102 | How Camino and FIRE create in-person Community with Diania Merriam

Finding Your People with Diania Merriam
The number one indicator in progressing to thriving is do you have deep relationships with people who inspire you with their growth mindset and expansive energy. How do you find them? This episode will help.

As we shift from the holidays to the new year there is often the most reflective time of year for reflection and intention setting for the upcoming year.  I am not talking about new year’s resolutions.  I am talking about understanding your why, who will help you get there and what is it you need to do today to advance toward your ideal life.  As this is publishing I am in the final days of w2 work, and merely weeks from our departure in the RV for our family gap year.  Working towards a gap year has been a few years of intention setting and making progress towards our family gap year.  If you need a tool or framework to guide you through that process then I suggest using the Best Year Yet framework that set me on this path in 2018.  I have a link in the show notes for you to take the online course.  

*Register for the Best Year Yet to set your lifestyle intention and create an accountability structure to support building out your life.  https://ordinarysherpa.com/byy
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One of the critical factors for our family advancing the idea of taking a family gap year with kids, was about surrounding yourself with the right people.  After writing the book I had several readers ask. “But how did you find your people?” Which is why I invited our guest today.  You will hear some tips on setting intention, but also the importance of showing up in real life then checking in with how that person makes you feel. One of the strategies I ended my W2 work on, was understanding the game changing nature of connection and community building in moving from surviving to thriving.  

Diania Merriam is the founder of The EconoMe Conference, a party about money designed specifically for the FIRE movement (financial independence, retire early).  She’s also the host of the popular podcast Optimal Finance Daily where she narrates articles from the best personal finance blogs on the planet. After getting out of $30k of debt in 11 months, she used her newfound financial freedom to negotiate a remote working arrangement with her employer, take a 2 month sabbatical to walk 500 miles across northern Spain on the Camino de Santiago, and launch her own business. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Diania was overly ambitious growing up, often listening to external indicators of success such as “if you make 6 figures before 30 you are doing really well.” At 28 was the first time she looked at her life and started to put other factors in front of the external success indicators.  The self-exploration while dragging herself out of debt helped her understand her relationship with consumerism.  
  1. The Camino was completely outside her comfort zone.  She wouldn’t consider herself athletic or outdoorsy.  She hadn’t ever really camped before.  She spent 3 months training and breaking in her Merrell hiking shoes – which she still owns and hikes in.  
  1. Part of her preparation was talking with about 20 other people who had completed the Camino to have them review her packing list. The Magic of the Camino began long before she was on trail.  Through a sequence of events from not having a car, to chatting with teh Trader Joe’s cashier she ends up being connected with the cashier’s friend who lent Diania her pack for the Camino. The overarching theme of the Camino was the sense that you are guided and protected.  
  1. Losing 200 Euro in cash while on trail was a bummer.  Reframing her mindset to “I have plenty of money, I will be fine.  I hope that someone who actually needed the money picked it up.”
  1. Diania’s story emulates the power of community in adventure.  She had people looking out for her on trail, off trail, before trail, after trail.  Sometimes adventure can feel like we need all the things – and yet there is a deeper KNOWING that everything will be okay.  
  1. When you attend an event like the World Domination Summit you feel like your life is full of possibility.  Diania thought “I want to do something that makes people feel this way, but about money!”  I knew that getting my money right helped create space and exploration in my life.  
  1. When people are walking towards a common goal, there is a sense of camaraderie – if I don’t know this person, I know “this is my kind of person”  It was this desire that led her to get more involved in the FIRE Community. She set out on a quest to meet people in real life – people living unconventional lives create a vibe.  I wanted to absorb their expansive energy.  The result is EconoMe – a party about money with surprises and connections.  
  1. If you are focused on material abundance you’ll never get to experience the kind of abundance that is more interesting.  Such as time abundance, relationship abundance, creative abundance.  All of these make space in your life.  The less materialistic you are, the more idealistic you can be.  
  1. Finding her people was an organic process.  She began paying attention to how she felt after meeting someone new.  
  1. Funemployment is her definition of being in a financial position to contribute, and be super picky about the type and amount of work you want to do; and who you want to work with.  Any discomfort she has now is not going to be fixed by money.  She already has enough money.  We are conditioned to think more is better, so reminding herself “I don’t need more, I need enough.” 
  1. Find your Own Camino.  What is the common goal that you share with others?  Make a point to meet your people and absorb the expansive energy that excites you and helps you feel guided and protected.  If that is getting your money right to live a more adventurous life then come see Diania and I at EconoMe.  

Join us in real life at EconoMe, there are only 100 tickets left.  Hopefully I’ll see you in Cincinnati March 17-19, 2023. 
If you aren’t really sure what your what your why is or what you want you lifestyle to be, then register for the Best Year Yet online learning and accountability and get a discount ($75 off) using my link: https://ordinarysherpa.com/byy

To Connect with or Follow Diania Merriman

Website: https://economeconference.com/
Podcast: Optimal Finance Daily
Youtube Channel: @economeconference

Where to Listen

Apple Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher,  Google Podcast, anywhere podcasts are played