Do you want to spend time in Hanoi Vietnam?

Spend time in Hanoi

In February 2014 I spent a few days in Hanoi, Vietnam.  It was the first stop of many on a South East Asia trip with some friends of mine.

For those of you who don’t know, Hanoi is the Capital of Vietnam and it is the second most populated area in the country.  Hanoi served as the capital of French Indochina from 1902 to 1954 and then as the capital of North Vietnam until the end of the Vietnam war in 1976 where it became the capital of a newly united Vietnam.

February is actually one of the colder months in Hanoi but the average low is still 14C and the average highs are 21C. So we were expecting nice weather, especially compared to the freezing cold of February in Canada that we were used to. Unfortunately I don’t think it came above 15C at the peak of the day for most of the time we were in the city.

Other than the less than stellar weather, Hanoi was an incredible change from the usual vacations I’m used to.  As soon as we were on the shuttle from the airport to the city center, it was an incredible eye opener. I haven’t spent much time outside of North America and the trips that I had gone on were in Europe which is highly developed and prosperous. Vietnam is not highly developed, the conditions people lived in on the route from the airport will make you very thankful for the opportunities you have in life.

The streets of Hanoi

The first day in Hanoi we signed up for a walking tour, which I’d recommend in any city you’re visiting.  You’ll get a tour of the area in which you’re staying so you’ll be more familiar with getting around and hopefully won’t get lost trying to get back.  You also have a chance to ask as many questions as you want with a local or at least someone who is very familiar with the way things work in that city.

In Hanoi, we were lucky to have a local guide show us around. Probably the most important thing we learned on the walking tour was how to cross the roads. Now I know that sounds like a very dumb thing to learn, but if you’ve ever been to a city where the traffic is 95% scooters, you’ll know what I mean. The streets of Hanoi are packed all day with scooters. There was every type of scooter and combination of people and cargo on them; from one person on a scooter to a whole family or a cargo load that was meant for a truck. Those pictures you see online aren’t one time occurrences; they’re everyday life somewhere else.
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Personal finance blogs I read regularly

Do you like reading about personal finance?

 

If you’re like me, then you think this site is awesome! But it’s still in its infancy, and there is a plethora of topics I won’t touch on for months or even years to come. I will get to them don’t you worry and I’ll get to them sooner if you let me know what you’d like to hear my opinions on.

In the meantime you should be checking out these other personal finance blogs that I read on a regular basis and I think you’ll enjoy them too.

Freedom Thirty Five – This is actually the first personal finance/investing blog I started to read on a regular basis maybe about 2 years ago. Liquid Independence is what the author calls himself; he’s based out of Vancouver so it’s mostly all Canadian related material.  He’s been featured in the National Post and the Globe and Mail among a few other publications.  His methods have sometimes been touted as crazy or extremely risky, because he leverages a lot of his assets to access more money in hopes of becoming financially independent by the time he is 35.

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How do you save money?

How do you save money

No really, how do you save money? I’m asking you personally.

Do you have a plan to save money?

Or are you like most of my family and friends and just throw the bulk of it in a “high” interest e-savings account and contribute an arbitrary amount of your income to a high fee RRSP through your banks’ advisor because you didn’t plan first?

I’ve been there! I still am for parts of it but I’m working to fix that and you should too.
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Can I do Calgary Stampede on the cheap?

Calgary Stampede on the cheap

Now that the 2015 edition of the Calgary Stampede has come to a close, I’m going to recap how I can help you get the most entertainment for you dollars.

For those of you who don’t know, the Calgary Stampede is a 10 day summer festival held in early July in Calgary, Alberta Canada.  Most towns and cities have summer festivals that honor a prominent member of their community that helped shape it into what you see today.  The Calgary Stampede is just like that, only honoring everything that could be related to cowboys/ranching; which were the foundation of life in Alberta. Although I’m sure stampede started off as mostly a rodeo and agricultural event, it has since swelled to encompass almost every facet of life. The Stampede now includes the rodeo events, x-games type events, a market place for selling mostly as seen on TV type products, a showcase for local Alberta visual artists, a talent search competition, several different musical performances at every level from beginning to professionals and a giant midway with rides, games and the largest variety of food you’ll ever see including for some reason the world’s most expensive hotdog and scorpion pizza…I know right, it got a little lost from its cowboy roots.

With over a 1.2 million attendees over the 10 days and dozens of concerts, and millions of dollars in rodeo prize money the cost of attending isn’t like most summertime festivals.  Downtown hotels which are closest to the Stampede grounds have an average nightly rate close to 300 dollars which is a 69% premium over the usual pricing according to Trivago.com. A bottle of water or a pop at most vendors on the grounds will cost 4 dollars. Needless to say food is also grossly inflated.

Basically the “Greatest outdoors show on earth” can also one of the most expensive outdoor shows on earth. But don’t worry! I’m here to help!

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Want to be entertained in London?

entertainment in london

If you haven’t read my first two posts on Historic things to do in London and Artistic things to do in London, then please check them out if you’re planning a trip.  This post will basically cover the activities I know of that don’t quite fit under history or arts and culture, just other forms of entertainment in London.

If you’re planning a trip to London that doesn’t revolve around a specific event, I’d highly recommend checking out what is going on at the O2 arena. Not only is it a large 20,000 seat arena that can host anything from concerts to sporting events, but it’s also one of the largest tents in the world.  It’s actually the tent that was built for the millennial celebrations and once it was over they cleared out the tent and built this stadium inside.  The cool part is that the tent is much larger than the stadium, so the “outside” of the stadium is built to look like different buildings.  Each of these buildings houses a different restaurant or bar, so if you find an event at the O2 while you’re in London, you can spend the entire evening there.  Go early and get some food before your main event and stay late at the bars for their live entertainment.

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Do you know your net worth?

Net Worth

What is net worth and why should I know mine?

Net worth is a measuring stick. It’s the way to tell if you’re in debt as compared to just have debt.  You can have debt, but still have an overall net worth that is positive, but if you’re in debt your overall net worth would be negative. Net worth is a financial measure which can be calculated by taking the value of what someone owns and subtracting what someone owes.

Net worth of course like most financial tools can be much more complicated but we’re going to stick with being simple.  So, how do you calculate net worth simply?

Net worth = Assets – Liabilities

First let’s break down assets.

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The best artistic attractions in London, England

Attractions in London - Les Mis

Now if you’ve read my last post on Historic attractions in London you already know I think there is an unbelievable amount of attractions in London, England.  In this second part of my three part series on attractions in London I’m going to touch on places and activities that are more artsy and cultural. So let’s begin shall we?

I guess if you were going to start anywhere on arts and culture in London it would be in the West End.  London’s West End is famous for its arts scene. It’s comparable to Broadway in New York City. From classic musicals like Les Miserables, or Phantom of the Opera to the new hits like Book of Mormon; there are around 40 theatres in the West end that house plays, musicals and comedies. I’d recommend seeing at least one performance here, they’re all on the high end of the budget scale, but this is basically one of two best spots in the world to see this much talent on stage.

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2015 Q2 Update – My Net Worth is up!

Net Worth Quarterly update

So how’d your first 3 months go?

Well my whole goal for the first three months of this website were basically just to get 10 articles up and then start sharing this with family and friends.  I managed to get the ten articles up in my first month, so that went a little better than I initially thought it would. Most of the articles were personal finance and only a handful were travel related.

After those first ten articles I started to falter a bit with them so I decided to make a schedule for myself, which is the current Monday and Thursday updates. This started off with one update on Monday and then I got some terrible news and life got put on hold for two weeks at the end of May. Once the terrible news started to turn around and things got back to normal I started back and have hit the 4(5 including this one!) deadlines I’ve set for myself since I started back.

I’m planning to keep up the Monday/Thursday posts pretty consistently from here on in.  So keep checking back for my

Wait, I thought this was a net worth update?

You’re partially right, for me it’s actually more of an update in general about this site.  A big part of it is the net worth to see if I’m continuing to increase my wealth as planned but also I’ll be using these updates to set a few goals for myself.  Reviewing your life and what you thought would happen over the next 3 months from 3 months ago I think will really help me achieve more in life, not just financially but in my career and personal life as well. But since you asked for it

ON TO THE NET WORTH UPDATE! BA DADA DAAA!

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