Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Adventures in Investing

It's been about a year since Toyota starting having problems with claims that their vehicles were unsafe. Shortly after these claims surfaced (and their stock's value dropped considerably), we decided to buy a handful of shares. Luckily, we happened to buy at just about the perfect time:

Other buys we've made have not worked out quite so well. Our first joint ventures into the market (S&P index funds) were bought in September 2008 and then again in February 2009. Both of these investments were swiftly followed by large drops in the market:

Oh well, these are supposed to be long-term investments anyway. And, hindsight is always 20/20 :)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

New Zealand: 1 Week!

In 8 days, we are getting on a plane that will take us to Australia.

Two days after that, we will be boarding a boat that will drop us off in the Great Barrier reef, where we will descend to a depth of 40-60ft below the surface and encounter many animals we have never seen before. Some beautiful, some terrifying.

About 8 days after that, we will be getting on another, much smaller plane that will take us 14,000ft above New Zealand, push us out the door, and watch us free-fall back to Earth.

That is the plan anyway.

I am thoroughly terrified by both of these ideas.

I'm afraid I'm going to encounter a really dangerous animal in the reef.
I'm afraid of being that deep below the surface.
I'm afraid of my equipment malfunctioning.
I'm afraid that I won't know what I'm doing when I'm diving.

I'm afraid there will be a parachute failure during my skydive.
I'm afraid of looking down from 14,000ft.
I'm afraid that we'll have a hard landing.
I'm afraid that my tandem partner won't know what they're doing.

Before we went to Alaska, I had these same kind of fears about camping in Denali. I had nightmares most nights leading up to our trip that we would see and/or be mauled by a bear in the wild. I had read all the statistics on fatal Grizzly Bear attacks (notice there are none in Denali...), reviewed the park's information about Bear & Wildlife Safety, and studied the Human-Bear Conflict Management guides. Despite the underwhelming number of incidents and the endless resources for survival, I was still ridden with fear before we embarked on our wilderness camping experience.

Once we were actually out there, in the wild, I was able to put my fears aside by focusing on the one thing that never fails to motivate me: our kids. Ok, so we don't have kids yet, I am aware of that. But, I always think about being able to tell our kids someday about all the cool stuff we have done. Climbing a mountain. Being chased by a moose. Camping in the wild with wolves and bears, oh my!

So these days when I have nightmares about being attacked by a shark, or falling to my death, I just stop and think about how glad I am that I didn't let the paralyzing effect of fear get in the way of my experience in Alaska.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

New Zealand: 2 Weeks!

In case you're wondering... Are we excited about our trip?...

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