Chautauqua: Come Join the Family!

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We’re already seeing a ton of interest for Chautauqua Greece this year, so if you already know what it’s about and want to sign up, click here. If not, continue reading below:


Sometimes a singular experience grabs you, changes you, and you are never ever the same.

I’ve only had three of these experiences in my lifetime.

First: When we got published. When I finally accomplished my childhood dreams of becoming a published author, I felt like I was on top of the world! Holding that book baby in your hands brings a special kind of ecstasy you will only know when you’ve experienced it.

Second: When we took a leap of faith and retired from our 9 to 5 to travel the world. The experiences we’ve had, the people we’ve met, the misconceptions we broke free of, have all been nothing short of life-changing.

Third: Chautauqua.

For those of you who’ve just joined our FIRE community and don’t know what Chautauqua is, I’ll just sum it up thusly:

A gathering, created by the Godfather of FI JLCollins, Chautauqua is a week-long retreat where exceptional people gather to discuss finances and life goals in wondrous places around the world.

But as I soon discovered, Chautauqua is SO much more than that. In terms of the single best week of my life, Chautauqua wins hands down.


Let me back up a bit and tell you the precise moment I realized Chautauqua wasn’t just special, it was a once-in-a-life-time experience.

One of my favourite things about Chautauqua is the 1-on-1s where us speakers get to meet with attendees for a one-hour session to discuss your FI path or anything you want to talk about. This is where the magic happens. Not only do we get to strategize over your FI path, we really get to know you as a person and find out what you’re all about.

Anything we talk about during these sessions is strictly confidential, to be locked away under vault and key, never to be spoken about again—unless the attendee chooses to.

It is in this bubble of trust that the magic happens.

Because FI isn’t just about the numbers, it’s about getting over the mental blocks. And one of the biggest mental blocks is haters hidden amongst family and friends, and this is exactly what makes FI so hard to achieve because people get judged about money ALL the time. No wonder most people would rather have their naked pictures stolen and posted online than show their bank account.

But at Chautauqua, you aren’t just a bank account. You aren’t just an FI number. You are a living breathing person, made up of fears, hopes, dreams, just like the rest of us. And during the 1 on 1s is where we find out we aren’t really that different after all. What I’ve been through, you have too. What I can achieve, you can too.

It is during my 1 on 1s that I truly got to know my peeps. I truly understood what brought them to this point in their lives, and at the end of our conversation, at one point, we—who had been mere strangers just days ago—were hugging and crying (no joke) and pouring our hearts out. They shared personal things about their struggles they’ve never shared with anyone before, and in return, I shared things I’ve never shared with even my closest friends. And that’s when I understood Chautauquans aren’t just friends—they are family. And your Chautauquan family will love you for who you are—warts and all—and will cheer you on, no matter where you are in your FI journey, even if you lose faith in yourself. Because that’s what family is for.

And for one glorious week—the best week in our lives, in fact—we got to know our Chautauqua family and form deep, meaningful connections that are still going strong today.

In fact, that’s precisely why we flew 4000 miles this week to freeze our butts off in the UK, in the middle of winter, instead of sitting on a beach in Thailand–to attend our Chautauqua family reunion.

And I couldn’t be happier.

That’s how much the Chautauquans mean to me. For the best people in the world, for people who love you for you, for my Chautauquan family, I will gladly trade sunshine for icicles any day.

And to make sure I wasn’t the only person who felt this way about Chautauqua, I asked some of our past attendees about their experiences and here’s what they said:

Kathy:My husband and I enjoyed this event and thought it was the best vacation we ever took togetherWe just floated through the week on a wave of happiness.” You can read all about her Chautauqua experience in her post “You Should Experience Chautauqua at Least Once in Your Lifetime and Here’s Why”.


Gwen from Fiery Millennial “ A group of complete strangers came together for a week and left as a big family. I might have traveled by myself on the way down to Ecuador, but on the way home I was part of one of the best groups of people I could’ve asked for. The advice I received on this trip will help me years down the road.” Reader her recap here, here, and here.


Laura’s badass Chautauqua rap (move over Eminem, you’ve been dethroned!):

I was so excited for the UK Chautauqua when it was first announced,
The UK Chau-what-now? How is that even pronounced?
Shaootaookwa? Chootookwa? Is that how it goes?
I was soon to discover that no one else really knows.
My partner thought it’s a cult which would take all my cash,
For a meteor made of cheese was coming and we need to leave before the crash.
“They’re trying to make money, they ain’t doin’ it for the kicks”,

But the week was incredible, with not a trace of dirty tricks.
I was nervous before I went. Will anyone even speak?
That wasn’t an issue when I was with my fellow FI geeks.
Conversation flowed like we’d know each other forever,
You’re my people, Wanderer said. I couldn’t have put it better.

We strolled the country lanes marveling at the flora and fauna,
And took part in the British tradition of doing 1-2-1s in the sauna.
The food was incredible, with 3 courses every night,
The only downside is that my jeans now feel very tight.

The presentations were spread out over the course of each day,
With the noticeable anticipation of what each one would say.
Jim Collins gave a great speech on riding the bust and boom,
But most dramatic was his (fake) death on the floor of the drawing room.
We all thought that taxes were where the Mad Fientist would have his day,
Turns out, he revels in a rather aggressive game of croquet.
As one of the founders of FI, Vicki is a legend on the scene,
But aside from money, it was towards community that we should lean.
Millennial Revolution’s speech was fronted by Firecracker,
On not buying a property when it’s your freedom that matters.
Alan is all about setting up businesses with little outlay of cash,
If they won’t buy it upfront then your idea ain’t that flash.

And Alan and Katie, well what can I say,
These organising legends who made us all want to stay.
Then, after years of commute with Mad Fientist in my ear,
I got to be on his podcast, which totally made my year!
But alas the Chautauqua bubble eventually came to an end,
But it was only just the start of a brand-new group of friends.”

Here’s an EPIC podcast from the MadFientist, recorded at the UK Chautauqua with attendees and Vicki Robin, author of Your Money or Your life!


Another attendee (who I’m keeping anonymous for privacy) said she wasn’t completely in the best financial situation to come to Chautauqua a couple of years ago, but she’s so glad she came because it was, I quote “the best money I’ve ever spent”. Since then, she’s started a business with a past attendee! Which isn’t surprising because we’ve found that the type of people who come to Chautauqua all have this go-getter attitude, and every time we check in with them after Chautauqua, they seem to have conquered yet another seemingly impossible task—starting new businesses, ramping up their savings to 50%, getting promotions, finding new and more rewarding jobs while working towards FIRE. I’m incredibly in awe of these amazing people and thankful for the great privilege of being part of their lives.

Which brings me to my disclaimer. Chautauqua is not a “fancy vacation”. Chautauqua is a once-in-a-life-time experience that changes you, helps you grow, and leaves you breathless and in awe to be part of a wonderful group of people who are your Chautauqua family for life. As Gwen says “The lessons you learn from Chautauqua will help you YEARS down the road”. BUT, if you have debt, or are struggling financially, DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT come to Chautauqua. Continue reading our FIRE blogs and getting advice for free. Don’t destroy your finances for Chautauqua—that would be against everything us speakers believe in. So don’t do it if you can’t afford it. We want what’s best for you.

End disclaimer.

Okay, so without further ado, let you tell you about about this year’s Chautauqua–which is taking place in Thessaloniki, Greece!


Week 1 – 13th to 20th October 2018: JL Collins, Millennial Revolution, Mr1500, and Alan Donegan.

Week 2 – 20th to 27th October 2018: JL Collins, Millennial Revolution, ChooseFI, and Alan Donegan.


This year, Chautauqua will take place at the breath-taking Cavo Olympo Hotel at the base of the Mount Olympus in Thessaloniki, overlooking the Aegean sea:


The speakers who will be welcoming you to our Chautauqua family:

FI Godfather JLCollins:

Famous for his Stock series and Simple Path to Wealth book (which is now the #1 Bestseller in Retirement Planning on Amazon!), The Godfather of FI is one of the first bloggers to write about FI and teach us how to invest to become financially independent. He is one of our inspirations for learning how to invest and retire at 31 and we would’ve never gotten this far if he hadn’t shown us the way. For a taste of JLCollin’s talk, here’s an overview of “How to Harness the World’s Most Powerful Wealth Building Tool” from Chautauqua 2015.

JLCollins’s post about Chautauqua can be found here:

Alan from Popup Business School:

Alan built PopUp Business School out of the frustration of setting up his own business and the lack of good advice available.

Since then he has spend the last 6 years travelling around the UK and other countries helping people to build businesses and make money doing what they love.  Alan will run a session on developing a side hustle doing what you love to help you get to FI sooner. He and his wife, Katie, have been interviewed on the MadFIentist’s podcast here.

Alan will run a session on developing a side hustle doing what you love to help you get to FI sooner, so if you want to make money doing what you love, don’t miss this!

Jonathan & Brad from the Choose FI podcast:

Jonathan’s hobby and passion over the last 5 years has become learning new skills and looking for ways to develop passive income streams. He also loves to talk about what he’s learned. He ran out of people in his immediate social circle to share all this awesome information with and that’s when ChooseFI was born.

​Co-host Brad is passionate about everything from saving money, to living a more healthy lifestyle, to ‘boring’ things like tracking your finances and cutting down on your tax bill.  He lives for finding smart and creative life hacks to make his family’s life easier and he wants to help you do the same on your path to financial independence.

Visit the ChooseFI website here​​. Their podcast episode about the new FIRE documentary and Chautauqua can be found here.

We’ve also been been guests on this hottest new podcast on the block! Listen to our episode here and the recap here.

Carl from Mr. 1500 days

Carl, who writes as Mr 1500, is on a mission to encourage and inspire others to abandon their consumer, spendaholic ways in favour of a more fulfilling existence. Carl says…”I’ve always been a bit disturbed by the American consumerist mentality. We live in a disposable society. People will trade in a perfectly good car just because they want a new one. Others buy new wardrobes every year or $500+ purses. I can’t understand or relate to this behaviour, especially when these flashy items are financed with credit cards. Our time on this blue-green, oblate spheroid is short. Let’s make the most of it.”

Read Carl’s post about Chautauqua here.

And me!



The schedule of your week includes:

Day trip to Mount Olympus, mouth-watering Greek food throughout the week, a special secret event planned by hosts Alan and Katie (trust me, you don’t want to miss this), speeches from each blogger/podcaster, your own free time to explore, and of course the 1-on-1s where the magic of Chautauqua and bubble of trust happens.

Check out the full schedule of activities here:


If you want to spend a blissful week with a group of exceptional people who get you, who will be your biggest ongoing cheerleaders, and have one of the most memorable experiences of a lifetime, then Chautauqua is for you!

So what do you say? Want to join our Chautauqua family? Sign-up for a once-in-a-lifetime experience here:

PROTIP: This is the ONLY Chautauqua this year! Chautauquas will no longer be held in Ecuador as they have in the past, so this is now the main (and ONLY) one, so tickets will be selling out fast–especially considering the crazy advance interest we’ve had. So if you want to go, book soon to avoid disappointment!

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48 thoughts on “Chautauqua: Come Join the Family!”

  1. I so wish I could go. Time the details get posted I think “please be in the summer” but it hasn’t happened yet.

    I’ll be able to go when I retire. Until then its able about reading blogs and expanding my knowledge.

    1. The speakers get a small stipend to cover their expenses of flying there. Don’t worry, we are not getting rich off this event 🙂 We don’t need the money.

      1. Don’t ya’ll have ample FF miles from all your travel hacking? Plus a nice tax deduction! Smart plan for a budget trip to Greece!

  2. Hi! Would you recommend single people who are relatively early in their fi journey (but not in debt) to attend?

    1. We’ve had many attendees, all at different stages of FI come to the Chautauqua and derive value no matter which stage they are in (would be a pretty boring Chautauqua if only people who were retired or close to retiring came). So yes, we will help you find ways to get to FI faster, optimize your current strategy, etc. Plus, you get your very own cheerleading squad of other chautauqua family members all working towards the same goal. The only people I don’t recommend Chautauqua for are those in debt or financial hardship.

    2. @Herstache
      I went last year to one of the Ecuador sessions as a single person… did the shared room thing both to save money and to experience roommates.

      I’m maybe half way along my journey to FI and I got a lot out of it.
      For me, I already knew/had implemented most of the tactics necessary, but the PEOPLE were the thing. The time you spend with your long-lost tribe is amazing! It was so nice to feel instantly accepted in our shared weirdness, lol

      If you are not in debt or financial hardship and can swing the cost, it’s definitely an amazing thing to experience.

      During the session I was in (not the one FC & W were at) we had ages ranging from 20’s to 60’s…singles, couples (of different orientations), every stage of FI, and several countries of origin. To the best of my observation, everyone melded well and I didn’t perceive anyone acting left out. If anything, we were all desperate for more time for 1:1s with each other – a week was too short!

      1. Thanks for sharing your Chautauqua experience Wendy! I’m glad you enjoyed it 🙂 This matched what I’ve heard from other attendees as well. It’s the PEOPLE!

  3. Dang. Every time I see posts about the Chautauqua I get a tiny bit sad as I still have a few years before I can escape this entire felony probation thing. I can’t leave the country until that’s over. So rather than get discouraged, I just remind myself to be grateful for the plethora of opportunities I do have here in the states. Keep the party rocking overseas until I can come and join ya in worst-case-scenario 4 years. (By the way I am a HUGE fan of the Zen and Motorcycle Maintenance Chautauqua. I’ve probably read that book 4-5 times. Maybe my favorite book. Definitely top 5. It’s a heavy read though. Not for everyone.)

    1. Awww 🙁 That sucks. You are one of those exceptional people that would make our Chautauqua really great. Sigh…guess we’ll have to wait a few years. C’est la vie.

  4. I’m thinking about signing up just to hear the Wanderer go on a rant about Greek mythology. 🙂

    The Ecuador Chautauqua was definitely a highlight of my 2017!

    1. HA HA. Be careful what you wish for… there’s a lot of messed up stuff in Greek mythology.

      Glad you enjoyed Ecuador, J! We really loved having you there. It’s exceptional people like you who make this whole thing work. Hope to see you in Greece!

  5. My natural inner introvert fears this would be mostly rock star millennials like you and that an older newbie blogger like me would be out of place, same way I think about Fincon. Am I thinking wrong?

    1. We’ve had Chautauquans of all ages and backgrounds attend. Don’t worry it’s not a millennial fest. Ditto with introverts and extroverts. We try our best to make everyone included–introverted or not. Some of our most interesting attendees are those who are older and wiser! Hope to see you there, Steveark!

    2. FIRECracker can attest … even introverts can have a great time there. I’m normally the wall-flower type, especially in a group over 20 people.

      But somehow, I was almost extroverted in the UK last year. I’m certain a big part of it was being comfortable around folks who are as odd as I am. 🙂

      When I fessed up about being an introvert to Wanderer, Alan, and JL they all said ‘you have GOT to be kidding me!!’

      Anyhow, you may not un-introvert for a week like I did, but I can guarantee it will be one of the best weeks of your life. Hands down. 🙂

      1. Chautauqua brings introverts out of their shell for sure 🙂 Couldn’t believe that you were an introvert, Jason! So glad you came 🙂

  6. My fantasy is that you will figure out a way to offer CME credits and then either my job will pay or it becomes a huge tax deduction! Someday, someday…

  7. Oh I need to try to put this on my list. I am taking students to Greece for 2 1/2 weeks in May and I love Greece! I think Chatauqua: Greece would be up my alley.

    1. We do have parents who attend, so it’s not all singles and couples. If they were to bring the kids, the vibe would completely change, and having booze around wouldn’t be good for the kids 🙂

  8. Full disclosure question – are the rates subsidizing the stay/accommodation for the speakers like you? Or do you fork out your own cash to cover flight + the retreate fee?

    Just wondering…!

    1. We get a small stipend to cover the costs, and the cost of bringing our spouse is also subtracted from the stipend.

  9. I desperately want to go again this year, but I’m not going because of the whole need to gain solid footing after quitting my job thing. Instead, my bf and I are going to take a trip to Utah that week (for my birthday) and so I can stay off the interwebs and avoid FOMO 🙂 HAVE A BLAST!

    1. Wish you could be there Gwen! Your presence makes the whole thing better–but I get the need to stay put this year though. Have fun in Utah!

  10. After about 4 hours of serious mental debate, I’ve decided not to go. 🙁 Sadly, this is in huge part to my extreme dislike of Greek food and the cost of attendance (which I think is very reasonable for the location and accommodations). The venue and activities look awesome. I’m bummed but that’s just the way it is (my wife is already committing me to next year’s event).

    Have you guys ever considered doing this somewhere warm in the US or Canada (sometime in the summer obviously)? I assume that most attendees are from North America. I ask b/c doing something on this side of the pound would likely be cheaper.

    1. I saw “somewhere warm” and “Canada” in the same sentence and my brain stopped computing 🙂

      The whole point of Chautauqua is to get out of our comfort zone and experience new places, so it’s unlikely we’ll be hosting in the US or Canada. In fact, one of its biggest draws is that it’s hosted in new places that people haven’t been to, so they can expand their horizons.

      Sorry to hear that you can’t go. Hope to see you there next year!

  11. I’m trying to convince my partner to come but she’s not into PF and the vague schedule didn’t help.

    I think it would be very beneficial for us but what would you guys say to someone who isn’t too into PF and in fact finds talking about PF exhausting?

    Btw FC from your Myers Briggs post, my partner is one of the categories in the 1% coincidentally haha

    1. There were lots of couples last year in which one person was into FI, and their partner thought we were all a bunch of crazy weirdos. At the end of it, all the reluctant spouses were like “ooooh, I get it now for the first time!” So being able to meet the bloggers face to face made it click for them vs. reading endless articles. Everyone learns things differently, you know?

      And at the very least, she’ll come meet the FI community and see we’re not all a bunch of weirdos that sit around cutting our own hair and clipping coupons. These are some of the most interesting, fun, and entrepreneurial people you will ever meet, and everyone was surprised by how well they got along with each other. Plus, it’s in Greece! So either way, she’ll have a good time.

  12. I keep getting to the checkout page and freaking out! I really want to go, and can financially, but something keeps stopping me. Push me over the edge….

  13. I wish I could but I’m on a stricter visa and can’t get out. any plan on having it in the U.S. one year? hopefully I get Canadian PR next year so that I can travel and meet you guys

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