I’d like to preface the article with a thank you to David over at Fiology for hooking me up with a ticket to this event. I got so much useful knowledge, made connections, and left with many more friends than I had previously, and this was all thanks to David and Fiology.
This was my second foray into the world of CampFI, and since we had gone to CampFI: Mid-Atlantic (read more here: “It’s a…..Financial Camp”) earlier this year, I had a little more of an idea of what to expect. This time it was just going to be me, because Mrs. RRR was gone to the beach, which changed the dynamic of the trip. It was a little bit of a debate whether I wanted to fly or not, because Little Rock is at the edge of the distance that I’d typically drive. To give you an idea, anything over a full tank of gas, which is usually around 6 hours of driving, then I choose to fly. The only problem with this trip was that I was going to have a connecting flight in Atlanta and after the layover, it would take me around 6 hours to get there. So, either way it was a wash whether I drove or flew, so I decided to save my points, and waste my day behind the wheel. With the car loaded up with my backpack, cooler full of beer from local breweries, and myself armed with an audiobook (Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss) I meandered my way across Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas.
Doug Nordman of The Military Guide
- Doug gave an excellent talk on a number of aspects of his life: his journey to Financial Independence through the military and Retiring Early back in 2002; what his life looks like now; how his spending changed in retirement; and how to raise a financially savvy child. He and his wife have been retired for the better part of two decades so he has a wealth of knowledge and experience of the details regarding early retirement. He was referred to numerous times over the weekend as the “OG” of FIRE.
Cody Berman from Fly to FI
- Next up was Cody, a 22-year-old who is killing the game at such a young age on his path to FIRE. He spoke at length about “Cash Flow FI”, which is essentially building up your side hustles until they completely cover all your living expenses. The idea is that if you find fulfillment in your hustles, then you don’t have to continue slaving away at a W2 job that you don’t enjoy. You can design your life to where you can enjoy it now instead of years in the future. He is very passionate about this, and it shows with all of his side hustles: blogging, podcasting, and starting his own business while he was still in college.
Whitney Hansen of Money Nerds Podcast
- Whitney’s presentation included her path to her current entrepreneurial forays as a financial coach. Much like myself, she came from humble beginnings, and she hustled her way through college and paid off $30k of student loan debt in under a year! Then she managed to hack her masters degree and paid $472 for it! She got the fancy job, and realized that it wasn’t as fulfilling as she had hoped and explained the natural progression from giving advice to friends and family to becoming a financial coach. The business plan initially involved helping high school and college kids, but once she realized that demographic was broke already and really wasn’t a viable market she intuitively made a piviot to focus on a different demographic, which clearly paid off.
Paul Thompson of Ready Investor One Podcast
- Heading up day 2 of the weekend was Paul, who got tired of his 9 to 5 and decided to jump head first into real estate. He aggressively purchased properties to create the life that he wanted to live as soon as possible. While he is a real-estate guru, his talk wasn’t about the nuts and bolts of real estate, but more about how to design your day, goal setting, and do what matters now. He had us make a list of all the things we would like to do, and then realize that all these goals were more than 1 year away and the fundamentals of making incremental progress toward the goals to get to where you want to be in life.
Doc G from DiverseFI
- Last, but certainly not least, was Doc G, a high earning and high performing medical doctor who really explored the philosophical side of the journey to Financial Independence. He told a story of three brothers: the eldest who was so focused on the destination that he did not enjoy the journey and wasted many years of his life on the journey only to get to the end and not know what to do with his life; the middle brother who also didn’t enjoy the journey, but would often take breaks and explore the world around him; and finally the youngest brother who relished in the journey, taking his time and enjoying every moment and experience only to reach the end and turn around to start the journey again. The why of FI is a big topic for Doc G, and helping people understand their motivations and what they would like to accomplish with their life seems to be a passionate interest of his.
Much like the other CampFI I attended, this one had plenty of free time for people to hang out, connect, talk, and play games. Before breakfast you could start your day exploring around on a hike, exercising, running, or just sleeping in. After, or between the presentations, there were camper led “break-out sessions” where we discussed real-estate investing, travel hacking, side hustles, and life after FI. These were great because it was pretty much an open forum of Q&A where anyone could ask any question they had, and different people could answer and others could elaborate on certain things. Afternoon free time could be used sitting around talking over a couple of beers, playing volleyball or basketball, or hanging out by the water. There was some casual canoeing on Sunday, and of course when competitive people are all doing the same activity, it always devolves into a race. Captain DIY and myself absolutely obliterated the competition #NotSoHumbleBrag. It’s no surprise that we won, considering I’ve seen Pirates of the Caribbean once, and my parter’s first name is “Captain”….they never had a chance. On the final day, we tried our hand at some archery. Lets just say that I’m no Katniss Everdeen, but I’m still on FIRE (I’m not above a shitty pun). Quite a few people brought local beers from their area, and we all traded drinks and sat around discussing finance, goals, dreams, aspirations, and everything else about life. The time in the evening was consumed quickly by camp fires, card games, deep discussions, YouTube videos, ongoing jokes, and
a small amount of drinking. Word to the wise for the faint of heart, CampFI is not the place to catch up on sleep. Most of the fun is had after 10:00 PM, and things get weird after 1:00 AM.
Food & Lodging
The food was sufficient, but I wouldn’t say it blew my vegan socks off. Some meals were great, and others were mediocre. There were a couple of meals where I could only get sides, which were 100% carbs, because there were no vegan options. But, between that and the salad bar, I had more than enough to sustain myself. I did become known as the “vegan guy” during the camp, so inquisitive eyes were always wandering over to my plate to see just how I managed to survive as a vegan. Most people were really intrigued, and no one gave me a hard time, which I’m really not used to in my day to day life.
Unlike the previous CampFI, where we were practically on an episode of survivor, the lodging here was excellent. The rooms were practically hotel rooms with two full size beds in each room, and a bathroom. They had electricity, water, bathrooms, walls, air conditioning…everything you’d come to expect from lodging in a first world country. The area was really nice with trails, a pond, multiple benches along the water, a large fire pit, a giant ass slide, sand volleyball, canoes, archery range, basketball goal, disc golf, etc. So there was more than enough to do and you’d never find youself sitting around unless you chose to do so.
Yet another CampFI in the books, and yet another life changing experience. I genuinely cannot articulate how helpful and encouraging these camps are. Meeting others who are going down different paths, but everyone has the same destination, in a world full of people doing the complete opposite things reminds you that you aren’t alone on this journey. And there are so many others out there that you can glean information and advice from to help give you peace of mind on this journey. Everyone there was ready to learn, open minded, supportive, patient, and genuinely interested in connecting with others and hearing their story. The comraderie and community developed from these camps is far more valuable than you can imagine.
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