My journey of becoming financial independence by 35 years old
“Do not inflate your lifestyle” I’ve been living by this most of the time. I know with our splurge on vacation can set me back a few months in savings for retirement. However, I feel like I got burnt out between buying, then fixing the 4-plex, plus renovation. I didn’t feel like I had the summer or the fall to enjoy. Winter hit me in the face and really got me down. So, Mr. WRI asked if we can go somewhere south or near the equator for some warm weather so we can reset, make our winter go faster. Since he had a nice experience in Puerto Rico before, he asked to go there. I found some really good
ticket price. So we went to Puerto Rico.
Between the two of us, Mr. WRI is the one that spend more carelessly. He has it right when he told me: “If you don’t have time right now to live, when do you?” He had to remind me how I completely abandoned him to do the project. So he guilt me into splurging more than usual.
A few things that made me uncomfortable of Mr. WRI spending:
1. He parked the car in the hourly/daily parking instead of longterm parking. We weren’t even that late, he doesn’t like to pack everything in a carry on, so he had to check a bag. Which I was not used to the added time.
2. He had been there but he was very naive about the “island”, he was adamant to book a hotel from a branch that he liked, even it was in the middle of nowhere. It was a resort so everything was a la cart – parking, breakfast, resort fee, etc. For me, this was very wasteful because we had to pay four toll road to go somewhere and 1.5 hours away from all the activities that we would like to do.
3. Because it was a resort, 4 stars hotel, so the rooms were not equipped with microwave, I don’t eat sweet American food for breakfast. I’d like to eat left over from the night before. Mr. WRI had his breakfast food and satisfied with it. I was stuck with cold food or nasty sweet food for the morning.
4. He rented a car, signed up for all of their bogus insurance and gas program. Burnt $600 for 6 days. I don’t approve this at all, but the other option was me driving, I don’t like to drive when there are other people in the car, because people don’t give me good direction, I’d end up circling many times. I’m better at navigating. But still, this is very wasteful.
I felt trapped and tired.
One way to feel un-trapped was to spend money. A lot of money! It’s a vicious cycle. But we do have our occasion splurge as I wrote it awhile back on what we’d generally splurge on.
1. Bioluminescent kayak – Puerto Rico is known for having the lagoon that would lights up at night when the water is disturbed with your hand or paddle. $75 a person for 2 hours tour.
2. Hiking the rainforest – we climbed to the top of the Puerto Rico rainforest mountain. Dipped ourselves in the lake underneath the waterfalls. Breathtaking views (this was one of the cheapest thing we do).
3. Charter snorkeling – they took us out to two different locations where the coral reefs are. We had bad experience separately before. But somehow, this time with private lesson, we both got it. $80/person later, we are hooked on snorkeling.
4. Went to Vieques island to get more snorkeling. We rent the bikes $35/bike. And 20km later, we hit a few spots. It was a nice and tiring experience. But we get to see a lot of thing.
5. Golfing in the resort. I was having blisters from all the rainforest hiking. Mr. WRI went by himself, green fee $100, club rental $75, balls, tees, etc $225 total. He had a blast on the world class golf course with spectacular views on each holes.
6. Food – I felt stucked because we are at the Italian restaurant several times. Just like you go on a cruise ship and they pretty much feed you the same kind of food, by half way through the week, you don’t like the smell of it anymore. Same went for me. I hated it. I wanted to walk around Old San Juan, where they’d offer fresh coconut, food on stick, drinks, smoothies,etc basically street food and I would try everything until I can’t pack into my stomach anymore. What Mr want was nice 5 stars restaurant sitting down and get served. (Even if they are 5-stars, the food they serve don’t necessary be good to us, because most of those restaurant are highly rated sometimes for the atmosphere and their booze. Neither one of us drink.)
7. Saving life while on the trip – there was a girl on a charter boat with her mom. She was a strong swimmer as she disclosed at the beginning of the trip. The charter boat company offered food. It was really good sandwich with fresh baguette. Anyhow, she was still eating, and immediately jumped into the water. She ended up get sick from it. There was a nurse/doctor on the boat, but the girl was still vomiting. I stepped up. I made some maneuver, had her mother moved to the right side so she can lean on. She recovered within five minutes as I suspected. I gave her some consultation, making sure this event won’t ruin the rest of her trip. If she needs to get on the boat, she still can because she wasn’t seasick.
I had to weed through many reviews and fake reviews to find really good ones. We didn’t have too bad of the time as long as I didn’t have to eat at the Italian restaurant at the resort. 🙂
Cost for the trip $3500 for both. Compare to my co-worker Costa Rica experience. She didn’t get to do as many excursions and for her it was $3000. So I considered that as a saving. But I feel like we could have done much better.
Lesson learned – better planning, using points for hotel, use the hotel that accommodate my needs not for it’s high ratings. We are young, so if we are planning on doing a lot of activities, we need to stay in the metro area and avoid renting car with Mr. because he’ll pull the same-thing.
Willing to compromise to get out of the “feeling trapped” feeling that way you can make the best out of the situation.
Would I come back to San Juan? Nope! I did everything a tourist would do, unless I come here to live for six winter months like some of the American retirees, I wouldn’t come as a tourist anymore. I’d rather go some place else to see and do different thing. Maybe snorkeling, now that we can swim like fish. 🙂 the next trip for just the two of us would be Hawaii, maybe. Will see how well we plan.
A vacation from a vacation – through my past experiences, I know coming straight back from a vacation and jump straight back to work is a bad idea due to jet lack, and enormous amount of activities I’d set out to do and accomplish during a vacation. This time I set 4 days after a vacation to recuperate. I spend time to relax, let my body get used to the cold temperature, go shopping for the week, cooking, and cleaning. I paid premium for my house, spend time to decorate it so I can live in it comfortably. There is no reason, why I couldn’t spend 4 days comfortably in my own home, right? That’s right! The last 4 days of my vacation was as stay-cation and it was perfect. I loved it.