We're now less than a week away from our next UK Gathering or as they're now referred to as the 'FIRE Escape'.
This Autumn's gathering has been a little more rushed than I would have liked, and as a result, some people are unable to make the weekend. I plan on avoiding this situation in future by announcing the dates well in advance so people have time to book it off early. However, I'm really pleased to see it's still attracted some familiar faces and some brand new ones too. There are 5 of us sleeping in the cottage and another 8-10 people either sleeping in camper-vans outside or visiting for one of the days.
FIRE Escape - Changes
Self Catered Accommodation - I'm intrigued to see how the self-catered accommodation option compares to the last 2 which have been in town/city centres. My gut feel is it will be much nicer having our own space, where we aren't interrupted by others, and we don't have to move onto the next location and find another restaurant/pub that can seat 10-18 people each time. From a cost perspective, it should be much more in line with what most of us stand by too. The last 2 Gatherings turned out to be quite expensive in the end, and the bulk of the cost was eating out. By us providing our own Food and Drink it should make the weekends much more affordable.
The counter to that change is that people might feel more 'trapped' being in a house all weekend. The thought of being in a house with complete strangers might actually put people off from going. I hope that by having a relaxed atmosphere, and limited scheduling that people can do what they want all weekend. Even if that involves spending most of the time on their own outside of the cottage. I don't want anyone to feel pressured or uncomfortable. These weekends are about meeting people and having fun!
Scheduled Learning / Interacting time - There were some opposing thoughts on this topic.
Some people felt that weren't making the most of our time on these weekends and we could have scheduled in talks on investing, frugal living, making money, self sufficiency etc. Others found this type of structure off putting and too much like 'work'. So what's a man supposed to do?
I believe that we can still meet both parties needs on this one. If we structure in some scheduled 'chats' that are informal and relaxed, but we still have space in the cottage for people to do their own thing if they aren't interested, then people can pick what they want to do. There's ZERO pressure to attend any talks, and those that want to benefit from them can do so.
All that remains is establishing what talks people want to hear and which people would be willing to deliver them.
Richard kindly volunteered to do a talk on how he selects stocks for everyone, but he unfortunately can't make this weekend. I volunteered to do a talk on Kindle Publishing, and how you can earn significant money on the side. M from 'There's Value' said she could share her strategies on keeping the cost of grocery shopping down.
What do you want to learn?
What topic would you be willing to talk about?
Let me know what topic's you're interested in learning about, and if you feel that you have experience or knowledge on a particular topic, please let me know and I'll schedule it in. Just to set your expectations here - I'm not guaranteeing that you'll definitely get a talking slot or we'll be able to find someone that can talk on that topic but it would be great to hear your thoughts!
Speed Dating - Weenie came up with the great idea of having a a speed dating style 'get to know you' game with everyone in the house.
I would like to give this a go. I was thinking that we could all have 2 minutes to tell the other person about what we do, why we're here, and your area of expertise. The other person then speaks for 2 minutes on the same topic. Then, we switch seats and repeat the process with someone else until you've sat with everyone.
I like this idea as it gives us all an opportunity to speak to everyone in the group on a 1-on-1 basis. On some of these weekends, I've barely talked to some people, while I've spent several hours speaking to others. I'm sure that's inevitable to some degree, but if we do this early on, we can establish what strengths/interests we all have, and you can then make a point of speaking to particular people who you have more in common with. It should be a lot of fun too!
Food / Drink
As we're going to be providing our own, some people might be interested in 'group cooking' or even 'group drinking'. A&L previously mentioned that they would like to make a vegetable curry for those that are interested on one of the nights. It's a great way to bond and save a bit of money so I'd like to put this idea out there.
In the same way that scheduled talks aren't compulsory, I feel the same way about cooking. People can be very particular about their food and they might be more comfortable catering for themselves. This isn't a problem at all!
On the other hand, If you like the thought of being part of a group dish, leave your thoughts in the comments below. Some of you may prefer waiting until Saturday, when most people are present so you can speak in person, before deciding on what to do with grub.
Arrival / Departure
Arrival from 1.30pm - Friday 16th Oct
Departure up to 12pm - Sunday 18th Oct
I'm meeting the owner at the cottage at 1.30pm on the Friday. This was originally 3pm, and I asked for the earliest possible arrival time. He said 1.30pm was the earliest he could do.
The departure time was initially 10am, but he kindle agreed to give us a couple of extra hours.
For this weekend, I took on the balance of the weekend myself so we could secure the dates.
It cost £340 for the whole weekend.
There are 4 people sleeping in the cottage for the 2 nights, and 1 person stopping for 1 night.
If I breakdown the cost to £75 for 2 nights and £38 for one night, we have the initial cost covered by the 5 of us.
That leaves me with the difficult task of trying to find out a suitable charge for people just turning up for the day. Thank you for all of your suggestions on this. They ranged from £10-£50.
I feel that £10 is too low in comparison to the £75 that people are paying for ultimately making the weekend go ahead, and I'd like to reward/incentivise the people that are stopping longer.
I'm therefore going to put forward a 'suggested donation' of £20. I will collect the money this week prior to the weekend and pass the donations back onto the people that are stopping over as they have the biggest fee, and they're responsible for the weekend happening.
I won't be taking any money from the donations whatsoever to make that clear! All of the donations will go back to the people attending.
If you're only stopping by for a short period and you feel this amount is too high, drop me an email with what you feel is more reasonable. I'd prefer that people come along and pay slightly less than being put off by paying and not turn up. Alternatively, if you plan on spending more time at the cottage and you'd like to donate more, you're welcome to do so.
Please contact me individually to organise payments whether you're stopping overnight or a day guest.
I plan on putting together the structure for the weekend based on your responses to this post.
In order for me to do that, may I request the following information from you please:
- What time and day do you plan on arriving and departing?
- Would you be interested in talking about a topic?
- What topics would you like to learn about?
Please let me know if you want further clarification on anything else or if you have any general questions.
I look forward to seeing you all in 5 days!
Labels: FIRE Escape, UK Gathering