TGIF: From Denver With Love (and Tears)

October 17, 2014


Please excuse the radio silence this week. It’s been one heck of a week of travel, and I’ve needed all the downtime I could get. On Friday morning, I caught an early flight to Portland, where I had just a 35-minute layover before my second flight left for Denver. My first flight was delayed, which should’ve caused some panic, but our pilot got us to Portland with 25 minutes to spare. Phew! Well, for me to spare – it wasn’t enough time for my bag to be transferred from one plane to the next, which I discovered only after watching the carousel spin for 45 minutes at the Denver International Airport. I was told it would be flown in later and delivered to my hotel sometime between 10pm-1am (which it was), but thoughts about never seeing the bag (or clothes, shoes, wedding gift, etc.) again distracted me all night. Even though I have insurance to cover the loss of that stuff, being in a city with nothing more than your purse, keys and electronics is a strange feeling.

Fortunately, the bag showed up around midnight, so I had workout clothes to change into Saturday morning. My friend Kayla picked me up and drove us into Morrison, where we grabbed breakfast then headed up to Red Rocks. We parked at the base, where you first exit onto the street (not up at the parking lots), and walked all the way up to the Red Rocks Amphitheatre. I have to admit, I felt the altitude almost immediately. I’m from an island and have basically always lived at sea level, but Morrison starts at 5,800 ft. above it. So, while the walk up wasn’t actually that intense, it took a few minutes for my head and lungs to get used to the new elevation. After walking back down, we went into Denver for lunch, then I had an epic 2-hour nap and just called it a day.

Sunday was Clare and Drew’s wedding day. I’d spent Friday night with them + their friends at a house party out in Boulder, but their wedding was the reason for my trip – and it was awesome. The venue was unique, the food (and salted caramel cupcakes) were delicious and their vows were so beautiful. You could feel the love in every corner of the room that night, and I’m so grateful I got to be part of it. Also, their friends could not have been more welcoming. Have you ever gone to a wedding without a date in a city where you don’t really know anyone? I have, and it’s not exactly easy. Take every possible cause of social anxiety and put it in one 5-hour event. Fortunately, Clare and Drew’s friends made me feel extremely welcome, as we sipped sparkling apple cider and danced the night away.

Well, danced the night away until 10pm, anyway. I had to wake up at 2:30am PST to leave for the airport and start my trek home, so I went back to the hotel early to get a few zzz’s. I’d booked a super early flight home, so I could travel to Victoria after and get there just in time for Thanksgiving dinner. The first leg of my trip out of Denver was fine, but then my flight from Seattle to Vancouver was delayed, so my 2-hour layover turned into a 4.5-hour layover. When I finally landed in Vancouver, I got in my car and drove towards the ferry terminal, then discovered there was a 3-sail wait, which meant I wouldn’t get to my parents’ house until 8:15pm PST. At that point, I’d already been travelling for 14 hours, and was so exhausted and sad about not being able to see my family that I burst into tears. Not my finest hour, lol.

So, I went home, got a good night of sleep in my new bed, then headed back to the ferry the next day and have been spending time with loved ones ever since – hence the radio silence over here. Despite the temporarily “lost” luggage and the fact that I couldn’t make it home on Monday, I had an amazing weekend in Denver. I’d been to the city once before, and I’d happily go again any day.

The low of my week was watching my investments drop by… a lot. I’ve slowly watched the balance of my portfolio drop over the past 4-5 weeks, but this past week was a freaking doozy. Fortunately, I’ve become a much more confident investor lately, so I know there’s no point freaking out about it – and I actually invested more money during that time – but it still hurts to see my new balance!

The high of my week was finally meeting Clare and Drew, and their friends and family. Denver and Boulder are full of good people. <3

A blog post I loved was Can We Pay Off $70,000 in 36 Months? Catherine mapped out an aggressive debt repayment plan for the next three years, which includes specific monthly goals and has numerous deadlines. If you’re just starting to consider getting serious about your own debt repayment journey, Catherine’s plan may serve as inspiration. (And congrats again on the raise, girl!)

The best money I spent was $18.50 on a reservation to catch the ferry home on Tuesday. I haven’t paid that in years, but I was not willing to miss another boat.

My plans this weekend include going to spin class with my best friend Emma tonight, going to a wedding tomorrow, then hanging out with the family on Sunday before heading back to Vancouver.

How was your week, friends? What are you up to this weekend?

  • Catherine October 17, 2014 at 4:10 am

    Aww Cait thanks so much :) it means a lot. I’ve received a lot of positive support from that (those) post(s). You’re an inspiration of mine too ;)

    • Cait Flanders October 18, 2014 at 8:11 am

      Seriously can’t wait to see where you’re at in 3 years!

  • Aleksandra Sagan October 17, 2014 at 5:49 am

    Nice to hear that you made it home after all!

    I know how hard it can be to miss out on seeing family during a holiday when you really want too. When I was working in London, England for a year as a teacher, I bought tickets home to Poland for Christmas – rather than paying for a very expensive flight home to Toronto. My flight ended up being cancelled due to a massive snowstorm and I didn’t get to fly into Poland until a few days after Christmas. So, with all my expat friends either at home or on travel adventures, I spent Christmas alone in my tiny flat watching Christmas movies and eating grilled cheese… So it goes :)

    • Cait Flanders October 18, 2014 at 8:12 am

      Aww, that’d be really tough. My dad misses every second Christmas, because he has to work. It’s never the same, when you’re not around family.

  • Sarah October 17, 2014 at 6:41 am

    Girl, that sounds like a NIGHTMARE. I hate travel issues, so I can imagine how frustrating that felt to not be able to make it home, let alone for Thanksgiving. Sounds like you had an amazing time in Denver. Altitude sure makes you tired, hey?

    Can’t wait to see you soon! Three more days!

    • Cait Flanders October 18, 2014 at 8:13 am

      It wasn’t ALL bad – but was a rough Monday for sure, haha. Two more days now!

  • Tonya@Budget and the Beach October 17, 2014 at 7:02 am

    Man you’re like the wedding queen this year! I had a hard time with the altitude in Denver/Boulder too. It really does hit you! I always wanted to go to red rocks though and do a workout there. Sorry you missed the initial Thanksgiving. :( Travel can be exhausting even when everything goes smoothly, let alone wrong. Get some rest!

    • Cait Flanders October 18, 2014 at 8:15 am

      I actually only had 5 all year (which I guess is a lot). It’s just that 4 of them were condensed into like a 6-week period, haha. This is the last one! And my 2015 calendar is looking pretty empty, so far…

  • Nadia October 17, 2014 at 7:06 am

    I feel you on the left behind luggage. A few years ago we flew out to BC for Christmas on Christmas Eve. Somehow my boyfriend’s luggage wound up in Victoria and not Kelowna! And he had the majority of gifts in his bag. Luckily WestJet is awesome and he had his bag in the morning.

    My Thanksgiving mishap was the boyfriend buying a 22 pound turkey as opposed to a 10-12 pound turkey! We did have to get a bigger roaster but on the other hand plenty of meals for the week.

    My high of the week was a very unexpected cheque from my grandparents. They’ve been selling off land and when they do they distribute some of that to their kids and grandkids. I think that it’ll be going towards a new couch as ours are old (they belonged to the boyfriend’s parents before he got them 8 years ago) and were white. They’re very dirty and just will not come clean. So we were going to save for them but now I think we’ll use that to fund them. For the moment the money is going to sit in savings and earn some money for me!

    • Cait Flanders October 18, 2014 at 8:29 am

      Whoa, that’d be intense! Props to WestJet for saving the day on Christmas :)

      Sounds like everything worked out on Thanksgiving. And nice of your grandparents to pass off some of their investment earnings to grandkids. :)

  • L October 17, 2014 at 7:42 am

    I’m glad you ended up having a good time despite all the mix ups. I leave in Ontario but am from Newfoundland and I’ve had my luggage misplaced many times, thankfully it was always returned but it can be very frustrating. I hope you enjoy your weekend and get lots of rest.

    • Cait Flanders October 18, 2014 at 8:30 am

      Yea, my bags have always been returned to me too, but you hear horror stories. Fortunately, I don’t usually travel with much of value, but I would’ve been sad if the wedding gift hadn’t made it.

  • Ciel Belle October 17, 2014 at 10:45 am

    Aw i got the travel delays last monday too, but I am glad you were able to get some ZzzZzz

    • Cait Flanders October 18, 2014 at 8:30 am


  • Elizabeth October 17, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    Hi Cait

    6 months ago I decided enough was enough and began my own debt repayment plan – to clear my £10,000 debt in 12 months. I have moved back in with my folks in order to make this possible. It’s hardwork at times and at first felt like a step back; 32 years old and living with mum and dad! I have suffered with debt fatigue becoming very bored of it all and close to blow-out, to becoming extremely obsessive updating my budget app and excel spread-sheet on a daily basis! Cait, your blog has kept me on track when I’ve had difficult days. Most of my friends are crazy in debt but do not talk about it. It’s a British thing I guess. This has been the toughest part as the support I assumed I would have had from some of them has not really been there. I just want to say thankyou for your posts and sharing your life on here. I love your honesty! I can relate to a lot of the habits and behaviours you talk about and think it’s great that you’re open about it.

    Thanks for helping me on my journey, I’m getting there!

    Elizabeth, UK

    • Cait Flanders October 18, 2014 at 8:54 am

      Thank you so much for sharing your story, Elizabeth. I would say it’s not just a British thing – most people don’t share their numbers with family/friends. I can understand why, but think the concern about being judged may actually lead us to worsen our financial situations, because we have no one to stay accountable to. Anyway, mini rant!

      I’m glad my posts help you stay on track. Email me anytime :)

  • Rob October 17, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    Hi Cait. Happy to see that you had a great time in Denver.

    Regarding your “Low of the Week”, it’s all part of the investment cycle, my friend. Like most others I also saw a big dip in our investments over the last number of weeks. I don’t worry about it whatsoever though and here’s why – many people look at their portfolio balance but what they should be looking at is their portfolio value. Being the thrifty person that you are I’m sure that you try to buy things when they go on sale (ie., when the price drops). Well these days my mutual fund unit share prices are on sale so my reinvested cash dividend returns are automatically purchasing even more share units. Not to mention, as you are doing, investing more cash right now is having a larger impact on your portfolio’s value (note – if not its balance) than if you should invest more when stock prices are higher.

    So I consider your best money spent to not be your $18,50 but (by a long shot) your additional cash investment. To put it all in better perspective, here’s a link to a really great entry to one of my other financial financial blogs that I read recently:

    • Cait Flanders October 18, 2014 at 9:03 am

      Thanks for the link, Rob! Yea, I’m not too worried about it going down, and am happy to invest more right now, but it’s still sad to know in the short-term that I’ve lost anything I might’ve gained this year (and more). Just gotta ride it out!

  • Clare October 17, 2014 at 5:57 pm

    I don’t think I’ll ever be able to properly articulate 1) how amazing it was to finally meet you in person and 2) how bittersweet it was to get barely any real time with you. Now it’s my turn to come visit you on your home turf. Thank you for weathering ridiculous travel inconveniences to be here with us. I love you so much and it means the world.

    • Cait Flanders October 18, 2014 at 11:47 am

      After so many years of chatting online and via text, it was so surreal to finally meet you too, dear. Thank you again for inviting me and for introducing me to all the good people in your life. I’d love to host you anytime – or let’s just go on vacation. Seriously. What’s on your bucket list? Let’s go there together, and just talk and sip coffee all day. :)

      • Clare October 20, 2014 at 7:23 am

        Sold. Seriously.

  • Becky October 18, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    I recently found your blog through Nourishing Minimalism. I’ve enjoyed reading about your road to living a more minimalistic life. It is something I aspire to do.

  • dojo October 19, 2014 at 1:00 am

    This month and the next one will be pretty ‘tight’ financially speaking, since we had some taxes and business related purchases that needed to be funded. Hope december will look better. Sorry to hear about your investment portfolio, let’s hope everything will get back to normal as soon as possible.

  • Mrs. Frugalwoods October 20, 2014 at 4:10 am

    Sounds like an epic weekend of travel! Glad to hear you (finally) made it home safe and sound! Denver is gorgeous–my friend got married there last year and it was a wonderful trip. Plus, Mr. FW was able to hike a 14’er while we were there.

    Hope this weekend’s wedding was a good one too!