Colorado: Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Ouray, and Mesa Verde – Cross Country USA Road Trip (Part 3)

After leaving Frisco, Colorado in Part 2 of our Great USA Road Trip, we drove several hours to Montrose, Colorado where we spent two nights. While there, we visited Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. I thought this canyon was more impressive than the Grand Canyon in Arizona, however this park is the least popular National Park in all of Colorado! 

On our travel day between Montrose, Colorado and Cortez, Colorado, we went on two hikes in Ouray, Colorado. The first was to Cascade Falls where I got to climb behind the waterfall! After that, we crossed to the other side of Ouray and visited the Box Canyon Park where we hiked first to the base of the waterfall inside the canyon and then to the top of the falls about 200 feet up! 

Continuing our drive south, we traveled along the Million Dollar Highway, an incredibly scenic and beautiful mountain road that ends in Durango, Colorado. From Durango, we traveled west to Cortez where we spent the night. 

The next morning, we backtracked a few minutes and spent the day touring the cliff dwellings in Mesa Verde National Park. After a tiring day in Mesa Verde, we spent our second night in Cortez before heading north and west toward Utah the next day.

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Colorado: Denver, Rocky Mountain National Park, Frisco – Cross Country USA Road Trip (Part 2)

Denver marked the start of our “real” summer vacation. We visited the Red Rocks Amphitheatre just outside Denver. 

After leaving Denver, we headed up the mountains into the Rocky Mountain National Park. Inside the park, we hiked to Bear Lake, Nymph Lake, and Dream Lake. We couldn’t quite make it all the way up the mountainside to Emerald Lake due to altitude sickness and fatigue. In the late afternoon, we drove through the Rocky Mountain National Park along the Trail Ridge Road. 

We spent the night after Rocky Mountain National Park in Grand Lake, Colorado. Then we drove two hours to our next lodging in Frisco, Colorado where we spent three days mostly relaxing. The highlight of our stay in Frisco was a stroll through the scenic downtown and a visit to the Frisco Historic Park and Museum. 

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North Carolina to Kansas – Cross Country USA Road Trip (Part 1)

When planning our big summer road trip in the Western United States, we considered flying straight to Denver and starting our adventures there in the rocky Mountains. Or should we drive across the Midwest and stop to see whatever we can along the way?

We chose the latter route. Our family took a few extra days to explore parts of the country that we might not necessarily visit as destinations in and of themselves.

We spent three days driving across the country to Topeka, Kansas. Along the way, we stopped for sightseeing in Charleston, West Virginia and St. Louis. We also got some great barbeque in Kansas City! 

While in St. Louis, we discovered a crack in the windshield. I managed to repair our cracked windshield without messing up our remaining travel schedule.

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How to Visit Angkor Wat Temple in Siem Reap, Cambodia

“Hey look it’s another 1,000 year old temple! And monkeys are climbing all over us!” That’s right, we spent a week in Siem Reap, Cambodia touring the ancient temples of the Angkor Wat complex.

Our visit to Siem Reap was part of our seven week Southeast Asia vacation that included two weeks in Vietnam and a week in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. After Siem Reap we headed to Thailand for a month where we visited Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, and Bangkok.

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Phnom Penh, Cambodia: The Killing Fields and A Royal Palace

Welcome back to another edition of Root of Good Travels the World. This time we’re recapping a slice of our seven week Southeast Asia vacation. After departing Saigon, Vietnam, we traveled for six hours to the heart of Cambodia, the capital city of Phnom Penh, where we spent a week touring around town. 

Phnom Penh is hard to summarize. There are towering high rise buildings and shiny shopping malls right alongside extreme poverty and squalor. But the city is thriving with activity everywhere we turned.

While in Phnom Penh we visited temples and palaces, caught an Apsara Cambodian dance show, and visited several sites memorializing the nation’s great losses suffered under the genocidal Khmer Rouge Communist dictatorship. 

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August 2019 Financial Update – Back to School Edition

Here we are days away from the official start of fall. We are fully recovered from our eight week vacation in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand. After we landed in Raleigh, we were immediately busy with back to school shopping for supplies and clothes and several rounds of school orientations now that each of our kids attend a different school. Throw a teenager’s birthday party/sleepover into the mix and it made for a very busy August. 

Now that the kids are back in school, the adults of the Root of Good household get to take a breather. Our daily schedule shifts from the summertime routine of waking up, touring temples and palaces, and gorging on street food to the school year routine of waking up, walking one kid to school, then returning home to sip coffee for as long as we want.   

Financially, last month was a mixed bag. Our net worth dropped by $34,000 to end the month at $2,078,000. Income was better than average at $3,968 while expenses remained modest at $1,995 for the month of August. Any month where income greatly exceeds expenses is a win as far as I’m concerned. Small fluctuations in the stock market don’t mean anything in terms of long term financial success for early retirement.

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Vietnam: From Saigon High Rises to the Mekong Delta

What do you do when you save a bunch of money and retire at 33? Spend months at a time traveling the world of course!

This summer we spent eight weeks exploring the temples, palaces, and waterways of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand in Southeast Asia. 

In today’s article, we cover the first segment of the trip where we visited two cities in Vietnam. After a looooong flight from the East Coast of the USA, we landed in Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon, where we stayed for eight nights. Then we visited Can Tho, Vietnam in the Mekong River Delta region for a three night stay. After leaving the Mekong Delta, we headed to Phnom Penh, Cambodia (with a short one night pit stop in Ho Chi Minh City en route).

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July 2019 Financial Update – Exploring Cambodia and Thailand Edition

The Root of Good family just got back to the US after an eight week adventure in Southeast Asia. We spent the month of July split between Cambodia and Thailand. 

Now that we’re rested up and mostly recovered from the jet lag, I wanted to take a break from life and share our July financials before we get busy with all the back to school activities coming up soon.

Our net worth dropped ever so slightly from $2,114,000 to $2,112,000 (a $2,000 drop). Income remained strong at $2,777 for the month of July, while our expenses remained moderate at $1,961. 

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June 2019 Financial Update – Exploring Vietnam Edition

June was an incredibly busy month for the Root of Good family. We spent the first half of the month at home in Raleigh wrapping up the school year for the kids. Then we relaxed for a few days before packing our bags for our big eight week summer vacation in Southeast Asia. 

We spent the second half of June in Vietnam where we visited Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and Can Tho, a smaller city in the Mekong Delta region. I’ll have a more in depth update of that part of our trip in a future post, but read on to get a glimpse into the trip so far. 

While we were hitting the road and discovering new parts of the world, our finances did a great job of taking care of themselves. June was a huge success financially. Our net worth climbed $92,000 to reach $2,114,000. Our income was strong at $8,412 for the month while our expenses totaled $4,343. 

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Quit Like a Millionaire

Today we have a guest post from Kristy from the blog Millennial Revolution.

“Anyone can become FI with a 6-figure salary!”

“Financially independent?! If you’re not American and privileged, forget it!”

“Try to become FI if you are living on $30K a year while raising a family! HA!”

These are some of the biggest criticisms of the FIRE movement. Apparently, we’re all a bunch of rich assholes and there’s no way you can become financially independent if you weren’t born with privilege.

I get it. Seeing other people succeed is excruciating when you’re struggling. It’s easier to dismiss their accomplishments so you can feel better. I was there. I used to be a hater too.

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