The beach just steps out side the Shamba door
Summer is full upon us and so are the jlcollinsnh annual travels. This year we are headed back to our in-laws beach house on Lake Michigan in Wisconsin. It is a drop dead gorgeous setting with sandy beach stretching for miles in both directions. We call it Shamba, a Swahili word meaning, near as I can figure, a remote rural place. It is one of my favorite places in the world and we are fortunate that they graciously allow us its use.
In addition to walks on the beach, I’ll have some serious downtime to spend on the book. I’m about half way through the first major rewrite and with any luck will have rough manuscript completed by the time we leave. From there it is a process of polish, polish, polish.
Looking over the rooftops of Hacienda Cusin
We’ll have about a week back in New Hampshire before I head down to Ecuador for this year’s Chautauqua. We had an absolute blast last year and I am really looking forward to it. Plus being up in the Andes, it will be a welcome break from summer’s heat. While this event sold out in less than two weeks, word is due to cancellations we now have two spots open. If you are interested: Above the Clouds Retreats.
In my own post, Travels with “Esperando un Camino”, I talk about our prefered style of travel. This is what Somerset Maugham has to say:
“I admire the strenuous tourist who sets out in the morning with his well-thumbed Baedecker to examine the curiosities of a foreign town, but I do not follow in his steps; his eagerness after knowledge, his devotion to duty, compel my respect, but excite me to no imitation. I prefer to wander in old streets at random without a guidebook, trusting fortune will bring me across things worth seeing; and if occasionally I miss some monument that is world-famous, more often I discover some little dainty piece of architecture, some scrap of decoration, that repays me for all else I lose. I am relieved now and again to visit a place that has no obvious claims on my admiration; it throws me back on the peculiarities of the people, on the stray incidents of the street, on the contents of the shops.”
Same concept. He just says it more succinctly, with greater style and much more elegantly.
Meanwhile, here’s some random stuff that caught my eye and educated or amused me. Sometimes both.
Charm of Light, designed by Timucin Sagel of Istanbul, Turkey
The landscape above is entirely underwater. As are these.
Urban Agroecoloy: 6,000 lbs of food on 1/10th acre
How talking about frogs leads to internet porn: Explaining sex to an eight-year-old
Imagine you are a Martian sitting on your front porch sipping your morning coffee when this comes bouncing past:
Ever wonder what the journey to financial independence might look like in real-time? My pal the Mad Fientist is putting his Guinea Pig thru it right now:
Do you hate thinking, talking, reading about insurance? Especially life insurance? Me too. Might be why I never wrote about it for the blog. Now I don’t have to:
No one wears a bulletproof vest hoping to get shot
Yeah, it’s about insurance, but an easy and useful read anyway. Cool title, too.
How about taxes? Curious as to what your taxes might look like in retirement? While everybody’s situation will vary, here are two excellent posts from my pal Jeremy detailing his own tax strategy as he travels the world as an early retiree: Never pay taxes again and his actual 2013 tax return.
Reminiscing about the glory days of 2008 and losing 400k in the stock market
More on why VTSAX is the cat’s meow from:
Budgets are sexy and Thrifty Gal
Sunk Costs: how to look forward not backward.
Here’s why jlcollinsnh.com can enjoy such a large European readership:
Courtesy of Jakub Marian
The results say India for me. Well, I’ve been there a couple of times, but that was back in the ’80s. Might be time to go again!
Words of Wisdom from a (possibly) mad man
“Hooker’s Lips” and other bizarre flowers
See that thing on the guy’s finger. That’s a pull-tab, the way cans were opened once upon a time. They found their way onto the ground everywhere. People used to speculate as to what archeologists would make of these things in the distant future. I haven’t seen one in decades.
Here are more Coke ads from the 1960s. Slices of life back in the day.
In my Manifesto I end by saying: Read.
There is nothing you can’t learn, no place you can’t go, if you read.
Maugham’s The Razor’s Edge might now be my all time favorite novel, although I still love Cold Mountain. Written in 1943 and set in the 1920s, it is the story of engaged Larry and Isabel. One who wants the free-spirit life of roaming and learning and the other who craves the luxuries and status wealth can provide. The dialog that leads to them to take their separate ways is stunning. Fun, but also an important read for those walking a different path.
In my luggage as we head to Shamba are two more of his novels, a collection of short stories and a collection of his travel writings. I’m not sure if these will inspire me in my work on my own book, distract me from it completely or leave me too discouraged in the face of such superb writing to continue with it. But I know I’ll enjoy the reading of them.
The 100 Year Old Man is laugh out loud funny and the story of an amazing life that unfolds simply by following fate where it leads.
Wash is a beautifully written and constructed novel set in the early 1800s. It is about slavery without all the clichés to which books about slavery typically fall prey.
Back in March while in Antigua, Guatemala more than once I’d stop by Sobremesa for a late dinner. The crowds had cleared by then and what was left was always an interesting mix of characters. One traveler was carrying Shantaram. Alex, the joint’s owner, reached below his counter and produced his own copy. At some 900 pages it is an intense travel adventure that will have you literally tasting the flavor of India as you read. Perfect book for your travels, exotic or home based.
One last thing. Sometime this winter I’m thinking of traveling to Uruguay and/or Argentina. If you happen to live there and/or have a connection and might be interested in meeting and offering some suggestions, please let me know.
Enjoy your summer!
Addendum – Ethical Investing: Overall I am not a fan of ethical investing. Not because, I hope, I’m not ethical but because anytime you ask investments to do more than make money for you, you begin to ask too much. Plus what is ethical is subject to very wide interpretation. Still it is a question that is important to many people and it comes up around here on a regular basis. My friend, FF, just published this excellent post both describing ethical investing and making the case for it. When the question comes up in the future I’ll just link to it. 🙂