Yellow Fever, closing up shop for the summer and heading to Peru y Bolivia

For over a week now I’ve been afflicted with Yellow Fever.

 I blame the Bolivians.

Reasonable people might suggest I also bear some personal responsibility.  It was I, after all, who made the appointment at the clinic, drove over and said to the nice lady, “Say, why don’t you load up a syringe with a bunch of that Yellow Fever virus you guys have sitting around and pump it into my arm?”  Which she, in a most accommodating fashion, did.  She also suggested I might experience “flu-like” symptoms that could last “up to a week.”

“No worries,” I said.  “Stick that needle home.  I can take it.”  I might have flexed my bicep just a bit. The next day I was a whimpering, fever ridden hollow-eyed shell.  Flu-like indeed.  If flu viruses pumped iron on steroids.

But without a stamp in my documents that I can only get after having the shot, the Bolivians wouldn’t let me cross their border.  So I blame them.

Still not quite over this little adverse reaction, in less than a week I’ll be adjusting to the high altitudes of life in the Andes.  Not something to be taken lightly if you value having air in the actual air you breathe.  Like a financial lesson:  Learn to live with less.  Should make for an interesting start to our summer.  Bolivia had better be a pretty spectacular place.

Last year we disappeared to Ecuador.  It is a spectacular place. We rented a place in Quito and, using it as a base, made side trips around the country.

A few blocks from our apartment we discovered a chocolate shop/cafe.  Poking around we got to talking to Ruth, the owner and shortly found ourselves at a table drinking mugs of her very special hot chocolate.  Then her friend Celeste showed up and a few hours of lively conversation later we mentioned we were looking for a Spanish tutor.  Celeste has a friend who does exactly that and the next day she brings Sylvia around to our apartment.  In short order we have our tutor and, soon, a new friend.  Last October she came to visit us here in New Hampshire during a week of peak fall colors and perfectly bright and crisp New England weather.

Sylvia is, of course, not just a tutor.  Apparently nobody in Ecuador is just one thing.  Her daughter is a travel agent and Sylvia serves on occasion as a tour guide.  Two of her specialties are Peru and Bolivia.


The very destinations we had planned next.

Normally I avoid tours but I also believe the best way to see a place is with a local.  Her extensive experience with these countries in her back yard makes her enough of a local for me and this an opportunity not to pass by.  We’ll see the nooks and crannies she’s discovered over the years and we’ll do it at our own relaxed pace.

Other than my being kitten weak, it’s all coming together nicely.

Since we travel without smart phones or laptops (don’t own either) the blog will go dark for a while.  Every now and again I might stumble into an internet cafe but that’ll be just to check in.

Since it has only been a few weeks since my guest post over on Mr. Money Mustache, I feel a bit guilty about abandoning all my many new readers.  Sorry guys!  But not so much as to change my plans.  Longer term readers know to expect this.  I am, after all, retired and can no longer be expected to be reliable.

If you haven’t already, you might take a moment to subscribe.  It’s free and that way the moment I get back (and who know when that will be) you’ll be notified of any new posts.  Figure around September.  Meanwhile below you’ll find some random stuff I’ve  found interesting of late.  Maybe you might too.

When I was about 10, one of my older sisters brought home:

They Call the Wind Maria

South Coast

Zombie Jamboree

From that moment I wanted to leave home, hang out in smokey cafes, wander the wild coast and get hurt in a landslide.

Here, in case you are looking for something to do, are 10 of the world’s unsolved mysteries:

Several things here I can’t do:  Yoga & Dance

Damn. Another brilliant MMM post:  The 4% Rule  Far and away the best explanation/defense of the 4% rule I’ve yet to read.  How I wish you’d been writing when I was young and just sorting thru this stuff.  4% is the guiding rule I use. Nothing, of course, is guaranteed. That why we all need to remain flexible, alert and, well, Mustachian.

Along those lines, I just dealt with a lengthy comment from ddrem on my own blog describing the disastrous position the world is in today and calling into question my portfolio recommendations accordingly.  Not only will we muddle thru, it is my belief we are on the verge of another great bull market. For lots of reasons, not the least of which is simply these things go in cycles.   People always seem to believe the world will end on their watch. But it never does. It is the dark that sets the stage for the dawn.  If I’m wrong and the dawn is still a ways off, that’s OK too. There are lots of adjustments I can make and options to explore.

If I were a billionaire I’d do it as a combo of these two guys:

With a cool name like Elon Musk how can you wind up as anything other than a billionaire?

Check out this 60 Minutes interview by Scott Pelley.

Pretty good until Scott gets all a flutter when he learns Elon has put 100 million into Spacex.  Mega bucks until you remember Scott himself reported just minute earlier that the guy is worth 2 Billion.  So he’s risking a scant 5% of his net worth.  Mmmm.  I’ve blown more than that (percentage) on a bad gold mining stock.  One of the many reasons I’m not a billionaire.

Everybody with a couple of billion should find a really cool project like Spacex.

My pal Shilpan makes the great point that becoming a minimalist is not about deprivation and it is about purging from your life things, thoughts and people no longer adding value.  Something I’m working on my own self.

How the hell does this happen?  One day the duck decides, “Ya know, pet fish would be nice….”

Japanese Beethoven 9th symphony   Ode to Joy from my pal 101 Centavos.  You’ve never heard, or seen, it like this.

Nice house.  Wonder if they can get pizza delivered?

 If you are looking for a good book or two, here’s what I’ve been reading of late:

Edge of Dark Water by Joe R. Lansdale.  Beautifully written novel with phrases I wish I could conjure up:  “….as rare as baptized rattlesnakes.”  Think of Huckleberry Finn with lots more violence.  Three kids escaping on a raft down an East Texas river with a jar of money, jar of their friend’s ashes and a bunch of really bad people close behind.  It opens with the main character’s no good step-daddy fishing with poison and pulling up May Lynn’s body wired to an old sewing machine.

In the Shadow of the Sword by Tom Holland.  Mr. Holland’s history of the birth of Islam reads like gripping fiction.  The cast of characters is endlessly fascinating as is the geography across which they stride.  Of course, no story of Islam is complete without a telling of the evolution of Christianity and Judaism, its two great monotheistic predecessors.  Even if you think this is a topic not for you, give it a shot.  I’ll be reading more by Mr. Holland.

Have a wonderful summer!

I’m off to freshen my iced tea.

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Important Resources

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  • NewRetirement offers cool tools to help guide you in answering the question: Do I have enough money to retire? And getting started is free. Sign up and you will be offered two paths into their retirement planner. I was also on their podcast and you can check that out here:Video version, Podcast version.
  • Tuft & Needle (T&N) helps me sleep at night. They are a very cool company with a great product. Here’s my review of what we are currently sleeping on: Our Walnut Frame and Mint Mattress.


  1. Shilpan says

    Thanks for the mention my friend! I will miss you dearly, but I am also happy to know that you are on a mission to acquire experiences while shading thoughts, stuff and relationships that are not adding any value. Bravo! It would be nice if you can keep a diary of your experiences to share with us when you return, or even, if you get an hour to write a post from a cafe.. 🙂

  2. A says

    JL –
    What a coincidence, I’m just a couple chapters away from finishing “Edge of Dark Water.”

    Question. I’ve never done any foreign traveling but would like to take a long vacation outside of the US, thinking Costa Rica, but haven’t decided. How do you go about finding long term (3 or more months) accommodations at a reasonable price?

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Hi A,

      are you liking it?

      We’re still new to the long term stay bit, but have used the internet to find ours. As you might expect, once on site the places are not always as nice as in the pictures and the neighborhoods not quite as convenient. Plus, it seems there are better deals locally.

      Costa Rica is filled with rentals. If I were going for six weeks I’d spend the first week in and enjoying the amenities of a hotel. The mission and adventure of the week would be to meet locals in the pursuit and securing of an apartment for the remaining five.

      Bon Voyage!

    • Trish says

      A – consider Belize. (And oddly – Panama.)
      I know all three – and Costa Rica gets the best PR, but has become pricey. All 3 are excellent.
      – Just a thought.

    • RW says

      JC, Enjoy vacation! I have read through all the posts and can’t wait to read more on your site. Good luck with the yellow fever recovery…I remember the days in the Military getting all the innoculations oh the joy of it all. Malaria pills are better than the shot, unless you like the hallucinations. Just in case you travel to Africa any time soon. I have enjoyed your advce and posts. Came over from the Mr. MM site…Thanks

        • RW says

          Mostly the war torn places… Always felt very lucky to be born in America after a visit to Africa. Let’s see been to Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Morocco. Republic of the Congo (called something else now) Angola, Rwanda, and of course Cape Verde. Most of the places I never stayed very long security reasons of course. Mostly remember the smells and very poor conditions. Not really fond memories, also the reason I feel lucky for many things in life. Glad your back safely, welcome Home!

  3. femmefrugality says

    Oh, no…I hope the symptoms completely ebb soon! I dated a guy from Ecuador once. He was in such amazement of how the American money he sent home went such a far way. I hope you have a great time this summer in Bolivia! Here’s to financial freedom allowing you to travel where and when you want. 🙂

  4. arebelspy says

    I’ll miss your posts, but this gives me good motivation to finally go back to the beginning and read every post chronologically. (Whee for CV posts 😉 ).

    Enjoy your trip.

    I’m already subscribed via RSS, so I’ll be sure to be around when you start updating again.

    One request for a post when you get back/have time: I’d love to hear about your successful real estate investments (the condo losing story already being well covered.)


  5. Lorraine says

    Bolivia is a magical place. I spent a year living there ( took a year off between high school and college) and so it occupies a very special place in my heart. Have a wonderful trip! Looking forward to reading about your adventures.

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