Monthly update: Unappealing holiday destinations and a surefire way to liven up Zoom calls

Oct 03, 2020 9:01 am

Hi !

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Here's what had my attention in September...

What I've been up to

πŸ– My wife and I have just got back from a mini-break in Stratford. No, not the home of The Bard: I'm talking Stratford in East London, roughly 9 miles from where we live.

This could be seen as a bit of a comedown from a few years ago where we'd hop from Thailand to Hong Kong to Macau and back again within a couple of weeks. But on the plus side, it involves a 35 minute journey time and no messing around cramming all your toiletries into a plastic bag.

In fact, the total unexcitingness of the destination (yes yes the Olympic park is very nice) was the whole appeal: with no sights we felt we had to see or experiences you "can't miss", we were free to do exactly what we wanted to do: sleep a lot, catch up on episodes of Succession, and order room service.

We've been doing this kind of trip for years, and it seems like an under-used life hack: a total state-change from just taking days off and staying at home, and no need to waste a large part of a short break on getting there and back.

πŸš΄β€β™‚οΈ My father-in-law and I were due to take part in the London-to-Brighton bike ride, but it was cancelled at short notice for obvious reasons. Nevertheless, we decided to make a solo (well, duo) attempt. And I reckon it worked out far better than doing the actual event: the roads were quieter, and we could take our bikes on the train home (not allowed on official ride day because of the volume of cyclists). And – don't tell anyone – we could choose our own route to avoid a particularly scary-looking hill.

Best of all, the distance wasn't anywhere near as much of a challenge as I expected – so I'll need to find a new goal for next year...


What I've published

– A piece of universal productivity advice that doesn't work (for me). Why I've started actively seeking out potential interruptions.

– How to eliminate complaining from your life. And why you should try.

– How being a jack of all trades can make you master of all. Largely written as self-therapy to console myself for achieving mastery in absolutely nothing.

What I've enjoyed

🀘 Is your new life of back-to-back Zoom calls getting you down? What better way to liven them up than with gesture-activated comic book-style messages? Check out the 20-second demo – it's ridiculously fun, and actually useful.

🎧 A couple of podcasts I've listened to more than once: John Kay on investing in times of uncertainty on the Investors Chronicle podcast, and James Ferguson on why bad data is driving fears of a second Covid wave on the Moneyweek podcast. You don't have to agree with everything they say, but I found the conversations fascinating.

πŸ˜‡ Are you considering angel investing? Don't, according to this article by always-controversial Tucker Max. Agree? Disagree? Let me know.

🏦 Down at the other end of the risk curve, here's something I've not used yet but looks interesting for getting the best least-worst interest rate on your cash. Active Savings from Hargreaves Lansdown lets you access savings products from a whole range of banks through a single account – so you can shift your money around to chase the best rates without having to go through the tedious process of opening a whole load of accounts (and you still benefit from each bank's individual FSCS protection limit). No more will laziness prevent you from accessing the blockbuster market-leading rate, 0.56% πŸŽ‰

πŸ‘‹That’s it for September! It'd be great to hear from you if you've got news or recommendations to share.



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