Northern nomad

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papitobasura
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Oct 08, 2019 3:15 pm
Location: Yellowknife

Northern nomad

Post by papitobasura » Tue Oct 08, 2019 5:31 pm

Quick Bio : 62 year old, married, my wife is 44. I have five adult kids from a previous marriage, living in various parts of Canada. Frugality is in my genes, I was raised by my grandmother who comes from a small island in the Mediterranean Sea where people have a reputation of being very spartan in their daily life, contrary to their more prodigal and exuberant neighbours. I am a Canadian citizen but also have citizenship of two European countries which would make it simple to live anywhere there as long as we want, without visas. This being said, Europe is not my cup of tea. I may change my mind.

Work: I am still working and will likely keep at it for a few more years, but it has nothing to do with the OMY syndrome: I have a fantastic part-time gig (went from full-time to part-time four years ago) that allows me to work remotely most of the year, and another part-time gig from May to November where I do outdoors activities and other fun things with special needs individuals, both in the very northern parts of Canada. I really enjoy those jobs for so many reasons. I also have another nice little side gig (1-2 days per month, remotely) that should resume after we have a new federal government in place. My wife works part-time in retail, summer only.

Life: I live full-time in my truck camper -very tight quarters that force me to live with the bare necessities, as I have no room for stuff. Pretty much what Jacob lists in How to live out of a Suitcase, minus dress clothes and shoes. Bare necessities include my surfboard, light hiking gear, snorkeling equipment, bicycles. I enjoy my lifestyle and if it were up to me, I’d keep on going until they drag me to the old folks’ home. If they can find me. My wife enjoys it but not as her forever-plan. She sometimes misses the miracle of hot water coming out of a pipe and not having to dig a cat-hole every few days. In the summer, I also house and pet sit without charging anything. House-sitting also involves a lot of free food (I don’t abuse and only use staples like pasta, beans, rice, oil, etc., the occasional steak or fish fillet, some beer and wine although I don’t drink much. I love house-sitting for epicureans and hunters/fishers. The freezer is always full of caribou, arctic char, muskox, bison, and these people are more than happy to share the bounty of the land…October 23 will mark the sixth year I have not paid a single dollar in rent. Not only that, but people I house-sit for are usually nice and appreciative folks and they never fail to leave something for my services: a small stipend (average $150-200 a week), fresh coffee beans, a bottle of wine, chocolate. This year, I started house-sitting on May 1, and my last gig is over on October 27. I will be out of here after I pack my stuff, then heading south. From November to the end of April, my wife and I hit the road in the truck camper, toward the US SW and Mexico. Boondocking on public land, rarely if ever in a campground. The scenery of places we camp on public lands rival that of National Parks, but without the crowds. We make exceptions in Mexico where we have a couple of favourite paying campgrounds that are ridiculously cheap, and once in a while, we splurge on a cheap B&B in working-class areas for $100 a week or less. We’ve been doing this for four years now. This winter will be our last traveling to Mexico. The next phase is Central and South America but it will only be feasible if I quit all my gigs for good.

Finances: we have no debt, two paid properties: one inner-city condo in a walkable neighbourhood, and a wooded acreage on a small island off the coast of British Columbia (what Americans call the PNW) where we once dreamed of retiring to live the homesteader life…but our priorities have changed…. We will decide where we want to live once our nomadic ways are over. I am not ready for that eventuality, but I fully realize old age and declining health and physical ability will eventually force me to stay put on a rocking chair in front of the TV. Once we decide to stop working, our investments and CPP/OAS benefits will give us about $40K per year.

Budget: both my wife and I are thrifty. Her way more than me. We dine out a few times a year for special occasions but otherwise prefer cooking at “home”. I am the cook. Except in Mexico. There is no way I can duplicate all the flavours and variety of local and regional specialties, so we eat out once a day at street stalls or local eateries. It is cheap. But the truck -a monstrous diesel that has terrible fuel mileage, is our (my...my wife hates it...) biggest money pit. Without it, our annual spending would be around $12K a year. But the truck is part and parcel of our current lifestyle, and it carries our home, at least for the next few years. After that, who knows. Que serà serà.

flying_pan
Posts: 28
Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2019 4:06 am
Location: USA, Oregon

Re: Northern nomad

Post by flying_pan » Wed Oct 09, 2019 2:06 am

Welcome!

Sounds like you already reached the spot where you work purely for fulfillment and also get paid for it. Great for you! One thing I am kind of curious: how do evaluate truck depreciation + camper maintenance costs? I've heard you need a decent truck with good payload capacity + they get bad mileage.

DutchGirl
Posts: 1204
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:49 pm
Location: The Netherlands

Re: Northern nomad

Post by DutchGirl » Wed Oct 09, 2019 2:08 am

I see people in their 70s still living a full life with lots of activities, so I hope for you too that you'll have at least two more decades of active fun. Enjoy!

Jin+Guice
Posts: 441
Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2018 8:15 am

Re: Northern nomad

Post by Jin+Guice » Wed Oct 09, 2019 10:47 am

Sounds like you're living the dream to me. I agree with @DutchGirl that it many cases it's possible to remain active late in life. It seems like it's use it or lose it. The rest of here need you to remain active so that we can be inspired not to end up sitting in front of the teevee for our final years.

papitobasura
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Oct 08, 2019 3:15 pm
Location: Yellowknife

Re: Northern nomad

Post by papitobasura » Thu Oct 10, 2019 10:16 am

flying_pan wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 2:06 am
Welcome!

Sounds like you already reached the spot where you work purely for fulfillment and also get paid for it. Great for you! One thing I am kind of curious: how do evaluate truck depreciation + camper maintenance costs? I've heard you need a decent truck with good payload capacity + they get bad mileage.
I am very happy where I am. Our truck is indeed a bit of a bummer but we can handle it financially. As you point out, truck campers are heavy, even the lighter ones. And while some people are fine about hauling a camper on a half-ton truck which results in a situation where the truck is way over its rated payload once fully loaded with people, stuff, water, etc., I did not want to risk it and opted for better hauling capability with an F350 diesel. The camper being relatively light, I have no worries about payload with that kind of truck. On the down side, this truck means pricier regular maintenance, more expensive repairs, and higher fuel costs. I do my best to think about something fun when I am fuelling...I would have preferred something different (maybe a camperized Sprinter but I couldn't find anything under $50K), and nothing was available within a 1000-mile radius, it was starting to snow, and I really wanted to get out of Dodge very quickly. The truck had very low mileage, the camper was relatively new and well-built for an RV, my total purchase price was $22K. Not too bad, I'll live with it for a few more years.

papitobasura
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Oct 08, 2019 3:15 pm
Location: Yellowknife

Re: Northern nomad

Post by papitobasura » Thu Oct 10, 2019 10:29 am

DutchGirl wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 2:08 am
I see people in their 70s still living a full life with lots of activities, so I hope for you too that you'll have at least two more decades of active fun. Enjoy!
Hoping for the best. Staying active is even more important as we age, and I find my lifestyle keeps me moving all the time, from morning to bedtime, except on drive days. I love truck camping and road trips and I am still hoping to reach South America in a couple of years, but I am starting to dream about doing a year-long bicycle road trip. I've thought about doing that for some time, except my wife is not on board. Yet. But I am hopeful.

papitobasura
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Oct 08, 2019 3:15 pm
Location: Yellowknife

Re: Northern nomad

Post by papitobasura » Thu Oct 10, 2019 10:51 am

Jin+Guice wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 10:47 am
Sounds like you're living the dream to me. I agree with @DutchGirl that it many cases it's possible to remain active late in life. It seems like it's use it or lose it. The rest of here need you to remain active so that we can be inspired not to end up sitting in front of the teevee for our final years.
Use it or lose it, I like your expression...I have an addictive personality, and TV makes me become a zombie in no time. By choice, we have not had a TV for years and we don't miss it whatsoever. Once in a while when I house-sit and get bored in the evening, I try my luck and start pressing buttons on one the four or five remotes lying around. Most times, I just give up, as I can't figure out how to turn the TV on, change channels, or even turn the sound on...but when the miracle happens, I find myself binge-watching indiscriminately for a good 3-4 days straight whatever series or show is playing.

Cheers!

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