RoamingFrancis' Path to ERE

Where are you and where are you going?
Posts: 2029
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2019 10:50 am
Location: Quarantined

Re: RoamingFrancis' Path to ERE

Post by Alphaville »

in the past where indoor water was not abundant e.g. natives of the southwest the cleansing was done with smoke (and in the case of the french, with perfume). for a while i lived in a cabin with no shower and it was a pain. then we hooked up water: yes, i prefer the romans.

with no water pressure, a simple camping shower bag would improve your situation. they’re not great, but they’re a better trickle. also, you could just follow the george carlin protocol: 😄
for real though no need to soap up every inch of skin.

i’d suggest using a mild body wash instead of a harsh soap (harsh soap residue can lead to dermatitis) and hm, yeah, that’s it.

as for laundry, i’m slowly migrating to merino & merino/nylon fabrics. they’re thermal regulators, they dry fast, resist odors, can be worn for various days, and wash by hand with little effort (but merino needs a bit of vinegar to neutralize alkaline detergents). polyester etc wash easy but stink so i’m banishing it from my life. and washing cotton esp. denim by hand is a pita otoh—heavy fabric that stains easy, never dries, and freezes on the drying line.

and for weights, besides bodyweight i’d look into resistance bands and kettlebells. i like resistance bands because they’re light and portable and you can always add more. i’ve seen a system that does 400lbs resistance? something.and kettlebells allow a multiplicity of workouts with a single object. a good yoga mat is great too—manduka is pricey but excellent and you can keep an eye on sales (mine was half price cuz it was army green instead of black? cool...) and should last decades with decent care.


eta: my bad! 600lb resistance :lol: ... lite-band/
Last edited by Alphaville on Mon Oct 19, 2020 1:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Posts: 111
Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2019 8:40 pm

Re: RoamingFrancis' Path to ERE

Post by mathiverse »

Can you change when/where you use certain clothes to limit the amount of times you have to wash things? A simple example is having a workout outfit and a manual labor/gardening outfit you wash less frequently since you don't need to have fresh clothes each time you work out or do gardening/physical labor/etc.

Posts: 305
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2019 11:43 am

Re: RoamingFrancis' Path to ERE

Post by RoamingFrancis »

Love the George Carlin protocol! Thanks for the input everyone.

Alchemy, Entrepreneurship, and Income Streams

Recently I've been thinking in broader terms about my ERE system and what the hell my next step forward should be. I've got my attic*, $10k in the bank, and basically 0 expenses. I've been hitting up more dumpsters with a car-owning friend, and holy hell, I've got food to last a long time.

Based on my rough calculations, I think I'd need around $100,000 to reach full FI. This is not an exact number, as I have been tracking expenses for less than a year and don't have data about long term fluctuations. The real question to ask now is through what alchemy can I most efficiently turn $10k into $100k? How can I do this with the least amount of stress and bullshit?

I'm about halfway through One Million in the Bank by Michael L.F. Slavin, with a guest chapter by Jacob. It's pretty down-to-earth, sensible advice. So far, the book can be summarized with just "Provide useful product or service. Have a solid business plan. Know your shit with regard to marketing, selling, management, etc. Don't be stupid."

The liberating insight of ERE is that it's not necessary to have anywhere near the titular $1 million in order to have financial independence and a kickass life, so I have changed the title of the book within the limits of my own imagination. It is now $100,000 in the Bank. The easiest way to score a touchdown is by moving the goalposts.

I'm considering the entrepreneurship route to FI more deeply, though I'm a bit wary of starting right now. The book says 3-10 years are necessary for most businesses to get off the ground, and I don't want to be bound to one place or job yet.

I've learned a ton at the sales gig, but I haven't made very much money. My end date is November 31; I might push that earlier or see if there's a different role I can take on so I can learn more.

In other news, a friend of mine makes a living selling recycled eco art and teaching university courses on the subject. They're coming to my area and we're going to try to make some money doing it. Best case scenario it's a profitable side gig, worst case scenario it's a fun hobby.

Systems Thinking, Wheaton Levels, and a Macro Perspective on ERE

I am starting to more intuitively grok some of the systems theory stuff, though I haven't been studying it formally. I would self-evaluate as somewhere between 4 and 6 on the Wheaton Scale, though I really don't know, and I'm not sure where to focus my energies in terms of reading/study. My cooking is near the top of the s-curve, and I really don't have any other expenses right now, so maybe I should look more into the entrepreneurship and systems theory stuff? Or permaculture? Not really sure...

*There is a chance, though improbable, that I won't have long-term access to the attic space. If this happens, some alternatives:
  • Go back to living with parents (least desirable)
  • Find a friend to crash with
  • Buy a van, live inside
  • Live in tent in forest preserve

Posts: 305
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2019 11:43 am

Re: RoamingFrancis' Path to ERE

Post by RoamingFrancis »

The Man Who Quit Money

Just finished reading Suelo's biography. Inspiring, but I doubt going 100% moneyless is for me. Each person has their own niche in the ecosystem, their own destiny to fulfill. I don't think that will be mine. Getting started on The Crash Course by Chris Martenson tonight.

I admire how Suelo so deeply and radically aligns his actions with his beliefs. It makes me question whether achieving full FI is even worth it, if I can instead build a system like Rob Greenfield's where he works for money once or twice a year, instead of managing passive income streams. I wonder how Jacob's numbers of hours managing investments per year compares with Rob Greenfield's giving a couple speeches.

I'd like to read more of Dacher Keltner, a psychologist who explores things related to wealth and power. Having the theoretical understanding of how to become financially independent in a short time is powerful, and I think it comes with a responsibility to help others. This guy's work may help.


I think I'm going to quit the public adjuster job. I'm not learning anything anymore, am losing autonomy, and haven't made that much money. Time to leverage the FU Stash to say, well, FU.

I need to make some decisions about what to do next, mainly in terms of income generation. As I am rather fiercely anti-authoritarian, it has become clear to me that the only field in which I can likely work long-term is if I'm self-employed to some degree. Though I plan to keep doing the nonprofit stuff and getting the occasional stipend too.

It's been such a weird fucking year. I've got enough cash to support myself for two years, I'm sort of thinking I'll just be a full time dirtbag and work on weird projects, doing what I need to generate money when necessary. I'm taking my autodidactic education very seriously, reading as many books as possible and meditating regularly. This may look like a rash decision, but given the ERE understanding and good habits I've developed, I think it's actually quite responsible.

Western Red Cedar
Posts: 99
Joined: Tue Sep 01, 2020 2:15 pm

Re: RoamingFrancis' Path to ERE

Post by Western Red Cedar »

@RF - There is no better time to dirtbag than in your 20's. Best of luck on whatever you decide.

Posts: 305
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2019 11:43 am

Re: RoamingFrancis' Path to ERE

Post by RoamingFrancis »

Book Reviews

Recently finished Being the Change by Peter Kalmus and The Man Who Quit Money. I enjoyed both of them, and have gotten a beginner's understanding of climate science which I look forward to deepening. I've been reading fairly voraciously, and also have been slowly digesting a bunch of reference books on cooking, bicycle repair, composting, and David Allen's GTD. @AxelHeyst has been helping me implement GTD stuff and it has lead to a noted increase in my quality of life. Thanks @AH!

I visited @jacob in his backyard the other day, and he gave me Crash Course, along with several other peak oil books and a copy of Paul Wheaton's new book. Haven't finished it yet, but here are my thoughts so far. Thank you Jacob for the gifts!

The author, Chris Martenson, presents his analysis of the "three E's" energy, economy, and environment. He starts with a lengthy explanation of exponential growth and moves on to an analysis of how money is produced. I learned that fiat currency is that which is supported by a governmental body, and a little bit more about how the Federal Reserve works. Namely, it's a private entity that is in charge of printing the entire US money supply, and that the US Treasury usually only has a couple months worth of funds at any given moment. It seems pretty bizarre and irresponsible to me to have a bunch of non-elected people with direct control over the money supply, but I guess that's just America.

He also talks about how basically all money is produced through one of two ways: a bank loaning it out or the Federal Reserve printing more. He illustrates a fascinating example of how a bank can take $1,000, loan out $900, have that client redeposit it in the bank, loan out $810, have that client redeposit, loan out $729, and so on. So in my summarized example the bank can put $2439 into circulation with just a $1000 deposit. Pretty mind-bending! The other way to produce more money is for the Fed to just print it and loan it out. I need to clarify who they usually loan it to, but yeah, that's the distinction the author makes.

He furthermore distinguishes between primary wealth, secondary wealth, and tertiary wealth. For example, primary wealth would be an iron mine, secondary wealth is a ton of steel made from the mine, and tertiary wealth is a million dollars used to buy the steel. It is important to remember that money is only useful insofar as it is connected to primary wealth. If the Fed prints more dollars but there is no increase in primary wealth, inflation happens, as there is no real increase in resources. Furthermore, since resources are limited, a growth-based economy is essentially fucked in the long run. He distinguishes growth and prosperity/quality of life, the former being more important than the latter.

So far very interesting, and I can see more clearly how ERE was born out of an understanding of peak oil. The environmental conversation has now mostly shifted to climate change, and I am curious to learn more about the relevancy of the peak oil argument in the larger context.

Posts: 305
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2019 11:43 am

Re: RoamingFrancis' Path to ERE

Post by RoamingFrancis »

October Spending

$297 - annual subscription to United Mindfulness private coaching
$69.18 - food
$19.93 - One Million in the Bank by Michael L.F. Slavin
$7.32 - Toothpaste and Floss
$2.24 - Knife and can opener
$1 - new washing machine

Total: $403.67


My highest spending was clearly for the meditation training. I had been mulling this over for a while, decided to try it out, and so far it seems 100% worth the $300. I've talked about my meditation experiences on here before, but this practice has significantly increased my day-to-day well-being and I think the expense is more than justified. I like the UM system because it's a pragmatic, no-bullshit, scientific take on contemplative practice.

I shouldn't have bought the book; they got it at my local library shortly after I finished :( Should have waited.

Did okay on food. I found a good dumpster route about halfway through the month, but for the first half I was still figuring out grocery stuff and spent too much because I was desperate and hungry. I think November food costs will be even lower because I now have a better system in place.

I built my own washing machine for $1. I got a plunger from the dollar store and a free leftover bucket from a bakery, and voila. I have a drying rack too, have been drying inside due to the cold, and there's been a weird smell and it takes a long time. I long for the springtime warmth and breeze.

As a minimalist exercise, I'm changing my bedroom to an even smaller closet in the unused building I'm occupying. All of my things should fit in the closet.

Frugality skills are going pretty well, and I'm starting to figure shit out.

Posts: 305
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2019 11:43 am

Re: RoamingFrancis' Path to ERE

Post by RoamingFrancis »

Career Shit

When visiting Jacob, we discussed the whole travel dirtbag thing a little bit. Though I disagree with Jacob on the value of travel done right (not as a commodified tourist experience), he did make a couple of good points. Firstly, it can suck to be 30 with no marketable skills and have trouble transitioning once you "age out" and don't want to hang out with the broke travel backpacker scene any more. Secondly, he emphasized that it was really nice to have money but not need it at a young age.

I've been in a bit of a predicament recently, as I've developed a couple income trickles, but no reliable long-term income source. This year's been hectic with COVID, and I've just grown increasingly disillusioned with the university system. I think dirtbagging is valuable, but if I dirtbag I want to be proactive about building valuable skills along the way. I've decided I'm going to try to do a career doing weird stuff instead of going the college route. To do this, I'll have to be proactive about getting skills and training I need. The good news is I have $10,000 in the bank, extremely low expenses, at least a little income, and a fuckton of social capital due to supportive family, friends, community organizations I've been a part of, etc. According to my projections, I should be able to sustain myself for 2 years with no income, so I'm going to use the chance to try some more unconventional stuff outside of the college track, which consists of five main parts:

1) Mindfulness Training. I feel really good about my decision to sign up for the United Mindfulness private coaching, and eventually plan to do the teaching program. Now that meditation is a thing in the West, there are starting to be careers in this shit. Just today I watched an hour-long video with Dr. Jay Sanguinetti in a meditation neuroscience research lab, which was fucking awesome. They're looking at using ultrasound to stimulate specific brain regions to accelerate development in mindfulness skills. It's breaking into the cultural mainstream.

2) Permaculture Design Course. Looking at the world from the perspective of a twenty year old just starting my life, it has become clear that previous generations have trashed the place, and I put very little faith in the existing institutions to do... really anything worth a damn. I'm going to make a wager now that these skills will become essential for anyone in my generation planning to be around until 2080 or so. And permaculture and ERE seem to have so many similarities that they make a natural complement. I've started looking at courses in my area and online. I want to get really good at this.

3) I have a friend arriving in my area soon who does is pretty incredible at making recycled art out of nothing. He's going to teach me some of what he knows, and we'll see if we can make some money with it. Should be a good opportunity to level up on entrepreneurial skills, even if we don't make that much money. We can get all the materials we need out of dumpsters, so there's very little overhead :)

4) Keep doing what I'm doing while building skills and alternative income streams. I have my nonprofit gig, which doesn't pay much but is fun. I also have the roofing, which pays if I get lucky, and with which I have been increasingly disillusioned. I think it's best not to quit either until I have a reliable income stream from another source. I'll continue keeping spending low, developing frugality skills, improving systems thinking, meditating, and making sure I don't get anybody pregnant or get addicted to heroin.

5) Some sort of language/anthropology related thing. I grew up obsessed with foreign languages and wanting to be an anthropologist. The bullshit of the university system, plus the mounting environmental problems, have effectively discouraged me from getting a career in academia, but I will still be on the lookout for opportunities to volunteer in endangered language preservation and stuff like that. I don't know how to effectively make money from it, but worst case scenario it's something I can do post-FI or during a semi-ERE period.

Those are the plans for now. Though I'll never be rid of the dirtbag adventure travel bug, I think it's best to focus on this stuff while riding out COVID. Maybe in a year or so I'll be able to do the Vancouver to the Amazon trip I've been dreaming about, but it all depends on the state of the world. Hope all is well.

Roaming Francis

Posts: 305
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2019 11:43 am

Re: RoamingFrancis' Path to ERE

Post by RoamingFrancis »

Some updates:

Unfortunately I lost my rent-free arrangement in the unused building. There is no bad blood with the owner; it's just that there were some other (rather close-minded) people involved in the decision making process. I am moving into an apartment with a roommate. Rent should be around $500 a month, which means an unfortunate increase in expenses. I don't see any way to decrease this until I am capable of moving to a decreased cost of living area.

I am starting a small business selling recycled art with a friend, while still keeping a part time job to pay the rent. Am hoping to transition to the business as my main income stream as I increase ERE competency. Though even if it totally fails, I still will have won. :) This is because I will be gaining useful skills and having lots of fun and autonomy on the way.

Post Reply