We spent late July and early August traveling along the Adriatic coast, slowly working our way south through Croatia’s many beautiful beaches, lovely islands, and well-preserved Medieval towns. Croatia is long past its post-independence lull in tourism (visits are up 300% since the mid-1990s), but it certainly hasn’t lost its charm as one of the most beautiful coastal destinations we’ve ever visited.
The Croatian coast isn’t packed with tons of museums or attractions, so we instead spent most of our time lounging on rocky beaches, eating seafood, and enjoying the sunshine. I must admit, it’s not a bad way to spend a few weeks’ holiday.
Though the majority of short-term visitors stick to the famous coastal towns of the Dalmatia region in the south, we began in Istria, in the northwest corner of the country. After making stops in the towns of Rovinj and Pula, we traveled south to Zadar and Split, two of Croatia’s larger cities; took ferries to the islands of Hvar and Korčula; and finally ended our Croatian journey in the famous walled city of Dubrovnik.
It’s Wednesday. Whether you’re in the office break room or browsing social media, today always seems to generate the same chorus of calendar-based commentary:
“It’s hump day!”
“Friday is in sight!”
That’s a nice, positive way to look at it, though in the middle of a grueling work week, I often preferred George Carlin’s more humorous take:
“T.G.I. Friday’s… If I had a place like that, you know what I’d call it? H-S-I-O-W. Holy Shit, It’s Only Wednesday. I think people would drink a lot more liquor if they thought it was Wednesday all the time.”
Whichever perspective resonates with you this week, the underlying message is basically the same: The work week is a slog. We suffer through five days of drudgery for two days of relief. But hey, it’s almost reward time again.
We flew from Istanbul to Budapest at the beginning of July. It was going to be difficult to top the adventure and excitement of our time in Turkey, but we’re always game for a challenge. The weeks that followed took us to three different Hungarian cities, Croatia’s capital city and most popular national park, and the small but stunning country of Slovenia.
It wasn’t until we stepped off the metro in Budapest that we realized just how foreign Turkey had felt. The streets and sidewalks of Hungary’s capital were active yet calm. Cars weren’t honking their horns, and they even stopped to let pedestrians through crosswalks. Locals were wearing shorts and drinking beer at sidewalk cafes. Compared to Istanbul, it almost felt like home.
Today, we’re kicking off a new blog post series in which we’ll share our cost of living as we experiment with different FIRE adventures and travel to various destinations around the world. First up: our three-month road trip around the western U.S.
We jetted off to Europe so quickly last month that we hardly even had time to clean out our minivan, let alone put together a wrap-up of the first leg of our travels. Our twelve-week road trip was tons of fun – a perfect way to kick off a series of adventures around the world.
We had a blast cruising around in our ’96 Dodge Caravan, visiting friends and family, and seeing some of the most impressive natural wonders in the world. We had been dreaming about van life and reading inspirational travel blogs for a long time, and I’m pleased to share that it was at least as much fun as we expected – probably more so.
Financial independence and early retirement are growing in popularity, but you don’t have to browse the comments sections of Forbes or Yahoo Finance long to find plenty of skeptics.
The FIRE critics represent many viewpoints. There are the well-intentioned risk-averse types, hesitant about the viability of supposedly “safe” withdrawal rates in today’s high-valuation environment. There are the traditional big-spender consumers, indignant about the viability of a low-spending lifestyle. And, of course, there are the ornery disbelievers, eager to pick apart the details of success stories and tell us all why it can’t be done.
But of all the negative reactions to early retirement, there’s one that I find to be just plain sad:
“Retire early? I don’t know what I would do with all that time without my job. I would be bored.”
I’ll give you a pass if you’re one of the lucky few whose job is your passion – that elusive “true calling” that gnaws at you any time you’re away. If you can’t imagine doing something else because you’re in love with what you do every day, great! Never retire from that.
But if you’re like most people, you probably aren’t jumping out of bed at 5 AM every day thinking, “Wow, I can’t wait to start sitting in meetings and re-sizing text boxes in PowerPoint again!”
If the only thing separating you from boredom is a career you don’t really love, how dull are you?