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2 girls, post-FIRE, home-free, slow traveling around the world

About us

We are Ali and Alison Walker, and we used to call Seattle, Washington our home. We met in 2004, married in 2006, and retired in 2018. After reaching FIRE (Financial Independence / Retire Early) we wanted a complete and total change from our career-focused lives. We decided that meant leaving our Seattle life behind and making travel our new lifestyle. By November of 2018 we had sold our home and car, let go of 99% of our belongings, and left Seattle. READ MORE…

Our Blog

We have separated our blog posts into 2 different categories. Alison writes our Money Crush posts, and Ali writes our Travel Stories. And recently we have decided we are ready to start also posting a few more personal posts as well, which we call It’s just us. We hope one of our posts is useful for you. Please let us know what you think!

Recent Posts

That Retreat Really Got Me Thinking

We spent an amazing week at a retreat in Otavalo, Ecuador in November 2019. This was one of the well known Chautauqua’s in the FIRE community which was originally conceived by Cheryl Reed and JL Collins together and started occurring in Cheryl’s adopted country of Ecuador back in 2013. We first heard about these events back in 2014 and though the idea of attending a FIRE retreat was appealing to us, the events seemed like math camp for software engineers didn’t completely appeal to us. But then early in 2019 we got notifications about a Chautauqua Cheryl was hosting where she had assembled an all female presenter lineup that was very intentionally geared towards creating a meaningful post-FIRE life. And that event was perfect for us! READ MORE…

City Report — Chiang Mai

This was the city in Thailand we were most excited to visit since it’s a great location for expats. We had already stayed in 7 cities in SE Asia over the previous 2 months so we were ready to slow down and try to live like locals as much as possible. We decided to stay in Chiang Mai for 3 weeks and get to know that location as much as possible during our stay. Unfortunately for us, things got complicated and our stay in Chiang Mai did not go exactly as planned. READ MORE…

What’s the Difference Between Being Stranded or Sheltering in Place?

I was born in California and lived in that state until I turned 29. Then I moved up the West Coast to Seattle, Washington when I was 30. Living on the West Coast most of my life I’ve experienced my fair share of big and impactful earthquakes and other types of weather events as well. I’m used to having backup items like food, water, flashlights, and even camp stoves ready to use in case I need to go without power and water for a few days. When Ali and I lived in Seattle together we always had those types of things on hand in case of bad weather in the city, and we actually used them during big storms more than once.  READ MORE…

My Money Background

When I try to imagine the concept of money as it relates to my early childhood, the first things I picture are the coin jar my sister and I shared, and my mom’s food stamps. I remember grocery shopping with my mom when I was little. She usually bought Tang, Pepsi, Doritos, frozen pizza, and cigarettes. I don’t remember her buying any actual FOOD though. We shopped at the Big T Supermarket in our little town of Livermore in northern California. Mom paid for groceries with a combination of cash and food stamps and there were lots of times when we were at the register and our mom realized she didn’t have enough money. READ MORE… 

Q3 Update — Geoarbitrage 2019

We have actual spending for Q3 in the books! We used to spend summers with mom in Seattle and now that we are nomads we are spending our summers on the road with mom. Q3 was all about having a fabulous summer in Europe with mom, and amazingly we are still on budget! READ MORE…

It Has Been 1 Year Since I Retired!

The 1st anniversary of my last day at work just slid by on September 4, 2019. I can’t believe I have officially been retired for 1 full year now. So how do I feel about that? It feels absolutely amazing to be retired. I’m so happy with my life right now that I can hardly find words to describe how that feels. In the spirit of keeping it simple (a rare thing for me) I’ll just say being retired is incredibly AWESOME and very satisfying. READ MORE…

City Report — Siem Reap

On our first trip to Cambodia we were only in the country for a total of 6 nights, and we spent all of them in Siem Reap so we could see the big tourist sites in the area. Angkor Archaeological Park is the most popular tourist destination in Cambodia, and probably the most important archaeological area in SE Asia. So obviously our visit was an amazing bucket list experience! READ MORE…

This Just Hit Me

Yesterday we drove from the Isle of Skye up to Inverness in Scotland. As I drove away from Skye I was aware of a strange new sensation. Not like an ache in a limb or butterflies in my stomach, it was something softer. It was a feeling like a new cushion that I was resting on. I remember thinking, where’s my typical stress from a long drive? As I write this I’m sitting outside our Airbnb on the Black Isle looking out across the water towards Inverness at rolling foothills and fields, and I can still feel the same cushion. READ MORE…

Avoiding The RMD Cliff

Now that we have retired I have been thinking about Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) from IRAs that must start when you hit age 70.5, and the potential dreaded “RMD Cliff.” The supposed negative impact of RMDs on your future tax bracket is a really important topic, and I’m tired of hearing, “Look out, it’s going to be scary in a few decades. Just wait and see how scary it will be.” Getting an answer like “It depends” is not good enough anymore. I want specifics! So I decided to build a spreadsheet that would help shed a little light on our potential RMD Cliff. READ MORE…

4 Months in SE Asia

2019 is our first year of early retirement after quitting our jobs and starting to live 100% off of our investments and savings. It’s also our first year as full-time travelers after selling our condo and getting rid of 99% of our belongings. So basically everything we have going on right now is new and exciting. People keep asking us what we are doing with our time. We are making an effort to share our stories through blogging and social media, which have become hobbies we really enjoy and thankfully they are also tools that help us meet new people and make friends as we travel. But mainly we spend our time exploring and learning about the places we visit, and we are also learning a lot about ourselves as we settle into this new nomadic lifestyle. READ MORE…

The Sunk Cost Fallacy, in Travel and in Life

As we’ve become more mindful of our money we have also learned how the sunk cost fallacy can be a challenge to deal with. The sunk cost fallacy is the dilemma of worrying that our spent money would go to waste when a change in circumstance occurs. According to Christopher Olivola, an assistant professor of marketing at the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University, “The sunk cost effect is the general tendency for people to continue an endeavor, or continue consuming or pursuing an option, if they’ve invested time or money or some resource in it. READ MORE…

Calculating Your Net Worth

Remember – your net worth is not your self worth. And we all have money baggage. Knowing all of the intimate details of your own money can put you in a vulnerable place. And it can be exponentially more scary if you’re in a relationship, because you are exposing all of your fears to someone else. We worry about what other people will think about us if we confess we have big consumer debt. READ MORE…

The AOC Personal Money Statement

We have been managing our own investments and money for a while now. It has definitely taken us some time (years) to build the confidence we needed to go it alone. The process became much easier for us once we found all the amazing information online from the FIRE community. And we have learned a lot from other authors, bloggers, and podcasters in the financial independence/retire early movement. The overwhelming message that we have gotten is — we can do this on our own. No matter what the money question is, with some accurate information, personal focus and structure, we can manage our money ourselves just fine. And so can YOU! READ MORE…

Visualizing Your Money

When considering this whole FIRE journey thing, it’s hard to figure out where to focus. Are we still paying off debt? Are we trying to buy a house? Have we been able to max out our 401k accounts? How much do we want to spend on travel? In our case, once we figured out our objectives, paying off mortgages and saving for travel, then we could really map out how to get there. READ MORE…