This past weekend, I made the long an arduous trek across town to Ferncliff for CampFI South. CampFI stands for Camp Financial Independence. It’s a gathering for people, like me, who are a bit… unusual… with money. We’re all just trying to live the best life we can live, and that involves being intentional about how we use our resources, including and especially money.
A lot has been written on the subject of Financial Independence and I won’t try to cover that here, but if you are curious, I recommend heading over to Fiology to learn more. Fiology has a series of lessons that you can either read through right there on the site, or you can sign up for weekly emails, each covering a new lesson. It might change your life.
CampFI started within the last 2 years and is a series of regional camps for people who are interested in financial independence. I signed up back in February, and to be honest, I was initially very skeptical. I didn’t want to spend over $450 dollars to go to a camp just a few minutes from my house. Wasn’t I trying to save money? I asked about the event on Facebook, and Doug Nordman of The Military Guide gave me the nudge I needed and I signed up.
I ended up having one of the most amazing weekends of my life. The Camp was worth every penny.
I arrived at the camp Friday afternoon and didn’t know anyone there. A few people had met before at other camps, but most of us were complete strangers to each other. We all signed in and got our roommate assignments and got a look at the schedule for the weekend:
Exciting! Lots of interesting presentations and plenty of unstructured time to hang out and get to know each other. Just my kind of thing.
Throughout the weekend we had several great presentations from bloggers and/or podcasters in the FI community. There is no way I could do justice describing them all, but luckily most of them were live streamed on Facebook. I’m embedding them below. I recommend watching them all because each presenter has different perspectives to share. If you do watch them you will notice one important thing… none of them talked numbers or mechanics of money. These speeches were more about the “why” of life than the “how” of money. Which is exactly what I needed and wanted to hear.
Cody Berman of Fly to FI – The Power of Taking Action
Paul David Thompson of the Ready Investor One podcast
Doc G of DiverseFI – The Money Mind Meld
The presentations were great but even more important to me are the friendships that I formed over the weekend. It was so nice to be around a group of people who are optimists, problem solvers, and dreamers. We talked about our hopes, our plans, and our fears.
The group of people in attendance covered a huge spectrum of life situations and personal finance experience. Everyone was incredibly supportive of each other. Egos were nowhere to be found and everyone was there to improve and help each other live a better life.
We spent hours and hours each day just hanging out getting to know each other. Talking around campfires. On hikes in the woods. Playing disc golf. Shooting archery. Playing board games or beach volleyball. Just sitting around the dinner table, talking, learning, planning, dreaming, and encouraging each other.
On paper, most of us wouldn’t have had a lot of things in common. But talking with many of them was like meeting old friends that I didn’t know I had.
It has only been a few days since leaving the camp but I already miss everyone! I made friends with people from all over the country and I’ve already been in contact with several of them… sharing observations, planning how to improve the world, and generally just staying in touch. I hope to have some of these friends for the rest of my life. A few people are local and we are planning a meetup next month so that’s awesome.
I liked it so much that I’m already planning on attending another camp in 2019 and Alicia is going with me! We are thinking Florida in January but we may decide to opt for a more “exotic” location later in the year. We’ll see.
If you are on the fence about signing up for CampFI, don’t hesitate. It was one of the most important, enriching weekends of my life
Several of the other attendees have blogs or podcasts. Check them out as well: