Going on a Cruise Part 4 – The Food!

I’m all out money saving cruise tips, so here’s a picture post of the different types of food you can enjoy on board.

We thought the food was pretty good, but not everyone agrees. The food varies from cruise line to cruise line, ship to ship, restaurant to restaurant, and even night to night. It’s possible we’ve had a string of good luck with the food on the five cruises we have taken so far.

We really enjoy the variety of dishes because we get to experience things we don’t routinely cook at home.

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Going on a Cruise Part 1 – Overview

In the past year, the Root of Good family went on two cruises in the Caribbean. I wrote about the first cruise in my September 2014 financial update, and a few people wanted to learn more about cruises.

I think cruising gets unfairly painted with a broad brush. My advice is to discard any preconceived notions you have about cruising such as “it’s for old people”, “it’s boring”, “I don’t want to be stuck on a ship with 3,000 other people”, or “no thanks, not interested in plastic wrapped vacations”.

Just think of a cruise as a floating resort hotel with free food and free transportation to a few sunny and sandy destinations. With free entertainment for kids and adults, 360 degree oceanfront views, and maybe some sea spray if it’s windy.

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The Gear Post: What We Packed For A Seven Week Trip With Kids

First a bit of philosophy. While we were on our trip, we wanted to be nimble and not encumbered by heavy bags. Large luggage with wheels means checked bags on airlines and the need to flag a taxi if you’re going more than a few blocks. We chose to pack light and take smaller bags so we could walk a mile or so if necessary without needing to take a taxi. Light bags mean we can stop at a store and grab something quickly without fumbling with huge luggage. Packing light also let us hop on and off local buses and subways instead of calling a taxi. This meant spending $1.30 USD to get to and from the airport in Mexico City, for example, instead of $20+ for a taxi. It also means we can exit the plane with all our luggage in hand and proceed directly to our destination and not wait 30+ minutes at baggage claim (if the bags ever show up at all!).

Our light packing made us look a little silly at times. We sometimes get the question “where is your luggage?” because we’re only carrying bookbags for a two month trip.

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Eating Our Way Across Mexico

Our seven week trip through Mexico is slowly coming to an end. As we work our way across the country, we are doing our best to sample every menu item possible. Since we only have seven weeks, we are setting ourselves up for failure given the regional and national diversity of food in Mexico.

The food was a key motivator in our decision to come to Mexico. It’s good. Really good. So good that I eat it all the time at home (mostly cooked in my own kitchen). In fact, while we were on our summer vacation in Canada last year, I suffered from Mexican food withdrawal in Quebec City. Here in Mexico we are (obviously) surrounded by Mexican food every day. And I love it.

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June 2015 Financial Update

June is over which means we are half way through the year already. After climbing for most of the year, our net worth reversed course and dropped to $1,519,000 due to fluctuations in the stock market. Our income outpaced our expenses by a few thousand dollars and spending for the year remains within our budget. I’d say we are doing pretty well in spite of the drop in net worth.

Right now we are at the midpoint of our seven week vacation in Mexico, so our spending is very different than it normally is while at home in Raleigh.

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Retiring Abroad – Could We Do It?

We are in the middle of our seven week adventure in Mexico right now. Although we traveled to Mexico just for fun, I’m also viewing the trip as an opportunity to explore a few places where we might spend prolonged periods of time in the future. That might mean spending a year or more living abroad or spending summers or winters chasing nice weather.

Mexico tends to top the lists of places to retire abroad. I think I know why: inexpensive living, good weather, and close proximity to the US. But it’s not all rainbows and unicorns south of the border.

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Exploring Guanajuato, Mexico

As week two of our seven week adventure in Mexico came to an end, we took a day trip to Guanajuato, Mexico. It’s only an hour and a half from San Miguel de Allende (where we are staying for two weeks) so it makes for a perfect destination for the day.

To summarize: the city was beautiful. Founded in the 1500’s by the wealth extracted from the town’s silver mines, the town still retains it’s charm today even though silver production has tapered off.

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The Start Of Our Adventures in Mexico

As I’m writing this at our house in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, the house maid laboriously scrubs all horizontal and vertical surfaces in the kitchen and just finished washing the dishes. It’s taking some time to get used to having a maid deep clean the house every other day while we lie around the house, stuff our faces and head out for a day of adventuring.

When I say “house”, I should really say “compound”. There is a main house and a separate apartment above us where the kids sleep. Each house has its own kitchen, living room, bathroom(s), and patio.

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