Skiing through pandemics; Surfing after terror attacks

Dear Rich Lifer,

“I think skiing is in the back of most rational people’s minds right now.”

That was one of the comments I read at the bottom of a ski-focused snow forecast last week.

And I had to laugh …

In true contrarian fashion, snowboarding was at the very forefront of my mind even as coronavirus warnings flashed across my other computer monitor and the markets were selling off like crazy. (Compiling a list of stocks and other investments to buy was the other thing on my mind at the time.)

Call me crazy, but I have a long history of traveling and playing at the very times most other people are not.

My Post 9/11 Plans

After surviving the terror attacks of 9/11, which found me in the basement of the World Trade Center as the planes were hitting, I immediately went surfing in New Jersey the following day.

The logic was pretty simple: I almost died so why not celebrate life and do the very thing I enjoyed the most? 

From the surf, I could see the smoke still billowing from lower Manhattan. I knew it would still be there waiting for me after my session was over. 

Several weeks later I was on a plane to Panama for a pre-scheduled surfing trip. Virtually nobody else was interested in getting on a plane at that time, and they were definitely not interested in international travel.

While the surf conditions didn’t really pan out, I had a great time with the resort all to myself.

Which brings me back to the current situation.

My Coronavirus Plans 

I was reading the ski forecast because a major snowstorm was about to hit Lake Tahoe. 

A few minutes later, I was booking a last-minute hotel. 

We packed the family into our car and headed up to make some new memories.

Would we have somehow been safer just staying in town and going to the local Trader Joe’s instead? Probably not.

More importantly, would we have been happier? Definitely not!

Look, I’m not saying anyone should take unnecessary chances. 

But I don’t believe in succumbing to the daily news cycle and missing out on enjoying my life, either.

In full disclosure, our trip wasn’t perfect.

After a good first day at Heavenly, the mountain’s parent company Vail Resorts (NYSE: MTN) suddenly announced a complete shutdown of all its properties.

As other mountains started following suit, my daughter and I scrambled to find a place that was still open.

Ultimately, we were successful and managed to get one last day of riding before every resort in California had closed.

All things considered, it was an adventure that we’ll remember forever.

Which brings me to the main point: 

The Bottom Line 

Whether you go to greater extremes like we do, or simply stay at home and relax, use this time of uncertainty to do something positive and productive.

Spend quality time with friends or family …

Brush up on a neglected hobby …

Plant a garden …

Read a book that’s been on your list …

And by all means, take a look at your portfolio with an eye toward using the current volatility to your advantage. 

In an environment when schools are closing … workplaces are encouraging people to stay home … and larger social engagements are getting postponed … it’s easy to get stressed out.

But try your best to treat this crisis as a chance to slow down a bit and recharge your batteries. 

If anything, moments that remind us of our mortality are opportunities to redefine how we want to live going forward. 

Personally, I’m tempted to book a super cheap flight to Hawaii to be used a couple months out.

To a richer life,

Nilus Mattive

Nilus Mattive

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Nilus Mattive

Nilus is the editor for the daily e-letter The Rich Life Roadmap and a Paradigm Press analyst.

Nilus began his professional career at Jono Steinberg’s Individual Investor Group, where he published his original research through a regular investment column. Later, he worked for a private equity business and spent five years editing Standard and Poor’s...

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