As I type, my wife, Kristin, and I are flying back home after a little European R&R. We spent most of our time in Italy, but a half-day layover in London gave us a chance to head into the city and check out Shoreditch, a cool, not-so-touristy neighborhood we'd read about but didn't have time to visit the last time we made it to jolly old England.
We even bought a baby-blue ukulele for our daughter, Penny Lou, at one of Shoreditch's hottest spots (says us), an instrument shop dubbed Duke of Uke. When we first passed the storefront, a full-blown hootenanny appeared to be under way, and when we returned to snag the ukulele, a punk band was roaring in the cellar -- exactly my kind of hot spot!
And speaking of jolly
For me, one of the great things about being on vacation -- particularly when you're in another country -- is unplugging from the market's daily grind. Sure, I'm a long-term investor of the buy-to-hold persuasion, but I'm still a market geek, one who finds watching the market's ebb and flow play out in real time just about irresistible.
On this vacation, though, I could resist it. Internet access was available, but getting connected was a bit of hassle, and while I did check in a couple of times, I mostly stayed informed through the International Herald Tribune, the popular English-language newspaper. I also read a novel -- Philip Roth's The Plot Against America -- for the first time since I can't remember when and even started a second.
Back to business
In short, I walked the Foolish talk and operated under the assumption that, whatever happened in the very short term, I could safely let Mr. Market do his thing while I did mine.
And so it's only just now that, with a copy of the European edition of TheWall Street Journal propped up on my tray table, I'm getting the nitty-gritty on the corporate shake-ups at Hewlett-Packard
At least for a day. For all I know from my Internet-free vantage point some 32,000 feet above the Atlantic Ocean, those fortunes have been reversed and then some.
But you know what? To borrow my favorite line from one of Bill Murray's many cinematic classics, "It just doesn't matter."
Market minutiae can be fun to watch, but for Foolish types, it's the long haul that counts. Once you set your investing career in motion -- perhaps at first with a dirt cheap index tracker like Vanguard 500 Index
That's not to say that you don't need to keep an eye on your investments. Ongoing due diligence is part of every savvy investor's job and at least for me, it's part of the fun of investing, too. But provided your initial investment thesis remains intact, the market's daily gyrations really don't matter. Indeed, rather than devoting your time to following those ups and downs, you might consider taking ukulele lessons. Depending on your level of market-geekiness, it just might be the more rewarding pastime.
The Foolish bottom line
But you have to get going if you want to cultivate a peaceful, easy feeling when it comes to investing. And if you haven't made your move just yet -- or if you've stalled out and are itching to get revved up again -- I encourage you to consider giving the Fool's new GreenLight newsletter service a whirl.
At GreenLight, we cover the basics of both personal finance and investing, offering advice you can put to use in a hurry. Click here to snag a free GreenLight guest pass, and be sure to let us know how you think we're doing: In addition to the newsletter and an action-packed website, the service comes complete with a set of members-only discussion boards where you can weigh in early and often -- just not when you're supposed to be relaxing on the banks of the Arno River, please!
Shannon Zimmerman runs point on the Fool's Champion Funds newsletter service and co-advises GreenLight. At the time of publication, Shannon didn't own any of the securities mentioned above. You can check out the Fool's strict disclosure policy by clicking right here.