So, this happened:
Where can you retire comfortably on $2000/month? An MMM reader developed this really useful global search tool: https://t.co/zpRCTVQb3L
— Mr. Money Mustache (@mrmoneymustache) September 21, 2016
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start at the beginning.
Two weeks ago, I released The Earth Awaits publicly, and with no small amount of anxiety. My wife could tell you about all the sleepless nights I spent trying to make it: work properly, be easy to use, look beautiful, search quickly, and otherwise be something that people will want to come back to again and again.
From the start, it was an uphill battle. I’m a software developer, but I had never written a web app before in my life. I hadn’t written a single line of code in Python, the programming language that The Earth Awaits is written in. I just knew that I wanted there to be someplace on the internet that people– no matter how modest their means or uncertain their retirement prospects– could find a place that they could live in relative comfort and happiness.
Someone at my gym recently reminded me of a silly saying that can be applied to the olympic lifting we were doing, to seeking FIRE, and to taking on a huge, risky task like building The Earth Awaits.
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
It’s a simple and silly statement that we take for granted, but it’s surely true. Sometimes we set out on a journey, certain only of the destination. We don’t know how we’ll get there. Along the way, you find out just how badly you want it when your resolve is tested in a thousand tiny ways.
The Earth Awaits was shared on Reddit’s /r/financialindependence, where it was upvoted to become one of the top 50 posts of all time for that subreddit! It was also shared on /r/digitalnomad, where the reception was also generous and mostly helpful. I received a ton of awesome feedback which made me totally rethink my priorities in improving the site. That great feedback has already started to bear fruit, and I’ve rolled out a few small features that I’ve listed on the changelog over at TEA.
When I was first working on the concept for TEA, I also solicited and received a ton of useful advice from the Mr. Money Mustache forums. I wanted to call that thread out as the foundation for so many of the initial features at TEA.
So, what comes next? I’m honestly not sure. I’m still wrestling with how to make the site sustain itself, but I’m committed to sharing all of the possibilities with people. Whenever someone shares a city, or the site itself, I see a small bump in new visitors. A few of those visitors will come back every now and again, so the critical thing right now is to continue to add useful features, and hope that people will consider sharing the site on social media. If you find a city you like, please do hit the sharing buttons in the bottom right of the slideshow at the top of the screen. If you happen to know anyone in print or other media who might find the site interesting, and who might like to talk about how we can bring retirement and world travel to everyone, please send them my way!
Thanks to all of you readers, and all of the personal finance bloggers who have enthusiastically shared. Thanks to the folks like Arebelspy and Eric of the MMM forums, Penny, and Steve for having shared early feedback on the site, and for having seen the potential even when it was very, very ugly.
Thank you to you all for continuing to come back, even when my posts are infrequent because I’m busy working or heads-down on a crazy dream of a side project. You’re the best.