And it’s over.

Today was my last day.


It’s been nine years, two months, and now I’m done.


What. A. Ride.


I just got home about an hour ago, and it’s beginning to sink in. That giddy, fidgety feeling full of smirk. Hang on just a second, let me delete that 4:50 am alarm clock from my phone.


Okay, I’m back.


I can hardly believe that I’ve managed to save this much cash, and the amount of stoke is off the charts.


I need to get off the computer. There’s plenty to be said, but I’ll get to that later.


Here’s to a new direction.


The phone call

Friday. 12:18pm. Salt Lake City, Utah.

My manager’s boss’s boss calls me. The head honcho. It’s about my requested leave of absence for 10.5 months.

“I’m calling you back, just like I promised. I spoke to Human Resources and your manager about the time you requested off. HR looked at the numbers, and between COBRA, and other things, they are unable to give a “sabbatical” type leave of absence in this situation. If you feel like you really need to do this, you’ll be leaving on Very Good Terms. If you want to come back, just give me a call and I’ll see where I can place you.”

“Thanks, Boss Man”, I said. “I appreciate you trying to work out a solution for me. And I’m really glad that we’re on Very Good Terms, because that was my intention throughout this process. Since the leave of absence couldn’t be worked out, I’ll be handing in my letter of resignation on Monday.”

The conversation ends after an exchange of pleasantries, and the whole thing is over in less than three minutes. And that’s that. I’ll hand over my two week notice tomorrow.

Should be fun.

All bark, no bite

I’m such a sucker.


How it all began.

A little while back I wrote about my stateside job offer. It’s a non-deployable position and a dream job, but it means 3.2 hours in a vehicle per day.

Let me give a super quick backstory.

Think about a hobby that you’ve had since you were young. You decide that college isn’t for you so you drop out before the first semester even finishes. You find a job at a hobby store paying less than ten bucks an hour. Eventually you start to travel with your hobby-job to trade shows selling products and meeting other vendors. Your flying gets noticed and people start talking. A friend of your employer casually asks “What do you want to do with your life?” and you say “I have no idea.” Four months later you are driving across the country for a $60,000 job with a fortune 500 company, flying unmanned aerial vehicles (read: actual “drones”) because of this unique skill set. Little do you know you’re set for life.

Super quick backstory!

The next time I live in the US is eight years later. Eight years working has made me (technically) FI, and I sure as hell don’t want to go back to a war zone. In accordance with the Super Plan, I’d work through 2016 here stateside during my “dwell time”. When January rolls around I’d begin a year long leave of absence to test life without work.

Reality kicks in

While on the FI bandwagon it’s easy to say “fuck it, I’ll just quit next year because I’ll have enough”.


“If they don’t give me the raise I want, I’ll pass it up quicker than shit!”

I also said, “I’m going to negotiate towards the top at 19% (additional $14,480), with a floor of 15% ($11,431).”

Can you guess what happened?

My hiring manager (also my actual manager) wouldn’t budge from the initial offer. Not even a little bit! $78,000 it is. While 78k is nothing to sneeze at, it’s nowhere near what I believe I’m worth. I’ll admit I felt a little shitty as I completed the offer process on the careers website.

All bark, no bite.

There are many reasons I accepted though. (This is the part where I try to justify myself). My primary duty is to train new hires from the ground up how to fly, essentially, a giant RC airplane. It’s often fun, and I’m really good at it.

Also, my potential savings rate is at least 70% if I can keep monthly spending at my FIRE rate of $2,500.

I want to be sure my spend rate is comfortable after being away for so long, and be able to adjust fire as necessary.


I’m on a gravy train with biscuit wheels. It’s easy work. Even fun at times. I just hope I know when enough’s enough.

Where to live? My latest dilemma.

It’s almost over! A six month deployment turned into eighteen months is almost done and I’m about to head home.

Head.. where? Oh, right, I’m homeless.

I don’t have my own place to return to since I haven’t lived in the US recently, but luckily my friend and coworker offered to rent me a room at his house for an attractive price. The catch? It’s in the absolute middle of nowhere. It’s car-dependent for everything except the grocery store 2.6 miles away. The Office is ten miles away, so that is bikeable during fair weather.

An aside: Once I arrive at The Office, I get to climb in a 15 passenger van and ride an additional hour to The Job Site! WTF?!@#! The only upside is that it’s a four day work week.

I know, I know, either way this situation is preposterous, but it’s what I’ve got to work with for now. Let’s look at the pros and cons for both locations.

Grantsville, a.k.a. The “Shorter” Commute.

The good

  • $500 per month rent in a brand new house, all utilities included.
  • The only occupants will be myself and the owner. Total bachelor pad.
  • Next to zero noise pollution due to the remote location.
  • Open land to fly R/C’s.
  • Shorter commute to work.
  • No rental contract makes leaving anytime a breeze.

The meh

  • It’s in the middle of nowhere, so I can say good-bye to any mid-week social life.
  • 2.6 miles to the nearest grocery store. Not ideal for frequent trips on foot, but biking is feasible.

The bad

  • 60 miles one way to go paragliding
  • That means no mid-week after work paragliding
  • 66 miles one way to ski resorts. Consider that only once a week.
  • Zero mid-week social life outside of work colleagues. Who want’s to hang out with their co-workers outside of work anyway?
  • 2 hours 20 minutes round trip commute to the job site.

Salt Lake City, a.k.a The Fun Place

The good

  • A walkable, inner city location
  • Ideal population density for a 30 y/o single person
  • 30 miles to ski resorts, and a City Ski bus for $8 round trip.
  • 22 miles to the nearest paragliding spot.
  • Mid week after work paragliding!
  • Mid-week social life is possible
  • Farmers markets within walking distance

The meh

  • I’ll have to pay “real rent” prices. Small price to pay I suppose.
  • Could have increased noise pollution due to location.

The bad

  • Insane amount of car-time per day: 3 hours 20 minutes round trip commute!

When I read this I think to myself “holy shit that’s a lot of commute time”, and it is. It’s borderline insane. Once I finish up my vacation,  I’ll spend 12 full twenty-four hour days commuting back and fourth to work by the time the year is over. 17 days if I live in SLC.

Either way it’s a ton of time. Like, a whole ‘nother average two-weeks-per-year-vacation amount of time. What would you do with an extra 17 days?

Aside from the social and recreational advantages of being in SLC, the opportunity cost of living there while having to commute to The Job Site is expensive enough to merit real consideration.

Coming in at 70 miles per day, the cost of commuting from SLC proper to The Office per IRS mileage rates is a staggering $37.80 per day. Add in a Mustache mobile for $6,000, $400 per year for auto insurance, $436 for gas, and driving through the end of 2016 costs at least $11,523, plus maintenance, registration, depreciation, and various other things. Sheesh.

Weighing in the pros/cons and overall travel required to keep this job, both options are equally terrible. If it weren’t for the additional commute, I’d choose Salt Lake City. But if it weren’t for the job, would I choose Salt Lake City?