Western Red Cedar's Journal

Where are you and where are you going?
Cheepnis
Posts: 294
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:52 am

Re: Western Red Cedar's Journal

Post by Cheepnis »

Peanut butter is my vice as well. Sometimes I sit down to have a little peanut butter with my banana and end up have a little banana with my peanut butter, it's bad.

I'm adding Geography of Bliss to my reading list. I too think too much. My thinking can often be quite negative and hence I never accomplish anything other than putting myself in a bad mood, it can snowball quite quickly.

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

Re: Western Red Cedar's Journal

Post by Western Red Cedar »

Cheepnis wrote:
Thu Oct 29, 2020 9:09 pm
Peanut butter is my vice as well. Sometimes I sit down to have a little peanut butter with my banana and end up have a little banana with my peanut butter, it's bad.
This made me laugh. I tend to do this with apples rather than bananas, but had a banana with peanut butter, raisins, and cranberries for a snack today in honor of your comment.

The Geography of Bliss reminded me a lot of Bill Bryson's writing. Fairly light, with a lot of self-deprecating humor, but interesting observations about different cultures or environments. It's a great armchair travel book that is peppered with interesting research and science. The author explored the "thinking too much" issue within the context of Thai culture. Thai's tend to focus on the moment, which is probably influenced by Buddhism. This resonated strongly with me because I observed this dynamic regularly when I was in Thailand in 2007/2008 and I have a lot of trouble calming my mind.

I tend to obsess over FI numbers, the past, and future plans which takes me out of the present moment. Something to continue working on.

2Birds1Stone
Posts: 1162
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2015 11:20 am
Location: Earth

Re: Western Red Cedar's Journal

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

Nice to catch up on your journal, WRC. It's wild how similar our paths/plans are (especially wrt spouses!).

The current global situation is just not conducive to long term travel (at least around Europe). I'm glad we did what we did in 2020, but it's time to go back to the drawing board and just like you, try again in 18 months or so.

Your time at the cabin sounded wonderful. Any fun trips planned for the winter?

disk_poet
Posts: 47
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2020 3:33 am

Re: Western Red Cedar's Journal

Post by disk_poet »

Western Red Cedar wrote:
Fri Oct 30, 2020 7:29 pm
[...]

The Geography of Bliss reminded me a lot of Bill Bryson's writing. Fairly light, with a lot of self-deprecating humor, but interesting observations about different cultures or environments. It's a great armchair travel book that is peppered with interesting research and science. The author explored the "thinking too much" issue within the context of Thai culture. Thai's tend to focus on the moment, which is probably influenced by Buddhism. This resonated strongly with me because I observed this dynamic regularly when I was in Thailand in 2007/2008 and I have a lot of trouble calming my mind.

I tend to obsess over FI numbers, the past, and future plans which takes me out of the present moment. Something to continue working on.
This is something I am thinking about a lot at the moment. I hope you find something that works for you (and then let us know ;)). I will give the book a read. It sounds interesting. Thanks for the tip.

Saltation
Posts: 29
Joined: Mon Jun 19, 2017 6:20 am

Re: Western Red Cedar's Journal

Post by Saltation »

Western Red Cedar wrote:
Fri Oct 30, 2020 7:29 pm

I tend to obsess over FI numbers, the past, and future plans which takes me out of the present moment. Something to continue working on.
You have a very enjoyable journal to read. Thank you for sharing your experiences with this community.

Given many forum members have a specific personality type or we all have similar personalities this is a reoccurring theme on the board. It is difficult to live in the moment. If you have not already consider reading material aimed with Stoic and/or Buddhist philosophy then consider it. It has been effective in providing techniques aimed towards mindfulness and living more "momentarily". For those of us that have our head in the clouds or continuously aim to develop plans for the future it helps mitigate the downfalls of this type of thought process which may provide an opportunity for personal development.

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

Re: Western Red Cedar's Journal

Post by Western Red Cedar »

2Birds1Stone wrote:
Sat Oct 31, 2020 2:26 am
Nice to catch up on your journal, WRC. It's wild how similar our paths/plans are (especially wrt spouses!).

The current global situation is just not conducive to long term travel (at least around Europe). I'm glad we did what we did in 2020, but it's time to go back to the drawing board and just like you, try again in 18 months or so.

Your time at the cabin sounded wonderful. Any fun trips planned for the winter?
I wanted to write about ERE and marriage because it is critical for future plans but also leaves a lot of unknowns. I'd much rather have DW work half or 3/4 time with balance than work full time and burnout. Successful relationships and marriages require compromise.

I started rereading your journal from the beginning and you're right about our paths. I seem to be working through a lot of the stuff you were dealing with a few years ago. International travel provides so many benefits for the early retiree - adventure, novelty, intellectual stimulation, cheaper healthcare, and opportunities to tap into different retirement accounts and convert money. For those without kids or pets, I think it makes a lot of sense. Of course, there are downsides as well.

No big trips planned this winter. DW and I usually travel to see family around the holidays but we are all self-isolating due to the pandemic.

I'll likely go back up to the cabin next weekend for my nephew's birthday. I'm fortunate to have a lot of great hiking and trail access within a 10-20 minute drive of my house. My general strategy is to maximize time on local trails at lower elevations in the winter months and start expanding outward into neighboring counties/states as the snow melts and higher-elevation trails open up.

DW and I did start roughly brainstorming locations and options for the sabbatical, just for fun. I'll do a longer post on that later. I'll also try to post some pictures of the cabin/property later when I have the patience to start a Flickr or Imugr account.

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

Re: Western Red Cedar's Journal

Post by Western Red Cedar »

@disk poet

I think ertyu provided some good advice in your journal about some of this. In terms of staying present and not dwelling too much on the past and present, I've had success with a few strategies, but I also think I'm just wired that way. Things that seem to work:

Physical labor - When I'm doing something physically demanding I tend to get absorbed in the task. It works even better if there is some kind of mental component to the job. For example, even something as simple as splitting wood requires a focus on the grain of the wood and where you want the maul to land. In the past, when I did full-time, physically demanding work I was often so exhausted by the end of the day and I didn't have the time or energy to stress about anything. Just, eat, shower, sleep, and wake up to do it again.

Exercise - This relates to physical labor. I still tend to think a lot while exercising (biking, hiking, lifting weights) but I usually am able to work all the way through a problem. When I'm performing well or at a high level, I'm also pretty focused and in the moment - particularly when lifting weights. I also think the endorphins and small sense of accomplishment just make me feel good.

Cooking - A lot of folks on the forum talk about limiting cooking time. Although I batch cook every weekend, I also cook at least a few times through the weekday as well. I usually turn on a podcast or blast some music and get fully immersed in a cooking project. When I'm doing this, I am highly focused on the task at hand. Once again, I think there is a sense of accomplishment here at having created something healthy and delicious, contributing to the household, and possibly experimenting with a new recipe.

Guitar/hobbies - Guitar is probably the best personal example of a hobby that keeps me present. Some songs or techniques are just motor-memory at this point, but others require a lot of focus and concentration.

Nature - My mind still often runs while spending time in nature, but if I'm there long enough (at least a few hours, but even better if it is overnight) things seem to fade away. Research says even street trees, bushes, parks etc can lower cortisol levels and increase happiness. While this is true, I need a fix of pure wilderness to really make me feel great.

Meditation - I've not been very successful with this, but I've seen it work wonders for my wife. She is very disciplined about her practice and does it at least for 20 minutes in the morning, usually in the evening and afternoon as well. This may be one of the most important techniques for people who tend to struggle with thinking too much because you are actually rewiring your brain over the course of months or years.

I think a common thread through much of this is finding "flow" in your activities. My issue is that I don't think it is possible or sustainable to be in a flow state throughout the day. I need to work on those periods between flow states.

Of course, I should also note that a racing mind can have advantages too. I've always excelled academically and professionally because I tend to focus so much "off the clock" and have thought things through extensively.

@Saltation

Thanks for the comment. I have explored stoic and buddhist philosophy. I just need the discipline to better incorporate some of what I've learned into daily life. One practice that I enjoy implementing is called walking meditation. I like to walk a lot, but I also tend to work things through mentally while I walk. Walking meditation requires strong focus on each footstep as a means of staying mindful.

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

Re: Western Red Cedar's Journal

Post by Western Red Cedar »

October Update:

457 B - 118,267
Roth IRA - 46,806
Savings - 28,789
Pension - 35,305
DW Roth - 39,630
DW Savings - 4,376
Brokerage (shared) - 18,122

NW - 291,295 (Increase of $619)

A pretty rough month in the markets but our NW still crawled up a bit. Even though I'm pretty diligent about dollar cost averaging, I decided to max out my Roth IRA for the rest of the year on Friday before the markets closed. I only had $1,000 left to contribute but it worked out well considering how the market moved this week. I'm guessing we are likely over $300,000 as of today but I haven't looked at my accounts, and usually try not to mid month.

A little while ago I ran some numbers on my pension and calculated 4% SWR based on my invested assets. My portion of assets would provide over $7,000 per year and my pension should provide a little over $1,000 per month at 65 if I quit today. This would be supplemented with social security. I also have 2+ years of expenses. All looking good for a true ERE budget. I felt pretty good after putting some of this together. I'll keep plugging away and watch the snowball roll.

Health and Fitness:

My weight has been slowly increasing over the last couple of months. I need to be more committed to a healthy diet and get my intermittent fasting back on track. One of the issues with working from home is that I have access to my entire pantry/fridge throughout the day. I'm still down about 10 pounds this year and at a healthy BMI, but I've hit the high end of my ideal weight range. I always tend to gain a few pounds in the winter, but don't want to give up my gains.

I've been trying to ride my bike as much as possible before it gets too snowy and cold. It's always great for my mental and physical health to get outside. I ran into a large flock of wild turkeys on my last two rides which was fun.

Work:

I've been in a little funk at work over the past couple of months. I'm handling all of my regular responsibilities well but have a major project that I'm managing and it's been delayed due to other priorities and mandatory furloughs. I kind of created my own problem as I asked for an interesting project to work on last year. My boss gave me responsibility for a huge, multi-year project with high internal and external visibility. I'll basically be covering two FTEs worth of work for at least the next 12-18 months. Fortunately I'm highly proficient with my regular work so I should be able to handle it. I just added another employee to the project team to share the work a bit though. It's a good opportunity to expand my skills and get more experience with project management, so I'm trying to look at it in a positive light.

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

Re: Western Red Cedar's Journal

Post by Western Red Cedar »

I thought I would post some photos of my parent's property. This is where I was born and raised. The first three are from different viewpoints on the property.

Image

Image

Image

Image
I took this in the spring. It's fairly green through May/June but dries out later in the year.

Image
This was my haul of Morels from the spring. I foraged another 1-2 pounds the following day.

mooretrees
Posts: 388
Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2019 1:21 pm

Re: Western Red Cedar's Journal

Post by mooretrees »

Nice haul of morels! Morel hunting has become an addictive habit for us and we're getting better every year. There are some big one in there!

Lovely photos of your parent's property. Love the fall color of the larches.

Hope your work funk is easing.

disk_poet
Posts: 47
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2020 3:33 am

Re: Western Red Cedar's Journal

Post by disk_poet »

Oh wow, that looks like a beautiful part of the world. Very calm. How far is this from a city?

ertyu
Posts: 1424
Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2016 2:31 am

Re: Western Red Cedar's Journal

Post by ertyu »

How awesome. Thank you for sharing these WRC

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

Re: Western Red Cedar's Journal

Post by Western Red Cedar »

@mt - I love Morel hunting as well. I'm eager to connect with the local mycology society to learn more about harvesting other mushrooms once the pandemic settles down. How large is the Morel window where you're at? I find It lasts about two weeks, but I think I could expand that timeframe if I focus on hunting at different elevations.

@ertyu - You're welcome, glad to share them. It just took a little initiative on my part to actually figure out how to post photos.

@dp - Thanks. The cabin/property is about a 45-60 minute drive from the closest major city where I live. It is about 13 miles from a smaller town with all of the necessary amenities. Here are a few more pictures that I took near the town while exploring the area on a bike ride last month.

Image

Image

Image

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

Re: Western Red Cedar's Journal

Post by RoamingFrancis »

Beautiful photos! I love morels!

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

Re: Western Red Cedar's Journal

Post by Western Red Cedar »

@RF - Thanks man! The cabin and property are part of my backup ERE plan if SHTF.
Last edited by Western Red Cedar on Sun Nov 15, 2020 3:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Re: Western Red Cedar's Journal

Post by Western Red Cedar »

Groceries:

I finished my second month of tracking groceries. I plan on doing one more month from 11/15 to 12/15 and then waiting for the beginning of the year so I'm not doing it through the middle of the month. Our groceries jumped up quite a bit over the last month, with a total of $368.25. This was $108 more than last month. We had an expensive Vitacost order and restocked on some cooking/baking staples.

Health and Fitness:

I got out for five bike rides over the last week. Nothing too long, mostly in the 10-14 mile range. I biked through a bit of snow and ice on one of my favorite routes. It wasn't as daunting as I thought it might be. The coldest day I went out was 34 degrees, which wasn't too comfortable. I may have to get some better cold weather gear.

My nephew wanted to go for a hike for his 18th birthday. It's pretty crazy how quickly he's grown up. I took him out for his first overnight backpacking trip a couple years ago and he fell in love with the outdoors like I hoped he would. I led a 6.5 mile hike that most of my family hadn't experienced. It turned out to be a great outing and I took my nephew and two nieces on a side expedition through a canyon that was a lot of fun.

I've been better about starting my day with meditation. I'm not quite doing it daily, but probably 4-5 times per week. I've also been doing yoga on my lunch breaks when the weather is too rainy or snowy for walks or bike rides.

Hobbies:

I played guitar for a few hours on Friday evening and have been playing regularly over the past couple weeks. I started learning Hendrix's Hey Joe. The basic chords are fairly easy but it's been fun trying to learn some of the riffs to spice it up. I still have a lot to learn when it comes to theory, but I think it will unlock a lot of doors if I spend time working on it.

I haven't been practicing Spanish for the last few weeks. I had hit a bit of a plateau and wasn't really making much progress even though I was spending 10-20 minutes per day on it. I'll pick it up later but I'm fine taking a break for a few months.

I finished the Kerouac and Burroughs book. I didn't realize exactly what I had stumbled upon until I was about halfway through it. This was Kerouac’s and Burroughs first attempt at a novel that went unpublished until 2008. They wrote it in 1945 based on their experiences in New York and the true story of a murder in their social circle. The afterword provides a lot of context on the events and characters in the story, along with the biographies of the authors and their contemporaries. Probably not something I would openly recommend unless someone was particularly interested in the Beats or Kerouac/Burroughs.

I picked up Let my People go Surfing - the Education of a Reluctant Businessman. It is by Yvon Chouinard who is the founder and owner of Patagonia. I was pretty impressed with the business practices of Patagonia, and even thought about applying for a job with them in their environmental grants division. I nixed the idea after looking at the costs of working and living in California, but it might be something of interest if I ever get bored without a career. The book is great so far and describes the origins and philosophy of the company. Some of the writing reminds me a lot of ERE.

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

Re: Western Red Cedar's Journal

Post by RoamingFrancis »

Beautiful, I have been itching to get some land as well. Congrats on the yoga and meditation - consistency is key!

I offer Spanish classes over Zoom if you're interested :)

theanimal
Posts: 1610
Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:05 pm
Location: AK
Contact:

Re: Western Red Cedar's Journal

Post by theanimal »

That property looks amazing. What a wonderful spot!

I made a more dedicated effort at learning Spanish myself recently. I've been using a tutor from Preply and have found it to be very valuable. That plus podcasts goes a long way. However, I also have the benefit of a fluent Spanish speaking gf but I still think the first 2 are very valuable and I would highly recommend

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

Re: Western Red Cedar's Journal

Post by Western Red Cedar »

@RF - Thanks. I've been meditating every day lately and it feels great.

@theanimal - Thank you. I've always been drawn to the west and feel fortunate to live here. Congratulations on the new relationship!

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

Re: Western Red Cedar's Journal

Post by Western Red Cedar »

I made it out on my bike every day this week. It has been pretty cold, usually in the 30's, but it feels great to get outside, get some exercise, and spend time in nature. Yesterday I switched it up with a 6 mile hike and thought I would share some photos with the fine folks on the forum. I saw horseback riders, mountain bikers, loads of hikers, and people in a few different types of boats.

Image

The swinging bridge was originally constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930's.
Image

Kayakers on the river
Image

Image

The Devil's Toenail
Image

Mountain Bikers on the Trail
Image

Post Reply