kind enough to share comments and emails with us and we are especially grateful to the Groovies, Zach, and Tamara. Thank you all for taking the time to share your wisdom and to help us stay motivated.
Amongst the hundreds of PF blogs that have kept us informed and inspired, a few that we visit regularly are:
Cycle Tour Blogs
Mr. Grumby’s diligent reading of hundreds of tour journals has led us to connections with some fascinating people whose stories clearly demonstrate that cycle touring is an incredible way to experience the world.
Three Dinners in Portland
One email exchange that Mr. Grumby had with CycleBlaze writer, Scott, led to a dinner invitation. We joined Scott and his wife Rachael at the home of Bruce and Andrea for pizza, beer and an evening of travel stories. Scott and Rachael have ridden many corners of the globe, including Utah, Taiwan, and the French Alps. Bruce and Andrea shared two brilliant and captivating videos of their bicycle tours in southeast Asia. We all had so much fun that Bruce and Andrea invited us back for a second dinner that included CycleBlaze Guru Jeff and his lovely family, and legendary travel writer Willie Weir and his wife, Kat. How lucky we are to have shared another evening with this wealth of knowledge and experience.
We hosted dinner number three at Chez Grumby and peppered our new friends with more questions about life on the road. Our main take-away is that the cycle touring experience is one of life’s greatest sources of wisdom and joy.
Inspiration on Wheels
Curtis and Jenny are another couple that we’ve looked to as our Early Retirement Bicycle Nomad role models. They retired early, sold or got rid of most of their belongings, and began their journey in Anchorage, AK in June, 2016. From there they rode south to Baja California, and then kept riding to Central America. And now, in May, 2018 they are still riding south and are currently in Peru.
We are grateful to Jenny, Curtis, Andrea, Bruce, Scott, Rachael, Jeff, Kristen, Willie, and Kat for sharing their stories. Thank you all showing us and and the world that the bicycle provides a unique way to discover the world … and ourselves.
We would never have met Rich and Cissy, our original adventure cyclist mentors, had it not been for serendipity,
the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.
We were all staying together at a campground in Buena Vista, CO in 2013 and Rich and Cissy were traveling on their tandem bicycle from Yorktown, VA to Astoria, OR. What started as an evening conversation over a growler of IPA turned into 3 future encounters in Portland, annual Christmas card exchanges, a few emails, and hopefully another meeting or 2 in 2018 and 2019 along the Lewis & Clark Trail and/or in South Carolina.
And last but not least, we are grateful for luck. We recognize and appreciate every day:
- good health – physical and mental
- supportive family and friends
- opportunities to save $ and retire early
- being alive at a time when inspiration and knowledge are just a click or keyboard stroke away
To any and all who happen upon this blog, thank you for your interest and for reading our deep (and not-so-deep) thoughts. Hopefully something you’ve read here will spark an interesting conversation or maybe inspire someone to re-assess their relationship with money. Or maybe even to take a fun (or long?) bike ride.