Axel Heyst's Journal

Where are you and where are you going?
classical_Liberal
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Re: Axel Heyst's Journal

Post by classical_Liberal »

Then plan everything out. It's up to you. This is just what worked for me, mr Planner. Edit: Maybe you just aren't that good at listening to yourself? Whenever you feel that urge, have a few things in your pocket that you know you'll enjoy and go do one of them. For me that's biking, kayaking, hiking, video game, reading, or visiting a friend.
AxelHeyst wrote:
Fri Jul 17, 2020 3:15 pm
although I'm concerned because I'm quite kaphic I'll just turn in to a lazy piece of shit.
I needed to do this, for awhile, to make progress in self motivation. To learn more self-authoring behavior. Liken it to abstinence from an addiction.

ertyu
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Re: Axel Heyst's Journal

Post by ertyu »

i think it was the fiance guy who reached the same conclusion. he ended up putting concerted effort into habit-building post fi; i seem to remember him inviting james clear of atomic habits to discuss this with. interesting thoughts, i am at a similar place and they're coming in useful

AxelHeyst
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Re: Axel Heyst's Journal

Post by AxelHeyst »

classical_Liberal wrote:
Fri Jul 17, 2020 3:19 pm
Then plan everything out. It's up to you. This is just what worked for me, mr Planner. Edit: Maybe you just aren't that good at listening to yourself? Whenever you feel that urge, have a few things in your pocket that you know you'll enjoy and go do one of them. For me that's biking, kayaking, hiking, video game, reading, or visiting a friend.


I needed to do this, for awhile, to make progress in self motivation. To learn more self-authoring behavior. Liken it to abstinence from an addiction.
Yes, I’d say I’m *terrible* at listening to myself. I have a long history of telling my desires to stfu, we’ve got work to do (or a partner’s needs to attend to, rather than my own). Learning to hear myself and act on that is one of my core desired outcomes of semiere.

I didn’t mean to say I think your third option wouldn’t work for me, rather I think I need some combination of all three in some appropriate balance with appropriate timing. Maybe, a system interrupt, followed by free spirit mode, followed by some discipline based on my learning from free spirit mode...

RoamingFrancis
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Re: Axel Heyst's Journal

Post by RoamingFrancis »

I can chime in a bit on the system interrupt, specifically regarding Vipassana. I did a ten day retreat in December 2018, and spent a month at a center as a volunteer in November 2019.

If you choose this as a system interrupt, it could be the best and worst experience of your life. Your back will ache, your knees will hurt, and you will suffer. The good news is that you learn a lot about how the mind creates suffering, and you walk out of it with a solid toolkit for becoming a happier and more compassionate person for the rest of your life.

In my experience, there's a sort of post-retreat feeling of deep groundedness that lasts for a couple days. This could be a good place to understand what you want your ratio of free spirit/Type A to be over the next couple months.

Best of luck.

AxelHeyst
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Re: Axel Heyst's Journal

Post by AxelHeyst »

@rf, thanks for the chime! A vipassana retreat is definitely in my future at some point. A friend once remarked “isn’t a vipassana retreat like rehab but for people who want to meditate more?” I feel like I want to go in to it with a consistent practice as a baseline, rather than using it as the kick in the ass to actually start. Also, that’s definitely a rationalization to cover “I just don’t wanna right now”, which I have permission from c_L to admit to myself.

Speaking of: c_L, I think you’re right. I’ve been mulling over the differences between my two options and your third, and I don’t think I even understood what they are. My feeling that “I should just do whatever I want” was based on a very flawed/muddled understanding of the difference between desire, structure, goals, relaxation, self-discipline, etc. Also I was just having a bad day and was feeling like I needed to do *something* to not be a deadbeat loser who lives in his rig down by the river. Ive got more mulling to do, but I’m coming around to the idea/experience of doing whatever I want, with some small amount of ... im not going to say structure per se but intention and direction. I was thinking about it too black and white.

RoamingFrancis
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Re: Axel Heyst's Journal

Post by RoamingFrancis »

I went to my retreat on a whim, had no clue what I'd get out of it. Have been meditating daily ever since. You're definitely justified to not want to do it right now - it's fucking hard and it's best to be ready beforehand.

classical_Liberal
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Re: Axel Heyst's Journal

Post by classical_Liberal »

@AH
Do what you think you need to do. I was only offering my solution as a potential one.

It's interesting, because it's just as easy to get all worked up and stressed out about personal time, as it is for work related. The point of the exercise, for me, was to learn that time was no longer the scarce commodity it used to be. I became master and commander of my, rather full, time bucket. I was so used to needing to do something, because there was always something that needed doing. This really doesn't change, there's always probably gonna be s**t you could do. However, the flexibility in what, how, and when you do those things is what matters. This is where the gold of the semi-RE lies.

Realizing that you have the time and flexibility to do laundry, anytime in the next week, makes it less urgent that you do it now. Why stress about it? do it when you want to. If you still dislike it, after experimenting with this for a month, then maybe you learned something about yourself. Maybe there is something you like doing and you can trade laundry duties with the GF?

Anyway, learning about your true desires, and daily time use preferences, in a relaxed state is very helpful. It can help you develop a system to max your enjoyment and minimize boredom. I've found many things I thought I disliked, I really liked, but didn't like how and when I was doing them, nor the pressure of deadlines. If that makes any sense? Not sure I'm describing this well.

AxelHeyst
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Re: Axel Heyst's Journal

Post by AxelHeyst »

I think I’m picking up what you’re putting down. The difference between doing the dishes rushed because you have to go get that thing done and you’re overwhelmed and dammit you broke one FUCK!!, vs. dropping in and turning doing the dishes in to a personal expression of focus, mindfulness, and attention to detail, because that’s who you are as a person.

Eta I was trying to imagine doing whatever I wanted, but I was still in rushed overwhelmed mode. Even a few days has made a difference in terms of recognizing I have more than enough time to do everything I need to do. Ah, that’s the thing: I can’t remember the last time I felt like I had enough time to do the things I *had* to do, much less anything I wanted to do.

AxelHeyst
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Re: Axel Heyst's Journal

Post by AxelHeyst »

I dropped Serenity off at the family land, loaded my truck up with a bunch off our stuff we had left there, and headed East last Wednesday to meet Up with DW and caravan to Michigan.

Death Valley was in the 11x’s F at least when I passed through. I saw a dust devil hundreds of feet tall, and several more spread out the valley. I camped outside Zion on A 4x4 only road. I met DW day two outside of SLC, and we boondocked somewhere in Wyoming that night on a ridge overlooking the town and railroad.

Day three, Friday, we were an hour from the spot I had picked out to camp that night and DW pulled over at a trucker park spot off the highway to put on her sweatshirt. Her van hasn’t started since. That spot was within ten minutes of the precise halfway point between California and Michigan destinations. (18hrs to either side of us)

We spent that night at the trucker spot, 50’ from highway 90, halfway between rapid city and sturgis, South Dakota. Saturday I spent most of the day trying to diagnose what was wrong: there’s good spark at the plugs, injector spray looks good, dizzy cap seems fine, fuel pump sounds fine, I even disconnected the fuel line and filled a bottle with gas to look for water in the fuel tank. Rented a compression tested from auto parts store: low, but not low enough to suggest a cranks but doesn’t start problem.

So I don’t know what’s wrong with it. My remaining ideas are: bad ECU, bad ignition coil, timing is off, or ground straps are corroded.

By Saturday evening we called a tow truck and then waited several hours because the first one just... didn’t show up. Got the van towed to a shop that has some vanagon experience around midnight, then found a spot to camp in the forest south of town.

Yesterday we hung out at a park and I got some work done.

DW just left our camp spot to talk with the mechanics. Depending on what they say, our plan will be:
-fix van, drive on to MI
-get a car trailer, tow van to MI, fix it ourselves there, then sell it
-fix van here, sell it to a guy we met at the park yesterday, drive on in my truck
-sell the van, and my truck, and everything else except what we can fit in our packs, and walk to Michigan from here.

We’re basically okay with spending a few days here: the forest is quite nice, no meth head vibes, weather is great, my work is chill enough and we have a solar panel + battery... but the Sturgis motorcycle rally starts this weekend I believe, and this place turns in to a total zoo, so we’d really rather not be anywhere near here for that.

Ere takeaways: it’s nice to have the skills to find a camp spot basically anywhere and stay for free. Having a semiERE remote job setup means I’m not stressed about ‘missing’ work. It’s too bad I couldn’t fix the van myself, but I was proud of what I learned on Saturday (99% of what I now know about engines I learned on Saturday). Will save the mechanics some time not having to check what I already have.

This also underlines how much I’m looking forward to a bit of stability and being in one place. My burn rate these past two months is high, and I’m keen to return to the project of getting my burn to ~1jafi, starting up some fun semiERE projects, and just not having to deal with basic logistics (food, water, energy, shelter, transportation) every day.

AxelHeyst
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Re: Axel Heyst's Journal

Post by AxelHeyst »

Also, it’s really nice to have a partner who keeps her mental duct tape on when things go sideways. The past few days haven’t been fun, but lots of couples would be bickering (at a minimum) with a similar set of circumstances. Neither of us has showered in days, we’ve been sleep deprived, spent 30 hours next to a major freeway, and all our stuff is jammed in to our vehicles like fifty pounds of shit in a twenty five pound sack. I’m happy with our ability as a couple to maintain good PMA and communications practices in adverse situations.

classical_Liberal
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Re: Axel Heyst's Journal

Post by classical_Liberal »

Sorry about the vehicle troubles. I know the exact rest area you're at on 90. The bike rally is a zoo, it'll make the standard free camping spots around there harder to use, but isn't dangerous or anything.

RoamingFrancis
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Re: Axel Heyst's Journal

Post by RoamingFrancis »

Best of luck with getting your vehicle fixed. Hit me up when you're in my area of the country!

classical_Liberal
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Re: Axel Heyst's Journal

Post by classical_Liberal »

Did you get everything squared away?

AxelHeyst
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Re: Axel Heyst's Journal

Post by AxelHeyst »

Yep! We actually arrived at our destination not two hours ago.

After trying every thing I could think of, my mechanic friends could think of, and everything I found on the internet, and turning up short, we took the van to a mechanic. He got us running again, although it's running very rough and I suspect a fail/ing ECU. At least now we're housed, and can deal with the motor at our leisure.

Our 5-day drive turned in to 8 days. The two days camping near Rapid City was actually lovely, we went on a hike by a lake and the boondocking spots were super nice. After we got rolling we just wanted to put the hammer down, so sadly we missed a rendezvous with @RF as we opted to route through the UP. The notion of getting an inexpensive chunk of forest of up there to turn in to a refuge has wormed its way in to my brain, so I wanted to at least drive though it to get even the briefest sense of the place.

The forced distraction-free mind-wandering of the drive was great for me. I've had a smattering of epiphanies (including one regarding my attempt to bridge the gap between Wheaton 5 and 6, which I'm excited to flesh out as I was feeling very stuck on it) and felt a small surge of life-energy and motivation/ambition (week 4 of semiERE + mind-wandering = first glimpses of a recharge?).

If I tried to write any of it now it'd be even more gibberish than this post, as my brain is proper fried from the travels.

classical_Liberal
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Re: Axel Heyst's Journal

Post by classical_Liberal »

Cool, glad you made it! If you hadn't, I was contemplating using it as an excuse to head to the BH's for the W/E. :D

Glad you enjoyed the area, it's a bit of a hidden gem for van-life or just boondocking in general. The BH area near Rapid reminds me of a mini eastern slope/Colorado. Just an hour away there are great boondocking spots in the SD badlands. Which reminds me of a mini Western slope/Utah. Plenty to do too, but it can be a bit touristy. In my mind that's actually a benefit though, because I like all the people and activities nearby. If you ever roll through again you can try the northern route on I94 and check out the Teddy Roosevelt NP units. They're even more impressive IMO, and have boondocking sites in the grassland adjacent to the park.

AxelHeyst
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Re: Axel Heyst's Journal

Post by AxelHeyst »

Yeah I was very pleasantly surprised, and glad we broke down where we did. That area is on my radar now - I had assumed it was all sort of like Eastern Wyoming, but obviously quite wrong. Ha, too bad we couldn't arrange the situation in to an impromptu ERE boondock/dirtbag meetup! A boondock spot by the badlands was where we were headed when we broke down outside rapid city - next time.

mooretrees
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Re: Axel Heyst's Journal

Post by mooretrees »

Glad you got the rig up and running! Already week four of semi-ere? Dang, it goes so fast.

AxelHeyst
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Re: Axel Heyst's Journal

Post by AxelHeyst »

mooretrees wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 9:38 am
Already week four of semi-ere? Dang, it goes so fast.
Yes it does. :shock:

July Financial Update

Image
("Delta Actual" is my fun name for "Income minus expenses". It's positive this month only because it's a three-paycheck month, one of which was my final FT salary.)

Analysis: Yowza. This is not the direction I wanted to be going. The bright side is that this is not "drift" or "bad habits getting away from me". This is "my life being a clusterfuck over the past two months".
Jacob wrote:Spending is a sign of friction resulting from bad design.
^This is relevant here. I mentioned this somewhere else, but I see the past two month's spending as a result of a mismatch between my strategy and plan and the reality I've found myself in/allowed myself to be in. I built Serenity to allow me to live a frugal lifestyle *as a single nomad*. I find myself in a committed relationship, looking for a home base. Hence, bad design.

The Covid lockdown Feb-June allowed me to not really see the mismatch. In June/July, we drove two rigs thousands of miles, a lifestyle that prevents DW from generating income, and incidentally doesn't serve us as a couple. Dealing with nomad logistics as a single dude is no big deal. Adding DW to the system essentially breaks that web-of-goals/strategic system. The "shelter" module, Serenity, can't take the stress/additional requirements, and the failure cascades in to transportation and DW's income modules, while requiring a more-than-2x increase in time and stress.

So long story short, I'm re-reading the shit out of chapter 5, and spending a lot of time doing the work to assemble a strategy for shelter that serves us - that is resilient and consilient.

We have a little bit of time to sort it out (aka it's a slow problem), because we're in a situation not dissimilar to our previous lockdown staying with DW's family. The clock is ticking, because of reasons, but we've likely got 1-3 months before we will want to be moving on the next more permanent solution. So I should be able to bring August expenses back down to more comfortable levels, but I know that Shelter is still a problem that will bite me in the ass (again!) if I don't pre-solve it well in the near future.

(This mismatch between strategy and actual reality also partially explains my high spending in 2019. I just wasn't being vigilant last year, since that was pre-ERE mindset.)

RoamingFrancis
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Re: Axel Heyst's Journal

Post by RoamingFrancis »

It's interesting and helpful to see what challenges you're running into in semi-ERE. As you say, it seems like you're spending your stash too quickly due to inefficient lifestyle design. What were some of the unexpected expenses that you ran into? I know you mentioned your rig breaking down.

Adelante!

AxelHeyst
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Re: Axel Heyst's Journal

Post by AxelHeyst »

Well, so far I’m still just burning income, just, more income than I’d like. My stash remains untouched.

Gas and “DW” were the two categories that blew my expenses up. And DW spent money almost entirely on gas for her rig, and yes a little bit for the mechanic. She also spends more money on groceries than I’d like, but not egregious.

All other categories were approximately fine - still plenty of work to do to get them as low as I want, but within acceptable levels for now. They’re in the “learn better tactics” phase of cost reduction, whereas the shelter-transportation-DW nexus is in the “i need to completely re-work my strategic approach, cuz this ain’t working” phase.

It sort of goes back to the one-off discussion. I wasn’t surprised at how much gas cost to drive across the country: that’s a pretty easy calc. And the breakdown was also easily predictable. The issue is that we've make a big disruptive change about every three to four months, for the past 18+ months. Each one was expensive. Each time, we’re trying to find a stable solution to the Shelter module, and each time we pivot after a few months, incurring side effects (/goals) like “DW can’t earn income now”, “this relocation will cost $800 in fuel”, etc.

This isn’t a semiERE problem, it’s a “Mr. and Mrs. Heyst won’t hold still for longer than four damn months” problem. And it’s not that we like to travel; we don’t, really. We just get dissatisfied with our circumstances, and try somewhere else.

So I think I’m right to call it a strategic failure. We need to stop a minute, think through what we want, craft a *good* strategy, and execute. Unfortunately most of our ideal goals are illegal in most areas (informal housing etc).

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