Pablo Neruda’s house in Santiago

In couple of hours I am off to the airport in Santiago to begin the long way home. Close to twenty hours journey is awaiting me: fourteen hours to Paris and then some more to Manchester. And yes, you may have notices that some learning has taken place and this time I did avoid Heathrow and the madness of what they perceive to increase safety; I think it is a legitimate way for ritual humiliation of passengers and satisfying some deep need in human beings for power and domination. Whatever it is, the French have less of it!

A trip of a week is far from enough to get to know, really existentially get to know, a country. This is particularly true when your interactions are with the small proportion of highly educated and influential people in a country. I don’t think I spoke to anyone in Chile who doesn’t have a PhD apart from the staff in the hotel (not exactly meaningful conversations). I am not proud of it: this is just how my working life is.

I enjoyed Santiago – and Conception – immensely for two reasons. First, it is safe enough to be able just to get my shorts and trainers on and go out for a power walk/run; every morning at 6 am I was out and saw many others like me – the only threat came from the homeless dogs and they were rather friendly really. And two, Chile appears to be a country of ‘normal’ tensions; without the covert racism of South Africa and the overt sexism of the Middle East. People don’t like their government and the police much; well, who does. Most of my friends in the UK spend their days being cross with and embarrassed by the current government. Thinking about it, the previous one was no better.

Of course there are things that bother me in Chile and poverty and inequality are two of them. However, this is not specific to Chile – we are getting far too much of these in Europe as well.

Now, let me tell you about the personal finance articles published over the last two week that caught my attention but please remember that I am very selective.

You already know that John and I have worked out a five year plan which will get us to a financial place where I wouldn’t have to work is I don’t want to (I am not mentioning ‘retirement’ and next week you shall see why) and published our reasoning and a calculator. Naturally anything related was bound to catch my attention. And The Financial Samurai published an article on the 15 things to consider before quitting one’s job. Generally these make sense but I would rather ensure that we have enough and our wants don’t get out of hand. What is this about moving back in with your parents? Looking at this from the other side I am saying ‘no’! If you young folk decide to quit your jobs you will have to take the responsibility for and deal with the consequences of your actions. Repeat after me: ‘Parents are human and have the right to be selfish!’

Have you wondered why I am not in any of the pictures I have been publishing from Chile? No, not that was taking the pictures but that I looked at them. What I saw I found disturbing – it is obvious that I am not doing very well with the whole ‘menopause, putting weight on’ thing. I will probably have to follow the example of Fat Guy Skinny Wallet and lose some weight – his progress is truly inspirational. Well done, my friend! I will be there on the catwalk at the end of this – no more rotund writer, come in svelte goddess!

You, my readers, know well where I stand on frugality: I don’t do the extreme stuff and I don’t care much for the obviously silly stuff (like spending to save). I do believe, however, that frugality can be an art form – it is about reducing spending without loss of quality of life. Squirrelers, a self-confessed frugality buff, surprises us by sharing six examples of when it doesn’t make sense to be frugal. My favourite? Driving some distance to save on petrol! Duh!

This week past has been rather extraordinary for me in a different way. On Monday morning, I was put in a room with four complete strangers – the expert panel. On Friday, after writing chunks of the report, all four complimented me on my writing: they called me ‘an exceptional writer’ which may be pushing it a bit but then they were scientists J. It felt good to hear – academics are not very good at giving and receiving praise. I not only write – I like reading about how to write and experimenting. Leo Babauta shares his seven step method to focus writing and overcome resistance. Of this I am guilty as all: it sometimes takes far too long to start writing and the way to it can go through hours of FB, checking stats (useless, I know) and coffee drinking. Oh, and I love Faulkner’s quote – I have done for close to two decades.

I suppose, it is time to stop writing now – not because there are no more worthy articles but because I am running out of time; and I really don’t want to miss my flight.

Before I go to pack (now, this will be a challenge but one advantage of putting weight on is that one has more when sitting on one’s suitcase) let me share The Money Principle’s news.

During the last two weeks we have been in the following carnivals:

Y and T’s Weekend Ramblings at Young and Thrifty
Yakezie Carnival at IHeartBudgets
Carnival of Financial Planning at Planting Money Seeds
Canadian PF Happy Hour at Canadian Personal Finance
Carn. of Financial Camaraderie at My University Money
Carnival of MoneyPros at Growing Money Smart


Carnival of Retirement at Finance Product Reviews
Y and T’s Weekend Ramblings at Young and Thrifty
Carnival of MoneyPros at Vanessa’s Money
Yakezie Carnival at My Family Finances

Thanks to all who thought that the articles we publish merit a mention, including our blogging buddies who mentioned us in round-ups.

One mention deserves special attention. The Money Principle has been more opened to publishing guest posts lately and when doing this there is always a danger that one will compromise quality. Thus, we have been very strict with it: as I say, I’ll always publish articles that are written like a tango; occasionally, one that are a waltz, but never disco dancing. Last week The Money Principle was recognised as an example of a blog that publishes ‘brilliant guest posts’ ‘brilliant guest posts’. Thank you! I am very pleased that our reputation for quality – not only of our writing but of our guest writers is spreading.

Look after selves and will talk soon.