Saturday, February 03, 2007

Racing Traders

We've mentioned a few times about the importance of exercise - especially now that we are sitting at our desks so much more than we ever have. And we've mentioned that we've done mini-triathlons - several over the past few years.

Well, we've been watching this trader's blog (Brian Shannon at Alpha Trends) and had ourselves a good laugh when he talked about his first mini-triathlon and his training regimen. Here's how he was able to mix his training and trading:

Now that's dedication!

He also had this cartoon posted on his site, which gave us a nice chuckle:


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Trading on the Road

I've been wanting to recap our learning experience, because I know some of you have been curious to learn how our two-month experiment went last fall.

We learned that we could trade on the road, but it altered our travel patterns quite a bit.
  1. We had to learn to balance our trading time with our travel/exploration (or vice versa). We've been spoiled traveling on the road these last few years. When we traveled we didn't have to worry about balancing the fun with the work. What's the point of going somewhere if you can't explore the area? But we had to make time for work, and some days you can find yourself in front of the computer a lot longer than you anticipated. So, we tried to devise a schedule....
    Watch the market open. Go play for awhile. Be back at our computers
    by 1:00 or 2:00 and close the market. Enjoy the sunset. Then read or
    take online classes at night to study
    ....This worked relatively well. Some days we would stay in and work a full day. But, this is true wherever you are, balance is the key in life. So, even now that we're back in our condo, we struggle to step away from our computers to exercise or get lunch or just take a mental break from staring at a computer screen.
  2. Because of the time we needed for work, this meant that we could no longer see an area in two or three days. So when we stopped someplace we felt we needed almost a week in an area in order to see the same things we would've seen when we were just traveling care-free.
  3. True, WIFI is becoming more prevalent, but not all campgrounds offered it. Or, if they did, it did not always work, was not necessarily available at the site, was not reliable in regards to dropped signals, and so forth. Our friends Jim and Chris found it fascinating that we would actually call campgrounds in advance to verify that the WIFI was functional - NOT just that they had it. Directories and websites have told us who has it, but that doesn't tell us if it is currently operating. So, unfortunately we missed some geographical areas of Florida solely because WIFI was not available at any campground in that region. This frustrated my travel planner, Andy, to no end. Not only did he try to find nice, affordable campgrounds in places that we wanted to play in, but now he was restricted on WIFI availability.
  4. If WIFI wasn't available at the site sometimes it was available at the clubhouses, or the pool deck, or we would visit the local library. Generally, there were alternatives, but not necessarily as convenient.
  5. We've considered phone cards and Datastorm (satellite) as potential options for us. Phone cards we have ruled out, because we usually don't get phone service in the places we like to visit (remote/NPS) so it wouldn't help us when we would need it most. Datastorm is still a strong consideration, but its not cheap. If we were actually making money trading it would be a no-brainer, but we're still learning and haven't met our financial goals as of yet. Datastorm would work wherever we go, providing we have a signal with the satellite. Generally the big concern is not parking under trees.
  6. We've tested Datastorm with our trading programs and have found that it works, although satellite internet is slower than WIFI. But we know it works - that is a comfort. Thanks to our friends Jim and Chris for allowing us to share their Datastorm connection so we could test all of our real-time streaming quotes and WebEx training sessions. Chris has mentioned that there are times when they use WIFI when its available in order to get certain projects done because it is faster.
  7. Being on the computer so often for trading and learning left little desire to get back on the computer to organize my pictures, post to our blog, or for Andy to write campground reviews. We use RV Park Reviews frequently when selecting places to go and feel it is our duty to contribute to this site in return. Andy is still holding a stack of campground brochures to write reviews on. This goes back to having proper balance in our lives. Although these are "fun" things we've enjoyed doing, it starts to feel like work if you haven't moved away from the computer often enough.
  8. Making money. Trading would be alot more fun if we were making money. We've invested a full-time work schedule into this new endeavor and we wish we had a salary to show for it. But that is what happens when you're self-employed, right? You don't take a salary unless there's money coming in. We have had some winners, but we've had our fair share of losing trades. We do our best to learn from every trade. We do enjoy the challenge trading offers, but we are learning that we think differently, see things differently, and that there is a lot of psychology involved with humans & money - perhaps that could be an entirely separate blog entry? But if we can't become profitable this year, we also understand that it will be time for us to look for another business. We had hoped that trading would provide enough income for us to continue traveling and do some volunteer activities for our National Parks or State Parks or another environmental cause.

We'll continue to orchestrate our future and work on devising a trading strategy that will blend with our lifestyle and internet accessibilty. But when it comes to arriving in Yosemite, we believe we'll fold up all of our trades and take a vacation. It's the safest bet. We don't want to be thinking about what is happening to stock ABC while we are hiking to the top of Half Dome.