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The Year of Exploration

In the past years, I have created a theme of the upcoming year.  When I paid off my student loans, the theme the following year was the year of freedom.  I took the opportunity to travel more including a tiny house in Omaha for Berkshire Hathaway annual conference and buying a new Trek 7.2 FX.  This year I have created my personal theme as The Year of Exploration and I couldn’t be more excited.  Keep reading for ideas on how to create your personal theme in 2019.

In 2018 we declared the theme as The Year of Change and oh my goodness did that ever live up to the title.  Here are just a couple highlights:

  • Sold our home in Chicago
  • Moved to Miami Florida
  • Wife works remotely
  • Left 9-5 job and started Even Steven Money as a Money Coach

The year of change had a major impact on our lives and I truly believe that none of this would have occurred without putting ourselves in a position of financial strength.  I like to say “we created our own version of financial freedom” which allows us the opportunities you will read about next.

Looking to create your own version of financial freedom? Learn More

2019 The Year of Exploration

As my wife and I talked about the year ahead the theme made more and more sense.  While the year of exploration can certainly be applied to numerous parts of our lives the main focus will be on the following categories:  Home and Family, Community, Business, and Travel.

2019 Calendar picture

Home and Family

We are finally starting to settle into our home after moving in August 2018.  When we first moved into our home we found it not much like our Chicago home at all for so many reasons.  It sounds odd to say this but our home is too large.

We went from living in a 2 bedroom 1 bath home of approximately 1200 square feet and what I call a “postage stamp” of a yard in Chicago to a Florida home with 4 bedrooms 2.5 baths approximately 2300 square feet and an actual back yard with palm trees and all.  This was a major adjustment for us.

The home had previously been rented, so a number of small and medium-sized projects needed to be done.  Everything at first felt a little overwhelming, change is scary folks even if it is for the better.  While a home always has a number of projects to be completed we are in a better place today and have begun to settle in a little more.

This year we have already begun a small raised vegetable garden and recently purchased a mango, avocado, and lime tree to plant.  We just need to have the tree stumps removed from the hurricane last year and we are in serious business of making this house a home.

raised vegetable garden

The Beginnings of our Garden

Family

When we first moved to Miami I thought my wife would be as joyful as a kid opening presents on Christmas.  I was wrong.

Turns out that my wife took some time adjusting to being so close to her mother, whom she talked with every day on the phone in Chicago.  She still needed to work every day at the house, but she wanted to find time to visit which was difficult in the beginning as all of her surroundings, job,  and time frames had changed.  My wife needed to find a balance in her routine.

Mom and daughter in butterfly mural

My Wife and her Mother Enjoying their Time Together

Since we moved to Miami in August compared to today things have developed more and more into a family dynamic.  We can often be found visiting her parent’s house to say hello, help with all the things that you help the family with, and of course to eat the Nicaraguan homemade meals.

Family visiting Jacksonville, FL Springfield Neighborhood Mural

Family is Important

The same visits occur at our house as well.  While I do a great job at lawn care maintenance, putting together a raised vegetable garden box is not my strength so the whole family came over to help.

The opportunity to interact more frequently with family has been something we certainly missed out on in living in Chicago.

Community

As we now have more of a settled feeling in our Miami home, we are beginning to explore our community.  Being a member of my local Crossfit gym has certainly started us off meeting and talking with others in the area, but this year we will focus on getting more involved.

An example is my wife and I recently attended a free local event for business owners in the area.  A small step as we begin to peek from the shadows into the sunlight of the community.  I was able to talk with a public adjuster, divorce and family law attorney, and career fulfillment specialist.

This is just the beginning as we plan to get more involved in the community through activities and events.  My wife has plans to be a board member in the local Parks and Recreation committee and has a real chance to be the next Leslie Knope, while I hope to fit right into my Ron Swanson or Andy Dwyer role even though I think I’m supposed to be the boring accountant boyfriend Ben Wyatt.

I’m excited to get involved and work with small businesses in the area and can’t wait to be “regulars” at our local farmer’s market which we attended last weekend.  I can’t wait for all the little adventures in the community that lies ahead.

Business

Man using pay phone with sunglasses

Talking to a Client and Keeping it “Old School”

One of the big adventures in 2019 is the exploration of my business as a money coach.  While I have been helping and sharing my story and helping others since 2014 mostly as a writer on my blog, the focus has shifted towards working with others on a one on one basis.

As a money coach, I work hands-on with individuals to create a road map to financial freedom.  What does that look like?  Brick by Brick. Check out my Money Coach page to take a dive behind the curtains and see the steps I take with my clients.

I am starting my business from the ground up so as you can imagine there is a lot of work to do.  My goal is to help others change their financial future.  That’s crazy to say but it’s what really happens.

It’s fun to work on figuring everything out to see what works, what doesn’t, what needs improvement and all the while putting your name on everything as your own.  The year of exploration is certainly in effect.

Travel

While all of the above-mentioned categories are important it’s hard not to get a little more excited about travel.

Exploration has already begun in 2019!  We even tested our exploration plans in late 2018 with a trip to Phoenix, Arizona.

Rather than paying for an expensive flight around the holid,ays we were able to arrive 2 weeks earlier than we had planned and worked remotely.  This is a BIG part of our exploration travel plans in 2019.

We are looking to travel for 7-10 days in new cities and work remotely.  The opportunity to visit the cities libraries, coffee shops, and neighborhoods during the day while we work and check out the area at night for a drink, new restaurant, event, or place of interest.  I get excited about all the possibilities!

If we are able to extend our visit through the weekend, even possibly two weekends this will give us an extra layer of freedom as it’s unlikely we will be working on a Saturday or Sunday.  We can live like natives of our new city during the week and have the option to be tourists on the weekend.

Traveling to a new city is the obvious portion of exploration.  Many of you money and detailed orientated individuals are probably thinking about the costs associated with all of the travel.  Yes, the travel would increase our normal expenses with the larger ones being housing, transportation, and food.  The Big 3 Never Seem to Change.

We consider ourselves frugal individuals so essentially this becomes one big Frugal challenge as it relates to our travel.  Here are just a few questions we will be asking ourselves as we explore.

Transportation

How do we decrease the costs of our flights?  Would all of our travel be off-peak to lower costs?  Could we travel hack or use airline miles to reduce flights?  Do we only take public transportation, walk, bike, etc. to keep costs low?

Housing

Would we travel to locations with friends and family to lower our cost of housing?  Would we consider house sitting at new locations for free housing?  Could we travel hack our hotel stays for reduced housing costs?

Food

How much would we budget eating out at restaurants into our budget during our stays?  Would we cook at home if at an Air BNB for example?  How could we keep costs low if we only stayed at hotels?

man and women hiding in bushes

Operation Covert Budget Travel

Covert Budget Travel

I think the year of exploration could certainly turn into an article with each city we visit.  Also, there will be opportunities for each city to practice what I am going to call “Covert Budget Travel”.

This will revolve around when either myself or my wife needs to travel to an event or location for work.  The entire trip has the possibility to become a giant Buy One Get One discount extravaganza, especially as it relates to perks offered by the company and/or event we attend.

I am also extremely interested in the potential to attend events as a volunteer and/or paid to work while I enjoy all of the perks that go along with attendance.  This past year I was fortunate enough to volunteer at FinCon and in early 2019 at Wodapalooza.

year of exploration butterfly

The Year of Exploration Recap

It’s an exciting time to be alive!  The year of exploration will see many different parts of life explored.

We will see more of a lifestyle shift towards creating our ideal home situation and living.  Family will be involved more than ever as we work towards a weekly family dinner, spending more time with family to help one another and enjoy what life has to offer.

I’m delighted for the increased focus to become more involved in the community with events and helping others.  Some of these very events at our local gym, park, coffee shop, etc. could very well be part of the individuals, businesses, and their clients that work with my business as a money coach.  The year of exploration involves helping others and being with people at almost every turn.

Last but certainly not least is the ability to explore our lives with financial freedom.  The potential to travel and seek new adventures with my wife gets my words per minute typing at an all-time high.  It’s what we are building and creating in 2019, I hope you will join me on the adventure.

Don’t forget to share your own story and plans with me in the comments.

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