Surfing Hiatus 2015

Why hello there. Sorry for the absence. I’ve been gone on the annual surfing trip I take every year. Except I wasn’t as productive as last year, as evidenced by the posts I continued pumping out whilst on last year’s trip on: 1) Photography 2) Blogging Tips 3) Why Fools Play the Lottery (ironically, we bought a lottery ticket on this year’s trip so we must be fools) 4) Thoughts on Working Location Independent and 5) Efficient Markets. What did I produce on this years trip? Apparently only surfing and eating a lot of fish tacos. I did come away with a few thoughts though (sorry but I’m about to go a little meta on you guys).



It’s strange to think that I’ve never really played team sports. I mean I did when I was signed up for the little leagues as a child and as part of physical education in high school, but I never went out of my way to play them. It’s not that I’m not good at sports – in fact I am actually quite good at them, being able to pick them up at ease whenever I’m in a situation to play. I just never liked the team aspect of most of them.

I’ve always been obsessed with boards. I would ride my skateboard from dusk til dawn in high school. I was obsessed with snowboarding coming out of high school and into college. And I found my true sports love in surfing sometime in mid-college, which endures to this day. I’ve discarded skateboarding and to an extent snowboarding, but surfing will be with me forever.

It’s probably due to something in my brain wiring that I chose to pursue these rather individualistic sporting endeavours over the typical team sports. I’m sure there are advantages and disadvantages to this psychological quirk. Being a fiercely independent person, I’m not too surprised that I ended up riding boards. No one but yourself to motivate and push you.

And in a way, it relates back to my obsessive interest in investing. It’s also an endeavour that does not require teamwork for success. You learn, motivate, and push yourself from within. You don’t need others directly to succeed. And I like it just like that.


Another theme that really resonated with me on this year’s trip was time. I’ve been coming to this spot every year to surf for a decade now. A lot has happened within that decade. But it also felt so… short. While staring off into the ocean’s horizon while riding up and down the swells, I was struck by how limited time really is.

I thought to myself that if I’ve come here 10 times in 10 years, it means I realistically only have 3 cycles left – 3 decades and 30 more trips realistically for surfing. When you look back to see the first cycle has complete, and with only 3 left, it leaves you with a sense of awe at how fast time moves and how little is left.


When I first started learning about investing years ago, I naively thought that saving as much money as possible to compound at the highest rate possible was the goal. Thank god I only considered that idea in theory and never actually implemented it in practice. While most people can relate to financial independence, achieving it at all costs really isn’t the goal.

Take this surfing trip for example. If I wanted to save at the highest rate possible, I wouldn’t have taken this trip (or any other trips throughout the years). I spent money to travel to the location, have a warm place to stay at night, eat endless fish tacos, and go out for merriment all with a good friend. I don’t mean to get all “enjoy the journey” sentiment, but there is a lot of wisdom in it. I guess I just don’t see the point in being a miser to achieve a goal, discarding all that time in between.


I don’t really know where I was going with all this rambling. These were the thoughts that were swirling around in my head as I settle back into city life. I warned you that this was going to be a little lotta meta.

This quote by F. Scott Fitzgerald has been on my mind a lot lately, and I think it makes this whole concept of investing, saving, time, life, and financial goals a lot clearer:

The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.

15 thoughts on “Surfing Hiatus 2015

  1. Nice to read random thoughts every now and again, I like it!

    The quote at the end is a good one. It’s something I struggle with (in terms of your spending/saving example) so maybe I have only second rate intelligence, although I think I am getting there 😉

  2. I thought that this post was well organized. If it is rambling, then I enjoyed it.

    I have personally been pushing myself for the past 8 – 9 years towards FI, while also trying to do spontaneous things to spice things up as well such as travelling to places I have not seen before etc.

    1. Haha thanks. It’s been busy the last few weeks and I just basically regurgitated those thoughts after coming back home as I knew it was going to get busy getting ready for the marathon that happened over the weekend.

      Have you ever posted on your savings rate and/or how many absolute dollars you put away on average each and every month?

      1. Your savings percentage is more important than absolute dollars putting away each month.

        If I told you I put away $10,000/month you may think I am doing really well because you are focusing on the dollar amounts, and applying them to your situation, rather than the savings percentage. But if I spend $90,000/month this means I am very wasteful.

        Alternatively, if I told you I put away only $1,000/month, you may tell me that this is nothing, and might not be enough to even rent a closet in New York City, Vancouver or San Francisco. However, if I am actually spending only $1,000 and saving $1,000, then that is some pretty sweet savings rate of 50%.

        1. Just read your latest post the other day and that basically answered my question above. And yes, agree that it really depends on what one’s unique monthly expenses are, as your goal is to cover your monthly expenses with dividends – that could range immensely depending on lifestyle choice.

          1. Haha, I love giving people math homework 😉

            The nice thing about potentially becoming FI is that this nest egg could be used to leverage geo arbitrage – like accumulate the nest egg in North America and then go live in a place that is cheaper. Your target $700K nest egg will go a long ways abroad.

          2. I think my target has changed. The $700k was kind of arbitrary in terms of amount and time. Secretly I want at least a million plus. But it all depends on what the final goals are with life and what kind of lifestyle we want. So for now, it’s just about putting away as much as we’re comfortable and letting it compound.

            Do you still plan on moving to the beautiful, Eastern European country upon reaching FI?

    1. J. Money – nice to see you around these part of the woods! Back to staring at computer screens here too. My spidey sense is telling me that some of the posts to come soon will be much more ‘pf’ focused than it has been for awhile around here. It’s all very interesting how it all ebbs and flows.

      1. LOL, I was in Vancouver that weekend for Thanksgiving, and enjoyed some brews Van city has to offer 😀

        There’s this place by Science World/Olympic village called Draft or Craft – 120 beers on tap!!!

        1. Haha ya Craft is pretty cool for the novelty factor of all those beers on tap. The last time I was there, the food was super medicore. I didn’t complain but my brother did and the place mailed us a gift certificate to entice us to try it again. I suppose we might just skip the food next time and use it all on beer!

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