Thursday, July 11, 2019

UK Chautauqua

I interrupt my year plus break from blogging to reflect on our week at the UK Chautauqua. (Yes, I have practiced spelling the word and read up on the term chautauqua.)

Around 2014, I was reading about minimalism, and John started reading a blog called Mr. Money Mustache. Over the years, we started reading more blogs and books related to FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) and listening to some personal finance podcasts. I read and heard about this interesting week-long gathering in another country. (The photos from Greece were gorgeous!) I have been wanting to travel more. After some delay from pursuing a teaching credential and having a second child, we made time for this adventure.

John and I were both interested in the attending an FI Chautauqua, and the week in the UK fit our schedules. I was still debating some of the logistics while John pushed the submit button to order our tickets before they sold out. This is part of why we make a good team! (We are celebrating 15 years of marriage this month.)
To keep this post from getting too long, I will mention that this trip involved leaving our kids with family for 10 days, and that this was my first trip to Europe.

The line up of speakers for this event was a big draw for us:

Jim Collins from JL Collins NH and author of The Simple Path to Wealth

Carl from 1500 Days

Jillian from Montana Money Adventures

Kristy and Bryce from Millennial Revolution and authors of Quit Like a Millionaire

Alan from Pop Up Business School

Brandon from Mad Fientist

My mom asked me what I was most looking forward to before our trip. I tried to articulate that it was the mix of the speakers (because I had some background knowledge of their FI journeys) and the attendees. The attendees (capped at about 30) add so much to the event. We came together from the US, UK, Canada, Denmark, France, and Romania. The event draws some world travels, which just feeds my interest in more travel. The design of this event maximizes your interaction and developing friendship with the participants and presenters. It was magical. The people were the highlight of my trip.

Most of the week was spent at Ettington Park where I ate too many desserts. The sticky toffee pudding did not disappoint, and they served plenty of vegetarian options. We did see some of Gerrards Cross Cross (with yummy curry and naan), Oxford (with an awesome tour guide), and Stratford-Upon-Avon (with a play at the Royal Shakespeare Company). Overall, having a quiet home base for the week was ideal for me. I liked having time to get to know the people and process the presentations and meetings.

We watched the new documentary Playing with FIRE with some of the people featured in the film. It is playing in lots of theatres this summer and will eventually be available from a streaming service.

As a couple, we got to have two of the 1:1 meetings during the week. At one meeting, we got the best homework to "take more vacations." We plan to follow this advice to explore more of the US and abroad. Weeks later, I am still reflecting on this experience. I am motivated to continue building a happy and healthy life. I am thinking outside-the-box and formulating some long-term goals, including attending another FI Chautauqua. For an event that seems to be about money, I am really taking away more lessons about life.

Below I will link the blogs from other attendees:
Escaping Silicon Valley
Forging Finance
Kerry Ann
Eisabeth's Chautauqua Guest Post