Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous (Not)

piney creekYou’ve got to be rich to own property in Vail, Beaver Creek, Aspen, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Balboa Island, Playa del Carmen, Puerto Vallarta, Cabo…

But you don’t have to be rich* to vacation there. In fact, I’ve been to all those places in the past eight years. Vail, Beaver Creek, and Aspen are all within driving distance of home. Laguna/Newport/Balboa are all a short and inexpensive flight from Denver AND you don’t have to rent a car once you get there. The Mexican destinations aren’t quite as convenient but, from Denver, they’re still pretty darn accessible. A heck of a lot closer than if you’re coming from Calgary (although Calgarians get pretty sweet deals when it comes to airfares, and available flights).

I find it so satisfying to know that Jay and I can hang out in these unbelievably beautiful settings – just like the rich and famous. The mountains, the beaches, the weather “belong” to all who want to hike, walk, swim, photograph, enjoy, relax…

Although I grew up with a mountain/lake condo, Jay and I have never seriously considered buying a vacation home. It’s never really been within our budget though, truth be told, we could probably find a way to afford a “cheap” one – if not now, once all the college educations are paid for. But we have no desire to be tied to a specific location, let alone to the HOA fees, expenses and hassles of owning a second home. There are many other options to owning.

I’m lucky to have a friend who has a friend with a place in Vail, and have stayed up there a dozen, maybe two dozen, times. So, yes, I’ve been that spoiled. But, even if this arrangement didn’t exist, we could still head up there and rent at the very same complex. Just as we used to take the kids up to Aspen every 4th of July weekend, or as we did when we went to Beaver Creek to visit Steve last week.

For that matter, Steve lives in Avon – just a couple of miles from Beaver Creek. He fishes in the “gold medal” stream right outside the condo he rents with a couple of other roommates. He hikes the mountains that are featured in calendars and coffee table books. He lives frugally (a necessity on his hourly wage) but he’s enjoying the scenery and amenities that others choose to pay millions to be near. Let’s face it, if you’re a multi-millionaire you’re motivated to look for ways to spend your money, and having a place in Beaver Creek is pretty darn sweet (even if it’s not the greatest investment, in my opinion). But, you do not have a monopoly on the mountain experience and, by the way, thanks for paying all those taxes! 😉

The hotels or VRBOs we’ve stayed in over the years have cost maybe $80-$150/night – definitely within our reach. Some have come with all you can eat breakfast buffets (ie. cereal, bagels, fruit, coffee). It’s amazing how much Jay will eat, in order to avoid having to pay for lunch. The all-inclusives in Mexico were, admittedly, pricier – but I’ll be very interested to see how much less it costs when we’re paying for two vs. five, and avoiding high-season (otherwise known as fall break, winter break, spring break). It’ll seem like a downright bargain! This is definitely something I hope to test out in the next couple of years as part of our What Now? Next Life.

* Yes, I am aware that, by world standards, we are “rich” and that only a small, small fraction of the of the world’s population lives comfortably, let alone can afford the amenities and comforts that the Western world considers routine. We are lucky beyond all imagination.

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