A few weeks ago D. and I did something way out of our normal comfort zone. We attended a weekend at a camp to talk about FI with internet strangers we had never met before. Long story short, it was one of my favourite weekends of the year! We went to Camp Mustache Canada.
What is Camp Mustache?
As you know, we are huge followers of Mr. Money Mustache and all of his financials and simple living gospels. Over the years, he has developed such a large following that a forum community emerged and now has over 10,000 people contributing (this number might be higher, I’m not sure). These forums are great. There are hundreds of threads with people discussing everything from tax savings strategies, to Elon Musk’s plans to go to Mars. I’ve found myself on the forums more and more in the last year.
This online community has also led to the creation of the “camp mustache” idea. There have been a number of them hosted in the US where a group books a location (a camp location with cabins, amenities etc) and then accepts 60 to 100 people to attend.
Camp Mustache Canada 2017
The organizing of Camp Mustache Canada began in 2016 and was sold out to 60 people by March, 2017 (6 months before the actual camp!). The organizer of this event (a mustachian by the name of Prospector in the forum world) did an amazing job. The total cost was under $500 for the both of us and included our food (with vegan options) for the whole weekend, our bunks and awesome seminars. We attended seminars on travel hacking, Canadian taxes, landlording, post FIRE and other FI related subjects.
Discovering our Values
On the first day of camp we had a general FI seminar presented by an FI community contributor by the name of Monster Monster. In the description, this appeared to be an intro type seminar but turned out to be an amazing presentation and generated great discussions in the crowd. We discussed how we should all be living our lives and making choices based on what we value. FI is only a concept to help you live your life according to your values. During the session, we were asked to identify our 3 strongest values individually. We had to do this without showing anyone. Not even our spouses. The presenter provided about 20 example values but there are many different values you can choose to live your life by.
After one minute of writing, D and I turned our pages to each other. We were impressed but not entirely shocked to see that we had the same 3 core values.
My favourite part of Camp Mustache was the people I met. I have always sort of viewed Pete (the Mr. Money Mustache) as a surreal figure. I am always so impressed by what he has accomplished and the way he lives his life. I am trying to get to that point with my own family. MMM was not at camp but we met 60 people with the same goals and ambitions and many people who have already accomplished what MMM has. Although I still consider MMM to be one of my idols, it was really refreshing to meet so many other people emulating his journey and on the same path as us. I guess it made the idea of MMM even more real…
We met two different families with kids in their 30s already in FI travelling the world. We also met a family who took a year off to travel the world with their young kids and decided to stay in semi FI. Between the presentations and just meeting different people, here are the key things we learned and will hopefully be applying in our regular lives:
- How to travel hack with credit card bonuses in Canada
- Mystery shopping is a legitimate way to make money
- How to maintain your own vehicle by doing (almost) all your own regular service.
- The incredible resources that are available to us at our local library
- Valuable tax planning tips
- Practical advice on being a landlord in Ontario from a Toronto property manager managing over 100 units.
All this knowledge, a super fun weekend, meeting new friends and great food! We have already signed up to go to Camp Mustache Canada 2018. The event was such a hit that there is a lottery for next year’s event. We are hoping to win a spot but regardless, we are thankful for having been to our first camp mustache and we are already on the lookout for other MMM meetup events.