Happy Holidays everyone! I hope 2018 found y’all becoming increasingly healthy, wealthy, and wise.

2018 was our 6th full year of early retirement and world travel. Do anything long enough and memories start to jumble together… Did we visit Paris this year or last year? Was Jr walking when we were in Chiang Mai? Thankfully our financial records and photos cleared it up in an instant. (Another good reason to track spending?)

This year we meandered through 11 different countries (Taiwan, UK, Spain, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Norway, and the United States.) If my math is right, this brings Jr’s country total to 35. Our Instagram shares some fun photos of each.

We’ve now started to ask ourselves, “What is next?”

We’ve been thinking and planning for summer 2019… the options are limitless, really. But, also for the first time, we are all feeling a bit more sedentary. On the one hand, we kind of want to do something big in this last year or two before Jr would officially start school. And on the other hand, we like where we are.

Jr is super happy with pre-school and his friends there. He says he likes his Taipei home.

Winnie has been making massive improvements with her flute and painting. She even made Christmas cards this year. It’s amazing how much skills can grow in a year.

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I’ve been playing guitar more, and a great Berklee grad comes by each week to make sure I’m not slacking. I’ve also been training for an Olympic distance triathlon come April (1.5 km swim, 40 km bike, 10 km run.) This is actually the first year I’ve biked more miles/kilometers than I did when I had a regular commute, in part due to a 200 km “race” in March.  (If you enjoy biking as much as I do, perhaps join the Go Curry Cracker Cycling Club on Strava.)

I’ve also done a bit of blogging. This post is the 51st (and final) of the year… I guess I missed a week. A lot of the topics come from figuring out things for our unconventional lives, learning as we go. Thank you for your interest, comments, and positivity! And thank you to all of the guest post writers for sharing their stories and expertise.

While in Minneapolis and Seattle we hosted meetups with readers, and enjoyed coffee with numerous readers around the globe. Press wise, our story was shared in some big media pieces with Time/Money and ABC World News Tonight. It is still amazing that we are able to share another way to live to so many people.

Thank you for being supportive and friendly. I wish you all a bright and successful 2019.

Now, a bit about the stock market…

When shoes go on sale, people buy more. When stocks go on sale, people buy more whiskey and Xanax.

Instead, might I suggest self-medicating with a bit of chill and perspective? This is likely to result in both a longer life and a healthier portfolio.

On Twitter recently a reader commented that they’ve seen some financial gurus freaking out about the stock market, and it made them anxious. I offer this as Exhibit-A in the case that money is almost never the solution to life’s real problems. Can you imagine being one of the richest 1% of people on the planet, and losing your shit over completely normal and expected events?

We humans should experience the full range of emotions, including sadness and fear. Not doing so is about as creepy as the word guru. We are emotional creatures, and this is our true nature. But we are also creatures of reason, capable of logical action in spite of and because of our underlying primal emotional energy.

Balance and chill. It’s an important foundation of a positive and rewarding life.

Myself, I’ve internalized a lot of stoic thinking from philosophers like Marcus Aurelias, but find some chill where you can. (More books that have influenced my outlook on life here.) My reaction to recent market activity? Meh.

Now, did I say stock market declines were normal and expected events? Yes, yes I did.

Investment markets also exhibit their own true nature, including volatility and dynamism, up and down. Normal and expected.

I’ve lived and invested through 1999 and 2008. Perspective.

Living through decades of normal market activity has been great exposure therapy and helped me earn some chill. This recent normalcy is an opportunity to earn some more.

What will the market do today, or tomorrow, or next week? I have no idea. Nobody else does either.

But we do know humans will continue to exhibit our true nature, solving problems, creating solutions, innovating… creating wealth in the process. The trend is undeniable, even as it occasionally challenges our chill.

To wrap up the year, here are the most popular new posts of 2018:

And here are 2018’s most popular posts from previous years: (It is interesting what remains popular)

And lastly, here are my favorite photos from the year

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. See you in 2019!