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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. We hope one of our posts is useful for you. Please let us know what you think!

Recent Posts

Q2 Update — Geoarbitrage 2019

Our first geoarbitrage year is really starting to unfold now that Quarter 2 is in the books. The good news is that we are on plan, pretty much exactly as projected. Looking back at Quarter 1 we started the year out in Southeast Asia where our cost of living and total spending were held at 75% of our monthly budget. Quarter 1 in Southeast Asia was important for our plan in order to balance out our spending as we spend the summer in Europe where the cost of living is much higher. READ MORE…

The Gift of Being Podcast Guests

We were recently guests on the Debt Free Guys’ Queer Money Podcast. The show is Episode 160, “5 Tips for Mastering Geoarbitrage.” We are definitely more introverts than extroverts, and this podcast was a big deal for us! We built our website and social media platforms so we could share stories about our personal experiences and make sure our friends and family had a way to follow us while we travel, and also as tools for connecting with people and making new friends along the way. One of the biggest surprises from our full time travels so far, is that our virtual networks have become really important to us.  READ MORE…

City Report — Koh Samui

This was our 2nd stop in Thailand. We were not originally planning to visit Koh Samui, we were actually planning to be on Koh Lanta island. But we found an amazing house sitting opportunity that was so appealing that we dropped our plans to visit Koh Lanta and shortened our plans to visit Cambodia to make the house sitting dates fit in our travel plans. Our stay in Koh Samui was well worth all of the changes we made. Koh Samui is somewhat more expensive in terms of hotel costs compared to other islands, and though it does have a large backpacker beach crowd it seems to appeal more visitors who are looking for a luxury experience at relatively cheap prices. Of course we are the type of nerds who travel to a place like this and avoid all luxury and even all beaches though. We were there for one reason — pet/house sitting. READ MORE…

Credit Cards and Cash on the Road

One of the questions we get asked frequently is, “How do you pay for your daily purchases while traveling?” The way we handled cash, cards and purchases while we were in Asia for 5 months was definitely not like our routine when we are in the US. And it was also different from the way we did things in Europe last year. Our routine has definitely evolved over time as we changed from vacation travelers to full time nomads, but we also develop routines for handling our spending based on our specific location. In some countries we use a predominately cash based system and in others we put all purchases on credit cards. READ MORE…

City Report — Phuket

This was our 1st stop in Thailand. We had read a lot about Phuket as the most popular tourist destination in Thailand – which is exactly why we did not intend to travel to Phuket! Our plan was to spend 10 days on Ko Lanta island, but a housesitting opportunity came up in Phuket so we decided to jump on it, and we are very glad that we did. Truly. 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…

Our First Day in Hiroshima

Our first day in Hiroshima was eye opening, heart warming, and heart breaking. We checked in at our Airbnb home and then immediately went out to visit Peace Memorial Park. We wanted to start our visit to Hiroshima by paying our respects to the victims of the atomic bomb. We are incredibly grateful that our first walk through Peace Memorial Park was on May 4 in the middle of the Flower Festival at the end of Golden Week. Peace Memorial Park was very crowded with families and the mood was joyful and celebratory. People were so friendly and made us feel very welcome, which helped us process all of the emotions we were feeling. We probably saw more than 100 people make the peace sign in the first hour we were there. 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…

Expat Medical Insurance and Medical Tourism

One of our major concerns when starting our early retirement was health insurance. I won’t get into the debate right now about why US medical insurance and healthcare are so expensive, or whether or not the US provides the best healthcare. Suffice it to say, we all need to take care of our health, and there are times when we will need to see a specialist or get more complicated care. Like the bunion surgery I had on my left foot in June of 2018. And like the surprise hysterectomy Ali had in September of 2018, just one month before we left our condo in Seattle. I know, TMI. But remember here at AOC, it’s just us, and we like to share our stories! READ MORE…

Pools of Possibilities

I was on FaceTime the other day with a dear friend of mine and we were talking about emergency funds. This friend has a fund set aside that represents almost one year of their expenses. I think that’s quite impressive foresight to set this kind of money aside for their rainy day.Having that kind of money just “sitting” in the bank is hard for a lot of people. We have been told repeatedly we have to get our money to “work” for us. It has to earn interest, pay dividends, appreciate, and be invested right? 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…