FI-ddle's Journal

Where are you and where are you going?
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FI-ddle's Journal

Post by Fiddle » Sat Nov 02, 2013 3:43 am

Hi, I have decided to keep a journal. I wouldn't usually take the decision to keep a journal as i like to not share my goals and prefer to get on quietly. However The last 10 months of living a semi Financially Independent, job free life has been both good and bad for my take up and upkeep of ERE tactics and principles.

Specifically this journal will track the 3 areas that i have failed to do well in this year and how our new job engagements turn out.

1. To stay within a 5.5% withdrawal rate of the the saving.
I have had a couple of large costs to pay for that were essential and life improving but have contributed to reducing my financial net worth by 20%. Writing this 1st journal entry has been this first time i have acknowledged the %, eek.

2. To better invest the savings i have to achieve and improve diversity and return. Currently the savings are all in Term Deposits. I have an investment plan now that i am comfortable with and hopefully this Journal will track the implementation and fingers crossed adequate success.

3. Implement an Intermittent fasting routine. I don't do moderation all that well, but i have achieved positive balance in other areas of my life with an all or nothing approach. So fasting looks quite appealing. However I haven't yet seriously committed to the task and out of the previous 10 months I've fasted...only 3 times.
I would like to implement a 2/5 routine in my life. However I do a lot of exercise and a 1/6 i think is far more compatible with other areas of my life to keep up.

Being job free for this year has given us the time and energy to develop ourselves in new activities such as Sailing, performing in a community play, mosiacs, cycling and starting a business. We have loved the lifestyle and feel we are only at a beginning.

I will track spending, income, and fasting this month. Additionally i might comment on my outdoor activities as this is an area very important to me and one i have very much enjoyed developing while away from a job this year, but i know from experiences can be one of the casualties of stress from a job as was before.

update in 4 weeks

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Re: FI-ddle's Journal

Post by Fiddle » Fri Sep 05, 2014 1:43 pm

Random Update!

Well I have failed to deliver on the 3 points i set out in this journal!

Alot of other life things have happened in the past 10 months and on balance i am mostly happy with what is happening and how things are happening.

Specifically from a FI perspective a purchased a house with out debt and have felt more security in my life generally than i have for maybe half my life. My parents and partner were surprised and proud that i made such a purchase.

Not good however is that I have been spending on under £100 consumerables recklessless during the past yr and havent managed to find the groove i was in before during my previous employment; where i had acheived and maintained a high saving rate. I think the daily drudge of that job focused my mind to maximse my saving of every penny.

I have a lack of direction and unhappiness in a couple of area in my life and maybe these are somehow disempowering myself from starting up the savings rate again.

The main focus i have had for the past 10 months is getting a business happening. There has been some moderate success and i feel quite proud of the achievement. However i can say the project so far has taken alot energy and I have highs and lows. Very recently I have begun to have concerns that i have become my own jailer and my pride/ego/fear of insufficient FI funds wont allow me to exit this improved cage, at least for the time being.

I kind of crave a fresh start, but knowing how hard the business was to launch i dont want to do anything to stop the business, at least for the time being. But i have gently rising concerns abouth the service this business is doing to my health. In a large part this was the driving reason for my exit of my previous employment, the job was wearing down my va-va-voom!!

The only thing i anticipated correctly on from the previous post was that the outdoor activities i enjoy doing have taken a slow pace in my life. being reduced by the busy-ness and stress of work and partner/family needs. That said i have had some beautiful recharging times walking in the remote areas, but i crave much much more.

And a challenge has arrived as i will propbably have to go on these adventures alone as i dont make friends to easily and the ones i have are scattered internationally, and my partner who i usually travel with is keen to get on with a regular work routine, that will likely restrict her availability.

update, i dont know when, I always enjoy reading the forum but shy away from writing often.

Thanks for reading

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Re: FI-ddle's Journal

Post by Fiddle » Fri Mar 27, 2015 8:26 am


I've been in Australia for the past 5 months and had a focus on the business. 2 more weeks here then I go to the UK for my retirement months of the year.

I haven't saved my target amount of money this time away but being the owner manager of the business the wages are yet reliable. That said I have saved enough to cover living costs in the UK for this year. Before, when I was employed and I didn't make my saving target I was very frustrated, I felt I had been cheated. Now I feel calmer and more easy about not reaching the goal, is nice to be more chilled out.

I have been staying in a house share while in Sydney and i think i enjoyed myself with the other house mates more than if i was on my own in an apartment. So I have started advertising bedrooms rooms in my house in the UK on To research the quality and demand of possible house mates. On the off chance the house does have a couple of lodgers move in and live there for the rest of the year the income would contribute significantly to meeting my living costs, meaning I could save this money earned in Aus.

While in the UK I have a few key things I will like to do and one is most definitely having weeks tripping around the country hill walking and trail walking. Can't wait.

I have been looking at vans to buy and deck out. Been spending hours and hours on auto trader looking at hundreds of vehicles to choose the combination of features I like. Currently thinking a small van like a vauxhall connect with a LWB and higher ceiling is good. Like postman pats van. So quite small indeed. If I put a roof rack on top and bed in the back with cooker I'll be set. MPG is a big feature as I tend to drive quite a lot and this one does about +50 mpg, which is good. The price is maybe 2.5-3k UK pounds. But There are other models and makes I look at too. Initially I was considering an estate car, but not to private to sleep in day after day.. Have to buy something for the summer.... I budget not including the buying price, to maintain, insure, tax and pay for fuel I suspect the vehicle to cost 2.4k p.a... ouch.

I could work on the business from the UK but I will avoid doing this as much as possible. As this time in the UK is my 'life' time allocation for the year in the 'work life' balance.

Other than that not much happening.

My girlfriend has a super job she enjoys very much and is settled. The job is not the stress inducing bigger pay day kind any more and she says she is loving the laid back work, in a friendly work environment, doing something that aligns with her interests.

George the original one
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Re: FI-ddle's Journal

Post by George the original one » Fri Mar 27, 2015 10:41 am

50 mpg for live-in vehicle sounds like just the ticket for a summer of fun!

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Re: FI-ddle's Journal

Post by Fiddle » Sat Jan 09, 2016 5:20 pm

Time for a journal checkin.

I think my haphazard time keeping on this journal is a result of being an INFJ. My motivation comes down to when I 'feel' like doing one rather than the logic and merits of doing one regularly, how i'd like to be a T. Anyway, here's the next one.

Been back in the UK for several months and asap bought the van and toured Scotland. After some weeks sleeping in the van I was worn down from the poor weather and from June I rested the van touring for a few months and became more interested and engaged at home with family. While in Scotland I walked up some Munros and will have more to do this summer fingers crossed.

Since being at home I have enjoyed the results of gardening and grew veges for the first time :-) Courgettes, runner beans and beetroot. I had decided because I had no prior competency in growing veg I would stick the seeds in the ground, put up the canes for the beans and see what happened. Total passive gardening. Results were super pleasing, so much so that this year I'd like to add a little veg growing effort and see if I can raise the yield.

Other ERE related news, initially for months I didnt work or look for work. However I began to notice I spent more and more time looking at different jobs and new possible ways of earning some income. Eventually I applied for a new job and started 8 weeks ago. Tbh, the job is really suited to someone looking for a long term, comfortable work opportunity and I couldn't stand going to the office each day, the commute was massive and I felt so worn out in no time. I decided to resign and after explaining why to the manager, we decided that I could work from home and do part time for a few months to see how I go. The truth is I have some specific skills currently valuable to them and I'd like to help get things happening for them but have become overly burned out through my previous experience of being an employee.

I have been thinking of starting a business in the UK, my recent work experience is quite a telling and in reality I think I will have to develop self employed ways of earning an income from time to time. As has been said before having money in the bank does reduce one's need or capacity to persever with working situations that bring unhappiness.

I haven't worked on the business in Aus since returning, but that continues with my business partner. He rtns to the UK this year and we need to find management to take on the running of the business or I might rtn to cover him, really dont know what the right move to do is at the mo on this one, but who knows! not sure.

Well there is plenty other things occurring at the moment but I'll stop there. Thanks for reading.

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Re: FI-ddle's Journal

Post by Fiddle » Tue Apr 12, 2016 7:25 am

Re-reading the journal entries, I must apologise for jumping around alot in my writing. But i will continue to do so as i have found rereading the entries a useful snapshot of where my thinking was at that time.


I resigned from the previous job I had, I lasted 4 months and was paid 10k. I can live on that for the rest of the year if needed.
TBF I tried doing 3 days a week but my heart and head weren't into the job. I found myself feeling like I was going over old ground, solving old problems and existing in a fake life with people who where there for the first time. I enjoyed the company of the people but not the job or the admin,there being lots of management and stress. I hate stress. I used to love the buzz and pressure of this work, not anymore.

I have begun looking at other work options, with no stress/different stress - such as - courier work and gardening/odd job work. Tbh I have a dozen 'maybe' jobs in the 'what if i did that next' category, I rotate through my mind regularly. Ranging from retraining to do international aid work, to setting up and running a shop online or developing my construction trade skills.

I'd like to know what direction my work life is going to go in soon, as i have some way to go to achieve FI and I have begun to realise I like working some of the time, when i have nothing else to do. During the previous job the work was a way to find and have a routine in my daily life as other areas of my life where a bit restricted due to family reasons.

I'd like to test out some new work soon. I'd also like to do a bit more travel this summer in Scotland and beyond so i'll see what comes along.

Other news,

I've filled the front garden with seed potatos and have started digging over an allotment.

I have opened an isa and bought a few shares- i'd like to leave these for long while to build my tolerance to share price volatility before i add any further funds. - I know very little about shares and i don't much trust what i do know. For that reason i think i'll keep my investments as a small % of my net worth.

The business in Australia may have some big changes this year - maybe good/maybe not, but hopefully will take that responsibility off my mind and free up more mental energy for myself to get something new and interesting happening here in the UK. Fingers crossed.

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Re: FI-ddle's Journal

Post by Fiddle » Sun Aug 14, 2016 4:43 pm


Several life changes have come about in recent months.

1. I'm a new Dad :) . Alot of what has been written hear on different threads about children and ERE has bobbed about in my mind. But so far, so good, but I know I've taken the first step on an epic journey.

2.I closed the business in Australia, I'm saddened to have had to do it but I didn't see any other viable option. In reality I accomplished what I initially set out todo with it, but I didn't complete the mission creep objectives I thought about and tried to do in the subsequent couple of years. I didn't have the same drive later on.

3. I'm in professional limbo really, as I have been for ages. Do I do something new and what is that or do I keep on pretending in the old 'over it' work that pays better and has better peaks.

I've applied for some low skilled local jobs with the acceptance that I can do one for the winter and do a more significant professional new career move next year. I have been near to pulling the trigger on a professional training course that can open up new jobs, but...

4. My girlfriend and I are in Ireland atm, road tripping in a big LDV Long wheel base van we bought for 1,000pounds and having a super time, the bub seems to love being on the road travelling, which I am thrilled about, as travel is something I hold dear. The hope atm is definitely a large northern European road trip next year for several weeks or longer.

5. Blind luck had my Isa up 10% since the brexit vote. I think the shenanigans coming in the next two years will bring extra volatility. But I know nurthing.

6. My veg garden has been turning heads in the village where we live, initially people walked by looking at this mucky front garden thinking whatever and now -boom, harvest time! I've been sharing out the potatoes to neighbours and I'm looking forward to getting back home soon to carry that on and pick the of veg and fruit.


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Re: FI-ddle's Journal

Post by Fiddle » Fri Oct 07, 2016 4:07 pm

Getting to grips with my version of Semi ERE - took a positive step last month.


I earned money through work that wasn't my previous career. This has been a B I G hurdle to get over and I feel great. I have been out driving a van for a electronics company picking up and delivering equipment to different cities in the UK. Only very part time, but I REALLY like it! The weight off my shoulders is noticeable, I have found a job I enjoy enough to do part time, whenever there is the work. The income is low but the responsibility is even lower, so I am happy with that!

I really would like to develop the driving work as I love travelling about the country, or maybe I could go even further, who knows.

I have also been researching a lot of other part time self employment jobs that I could do seasonally. One of the most promising I would like to do requires an initial capital outlay of about 2,000 pounds which isn't ideal but could be worse. There is another option which requires less outlay but I would still need to pluck up the courage, advertise and do the work well.
I think If I could get one of these working out with the driving, I could work both of them together from Autumn to Spring each year and be away for the Summers with the family -hopefully they will want to come! - Regarding this though to be fair, I'd go on my own if they don't come and I have the support of my partner in this. As this time away from regular life has been a key reason for my pursuit of FI long before I ever heard the term. So fingers crossed. - Early days.

Other random work ideas have been to teach an aspect of my old career to different organisations that require this service but can't find anyone to provide it. Or write a book providing this service and much greater resources for these organisations. But at the moment, if I can move on from my old work 100%, that feels better. Dipping in and out of the old work, would be like going back to an old relationship, when you need to let go and move on!

I think I have been suffering a prolonged bout of nostalgia and rose tinted glasses-itise for the work and how I used to be. The day to day reality of the work is not enjoyable and I am not like I was 7 years ago. Life changes.


I joined a shares trading club. I really like the people and the atmosphere, hopefully I will be able to develop my trading style and expertise while contributing to the club.

In the pipeline I have identified an Archery club I would like to join and as long as I get the forms in soon, I can start that in the new year.

I've been going to the gym a bit these days and getting in the pool has been really good, I miss not being able to push myself as hard as I did some years ago, but I am able to still get the rush from a good workout.

I briefly visited a canoe club but realised the club wasn't a good fit, mostly parents and kids. Maybe in 5 years.


We booked a ferry from the UK to Holland leaving April and returning June 2017. A 9 week road trip to Norway! via Holland, Germany, Denmark and Sweden. However to keep things flexible, as we'll be travelling with the bub, we've agreed to get to at least Denmark, all being well. Can't wait!


I would like to improve my diet, especially focused on reducing my sugar intake and caffeine consumption.

I still haven't got my fasting groove on at all.

I am disappointed that I have been trying to sleep out 2 nights per week routinely and not done this yet. Whenever I sleep out under the stars I feel rejuvenated the next couple of days. This is one of my big 'personal well being' to dos. Which maybe one of my main goals in 2017.


I sold most of the shares I bought in the days after Brexit. In hindsight I maybe sold them a bit early as they have gone higher, but I was happy to take a 10% return in a month and feel there is volatility en route, so maybe I can buy back in later. But I am a novice on shares.

I also withdrew my money from Funding Circle. After a year and half using the peer to peer lending platform I was up 10% after bad debts and fees. I don't really know why I pulled the money out I just began to notice negative articles in the paper and my confirmation bias kicked in. I have enjoyed using the platform. I did like reading the Q and A's between borrower and potential lenders. I reread the historical Q and A's on the loans I was unable to resell due to defaults etc and many of the answers were incomplete or a bit vague.

I haven't been keeping a track on expenses but I feel that we have been spending more liberally than we need too but not to much so. I think we will need to pull in the expenses over the next few months.


I would like to spend more time with my old friends and I know my partner would like to do the same with hers. I think that if we can manage to do 1 old friend visit a month that would be good, whether we go to their part of the country or they visit us here, whatever. Even more visits than this would be good, but I have to be realistic. I met up with an old university friend last month and went fly fishing, we had a good catch up. I will need to arrange something for this month.


There are many elaborate plans but the basics are here I hope. Got to make a start and great journey's start with taking the first step and all that.

Thanks for reading

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Re: FI-ddle's Journal

Post by Fiddle » Sat Dec 10, 2016 4:27 pm

A quick update,

I started a new job in November as a Christmas temp, delivering parcels. I love it! There's NO stress, i totally forget the job the moment I leave the depot, the pay is good enough and I like the people - there is a distinct absence of bullshit and emperor's new clothes, which I love. I've no plans for the job after the agreed work term but if I was offered a position to stay on for a while longer I'd like to do that.

Getting more excited about the road trip we've booked from April to June. Before then, I have to clear out the insides of the van we'll be travelling in and replace the carpets etc. There were mice in the van last month, yuk! must have left a few pieces of food in there, we live in the countryside and should have known better then to think the van would be secure!

Still going to share club, really enjoying the social interaction of the club actually. Great to meet face to face with like minded people and get new ideas, exchange stories and laugh.

I haven't progressed my other activities too much this month, I still would like to join the local archery club but haven't go around to it yet, and I bought a touring bike on ebay last week, so looking forward to getting some bike touring miles done next year.

In all, feeling SO much better for having some fixed duration, enjoyable work to get my teeth into and excited about the plans for 2017 my partner and I are putting together.

There is also the idea being developed to buy a 2nd property as an investment, I would like to buy a 2nd place as we have this one paid off and another could be well covered by a tenant, however, early days and my partner would prefer a holiday cottage setup, so we'll see!

I am feeling like this is a semi ERE lifestyle I can do! and that feels good.

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Re: FI-ddle's Journal

Post by DebtSlaveNoMore » Sat Dec 10, 2016 5:59 pm

@Fiddle, I really envy your lifestyle. It's so free man!!!!

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Re: FI-ddle's Journal

Post by Fiddle » Sun May 14, 2017 3:17 pm

Quick update,
@debtslavenomore thanks dude, my life's changed so much over the past few years.

We started the road trip, is good.

I worked at the parcel place for a couple of months after Christmas, beginning to really enjoy the work. I don't think about it once I leave the depot or before I arrive, incredible, to think I carried my work on my mind all the time before. I couldn't do that now, even if I wanted to.

I have managed to do archery and yoga this year love them. Especially archery. So much potential in that activity for someone like me.

I also did my class 2 lorry licence, so I can drive very large rigid trucks, but I don't feel I want to do that atm. I like the theory of seasonal driving work, but the parcel delivery work has been good.

After the road trip, I'd like to do a feel other travelling bits, then get on with some seasonal work. I might try out window cleaning, chimney cleaning or gardening as a side line to the seasonal work, who knows.

Still enjoying this style of semi ere. I don't think I ever want to fully retire now, I like the bit I both, through the year.


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Re: FI-ddle's Journal

Post by classical_Liberal » Sun May 14, 2017 4:48 pm

@ Fiddle
I am thoroughly impressed with your lifestyle as I plan to have a similar one. It was fun to read your thoughts over the past several years at random intervals. I hope to see more updates and am very happy you have finally found enjoyable part-time work!

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Re: FI-ddle's Journal

Post by Fiddle » Mon Apr 16, 2018 4:36 pm

Well, I haven't updated for a while.

The past 12 months have been quite challenging in numerous ways.

The good - the road trip was excellent!
-I have started doing more DIY
-I have tried out a few more blue collar jobs

The bad - My partner and I are arguing,
- We live in a place that is not satisfying
-my parents health is deteriorating.
-I feel understrain form the situation
- i miss the buzz of exciting work (but am not together in myself to take on the stress the excitement is wrapped in)
- The money situation isn't improving

I am thinking that some ERE principles are lossing their relevance in my life. Prior to children and when I was in a good place for living and working I realised that ERE was a way to achieve my dream of being free and travelling alot. Now with a young family and living in a country I don't like to be in my dreams and priorities are being challenged and adjusting, making the goal of ERE seem less well fitted to my goals evolving goals. Obviously I am still into ERE.

I think I have too few real life connections with people - friends- who actually have done and are doing the ERE/semi ERE lifestyle. Whether they call it by that term or something else. Of the ones I do have, even fewer have young families.

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Re: FI-ddle's Journal

Post by thrifty++ » Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:56 pm

'Hey its been great to read your journal. You have been on here for a while.

Awesome that you bought a house with no debt. That cuts out the biggest expense.

When you say you dont like the country you are in is that UK or Australia? Where were you originally from? Where did you buy your house?

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Re: FI-ddle's Journal

Post by suomalainen » Tue Apr 17, 2018 6:09 pm

Fiddle wrote:
Mon Apr 16, 2018 4:36 pm
Now with a young family and living in a country I don't like to be in my dreams and priorities are being challenged and adjusting, making the goal of ERE seem less well fitted to my goals evolving goals. Obviously I am still into ERE.

I think I have too few real life connections with people - friends- who actually have done and are doing the ERE/semi ERE lifestyle. Whether they call it by that term or something else. Of the ones I do have, even fewer have young families.
Hang in there. There are several of us here, some doing better than others. Do what you can and let go of the rest.

-Unsolicited advice from one doing less well than others (a guy who let go of his ERE dream for the sake of his non-ERE family)

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Re: FI-ddle's Journal

Post by Fiddle » Mon Apr 23, 2018 3:31 pm

Thanks thrifty++ and suomalainen, I appreciate the replies.

@ thrifty++ I live in England now and am not a fan. Although I have spent most of my life here, I found the life I had in Australia more to my natural way of being. - one of generally living outside and being upbeat. In England I have always felt like a fish out of water. The house is in England because i wanted a safe temporary place to come to in between travels within reach of my parents. As things have turned out we have lived in the house nearly all the time since the past 2+ years.

@ suomalainen Thanks for the advice, that is what I have to do.

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