Cheap Travel: Costa Rica After the Rain

I knew Costa Rica had changing seasons, but I didn’t realize the changes in the landscape would be so extreme. When we flew to Guanacaste, Costa Rica last March, I was surprised by how little green there was. Much like our Northeastern winters, most of the trees were bare, and the grasses were all dried up. But November is at the end of the wet season, and we arrived to lush green fields and forests.

Wet Season vs Dry Season in Costa Rica

Dry Season vs Wet Season in Guanacaste, Costa Rica

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Fighting the Fear In Costa Rica

The first morning in Costa Rica, I got up before Mrs. CK and grabbed my board to go catch the good surf. I had been anticipating this day for months and was full of excitement. I headed to the beach making my way down the narrow trail through the forest, watching the small lizards dart out of my path. As I got closer to the beach, I started to hear the roar of the waves. On a quiet morning with nobody in sight, the sound was deafening. It echoed deep in my gut, but I had my board in tow and there was no turning back – I was there to surf.

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What Do You Consider Work?

Since retirement, many of my neighbors have been noticing that I’ve been home much more than usual. But rather than asking me why I haven’t been going to work, they’ve been commenting on how hard I’ve been working. I’ve been doing a lot of gardening and splitting wood for the winter, but I do these things because I enjoy them. The fact that I really love doing what my neighbors call “work” made me think a bit more about why I’m having so much fun with it. When I sat down today to think about it, the first thing that came to my mind was my grandfather.

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Grandpa working the fields in Canada.

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Don’t Get Mad, Get Even

My gym contract expires around this time every year. As a subtle reminder, the gym will automatically start charging me higher rates. This irks the crap out of me, but like a jackass standing under a windmill, I keep getting smacked upside the head. Each time, I curse the stupid contraption then go on standing around until it happens again. The other day, I felt the familiar whack! as I checked my credit card statement – once again I was hit with higher dues.

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What I Would Do With Your Money

One of my best friends and I met when we were both interns at the same company. I ended up spending over a decade of my life there, while he moved on to bigger and better things. Much like the relationship I have with my wife, nothing is a secret between us, and no punches are held. Over beers, I will lecture him about his finances, in turn he will forcibly treat me to overpriced tacos that have been handcrafted by some tatted up kid with a man bun.

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My good friend Lorenzo de’ Medici with a piece from his collection.

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The Scariest Purchase We Almost Made

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On a nice summer day a few years ago, I was working on our yard and needed a truckload of dirt to fill a few spots in the lawn. After inquiring at a few places, one guy suggested trying a contractor working on a new development surrounding a historic mansion down the street. Developers sometimes sell dirt as they clear lots, so I went down to see if we could work out a deal. I didn’t know at the time, but I was about to face one of the scariest encounters on our journey to FI. Continue reading

Ultra Efficient Fridge Project

keezer_finishedHaving more time to think has allowed me to realize how distracting our possessions can be. A few weeks ago, I sold my moped which had been with me since high school. For both myself and Mrs. CK, it was a catalyst to a selling spree. I have especially been working on clearing out larger items that are taking up a lot of space. One of these items was an old second-hand chest freezer.  We had used if for storing meat at one point, as a chest fridge for home-brewing more recently, then it sat idle. Chest freezers are designed for optimal efficiency, so I decided to clean it up and compare it against my Energy Star kegerator. The losing appliance would be listed and sold on Craigslist. Continue reading