A Visit to Ancient Merv
Travel

A Visit to Ancient Merv

After my relatively painless border crossing from Iran, I was pumped to finally start the next leg of my Silk Road journey. This time visiting Ancient Merv, located near one of Turkmenistan’s largest cities, Mary.  Waiting for me right outside the border gates was Sergey*, my local tour guide. My first request to Sergey was to find me a bottle of Coke, stat! I have been bamboozled into imbibing Zam zam – Iran’s version of Coke – due to its suspiciously Coke-like packaging. Like its originator Pepsi, it wasn’t good enough for my discerning palate. I swear my taste buds

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LIGHTING A FIRE (financial Independence, Retire Early)
FIRE

Lighting a FIRE

The FIRE or financial independence and early retirement community is the fastest growing personal finance movement online. The dream of acquiring enough money and assets in the form of real estate, stock and bonds portfolio, and other investments that you can live off the proceeds and retire while still relatively young is the DREAM. For a long time, this dream was unreachable for mere mortals. Not anymore. A lot of people have demonstrated that retiring early is achievable. Mr. Money Mustache FIRE’d at 30. Sam of Financial Samurai retired at 34. Paula Pant became financially free through real estate investing

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Net Worth Update July 2019
Net Worth Report

Net Worth Update and Year (so far) in Review, July 2019

First, I’d like to apologize to my readers for my blog’s silence for a few weeks now. I went on an amazing vacation to Peru and Bolivia to celebrate my birthday and then after I got back, I was afflicted with what I thought was ennui but was actually a mild case of stomach flu. I’m so much better now. And now, I’m posting my long-delayed net worth update for the first half of the year. Looking back, I’m very pleased with how my year is going so far. My parent’s finances are stabilizing so there’s no need for me

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Crossing the Iran-Turkmenistan Border
Travel

Crossing the Iran-Turkmenistan Border

This post was first published in my old travel blog, Erudite Traveller on 20 December 2017. One of the things I obsessively prepared for during the planning stage of my Silk Road 2017 trip is how to cross to Turkmenistan, a land-locked country with border crossings in Iran, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan. In the end, I opted to cross the Iran-Turkmenistan border in Sarakhs, a city straddling the two countries.  Getting through the border between the two countries was a surreal experience. The brown and desolate winding mountains and sand dunes in the Iranian side, despite the presence of giant

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Communing with the Devout in Mashhad Iran
Travel

Communing with the devout in Mashhad, Iran

This post was originally published in my old travel blog, Erudite Traveller on 05 December 2017. Mashhad, Iran’s spiritual capital and second largest city is located more than 900 kilometers to the northeast and borders Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. This made Mashhad  the perfect entry point to my next destination: the ancient Achaemenid satrapy and Seljuk Turk citadel of Merv (Margiana), Turkmenistan.  Although not a usual tourist destination for foreigners and non-Muslims, Mashhad is actually a famous site for Shia Muslims worldwide. Devotees flock to Mashhad’s Imam Reza Shrine by the millions during Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar,

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Menstrual Cups Review
Products Services and Reviews

The Amazingness that is the Menstrual Cup – Ode to a Feminist Product

It’s very rare for one product to embody most, if not all, the ideals of a wise and ethical consumer: sustainable, economical, empowering, and socially responsible. I’m talking, obviously, about the wonder that is the menstrual cup.   A menstrual cup is a small cup made with latex or silicon inserted into the vaginal canal to catch your period. Unlike tampons and sanitary pads, menstrual cups do not absorb blood but collects them. This means you can use your menstrual cup longer each time. Unlike tampons and sanitary pads that have to be replaced every four hours (depending on how

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3,000-year old Kang Village in mashhad, iran
Travel

The 3,000-year old Kang Village in Mashhad, Iran

This post was first published in my old travel blog, Erudite Traveller on 22 November 2017. It was in Kang Village in Mashhad, Iran, that I learned how to say no five times before accepting offers of food and drinks.  Taroof, the Persian custom of civility and deference, can be a landmine in local – foreigner relations. Persians make offers that they expect will be refused. Its basic component is politeness; by a complicated dance of offers and refusals, people show their respect and deference to one another. Accept offers too early and the offerer will be put on the

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Initial Thoughts on First Metro Sec Pro
Financial Tools

Initial Thoughts on FirstMetroSec Pro

Hands down, of all Philippine online trading platforms I have used and/or seen, FirstMetroSec Pro is the best. It outstrips all other Philippine trading platforms by a mile.   I had the chance to use FirstMetroSec Pro since the beginning of April and what I have seen so far impressed me.  I’ve been comparing it to other local platforms – I have AB Capital Securities and BPI Trade and watched a lot of  COL videos and tutorials in Youtube – as well as with US downloadable and web-based platforms like TD Ameritrade’s Sink or Swim and the ones I used

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Registan Square
Education

Corporate Scholarships for College Students in the Philippines

Last year when my cousin was preparing to enter college, I compiled a list of scholarship programs in the Philippines to help pay for her fees and other expenses and to make her resumé attractive to future employers. When she got into the University of the Philippines where they don’t have to pay any fees, I totally forgot about it until the other week.   I’m sharing this list of corporate scholarship programs in case you or anybody you know needs help paying for college. This post is solely for scholarship programs sponsored by private companies and rich people foundations.

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WANDERING IN TEHRAN
Travel

Wandering in Tehran on Ashura

I knew that my trip was off to a roaring start when my Thai Airways plane en route to Tehran announced that alcohol is to be served less than an hour into the flight.  I have sworn off alcohol due to my fear of hangovers but decided to join in on the fun. Alcohol is strictly prohibited in Iran; who knows when I will have it next.   Later in the trip, I had dinner in a restaurant along Valiasr in Tehran’s downtown district which listed mojitos (peach and mint) on the menu. My enthusiasm was doused when I was informed

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Katie Scarlett

Katie Scarlett

is a personal finance advocate working towards achieving financial independence and early retirement (FIRE).

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