If you have read this blog for long, or any of my Chautauqua posts, you know that for the last couple of years we have taken small groups to Ecuador for a week of adventure and conversation surrounding life, freedom, happiness and investing.
We call it a Chautauqua, an old Native American word Robert M. Pirsig, the author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, translates loosely as
“…an old-time series of popular talks intended to edify and entertain, improve the mind and bring culture and enlightenment to the ears and thoughts of the hearer.”
Each time now we’ve attracted an incredibly diverse and fascinating group of people. Almost everyone has described it as one of the (if not the) best weeks of their lives. To give you a flavor of what goes on, here’s my recap of last Fall’s: Lighting Strikes Again.
We all know that, in reading blogs like this one, we are walking the path less traveled and frequently not understood by those in our daily lives. But for this one week we get to be surrounded by others who “get it.”
The fact we get to do this in a stunning beautiful country while staying at the majestically situated El Encanto (The Enchanted) Hosteria built into foothills of the Andes mountains, still leaves me a bit slack-jawed.
I first stayed at El Encanto in 2012 during my trip to Ecuador to meet Cheryl and to discuss the creation of these Chautauquas. While she hosted me the first few days at her farm (a remarkable experience in itself), I also wanted to have first hand experience with one of the places we were considering for these events. I was, well, enchanted and have been wanting to return ever since. This is the year!
Clouds at Birth
El Encanto has been carved out of a hillside overlooking a lush subtropical valley. The view is spectacular and you can actually look down to see clouds being born from the river below.
Moreover, this place is exactly on the Equator! It runs right though it.
Each morning I’d take my coffee out and decide: Shall I have it today in the Northern Hemisphere? No, wait. Let me step over here to the Southern! Sip. Ah! That’s good! But let’s step back and have a bit more in the Northern. There we go. Sip. Oh, that’s good too! Wait, wait! I know. Let’s put one foot here in the North and this foot here in the South….
In addition to going to El Encanto, the other thing that is new this year is that we will be offering two Chautauquas back-to-back. As before, each will have four speakers:
October 17-24, 2015
- Mr. Money Mustache
- Paula Pant from Afford Anything
- Cheryl Reed from Above the Clouds Retreats
- Jim Collins from jlcollinsnh
October 24-31, 2015
- Brandon from The Mad Fientist
- Jeremy from Go Curry Cracker
- Cheryl Reed from Above the Clouds Retreats
- Jim Collins from jlcollinsnh
- And a guest appearance by Mr. Money Mustache
So, who are these people?
Cheryl Reed is the owner and founder of Above the Clouds Retreats and one of the most relentlessly happy people I’ve ever met. Here’s a story:
The son of her farm worker borrows her truck and promptly rolls it. Her response to this very poor young man: “There are three responsible parties for this. You, who rolled the truck. I, for letting you take it. God, for permitting it to happen. You will pay a third of the cost (bartered in his labor as he had no money), I will pay for a third and I will see what I can do about getting the final third from God.”
This delivered with a smile, a wink and a laugh. Clearly, Cheryl is someone I can learn from. Maybe you can, too. Her talk is Following Your Bliss and she’ll be the first speaker at both events.
Paula Pant is a journalist, globetrotter, entrepreneur and investor who has traveled to 32 countries. She’s her own boss and lives on her own terms, and she’s figured out how to live and work anytime, anywhere in the world. She writes the wonderful and wonderfully named blog Afford Anything.
Her talk is Three Rebellious Roads to Financial Independence. If you’re ready, Paula can teach you how to shatter limits and maximize your life.
I’m proud to call her a friend.
Mr. Money Mustache is a master of many things: Software (formerly), family life, carpentry, building, writing and finance. But most of all, in my opinion, effective life-style design.
In his talk he’ll dismantle the false connection between spending and happiness, and show you how to craft a deeply rewarding approach based on fostering your own inner badassity. You’ll learn to eliminate weakness and dependency while developing your personal ruggedness in all areas of life. Fear will slip away, replaced by an inner peace built on confidence and a powerful appreciation of “enough.”
You’ll see first hand why the Mustachianism has become the cult phenomenon it is today. Plus he’s just plain fun to hang out with!
That’s the Mad Fientist in the picture above looking relaxed and tropical. He should. He’s hanging out in Thailand at the moment, having quit his job last Spring immediately after getting his free Ivy League Graduate degree. At least he tried to quit his job. When he did, they said “No, no. We can’t have that. Of course you can work from wherever in the world you happen to be. Oh, and how about some more money?”
His talk will be The Shortest Path to Financial Independence. It is not often these days I find a writer who truly expands my financial horizons. Someone so clear and insightful that when we disagree I find myself re-evaluating my thinking. But what a thrill when I do.
Thrilling enough that I asked him to write the first (of only two) guest post on my Stock Series. It has proven to be one of the most popular and if you want to know what I really think about this guy, you’ll find it in my introduction there.
By the time Chautauqua rolls around, he’ll be traveling from Scotland to join us. But that doesn’t qualify him as our furthest flung speaker….
That international man of mystery above is none other than Jeremy, one half of the Go Curry Cracker team. He’ll be coming to us from ( “I’m going to sit in a flying tube of aluminum for 36 hours each way just to participate…”) Taiwan, where Winnie will be better occupied with their newest team member — the soon-to-be-born GCCjr.
I came across GCC about two years ago and was drawn in by what, to me, is the perfect international life. I couldn’t get enough of his travel posts and in my own journeys I just missed him in Mexico and then again in Guatemala.
Then, occasionally, he started including some financial ones. They blew me away! How about: Never Pay Taxes Again? Or reaching total financial freedom in 10 Years and a Day?
Would you like to travel the world financially carefree? Or sit on your porch sipping coffee and leisurely deciding what this day will bring?
In this session on becoming your own International Person of Mystery, Jeremy will show you exactly how team GCC uses the investing strategies of jlcollinsnh (aw, shucks) and the tax minimization strategies of the Mad Fientist to live a luxurious itinerant lifestyle for less than you might think.
This is theory put into action. And along those lines, later in the week and after our talks, MF, GCC and I will host a panel discussion to further explore with you how this all works together.
Then, of course, there’s me.
Here at jlcollinsnh we discuss mostly why you need F-you money and how to grow yours. In our conversations, Cheryl and I agree that money for the sake of money is almost completely uninteresting. But it is a wonderful tool, as AA, MMM, MF and GCC each illustrate everyday.
Financial independence allows for far greater freedom and range in the pursuit of happiness. That’s why my topic at both Chautauquas will be How to Harness the World’s Most Powerful Wealth Building Tool.
So these are your speakers and hosts. But unlike many events, we won’t be just getting up, giving our talks and disappearing. We’ll be hanging out with you all week, sharing meals and adventures. This is part of what makes these Chautauquas so special for us and for the attendees.
You’ll also have a chance to select one of us for a private one-on-one-session. Each will be an hour-long and you’ll have a chance to discuss whatever issues are most pressing for you.
To have time for these is one key reason why we limit attendance. While we’ll try to accommodate everybody’s first choice, slots will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. So if you want me, or if you want to be sure not to get stuck with me, you’ll want to sign up early.
Of course we’re not going to bring you to Ecuador and not explore a bit of it. Together we’ll:
- Witness an authentic Shamanic Cleansing
- Lunch at the stunning Pululauhua Crater
- Visit Cheryl’s Finca
- Travel to Mindo to visit a Butterfly Farm, zipline over the cloud forest, and indulge in a chocolate tour followed by dinner.
- Enjoy a beautiful presentation of Folkloric Dance
- And work together on a community service project giving back a bit to the local people
- There will also be an optional Cable Car Quito Tour at the end of the week for those whose flight schedules allow.
Plus you’ll have plenty of free time to enjoy the pool, sauna, jacuzzi, hike or nap. If past Chautauquas are any guide, my guess is you’ll be doing all this hanging with your new friends. People who, like you, “get it.”
Speaking of giving back, as with every Chautauqua, a full 10% of all profits will go to the The Project One Corner.
Should you decide to join us, and I hope you do, here is the…
- registration page for October 17-24: Mr. Money Mustache, Afford Anything, jlcollinsnh and Cheryl
- registration page for October 24-31: Mad Fientist, Go Curry Cracker, jlcollinsnh and Cheryl
As before, attendance is limited. If the event you chose is filled, you’ll have the option to select the other or go on the wait list in case of cancellations.
Want to know more about what this adventure feels like?
Both posts also have links to what the other speakers and attendees have written.
And check out these posts from the other Chautauqua 2015 speakers:
- Go Curry Cracker – Una Fiesta Ecuatoriana
- The Mad Fientist — Adventures Abroad
Addendum 1: March 19, 2015
Exactly one week after this post went up, I have just received word both Chautauquas have sold out. We are thrilled and humbled at this incredible response. Last year it took two weeks.
But we also regret now having to turn people away. However, Cheryl will be compiling a “wait list” and if you are interested I strongly urge you to go to the registration pages (see links in the post) and put in your name. Life being life, it is not unusual for some to have to cancel as the time grows closer. No guarantees, but having your name on this list gets you a step closer.
And if not this year, hopefully we will see you in 2016!
How to travel to Ecuador for Free!
Or close to it. My pal Brad operates the blog Richmond Savers. He is a master at travel hacking and provides personal coaching in the art. He just emailed me generously offering to personally guide each Chautauqua attendee thru the process of hacking their travel to Ecuador for little or no cash outlay.
Plus, he is doing this for Free!
Not only will this potentially save you ~$1000 in airfare (depending on where you’re coming from), you’ll pick up valuable $$ saving skills for future travel.
If you are interested, after you register send Brad an email with “Chautauqua” in the subject line: email@example.com
Note: Chautauqua 2016:
Dates, locations and speakers are set: Above the Clouds Retreats
Not sure when registration will open. Stay tuned!
Meanwhile, and unrelated to the Chautauquas, recently…
- Responding to my post on Dollar Cost Averaging, Mike & Lauren explore the emotional side of the question in this video: What is your emotional threshold?
- Over on 1500 Days:
- And, if that’s not enough, you’ll find even more on my As Seen On… page.
I hope you’ll check ’em out!