Enjoying The Alcazar and Jamon Iberico in Seville, Spain

We’re on the road again with installment #4 from our nine week voyage across Europe.  This week we’re highlighting our last stop in Spain: Seville!  Quick recap: after visiting Lisbon, Portugal, we flew to Malaga in southern Spain then took a bus to Granada. After Granada, we traveled a few hours west to Seville.

We spent four nights in central Seville in an Airbnb overlooking the Alameda de Hercules plaza.  Capital of the Andalusia region of Spain, Seville overflows with history and a sense of the past.  Romans first settled the area more than two millennia ago and remnants of their city remain visible today in and around Seville.  Over the centuries Seville was inhabited by the Vandals, the Visigoths, then the Moors.  In the 13th century the Castilians conquered the city and it has remained under Spanish rule for the past 750 years.  

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Exploring La Alhambra and the Narrow Alleyways of Granada, Spain

This week we’re visiting the third stop on our nine week family vacation in Europe.  After spending two nights in Malaga, Spain, the five of us set out on a two hour bus ride to Granada, Spain.

Upon arriving in Granada, we immediately noticed it was very hot but very dry.  We caught a city bus to the center of town, hopped off, and walked the last five minutes to our Airbnb.  This Airbnb was small and spartanly furnished but clean and modern – Ikea Chic style.  The apartment had all the basics – air conditioning, clothes washer, dishwasher, sleek bathroom, and full size refrigerator.  I was concerned the air conditioning wouldn’t be able to keep up with the 95-100 degree heat, but fortunately for us it had a setting that probably translates to “super jet fan turbo blast” in English.  Not a bad place to stay for three nights.

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From the Alcazaba to Sea in Malaga, Spain

Now that we’re back in Raleigh I’m planning on releasing a more regular stream of trip reports from our nine week summer vacation in Europe.  After we spent five nights in Lisbon, Portugal, we took a short turboprop flight to our second destination of Malaga, Spain for a quick two night stay.  What started out in the planning stages of the trip as a pit stop in Malaga on the way to Granada turned out to be a surprisingly interesting city to spend a few days.

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Surprising Finds in Lisbon, Portugal

The Root of Good family started its grand nine week European vacation with five days in Lisbon, Portugal. After a short flight from Raleigh, Lisbon is an easy 7.5 hour overnight flight from Washington, D.C., so our transatlantic flight to Europe was relatively painless. We arrived at 10:30 in the morning the next day. After an arduous journey through the immigration lines, we left the airport by metro for a quick ride to our first (of fourteen) Airbnb apartments that would serve as our homes away from home for the next nine weeks in Europe.

To battle jet lag, I followed the advice to stay awake the whole day of our arrival and DON’T take a nap. We dropped our bags at the airbnb apartment, hooked up to wifi, unpacked a bit, and did a quick inventory of necessities (“Do we have soap, shampoo, conditioner, and breakfast for tomorrow?”), and headed out for an afternoon of exploring downtown Lisbon so we would be forced to stay awake. Easier said than done, we had an overly exhausted five year old that fell asleep on the metro ride back to our apartment, and it’s the first time I’ve nearly fallen asleep while standing up (waiting for the metro).

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June 2017 Financial Update

This month’s financial update comes to you from Ljubljana, Slovenia – an undiscovered gem in Europe. We are about to head to Lake Bled, Slovenia for some hiking, lake-lounging, and more relaxing. After that we’re on to Austria, Germany, and the Czech Republic for the next month before ending our vacation in Amsterdam. It’s hard to believe we are almost half way through our nine week summer vacation in Europe!

June was another great month financially. Net worth increased $14,000 to $1,842,000. Income was very strong at $7,793 during June, while expenses remained moderate at $2,629. Such a great feeling to watch your assets continue to grow for you while you’re on the other side of the world exploring and relaxing!

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Our Early Retirement Didn’t Go As Planned… Our Net Worth Went UP Half a Million Dollars!

In contrast to early retirement modeling that looks for all the worst cases and failure modes, our actual life the past almost four years illustrates that good things can offset the bad events in life.

Financial planning for early retirement is pretty straightforward. Figure out how much you plan on spending in early retirement then save up till you have between 25 and 33 times your annual expenses in your investment portfolio. We initially planned on spending $32,000 per year plus a large lump sum for the three kids’ college tuition. Using the 33x multiplier (which represents a 3% withdrawal rate), that means we needed $1,056,000 plus another $100,000 to cover tuition, or roughly $1,150,000 in total investments. That’s about what we started with four years ago but now we have a lot more.

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Summer Vacation for 5 in Europe: 9 Weeks, 8 Countries, 14 Cities, $10,000

The Root of Good family is ramping up for an epic adventure across Europe during the summer of 2017. The five of us will spend nine weeks traversing an all new (to us) continent by train, plane, bus, car, and foot.

We really struggled to narrow down the itinerary to something feasible for a family with three young children. As a result this trip will NOT include London nor Paris nor a dozen other cities we would have loved to visit. What we will see are museums, parks, castles, palaces, cathedrals, caves, mountains, seas, rivers, lakes, and canyons scattered about the rest of western and central Europe.

Many will view this as a “trip of a lifetime” or a “dream trip” but I choose to view this as just another cool vacation in a series of vacations we have already taken and will continue to take.

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Cruising the Caribbean aboard the MSC Divina

What’s the best way to fight off winter’s chill? Spend a week cruising the Caribbean of course! Right before Christmas the Root of Good family did exactly that. I wanted to share a few pictures from our eight day, seven night cruise aboard the MSC Divina sailing out of Miami, Florida.

After two lazy days at sea, we reached the island of St. Maarten where we watched airplanes zip by just feet off the beach. The next day we docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico where we explored the city and toured the Castillo San Cristobal fort. Then we enjoyed another relaxing day at sea before we reached Nassau, Bahamas. We didn’t get off the boat in Nassau since we seem to visit the island on every cruise we take. Relaxing on the ship while everyone was on shore proved to be the perfect way to spend the last full day of our vacation.

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The Great American Canadian Road Trip – Summer 2016 Edition

I dropped some hints about our big summer plans in my last post, and now it’s time to make it official! We’re going on an almost month long road trip to Canada by way of Kentucky and Michigan. For those following along with my early retirement journey for the past few years, you might be experiencing deja vu because doesn’t a month long road trip to Canada sound familiar?

You aren’t experiencing deja vu. In 2014 we did set out on what was supposed to be a month long road trip to Canada that turned into a two and a half week road trip when we came home early. The exhaustion that comes from superintending a rambunctious two year old combined with a disappointingly dirty Airbnb apartment rental persuaded us that it was time to return back home to Raleigh for some true R and R.

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