A Letter to You

I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to the influencers in the FIRE community and the FIRE community at large.

I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to the influencers in the FIRE community and the FIRE community at large. You’ve been shining examples that this way of life is doable AND available to my family and I. Words cannot do justice to describe the richness that has already taken hold in our lives since FIRE entered it earlier this year. This project is dedicated to all of you. Without you, none of this would be happening.

On August 1, 2017, my wife Taylor, our 2-year-old daughter, and I hit the road. We were making our exit from our old “dream life” in Coronado, CA to find our new one in FIRE-land. In the midst of the moving chaos, it’s been a magical experience for us so far (#honeymoonphase! Haha!). The night before we left, we had a bonfire on the beach to spend some time with our friends and family and to say ‘good-bye for now.’ One of the first noticeable but unexpected gifts that FIRE gave us early on in this process was a deeper relationship with family and friends. I know that FIRE can create relational hardships for some, but so far, we have been pleasantly surprised at the level of vulnerability our story has released in those close to us. Our sharing intimate details of our life has given them permission to share some powerful stuff about what’s really going on in their lives too. We have grown close to many of them because of FIRE. Thank you for this gift!

Leaving Coronado made it real. After lots of rapid planning and preparation, we were finally actually christening this magical journey. But my elation and wonderment were also mixed with fear. I felt responsible for everything to work out. While we had decided to do this as a family, it was my idea, and I was the one holding the torch! We were all carrying some nervousness because, by any measure, we were undertaking a dramatic life change. We had “thrown our backpacks over the fence” and “burned the ships” and wholly jumped into the FIRE pool. But I knew our fear was a normal response – and it had some giddiness to it too! And most importantly, I knew we had planned well for this and would be meeting lots of you bright minds out there in the FIRE world to help us continue to tighten things up even more. I knew that, ultimately, we were now part of a community. We were all doing this together. Alone, we wouldn’t know where to start or how to stay on track when things get uncomfortable. Alone we would listen to people telling us we are crazy and not have you all to show us definitively that we are not. We wouldn’t have MMM to tell us, “Your uncomfortable?! That’s good! Discomfort will make you happier!” We are so thankful to all of you for this communal aspect and cannot wait to dive even deeper into it – and to visit with you all at MMM WHQ, Chautauqua Ecuador, FinCon and beyond! We couldn’t be happier to be on this path with you.

As is self-evident by now, I have decided to combine my newfound passion for FIRE with my professional and creative passion for filmmaking and storytelling. This “Playing with FIRE” project has unfolded like no dream project I could have ever planned. Everything about it makes perfect sense to me and “the universe is conspiring,” as they say, in surprising ways to ensure this project will be an illustration of FIRE that our community will be extremely proud of. We have been touched and absolutely floored by the tidal wave of support that has knocked down our door so far – it has been humbling. It has allowed us to assemble a dream-team of high caliber advisors and advocates who have signed on, formally and informally, to help. We hope many more of you contact us too to join us on this special mission. It’s going to be a blast!

I want to give a special shout-out to a particularly exciting partnership we just formed with the Emmy Award winning Only Today Productions. Ray Tsang and his crew are master storytellers and run Only Today. They are close friends, have become fascinated with the FIRE story and, in addition to handling production, will both be Executive Producers of the film. I have worked on and off with them and their amazing team of producers, editors, and cinematographers for almost 10-years. They’re awesome humans! We’re so lucky to have them! The morning after our little bon voyage bonfire in Coronado, I was so stoked to meet up with Ray and Zippy (Only Today cinematographer) to start filming! It was particularly cool as our first leg of filming involved a road trip from San Diego to Washington State. Ray, Zippy and I had coincidentally done this same journey together for another project 2-years earlier. We couldn’t be happier to all be partners on this worthy mission. So, thank you again FIRE peeps for making this all possible – for bringing so many amazing people into our lives! And it’s incredible for us to think, we have only just begun!

One of our family’s pre-FIRE sore spots was an inability to focus on giving back at the level we would have liked. We were both very attuned to the non-profit world and had intermittently supported causes dear to us, but it felt nominal. A few months into my drinking FIRE from a firehose, I met a guy who was 10-years into FIRE, who has since become a key advisor on this film.

These are all just a handful of the cool things that have unfolded during our early days in FIRE-land. For my entry into this world, I really only needed three things: 1. For FIRE to exist – to be a thing; 2. To know it existed; and 3. For there to be an inclusive community doing it. Thanks to all of you, those bases were covered. From there, all of this magic has unfolded for my family and this project. It was completely transformational. I told my story of how I found FIRE and what it was like here. I felt as if winning lottery tickets had been freely handed to me. This profound experience helped inspire me to want to do the same for as many other people as possible. With “Playing with FIRE” I hope to tell your story, and in doing so, pass along these free winning lottery tickets as you so freely passed them along to me. I couldn’t be more grateful to be in a position like this – to share your gift with so many people via the big screen.


“Playing with FIRE” will cover us newbies, Taylor and I, as we jump into this amazing world. But this film is really about you and this awesome FIRE movement. We are not the experts here, but many of you are! We need your help and plan to lean on those of you who are willing. Please subscribe to our newsletter and send us emails with your thoughts, questions, comments, etc. We’d absolutely love to hear from you. Let’s do this thing together!

Thank you all again. And thanks for your consideration in joining our effort!


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A documentary about the FIRE movement and one family's quest to achieve financial independence and retire early. Available on the following: