Reading List

A sunset from outside our coach. Every evening we have been rewarded with these amazing sunsets. Well, almost every evening. There have been a couple of cloudy days since we arrived at Myakka River Motorcoach Resort.

We had a chance to get together with family yesterday. Lorraine’s father spends his winters down in Florida. He hadn’t seen our coach and we gave him the tour yesterday. He took a seat in the captain’s chair, the best seat in the coach, and looked ready to take to the road.

During lunch I was asked about my reading list.

It has been part of my goal setting activities for many years now. Since 1989.

I usually take time over the Christmas break to pull my reading list together. Always a bit fluid mind you. It is dangerous for me and my wallet to wander into a book store. I seem to leave with another book or two.

I keep three bins in the coach for the physical books. Once a book is finished, it gets donated and I get to put another in its place.

Although, in the interest of full disclosure, I do have a couple of books not in a bin. Don’t let Lorraine know!

Here is the current list:

Financial Planning

The Intelligent Investor – Benjamin Graham. This is a classic book on investing and I have read it several times before. I re-read it, especially when stock markets get a bit frothy like they are today.

Your Retirement Income Blueprint – Daryl Diamond. Being retired, I decided it was important to gain some insight into planning our withdrawals.

Retirement Income for Life – Frederick Vettese. I’ve read a few of his books on retirement. He always provides good insight. This book deals with how to effectively draw down money during retirement. In our situation, we have three corporate pensions, four government pensions, two non-taxable investment accounts, three registered investment accounts and one taxable investment account. When to start, how much to draw and how to do so tax efficiently are topics covered in his book.

Personal Development

The Happiness Equation – Neil Pasricha. I am reading this book as part of a reflection on how I spent 30 years of my life in a very demanding career. Although I enjoyed a successful career, I found the work stressful. Perhaps I missed something along the way and this book might provide some insight.

The Happiness Project – Gretchen Rubin. If I cannot figure out the Happiness Equation then my fallback is this book. I will be happy darn it!

Purposeful Retirement – Hyrum Smith. So many people ask me what I do all day now that I am retired. Perhaps reading this book will give me some answers for them.

The Power of Habit – Charles Duhigg. A perspective on the science behind habit creation and reformation.

The Big Five for Life – John Strelecky. The publisher promises the following: “This book will inspire you. It will change your life in ways you can’t know now, but you’ll understand completely once you’re done reading it. It will also forever enhance the way you look at your role as a leader. That includes the way you lead at home, at work, in your community… and especially the way you lead you.”

Life and Work Principles – Ray Dalio. Ray Dalio heads up Bridgewater. The corporate culture of Bridgewater focuses on radical transparency. I’m not a fan of harsh and abusive corporate cultures and perhaps this one is different. The book focuses on the context and principles for life and work and how to deal with challenges and make decisions.

Perspective

Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else – Chrystia Freeland. Chrystia plays a key role in the current Canadian government. As the current government has tilted heavily to the left, I wanted to get some insight into how the key leaders are thinking about policy. Chrystia was a key negotiator of the recent free trade talks with the United States.

Wizard of Lies – Diana Henriques. Bernie Madoff committed one of the largest frauds in history. This book provides a perspective on that fraud.

The Golden Passport – Duff McDonald. This book focuses on the moral failure of the MBAs being produced by the Harvard Business School.

A Man for all Markets – Edward Thorp. He is the godfather of quants and a bit of a legend in the stock market.

Homo Deus – Yuval Noah Harari. He wrote Sapiens, A Brief History of Humankind. I really enjoyed that book. Homo Deus is a brief history about tomorrow.

Black Edge – Sheela Kolhatkar. A book about those nasty hedge funds.

1984 – George Orwell. Read it a long time ago. Given everything going on in the world today, I thought I should read it again.

Pleasure

Now that I am retired, I get to read a few pleasure books without feeling too guilty about it.

The Reckoning – John Grisham. Love reading his books.

The Dead Zone – Stephen King. He lives close by us here in Florida. Must read a local author.

The Cuckoo’s Calling – Robert Galbraith. A retirement gift.

Career of Evil – Robert Galbraith. Another retirement gift.

The Silkworm – Robert Galbraith. The final retirement gift.

Ready Player One – Ernest Cline. Watched the movie and now I get to read the book.

Tiger Woods – Jeff Benedict. Loved this athlete during his prime years. So disappointed in his character.

Sleeping Giants – Sylvain Neuvel. A thriller in the tradition of Michael Crichton.

State of Fear – Micheal Crichton. I’ll see if it is better than Sleeping Giants.

That is my current list. Might be something of interest for those of you passionate about reading.

So many great books and so little time to read them.

The View

That is the view out our front window from our site at Myakka River Motorcoach Resort.

Nothing like a beautiful sunset to end the perfect day.

We spent the morning stocking up on supplies and then we enjoyed a wonderful afternoon with family.

I had to chuckle though. At one point we were asked what do we do with our time. So I asked the same question. Well, they said, we work, then get home, do household chores, and other everyday tasks.

We do much the same except that we don’t work so we have an extra eight to ten hours to do the other things that we enjoy doing. For me, that includes photography, music, cycling, investments, technology and, believe it or not, working on the coach. That easily takes up eight to ten hours in a day.

Most days, I wonder where the time has gone. Especially on those 10-hour driving days!

It is wonderful being retired.

As a friend told me, every night is a Friday night and every day is a Saturday.

We worked long and hard to get here.

New beginnings are just that. They are new and at this point in our lives we get to shape them without a job to set the boundaries of what we can — or cannot — do with this wonderful gift of time.

Pain Cave

It was a dark and stormy night.

Well, perhaps not as ominous as all of that. Unless you are familiar with pain caves.

A pain cave is a place where a crazed cyclist goes to suffer. Spinning for an hour or two. Sometimes longer. With nothing but suffering.

Suffer, suffer, suffer.

I created a pain cave behind our coach.

Kinda looked like this:

I’ve been racing and riding bikes since I was 14 years old. And, closing in on 62 years old, I haven’t given up riding.

Taking the bike with us on the road wasn’t easy. That smart trainer you see in the picture, the one with the word Tacx written on it, weighs about 50 pounds. My Colnago bike, an Italian steel master built frame, is a bit heavy as road bikes go. It weighs about 19 pounds. My race bike, currently in storage, weighs just under 15 pounds.

I figure I can get to the equivalent weight of my race bike by losing 4 pounds on my body.

Finding a spot to store the bike in the basement of our coach proved challenging. We spent most of yesterday finishing our unboxing and our organizing from our big move. As part of that work we pulled everything out of basement and reorganized it.

After a lot of shuffling and debate on whether to keep our pullout tray or ditch it for more room, we were finally able to make a spot for the bike and for the trainer.

Last night I went out behind the coach and I did a few sessions on Sufferfest just to see how everything would work, moving the bike and the trainer into position and getting all of the requisite measurement systems functioning.

The Tacx gets power for the sensor data that goes to the tablet from the energy I provide when spinning. The coloured lights that you see under the pedals indicate workload. The bright reddish purple colour in the second photo indicates a lot of load for the rider.

The tablet reads the sensor data from the Tacx smart trainer and translates that data into metrics: speed, cadence, heart rate, power amongst many other data points. And, because it is a smart trainer, the software on the tablet controls the resistance to the rider. When the software calls for a hard effort, the smart trainer complies. This is known as ERG (ergometer) mode. The resistance of the trainer is controlled by the software, not by the rider.

I prefer to call it ARGH mode. It can really hurt.

Anyway. Proof that you can take a road bike with you in your motorcoach and you can train outside without needing to plug into electricity or the Internet. In my case, the Sufferfest training videos had already been downloaded to my tablet and my wattage provided the requisite electricity for the trainer. When I finished the ride, I connected back to the Internet and uploaded my ride data to Strava and Training Peaks.

If a ride doesn’t get up to Strava, it never happened.

Fantasy RV Tours

Maximize your RV experience, minimize headaches.

Such is the promise of Fantasy RV Tours:

It continues to be our mission to guide RVers to new places, reveal authentic cultures and offer a value unlike any other travel company. We understand the importance of cherished memories and bonding relationships, and we have included that spark of passion as an ingredient in all that we do.

It’s my sincere hope that the destinations featured on here impassion you to join us. You will see and enjoy more than you ever imagined – sharing an experience and a journey with friends you have yet to meet.

I still remember the time we spent with Chris, one of the Travel Ambassadors for the company. I posted about our time together here. It was our second visit to the RV show in Hershey, Pennsylvania and it was our first year with our new coach. We had taken delivery of our coach in June of 2016. Our trip out to Pennsylvania  in September of 2016 was one of several road trips that we took with our coach that year.

It seems so long ago now.

Chris was very passionate about the RV lifestyle and very passionate about Fantasy RV Tours.

She had such clarity about life, about living in the moment and about pursuing your dreams. She told me to get out there before it gets too late.

And here I am.

Still working.

Coach in storage.

Waiting.

I have about 7 months left before career ends and retirement begins. Work has not really changed in any meaningful way for me. It is still very much a high demand, high stress role and I suspect it will remain that way until I finish up late July.

Rather than being frustrated with working another 7 months or so because, believe me, I would much rather be out there right now. Especially as the cold weather descends.

No, I am choosing gratitude. To be thankful for my lovely wife and my wonderful family. To be thankful for the company that I work for as the company has allowed me to provide well for my family and the company has helped me achieve financial independence. To be thankful for the moment. Healthy. Engaged in life. Living in a wonderful country. With great friends.

For many of my American friends, they have been celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend. Although the dates differ between Canada and the U.S. — Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving in early October — staying focused on gratitude keeps the challenges of life in perspective.

We will be out there soon, Chris.

Soon.

RV Success School

I’ve followed Marc and Julie’s blog since they started their website and I have also followed them on their YouTube channel.

They seem like a very nice couple, the kind of folks I would love to meet on the road.

On their about page, they make the following statement:

We’re here to dispel a big myth. There’s a myth that the RV life is only for retired folks, but that’s simply not true. Not anymore. These days, RVing is for couples, singles and families. RVing is for anyone who has ever dreamed about seeing the country (or world) up close, from one end to the other, one mile at a time.

Which led them, after a few years, to create the RV Success School.

I understand their situation. They love the RV lifestyle and they are not retired. Although it is possible to work remotely while traveling, I’m sure it comes with its own set of challenges. And certainly, it led Marc to finally quit his job after a few years of working while on the road.

There are many people attempting to monetize their websites and their YouTube channels. In a way, it is a spin on the book business: create good content, bring in a pool of followers and then try and sell a smaller number of followers on a subset of content.

It can’t be easy to sell an online education program with so much free content on the web. I wish them well.

For most of us, we have a season of life where we spend our days providing for our families and setting some money aside for the future. A time arrives where it is obvious that there may be other dreams to follow. Retirement is usually when dreams like traveling full-time in an RV can be realized.

Some chase their dreams early.

But it is never free.