That Time I Spent $44,000 On A Two Week Vacation

Getting to financial independence is difficult, especially in a luxury-demanding, spendy culture.  If you’re budgeting, living frugally, investing, and trying to increase your earnings, then you’re checking the major boxes and are on a path to FI.

But are you depriving yourself of happiness?  Are you delaying all fun now in hopes of reaching that magical state of financial independence?

People do get hit by buses ya know….

As detailed in my journey post, I reached FI a few years ago and am now semi-retired.  I did it “accidentally” meaning I was always a saver and lived pretty frugally for my income level, but never had the intention of reaching FI.  Mainly since I was kind of oblivious to the concept until I was practically there.

So as someone who is FI and who can look back, it begs the question – did I deprive myself of happiness on my journey?

In short – HELL NO!

I prioritized.  I spent on the things that make me happy.  Sometimes a lot. 

Like that time I dropped $44,000 to climb the highest mountain in Antarctica.

Say what!?

Yep, you read that right.  Forty-four thousand dollars for a two week trip.  It looks more expensive when I type the words out.  Did I do that?

 

Gucci Dirtbag

I’m a climber, and I love climbing in all its forms.  One of those forms is called “alpinism” or mountaineering.  Or more commonly still, just “climbing mountains”.  After getting the climbing bug in my late 20’s, I decided that I wanted to climb the seven summits.  If you’ve never heard that lingo, the seven summits means the highest mountain on each of the planet’s seven continents.  Dick Bass was the first to complete this achievement in 1985, and to date still only about 400 or so people have ever done it. 

MEN WANTED…
For Hazardous Journey. Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in case of success…

—Ernest Shackleton’s 1914

I don’t mess around when picking bucket lists.

In 2014 I decided it was the right time to climb Vinson Massif, the highest mountain in Antarctica.  You might be thinking “I get it, Antarctica is far away, but could it really cost $44k?”

Here’s the trip I took, in case you have $44K laying around and care to go yourself.  Why did I pay $44,000 when the website lists $42,200?  Well that exorbitant price does not include getting to Punta Arenas Chile.  Damn small print!!!  It’s kinda like “batteries not included” on a gizmo except way way more expensive…..

Additionally, even though at the time I had enough mountaineering gear to outfit the 10th Mountain Division a few times over, I needed to upgrade some of my stuff.  Temps would be dipping to -45.  Better bring a good scarf.

Punta Arenas

A Maritime Monument In Punta Arenas Chile

 

An Expensive Click

You know that feeling you get when you buy something kind of pricey online and you’re ready to hit the final “submit order” button?  Maybe you second guess yourself or feel a little anxiety.  Well, for this one I vividly recall staring at that submit button.  Once clicked, there was no refund.  Forty-two thousand buckaroos. 

And on my mind was the fact that there are a hundred things that could prevent us from summiting the mountain anyway.  Hell, the weather could be so bad on Antarctica that we could be kept from even getting there.  This was a click of faith.

But happiness called.  I thought “I’m in my climbing prime.  I’m confident this luxury won’t derail my financial progress too much, it’ll just delay it a little”  

Click…

The main reason the trip is so expensive is the flight from Chile to Antarctica.  The vast majority of tourist trips to Antarctica arrive by boat.  The industry has been steadily growing over the years and that growth has dropped prices substantially. 

You can now take a cruise to Antarctica for around $6,500 or even less if you shop around which will usually include a couple brief jaunts on the continent itself, along with the expected encounters with penguins, leopard seals, and orcas.  And ice.  There’s lots of ice.

But Vinson Massif is in the Ellsworth Mountains of Antarctica, very far inland.  The only way to get there is by plane.

Punta Arenas To Union Glacier

The Earth Turned On It’s Head

Since Antarctica is a giant ice field, planes land on the ice.  Or in this case Union Glacier.  Yes, you land on a glacier.  And regular planes cannot do this of course, so you take a huge Russian cargo plane called an IL-76 that departs from Punta Arenas Chile and deposits you on an ice sheet 5 hours later.  It was epic.

They keep a GoPro Camera on the front of the aircraft and give us a big screen of the live feed in the cargo area where we sat.  Enjoy this video of the final approach.  Sorry about the shaky ending but after wheels went down I had a hard time holding the camera still while peeing my insulated pants.

I gotta admit, it was tense….

 

The flight alone costs around $25,000.  And worse yet for all you travel-hackers, they don’t take points.

This is not a climbing blog so I’ll spare you all the details of the climb.  The cliff notes version:  it was amazing, challenging, and an adventure that I’m very blessed to have been able to have.  When you’re that far from civilization (and rescue as well if something goes wrong…), you might as well be on the moon.  Indeed, the whole experience was otherworldly.  I’d be remiss if I didn’t show some pics…..

IL-76 Union Glacier

My First Pic After Setting Foot On Antarctica, Of The Horse That Brung Me

Climbing Vinson

Slogging Up With 50lbs On The Back And 75lbs In The Sled
#YaGottaBringYourFitnessA-Game

Climbing Vinson

Camp 1
#LoungingAroundEnjoyingTheViews

Climbing Vinson Massif

Your Humble Blogger Stopping To Ham It Up

Climbing Vinson Massif

One Of The Insanely Amazing Views That Were Always Present

Summit Of Vinson Massif

Me On The Summit, No Emoji Necessary When You’re Completely Covered

 

Happy Spending

Ok enough showing off…. Back to priorities.  How was I able to drop $44K on this trip and still reach financial independence at such a young age?

As the saying goes, you can have anything you want, you just can’t have everything you want.  I pursued and spent on the things that mattered to me, and I ruthlessly cut the rest.  Because to me, those other things just don’t matter.

I saved on my house by buying modestly and not upgrading.  I drove beater cars.  Ugly beater cars.  I’ve never owned a video game system.  I’ve probably been to 2 movies in the theater in the past decade.  I’ve never had Netflix, or HBO, or any of that stuff.  I cut cable years ago.  I’ve forgotten to bring my lunch to work maybe 15 times in 20+ years.  I’ve never purchased a single thing at Whole Foods in my entire life, and I’ve reluctantly given Starbucks money maybe 8 or 10 times.  I still have the same $19.99 Mr. Coffee maker that I bought 15 years ago and it still makes great coffee.  Keurig-schmurig.  Waste. Of. Money.

But a Keurig might not be a waste for you and your situation, I get it!  Let me be clear, if you’ve had these things or spent on them, in no way am I judging you.  Some personal finance bloggers can perhaps appear judgmental at times.

I have my priorities and you have yours.  Mountaineering and adventure is one of mine, and surely it’s not for most.  I do understand that climbing up 17,000 feet of mountain in -40 degree temperatures with 75lbs on your back, on ice, isn’t for everyone.  

Movies may be a passion of yours and you might go often – that’s great!  Different strokes.  Don’t judge me for being passionate about the admittedly quizzical act of climbing a big rock and coming back down, and I won’t judge you for having HBO premium.

The key here is, spend on what you enjoy, but only if that spending is still well within the bounds of reason in that it allows you to save elsewhere and progress toward FI.  If the numbers aren’t working out for you, I’d suggest you keep the happy-spending part, and find more ways to mercilessly cut the stuff that doesn’t matter.  Yes, be merciless.

Chances are you’re spending money on plenty of things that either don’t provide value or that are perceived “necessities” but have much cheaper alternatives.  Get out the big knife and cut.  Slash.  Destroy.  Every dollar you save on things you don’t use or care about is another dollar towards what makes you happy.

How bad do you want more of your happy-thing?  Well you need to put that same level of desire and passion to cutting non-essentials.

My Antarctica trip is only one example of “are you nuts!?” spending on my journey to FI.  There are others.  But how did this crazy expensive trip impact my net worth and path to FI?  Well, I did a post a while back showing my 20+ year net worth trajectory with charts from my beloved spreadsheet.  Here’s one of the charts

 

That dip in the blue line?  Yeah, that was Antarctica!  And this is that future post.  It clearly was a strong right upper-cut to my net worth. Could I have reached financial independence earlier if I skipped that trip?  Of course.  But would I have been happy?

No.  I needed to climb that mountain, for me.  I want to lead an active and adventurous life.  Activities like that are part of who I am.  And just thinking about the trip and the experience still makes me happy today.

If I learned anything on my journey to FI it’s this – don’t deprive yourself of happiness.  And if happiness involves some spending, then so be it.  Happiness is good.   The goal in life isn’t to see how much you can save before you die, it’s to be happy and serve others.

But if you want to be happy and get to financial independence, you need to calibrate your spending and your overall finances accordingly.  Follow that formula and you’re bound to succeed.  Climb on financial warriors, and bring a good scarf!

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86 Responses

  1. Caroline says:

    Great post. Spend on what you enjoy! That’s the key and it’s so personal.
    I used to take my kids to visit my parents in France regularly. Not $44K but it does add up with 3 kids! I made it a priority even when we probably shouldn’t have. Today I am FI and we could go there a lot more often but both my parents past away. Sometimes you just need to do it in the present and forget about FI. You will get there eventually:)

  2. Team CF says:

    You are insanely crazy! But I like you anyways 😉
    What a trip, this is really an example of a once-in-a-lifetime-thing-to-do-thingy. Seriously cool, even if it cost you $44.000 in the process. Very cool post! Rockstar worthy so to speak.

    • Accidental Fire says:

      Thanks a lot Cheesy, I think all of us in the “spend less/retire early” movement can be considered crazy, especially when compared to “normal” people. So I figure why stop there, I might as well do other crazy things too!

  3. Ms Zi You says:

    Antarctica looks epic. I’d love to visit one day, and certainly won’t skimp on the trip, but will be more a leisurely trip than the mountain!

    I love your graph, showing a minor dip but no long lasting effects from the big spend.

    • Accidental Fire says:

      You should go, it’s amazing! Yes, I was fortunate that the raging bull market helped me recover very quickly. But the possibility of a market crash being simultaneous with my trip came across my mind. I just had to forget it and go for it!

  4. BusyMom says:

    That is so awesome. Don’t let anyone tell you anything else. Definitely worth every cent.

    I now want to take the cruise to Antartica.

    • Accidental Fire says:

      Thanks, you should do it!!

      • BusyMom says:

        Yes, may be. Some day.

      • You have me thinking about it. Seems like so much fun. I love mountains but spend my luxury money finding ways to ski down them more often than climb up. I’m kinda obsessed with your goal too. Please, please write a post with your status on reaching these summits and how you’re going to finish the rest.

        • Accidental FIRE says:

          Skiing them, splitboarding, climbing – it’s all fun! The mountains are just a great place to be no matter what. As of now I don’t have any more of the seven summits planned – those are expensive trips and require long periods of time off. But I do have trips planned every year, mainly working on the Colorado 14ers. I hope to do a post on my journey to complete the 14ers this year – stay tuned!

  5. I’m not surprised at the cost at all. But you know? If you can do it, good for you! That must have been an amazing trip. For me it just looks super cold. lol!

  6. Love this post, AF! This is exactly the mindset I come from. Intentional spending is so important on the way to FI.

    As a doc, I see all too often that life is too short. Life isn’t fair, and I am not about to withhold all of my joy for 10 years to reach FI just to look back and have regret. The idea that spending money joyfully and aggressively pursuing FI are mutually exclusive is preposterous.

    Both can be achieved. I am glad that there are others out there that really get this. Thanks for sharing and for being open about a major spend! Looked like a massively good time.

  7. I too love my cheapo Mr. Coffee! Am I the only nerd who scaled your graph after given the new variable? It looks like your trip was a well planned celebration after hitting a huge milestone at the beginning of 2014. Congrats on the awesome accomplishment of reaching your goal to climb the seven summits and great job spending on what you love. Where is your next major climbing event going to be?

    • Accidental Fire says:

      It wasn’t necessarily planned for an event per se but I knew I was close to being FI so it was game on! Next major trip isn’t planned yet but could be Aconcagua possibly. Thanks for the comment!

  8. Antarctica is one of the many places I wish to visit. I will skip the mountain climbing. Good for you for scrimping where it matters most to you. I am a true believer of knowing yourself and deciding what you can live without in order to do things that matter to you.

    Wow, bringing lunch to work everyday. I have not met another fellow bring your own lunch. This simple act has saved me likely thousands of dollars. All money that I use to travel.

  9. Money Beagle says:

    Wow, what an awe inspiring post. By being so careful with your spending in other ways, you were able to take this trip that would be out of reach for just about everyone in the world. Congrats on the adventure of a lifetime.

  10. Hey, I’ve been to Punta Arenas! One day that won’t be the furthest south I’ve ever been (it’s kind of hilarious that to get to Torres del Paine you fly to Punta Arenas then go back north to Puerto Natales and on to the park) because Antarctica is on the wish list. But I don’t know that I’ll be climbing mountains there (and yes, good scarf needed indeed!). The cruise seems slightly more my style 😉

    What an epic explanation for that dip in your taxable balance, and so worth it for your happiness! How many more summits do you have to go?

    • Accidental Fire says:

      So cool you’ve been to Punta, that’s awesome! Right now I’ve climbed 3 of the 7, but there are tons of other mountains to climb that are waaaay cheaper.

  11. CashflowKat says:

    Oddly, your list of what you don’t spend money on sounds a hell of a lot like mine! And, while I’ve never mountain climbed, I have “trekked” in places like Nepal and New Zealand and I’m so glad that I included great adventures in my life as I climbed toward FI. Cool post and your logo makes even more sense to me now 🙂

  12. What an epic trip!!

    That experience must have been unreal. You’re part of the select few people ever to have done this!

    Seven summits sounds interesting. Is Everest up next on the agenda!?

    • Accidental Fire says:

      Thanks! No, Everest is not next although I have been there. Too much politics right now and Nepal keeps changing the rules. Hopefully one day!

  13. This is such an awesome bucket list trip! I’m not a climber (my siblings are on a much smaller scale), but Antarctica is a place that I’ve always wanted to visit. $6500 for a cruise you say? Now that’s close to $20k for our family of three….. maybe some day, but that’s a serious chunk of change. But you’re right – over a couple of years even $44,000 can evaporate into thin air (ha ha yes I made that joke). Much better to spend it on that climb than on lattes, dinners, and drinks at the bar. What’s the point of saving all that money if you miss out on the really big stuff that makes life amazing?

  14. Didn’t I read one of the majors was adding a regular flight to Antarctica starting this year?

    But anyway I see nothing wrong if this truly brings you happiness.

    • Accidental Fire says:

      It could have been the one of the majors was going to be operating resupply planes for research stations. As far as I know there are no runways in Antarctica so there will be no commercial service anytime soon!

  15. Ken says:

    Great post – I love that there are some legitimate adventurers out there willing to talk about finances. The hardcore climbing scene seems to focus on either 1) pride among dirtbags or 2) demonizing rich people. Obviously, there’s a spectrum – why not be a rich dirtbag? My method for getting to Antarctica was the ultimate frugal hack. I spent a season in the Dry Valleys as a research assistant in my early 20’s. An amazing (paid!) experience that allowed me to advance my career, hang out with amazing people, and learn about an incredibly unique environment. When you work remote, you spend nothing and you realize that you don’t need “things” to be happy. That experience set me up to prioritize my work, relationships, and hobbies in a way that is leading towards “accidental FIRE”. Thanks for sharing your relatable story! If/when you are coming up for Denali, let me know! I’m close by…

    • Accidental Fire says:

      Great comment Ken, I could do a blog post about this alone. Call me biased but in general I’ve found climbers to be way cooler and more down to Earth folks than the regular populace. But, there does run a certain underlying “hate the rich” or “anti-corporation” attitude which, by the way is also very prevalent in modern political discourse these days. It gets hypocritical as these climbers are chock full of gear made by big corporations and go on sponsored expeditions with “rich guy” patches and logos all over them.

      And that’s awesome for you to go there on a paid trip! Life is simple indeed when you only have a pack with the essentials and you’re in an amazing environment. It’s like being a kid again. Congrats to you!

      Lastly, I’ve yet to climb Denali since it requires a 30-day window off work. I’m part time now but it would still be a challenge to negotiate a solid month off. I’ll get there and I’ll definitely hit you up!

  16. What an epic experience! This is exactly why we’re frugal–skipping over the stuff we don’t care about to save for the things we do.

    And honestly, I wouldn’t have noticed that dip in your net worth unless you had pointed it out. I would have thought it was just a market correction or something. But anyway, it looks like it didn’t have long-lasting consequences, anyway, which is yet another reason why saving and investing is the best.

    My one question: what was the demographic of the other people who were on the trip? Would be interesting to see what kind of “wealthy” they were.

    • Accidental Fire says:

      Do I hear a gucci dirtbag in the making?

      🙂

      As for the other climbers on my expedition, we had a team of 8 with 2 guides. All Americans except one Brit. Most were age 30’s and 40’s with one father/son team. They were super-rich, the father (in his 50’s) owned a couple companies and his son who was only 27 worked for Bain Capital (Romney’s consulting firm) and made huge coin himself. They had every mountaineering toy possible, and the most expensive versions. But… they were also some of the nicest people I’ve ever met.

      One of the other guys was a college professor, another a banker at a large multi-national. It was clear that everyone was super-accomplished and hard workers (that sounds kinda douchy when I’m including myself). No one was trust-fund for sure!

  17. Ozymandian says:

    Definitely sounds like it was worth the money. So from above you haven’t done Denali yet, what about the other 5 summits? I know it’s a FIRE blog, but I’m big into both FIRE and climbing so I want to hear more about both! Mostly so I can live vicariously, I have little ones at home so I can’t do much more than hike and sport climb near home for now.

    • Accidental Fire says:

      I’ve done Kilimanjaro, Elbrus, and Vinson for the big goal. I’ve climbed tons of other mountains though and am getting close to finishing the Colorado 14ers. I just love climbing. You obviously know how cool it is 🙂

      Thanks for the comment and get those kids out on the trail!

      • Your climbing adventures sound pretty epic! I’ve swum in a pool filled with water from the melted ice of Kilimanjaro, but that’s as outdoorsy as I get. 😂

      • Ozymandian says:

        Ah awesome. I need to get out on some bigger stuff, most of my peaks have been in the White Mountains.

        Totally agree with you on climbing being worth it, it’s the major reason I’m working towards early retirement, to be a Dirtbag Millionaire as Eat the Financial Elephant put it.

        I do get the kids out! They’re only 13 months old but we bring them out on local hikes.

        • Accidental FIRE says:

          Sweet, I’ve trampeled around the Whites quite a bit! I’ve climbed Mt. Washington 3 times, twice in winter even. Also had a failed attempt in winter where she dished out her famous weather with a complete whiteout. The Presidential Traverse is a bucket-list item for me, and I’d love to do it in one day.

          Dirtbags unite!

  18. Joe says:

    Yeap, epic is the word. It sounds like an awesome trip. $44,000 is a lot of money, but that’s your priority in life. That dip didn’t have a huge impact on your investment so it’s not really a big deal. Good luck on the next one. This is an expensive hobby. 🙂

    • Accidental Fire says:

      Thankfully the crazy raging bull market made the impact very short term. My timing was good!

      Mountaineering doesn’t have to be expensive necessarily though, just those far-off exotic climbs. I climb in the Rockies every summer and the trips are pretty cheap. I use miles for the flight and car, and I’m generally camping a lot so minimal hotel costs. A 10 day trip usually costs well under a thousand bucks.

      Thanks for stopping by Joe!

  19. Damn jezus baby Lord holy cow that’s a TOO expensive flight! Very cool and total mad props!!! My cheap ass would have swam there dang it and climbed it (or try and then die soon because I’m a potato.)

  20. Wow! Antarctica looks incredible. Visiting the seven continents is on my bucket list. Spending on travel and experiences is so much better than filling your house with stuff you don’t need.

    Which mountains do you have left?

    • Accidental Fire says:

      I’ve climbed Kilimanjaro, Elbrus (highest in Europe) and Vinson. Have 4 to go, But those trips are expensive obviously and I climb a lot of “cheaper” peaks every year. It’s all about balance

      Thanks for stopping by!

  21. need2save says:

    I don’t think I could drop $44k on a two-week vacation, but that does look like an adventure of a lifetime. Out of this world as you describe. And in the end, you are still in great shape financially. I’ll definitely join you for a bike ride one day… but I’ll leave the mountaineering to you!

    • Accidental Fire says:

      That’s okay, we all have our things. Hope to meet you soon at a meetup and it’d be great to do a ride as well!

  22. DocG says:

    I was going to write a post like this but use spending $100 at a restaurant as an example! 😀. Sounds like it was money well spent,

    • Accidental Fire says:

      Hey, spending a hundred bucks can be just as fun as a bajillion, it’s all about the company and the fun of what you’re doing.

      Thanks for stopping by Doc!

  23. Nice. I have a couple friends that want to do a heli skiing trip and it’s about $7,500 for 5 days. Pretty rough but I can save up side income. Great picture and inspiring post.

  24. Lindsay says:

    THAT IS AWESOME. That’s all I have to say about that.

  25. Olivia @ Birds of a FIRE says:

    Continuing off of the last convo, did you climb Everest too (you mentioned it being crowded and stuff)? Maybe you can write a series on travel hacking other mountains :). I did try very hard to get to Antarctica on points. The issue was the $5k or so boat ride from Argentina to Antarctica. A few people said you could book that boat ride when you get there and it’ll be cheaper, but I dunno man, it’s a long way to fly on an if!

    • Accidental Fire says:

      I’ve been to Everest Base Camp, that’s an amazing trip itself but just a week of hiking with epic views. I highly recommend it and it’s pretty affordable.

      There were places to book boat trips to Antarctica in Punta Arenas, and if I remember correctly you could also sign up to go along with a scientific research vessel for way way cheaper. But those boats are not set up for tourists, so you’d probably only have basic accommodations etc. No tiki bar and sauna. But hey, it could be right up the alley of us bare-bones frugal folks 🙂

      • Olivia @ Birds of a FIRE says:

        Half of me wants to go to Antarctica just to say I’ve been to Antarctica. Lol. The other half is like, c’mon Olivia, you don’t even like the cold! I’m sure there are penguins and fluffy polar bears elsewhere. Haha.

  26. Tawcan says:

    That’s money well spent in my book. Experience over things, and you proved that is a true statement!

  27. Great post. Agree with the philosophy. Spend on what matters to you. Thanks for sharing.

  28. Sounds like a great climb. I’ve seen some pictures of some rock climbing down there, way up on a ridge that went at something like 10a. I was super stoked about that, but I can’t imagine climbing rock at -45. It sucks at 20.

    • Accidental Fire says:

      Yeah, a superstar team including Alex Honnold and Conrad Anker just got back from Antarctica and they put up some first ascents. How they climb technical rock with that kind of cold is beyond me. I think they wear thin gloves, but they’re so talented they can still do it.

      The sun never goes down though and some days it got up to 5 or 10 degrees and it was actually pleasant.

      Thanks for the comment Doc!

  29. The best part about this (besides the AWESOME pics)…

    If you didn’t point out the “blip” on your Net Worth chart, I wouldn’t even have noticed! The great thing about saving/investing over the long-term is that eventually even these type of purchases do little harm to your overall financial situation.

    Great stuff, and it is awesome to see you spending your money how YOU want!

    • Accidental Fire says:

      The bull market helped erase that dip really quickly. We’ve been so lucky for the past 8 years, if you were invested it was definitely the perfect time to do something like this. Maybe not so much now…

  30. Mountaineering is easy, created a 20 year net worth chart….now that’s hard. LOL well done
    The only thing about big objectives for me is that cold temperatures will also be a factor. Years of working outdoors killed the circulation in my fingers and toes and even in relatively mild summit trips they get dangerously cold. I am certain you were watching Honnold, Anker and Chin on their Antarctic climbing trip this past december, I can’t imagine climbing routes like that in the depth of cold. Great post once again

    • Accidental Fire says:

      I also have some circulation issues, mostly my fingers. It worried me on the trip but I dealt with it. It’s easy to build up warmth going up a 60 degree slope with 60lbs on your back. The hardest times were breaking down the tent. That featured taking off gloves to deal with cord and small knots. That got dicey.

      Sent you a vid on Twitter of the all-stars from Antarctica. Badasses

  31. Great post. Really puts the “living life along the way” idea into perspective. I spend money on my priorities, but am not currently cutting the excess, which this post is inspiring me to be better at. Thanks!

  32. Kris says:

    Definitely a trip that was well worth every penny and it didn’t look like it made a big impact on your road to FI!! Trips like these make all that saving and investing really makes it possible to splurge on an awesome experience like yours to climb Vinson Massif.
    Thanks for sharing your pictures to us, really a grand experience!!

  33. I’m in Awe…that climb! Great post too by the way!

  34. GYM says:

    Are you single! You doing perfect for my girlfriend!

    When I saw $44k on a two week trip I thought no way- Antarctica!?

    And I was correct! That’s amazing- you have gone to every travel addicts dream continent!

    I climbed mt Kilimanjaro in 2014 and thought it was so hard that I cried at the top haha. I can’t imagine what it must be like climbing Antarcticas highest mountain

    • Accidental Fire says:

      Kili was a fun time, I really enjoyed that climb! Yeah, I’ve been to all 7 continents, had a beer on all 7, & yes I’m single. Now the highest peak is a bit harder 🙂

      Thanks for the comment!

  35. Phil says:

    Wow, that’s freaking awesome. This post really resonated with me on a couple different levels; I’m a few years out from FI and got a bit to far in the deprivation side of things awhile back. I’ve since realized that I need to balance hard core saving with doing stuff I want to do, even if costs a bit. One of the things I’ve decided I really want to get into is mountaineering, despite being in the midwest. Any tips for getting started while trying to stay somewhat frugal?
    Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Accidental Fire says:

      Sounds like you’ve got some good money saved and have done lots of the hard work so yes – get out there and enjoy! Since you’re in the midwest my best advice would be to make a trip to Colorado or Wyoming and start with some easier mountains. Many of the Colorado 14ers are long hikes without technical mountaineering involved. But they give you a good idea of the kind of fitness you’ll need and you can learn the basics of what to pack, how to read the weather etc. Also you don’t need a lot of gear for climbing 14ers in July or August, just good shoes, a pack, maybe hiking poles, and some non-cotton layers.

      Once you do some summer peaks then you can get into the winter stuff or higher altitude, which does require more gear and money (crampons, ice axe, avalanche gear etc). But try some long day climbs first. In my experience some folks want to get into it but when they realize that even some of the “easier” 14ers in CO require a pretty long day with a lot of elevation gain and loss they maybe change their mind. Mountaineering is work 😉

      Thanks for reading Phil and I’m stoked that my post inspired you. Feel free to hit me up if you have any further questions about climbing!

  36. Erith says:

    I absolutely agree – spend money on your priorities. Every year we take several big trips. We’re retired, we have saved for this time, While we are blessed with good health, we are going to use our time the way we want to and make the most of it.

    Amazing climb!

  37. Wow! $25,000 for a flight is both awesome and insane. Glad it fulfilled your adventure quota for the year. I’m also a believer is not depriving yourself, but to spend intentionally to maximize your personalized utility in every dollar spent. Last year I took a week in Panama to do some deep sea fishing. My cousins and I stayed on a private fishing resort on a secluded island. I probably won’t be doing that again anytime soon, but boy was it memorable and money well spent. 🙂

    • Accidental FIRE says:

      So cool, a friend of mine has a house in Panama and I really need to get down there, I’ve yet to go. It must’ve bee nice to have you’re own island – now that’s living!

  1. February 21, 2018

    […] of winter, Accidental Fire details a past trip where he spent two weeks in Antarctica! He might have paid $44K to do it, but the memories of climbing the biggest mountain there will last […]

  2. February 23, 2018

    […] it is skiing, expensive holidays or gourmet restaurants, there is always room in the budget for activities that you get value from. […]

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