Welcome back to another monthly installment of the life and times of Root of Good. We kept busy in October with a ten day cruise to the Caribbean plus several parties for family and friends. I need a vacation! Ha ha…
Fall is in full swing here in North Carolina. It was hot and humid this past week as the remnants of a hurricane passed through the state. Now the cool fall air is here to stay for a while (we hope!). We have to check the weather daily to know whether to turn on the heat or the air conditioning.
Right now, we are two weeks away from our next big trip. We fly to Portugal for a week-long adventure around the Lisbon and coastal areas of Portugal. Then we depart on a transatlantic cruise back to the US of A in the middle of December.
Financially, October was a great month for us. Our net worth shot up by $118,000 to end the month at $2,557,000. Our income was modest at $2,178. However income was still higher than our even more modest spending of $1,565 during October.
Let’s jump into the details from last month.
Welcome back to another glimpse into my early retired lifestyle. In September, I enjoyed the slower pace of life at home in Raleigh after a busy summer traveling across Eastern Europe. We worked on some more travel planning for winter of 2022 and summer of 2023 (more on that below). And we spent a bunch of time relaxing and enjoying “doing nothing”.
Our oldest two kids are half way through their fall semester of community college, and the youngest kid is doing well in his last year of elementary school. Each morning starts with our walk to school, and then us adults enjoy a peaceful, quiet day at home during the week until all the kids get home from school.
Financially, September was a rough month for our net worth but a great month for our cash flow. Our net worth plummeted by a shocking $200,000 to end the month at $2,439,000. However, our income of $15,621 was substantially higher than our spending of $2,527 during September.
Time for a look back at what we were up to last month! We started the month of August in the city of Eger in the east of Hungary. Once our weeklong stay in Eger wrapped up, we headed west to Budapest where our 2 month European vacation would end after a nine day stay in the capital city.
We flew back to the USA through London and missed our connecting flight from London to Raleigh (whoops!) so we got a free one day whirlwind vacation in London. All expenses paid by the airline (except our transit tickets into the city center!).
After finally making it home to North Carolina, two of our kids started community college classes almost immediately. And now the youngest kid is back in school too. So we are back into the slower-paced “steady state” life here at home in Raleigh.
Financially, August was a mixed bag. Our net worth plummeted by $79,000 to end the month at $2,639,000. However, our income of $1,698 was higher than our spending of $1,398 during August.
We made it back home! We’ve been back in the USA for a few days and now that the dust has settled, I’m here to recap the last month of our early retirement adventures.
During July, we spent a week in Croatia. The we departed Croatia where we spent almost two weeks in the Julian Alps in Slovenia. After our alpine adventures, we returned to Croatia for a weeklong stay at a farm in the hills outside the town of Samobor. Toward the end of the month, we left Croatia and headed east where we spent a week in the town of Eger, Hungary.
While in Slovenia, we revisited some favorite places that we visited on our last trip to Slovenia five years ago (covered in two previous blog posts on Ljubljana, Slovenia and the Julian Alps).
Financially, we had an excellent month. Our net worth shot up by $125,000 to end the month at $2,718,000. Our income of $2,743 in July was slightly less than our expenses of $2,947 for the month.
After a busy month of traveling in Europe, I finally have a pause in the schedule to pull together another monthly update. We spent the first three weeks of our vacation in Croatia. Then we traveled a couple of hours north where we stayed in the middle of the Julian Alps in northwestern Slovenia for two weeks.
As of this writing, we have returned to Croatia for a week of relaxation at a farm stay in a little village in the mountains. Then we head to Hungary for a couple of weeks before returning to the United States.
It has been a busy summer so far, but we have seen a lot of cool stuff and checked off some bucket list items. In Slovenia, we revisited some favorite places that we visited on our last trip to Slovenia five years ago (covered in two previous blog posts on Ljubljana, Slovenia and the Julian Alps).
Financially, we had a month of mixed results. Our net worth dropped sharply due to a downturn in the stock market. By month end, our net worth dropped by $177,000 to end the month at $2,593,000. Cash flow presented a prettier picture. Our income in June was rather high at $12,743 while expenses remained moderate at $3,782 for the month.
Ok folks, it’s June and the year is almost half over. Where does all the time go?
May was another busy but fun month for us. We celebrated some birthdays with family. We went on a cruise. Our kids have finished another successful year of school. And next week we watch our oldest kid graduate from high school!
Meanwhile, we are researching and planning the final details for our big eight week summer vacation in Europe. In a week, we will get on a plane and head off to Zagreb, Croatia where the adventure begins once again. Busy, busy, busy!
Financially, May was a great month for us. Our net worth rebounded by $103,000 to end the month at $2,770,000. Income during the month totaled $4,718 while expenses were $2,972 during May.
On the final leg of our six week summer road trip, we spent six days driving the 2,200 miles east from Gardiner, Montana back home to Raleigh, North Carolina. Along the way, we visited Mount Rushmore, Badlands National Park, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and the National Museum of the US Air Force.
Mount Rushmore was a quick stop where we checked out the massive carved stone heads of four former United States Presidents.
We spent a lot more time touring the Badlands National Park. The colorful rolling hills dotting the landscape were a sight to behold!
After leaving the Badlands and getting some sleep, we headed east and took a break in Sioux Falls, South Dakota at the Falls Park in downtown. The Big Sioux River bisects the city and produces a series of small waterfalls or rapids as it cascades over the rocks in the riverbed.
Our final destination of the road trip was the National Museum of the US Air Force. We spent several hours wandering among the massive jets and other military aircraft, missiles, and smaller planes from the last century of aviation history. Whether you’re an aviation junkie or just like cool stuff, this museum has a lot to see for everyone.
Another busy month comes to a close! We spent Spring Break on a cruise. Upon returning to Raleigh, the older kids prepared to take their Advanced Placement exams. And now, we are getting ready to go on another cruise!
After we get back from our next cruise, we’ll have about a month before we leave home for our two month summer trip through Europe. I need a vacation from vacations (ha ha)!
While we were at home in April, we were able to enjoy the nice mild spring weather. We had some friends over a few times and had a big family get-together for Easter.
Financially, April was a mixed month with heavy stock market declines but very low spending. Our net worth declined by $139,000 to end the month at $2,667,000. Income during the month totaled $3,666 while expenses were a mere $1,321 during April.
We spent three days exploring the vast wilderness area known as Yellowstone National Park in northwestern Wyoming.
The first day, we visited Grand Prismatic Spring, Old Faithful geyser, and the Fountain Paint Pot area. We saw dozens of geysers, hot springs, and mud pots throughout the day.
On the second day, we revisited the Grand Prismatic Spring from an overlook that required a couple miles of hiking. After that, we walked among the geysers and springs by the West Thumb area of the Yellowstone Lake. To close out the day, we visited the waterfalls of the Yellowstone River in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone in the eastern section of the park.
We devoted our third day to exploring the Mammoth Hot Springs in the northern section of the park. These mineral formations were different than the geysers and hot springs we saw elsewhere in the park.
Throughout our three day visit to Yellowstone National Park, we saw tons of wildlife including bison, elk, and even a rare black wolf!
During “Part 11” of our six week road trip across the USA, we visited downtown Salt Lake City where we toured around the public area near the Mormon Temple, the State Capitol, and other parts of downtown.
Once we left Salt Lake City, we headed north toward Idaho Falls, Idaho. On the way there, we stopped for several hours at the Antelope Island State Park just north of Salt Lake City. Inside the park, we toured a historic sheep ranch and hung out with a herd of bison.
Upon arriving in Idaho Falls, we enjoyed a few days of rest and leisure. We walked along the waterfront of the Snake River in downtown Idaho Falls. We visited the Japanese Garden in the middle of the Snake River, then toured the rest of downtown Idaho Falls on foot.
After Idaho Falls, we continued our road trip north and east toward Yellowstone National Park.