Goodbye 2019, hello 2020! 2019 was a year for the books. We did everything from buying our latest rental property to quitting our jobs and moving abroad, to becoming traveling nomads. While we have updated you all throughout the year on blog posts, we wanted to dedicate this article to 2019 by doing a year in review.
2019, Year In Review
We started the year off by traveling down to Gainesville, FL to attend CampFI Southeast. It was the perfect way to start off the new year. Traveling, meeting new people, reconnecting with friends, and being in the warm Florida weather all created the perfect weekend trip.
Leading into February of our year in review, our trusty old Camry reached her prime at 300,000 miles. This was achieved by taking a few road trips to visit friends and traveling around town looking for our next rental purchase. One of those road trips just so happened to be to Montgomery to meet up with Grant Sabatier and Cody Berman for their Financial Freedom book tour.
We were ready to jump the gun on a few potential properties, but for one reason or another, those deals just didn’t work out. In the meantime, we experienced our first tenant eviction, which was not a fun process. It was a learning experience and one where we are now a little more careful about the time of year that we fill vacancies.
Second Quarter in Review
While we were hustling with properties, our work really ramped up in the second quarter of the year. We realized that while we are doing all this work to renovate the interior of a couple of duplexes, the curb appeal was not drawing any interest.
So we put our painting clothes back on and got to work painting the exterior of two duplexes ourselves. It was equal parts brutal and satisfying. Battling the sun, heat, and mosquitos, all the while doing the tedious paint job. After the exterior paint job, we finished interior updates, such as replacing carpets, updating appliances, and new AC units.
All of this hard work paid off when we were able to fill all four vacancies within a few weeks of finishing the updates.
During this second quarter, we made our 11th rental purchase. This was an exciting purchase because it was in a great location. To make the deal even sweeter, the renovation had already been done making it completely rent ready.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, we made the decision to list one of our properties for sale. Not only was it the furthest one from all of our other properties, but it was the biggest and most expensive one, leading to the highest mortgage payment with a large interest rate. It was really an easy decision looking back at it now.
We ended this quarter with a short trip to Atlanta for the Playing with Fire documentary. It was exciting to meet the couple behind the documentary, Scott and Taylor. Similar to CampFI, we got to hang out with old acquaintances and meet some pretty cool new people with similar mindsets and viewpoints.
We had a rough start to this quarter because we had to say one of the hardest good-byes to our little fur baby, Cookie. Besides James, she was the best thing to enter my life, forever leaving her paw prints on both of our hearts.
On a lighter note, we closed on the house sale not long after this, leaving us with a small profit. This was about the time we realized that we should probably get the ball rolling on selling off our things.
We sold the couch and loveseat that we had gotten for free, leaving us couch-less for a few weeks. We sold almost all our kitchen and household items at a yard sale.
Ironically, a few days after we sold most everything we owned, we decided to turn one of our rentals into an Airbnb. So much for that yard sale, because we had to turn around and replace a lot of what we sold. At least we were able to use the yard sale profits as funding for the Airbnb furnishings.
We ended this quarter of our year in review on a high note by filling our last vacancy. With all of our properties filled, we were able to focus on furnishing and prepping our Airbnb unit. During this time, we broke the news to our employers that we were taking leaves of absences.
James finished work a week earlier than me to wrap up property work, sell our Nissan Versa, and tie up loose ends. We were in full prep mode for our move abroad, which included spending quality time with our family.
Much like the beginning of the year, we started this quarter off with a trip for a financial conference. FinCon 2019 was located in Washington, D.C. this year, adding to the cities that we had never been to. Leaving our jobs right before a financial conference was the perfect way to start this next chapter of our lives.
We were able to re-connect with old friends, meet new ones, and see a new city. Jokingly, we called Washington D.C. our temporary ‘home’ as we were en route to Cyprus, with all of our possessions in tow with us.
After arriving in Cyprus, we spent two full months learning to live life on our own terms. That included learning to balance an apartment renovation, spending time with family, and exploring the island.
After we arrived in Cyprus, I was able to get my Cypriot passport through my citizenship. James hasn’t gotten his citizenship yet. This led to researching our options for leaving the island for a couple of months due to Visa and passport requirements.
We ended up signing up for Trusted House Sitters, and we were able to set up two house-sits in Europe before the end of the year. House sitting and watching other people’s pets was perfect for us because we were able to get love and affection from animals. Not to mention being able to travel and go to cities we wouldn’t normally consider.
We spent Thanksgiving and most of December in Munich, Germany. Then, we spent Christmas & brought in the new year with a beautiful rescue dog in Budapest, Hungary.
2019 was a big year for us, and we didn’t quite realize it until we looked back at our year in review. While our portfolio and investments grew, we also grew as people.
We learned that life is short, and to hug your loved ones while you still can. Life is so much more than just work. There is a whole world outside of our hometown, and we wanted the opportunity to travel, learn and explore without restriction.
We discovered that slow travel is our preferred travel style since it is a much more enjoyable way of traveling. It allows us to take our time exploring new cities without wearing ourselves out by trying to see everything the city has to offer in the short amount of time that we have.
Cheers to the New Year
There are big plans in store for us in 2020, including more travel, more growth, and more content. Just because we’re retired doesn’t mean we’re going to stop blogging or ‘working’. Summarizing our year in review makes me realize that not only a lot can happen in a year, but a lot can also be accomplished.
We want to continue providing people with helpful information about travel, real estate, and health. Our hope is that you continue making the most of your life and always keep improving yourself, mentally, physically, and financially.