It’s surprisingly hard to pick a domain name for a personal blog. Some of this difficulty stems from the fact that it has a sense of permanence to it. Whatever is chosen, that name will be attached to me for somewhere between years and the rest of my life. As such, I view it as an absolute requirement to pick something that I like, as well as something unique. It would be way too boring and forgettable to pick something like Eric and Katie’s Travel Blog or I’m Gonna Retire Early dot com. That’s not me and it really doesn’t reflect my vision or reasons for writing.
One of my goals of writing this blog is to provide data points on spending so that other people who may want to do something similar have an idea of what it costs. It’s not always easy to determine a budget for world travel, since there are relatively few long term travelers and even fewer who actually report their expenses. While it’s hard to know if someone else’s costs will match yours because of potential lifestyle differences, the more points of comparison the better. I’ll be relaying exactly what we spend, probably to the penny. I am an (almost former) accountant after all.
Another main goal is to document our travels and lifestyle for our family and friends. We are graduating from an uncommon lifestyle to a completely unconventional one and we want them to be able to share it with us. Hopefully, this will also help assure them that we are only a little crazy, but not actually insane. It has the additional benefit of recording everything for ourselves. Especially after a few years, I’m sure some plenty of things will start to blend together and I want to be able to recall all of it. When it comes to solidifying memories, nothing beats writing them down.
Finally, it’s a way to connect with new people and make new friends. I’ve read enough accounts of other long-term travelers to know that being on the road constantly, even with a partner, can be an isolating experience. And as much as Katie and I enjoy each other’s company, we will still need to interact with other people. Of course randomly meeting new people in person while traveling is always a good time. But those relationships tend to be short-lived, sometimes only for a few hours while exchanging travel stories and rounds of drinks. As fun as that is, they rarely bloom into something long term.
After many years of posting to internet communities, I’ve found that it’s easy to connect with people of similar interests online. It’s one of the best features of the web. Despite having met only a few online people in person, I have a great affinity for many people I only know in the virtual world. The FIRE blogging community is especially welcoming and positive. There’s a sense of camaraderie with other new bloggers, and the old timers don’t seem to view it as a competition so they’re also willing to help. Even after only a short time writing, I’m feeling the love.
I’ve long known that our goal is early retirement and that I wanted to write about our journey for some time now. Prior to choosing the handle Bonus Nachos, a number of names came and went. Katie and I would bounce ideas off of each other all the time. Most were rejected immediately (That’s just what it smells like), some were under consideration for a while (Fat Lotta Good), but none really stuck. Until this one anyway, which I’ve owned for 2 years despite only having a live blog for a couple of months.
At that time, we were both working through the Duolingo Spanish app. I have a bit of a background in Spanish, having taken a couple of classes in high school, but it’s been many years since those glory days and I was mostly starting from scratch. Katie had less formal training and just knew words and phrases from working often with native Spanish speakers. In my view, Spanish is probably the most useful language for travel, because Latin America is such a huge area and it’s full of inexpensive countries. It’s also an area where little English is spoken, especially away from the tourist meccas like Cancun. By learning this one language, we’re able to communicate with people in over a dozen countries.
One night while heading to bed, Katie wished me good night. And if you know any Spanish at all, I’m sure you can see where this is going. Instead of telling me Buenos Noches, what came out was Bonus Nachos. It was hilarious! It perfectly fit the idea of a blog name. It’s personal. It’s memorable. It has a story. And it seemed to be an apt metaphor for two mostly monolingual people trying to make their way through the world, butchering other languages but hopefully still getting the message across.