I’m Back! Where I’ve been and What I’m doing
It’s been a while since I have written anything, or had the motivation/discipline to write anything. I was in Brazil all of August and had planned on writing while I was there. I also planned on writing when I got back, the end of September, the end of October, now and everywhere in between. It just didn’t happen. As each day went by I wanted to write more and more about all the things that were going on, what I was doing, questions I had. Thankfully, I now have a group through Location Indie that’s going to keep me accountable. My accountability goal is to write 100 hundred words a day, which I just passed here :).
The 100 hundred words a day is small enough to do pretty easily within about 15 minutes every day but long enough that I can gain momentum and write a lot more.
…And now after getting lost on Facebook for half an hour I can start again 😀 😀 😀
So this post is going to be pretty straight forward. It’s a quick hitting summary of how things are going that will be elaborated on more in future posts. Most importantly, it’s a place for me to start and I’ll forgive you if you don’t read it 😉
Rio de Janiero
I spent the entire month of August in Rio doing volunteer work and it was easily one of the best experiences of my life. I met a lot of awesome people, had some great times (and a few scary moments), attended the olympics, did a lot of good work at a school in a local favela and got to see the sights (see the top image taken from the top of Pão de Açúcar).
I went through the Brazil IVHQ program which I highly recommend and will be using again for future volunteer experiences around the world like Columbia, Peru and Madagascar.
I’ll go more in depth in a later post where I’ll also talk about how much everything cost from flights to food and all the experiences I had (and didn’t have).
My Amazon FBA business has been going steady but could be better. As of this writing I have done $9,243.77 in sales on Amazon with a profit of… -$742.64 plus $5181.45 of in-stock sales value inventory (purchased for $1849.34). So not terrible, quarter 4 should cure my profit problems even though I’ll be pumping in a lot more inventory.
I am profiting on what I’m selling but my extra expenses such as my VA and the software I use to run the business are bringing me down. The solution here will be to continue to grow sales profitably beyond what my more fixed costs can drag down.
I also got a little bit of the location indie experience from running the company while in Brazil. Naturally, my computer stopped working halfway through so I got to learn how to use excel and buy inventory on my phone. It was not very fun and I’ll be buying high quality power converters from now on (spark blew up something in the computer).
Now, in addition to scaling online arbitrage, I am also looking more into private label as well as incorporating/becoming more “official.”
If you look through my 100 quests you’ll notice a common occurrence is learning new things. For this I have really got into the groove.
As part of my Annual Review I was able to get 2 hours a week to put towards professional development. That time is being used to study for the Comptia A+ exam which is the first step towards the Security+ certification (quest 6). I’m also taking classes on Coursera towards the Excel to Mysql Specialization. I take one class at a time and do the work during my lunch period. The classes are $79 each and I am thankfully reimbursed by my employer for professional development 🙂
Finally, LinkedIn has launched it’s LinkedIn learning platform, a result of it’s purchase of Linda.com, and I have dived right in. There is a lot of great content on it and I am using it to study for the A+ exam as well as really fill out my web development education. What’s great about having your own website is I get to use it to experiment and learn a lot of the new things I’m learning in the class. I’d recommend you give it a try. You can get it with a free trial to LinkedIn Pro and after 30 days I think it’s $49/month.
Currently as it stand I have a little over 74k Chase Ultimate Rewards Points and a little under 40k American Airlines awards. I’ve only got the two cards under my belt as I got denied for the Chase Ink+ :/
Right now I’m looking at either going for the SPG -> Marriot Hotel + Air Package -> Southwest companion pass or the Chase Sapphire Reserve. I really wanted to do the Hotel + Air package as it’s a great value and would be a lot of fun but I think it’s a little out of my range right now (involves 4 cards and over $10k spending) so the reserve seems the way to go. I also like the slow and steady approach here and going all in on Chase which provides the greatest value and flexibility. That combined with the 5/24 rule makes them a priority.
Once I make a decision I’m going to write more about it here.
Updates to Quests
There’s been a lot to update with my progress in my quests as well as quite a few to add. But before going into that I want to mention some of my future plans for the quests page. I’m going to start building out separate pages detailing the journey along each quest to help me keep track and to help anyone else who is interested in doing the same thing.
Now for the quests to update:
– I’ve made progress on learning Brazilian Portuguese (quest 3) and used it quite a bit in Brazil. After taking September off I got back into the swing of things and plan on being in a very good place for when I head back next year.
– I drank a local beer in Brazil (quest 27)
– Spent more than 2 weeks in Brazil (quest 29)
– Bought like 10 more books that I haven’t read XD (quest 30)
– Officially went to an olympic event (quest 34)
– Volunteered for over 2 weeks in Brazil (quest 35)
– Volunteered in Brazil (quest 59)
– Rock Climbing (quest 70). Something that I have started getting interested in recently. I think it’s a great way to physically challenge yourself. I’d probably want to learn indoors and then start to move outdoors.
– Hang gliding (quest 71). I almost had the opportunity to do this while in Rio. Unfortunately, there was a ban because of the Olympics. I’ll be heading back to Rio to do this, hopefully next year. Here’s a video of what it looks like.
– Paragliding (quest 72). Since I’m gonna do hangliding I might as well do paragliding 😀
– Wind Sailing (quest 73). Saw a video of this (don’t remember where) but it was in the northeast of Brazil at a nomad destination. Got me really interested.
– Battle the Ocean (quest 74). This one actually scares me. It’s probably the only one where I would actually be worried about surviving. I was listening to a podcast where someone did a pretty long boat ride, possibly across the pacific. It was intense and I am definitely not ready for it yet but it’s going on the list.
– Pay off student loans (quest 75). Not sure why this wasn’t on the list so now it is.
Well that’s that. I’ll be writing a lot more with this new accountability group so until then..
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