C40's Journal

Where are you and where are you going?
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C40
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by C40 » Thu Jun 01, 2017 11:58 am

sky wrote:
Tue May 30, 2017 3:35 pm
Superlative site on the Colorado River, got any coordinates on that one?
Yep. I'll PM them to you

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C40
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by C40 » Thu Jun 01, 2017 12:05 pm


-------------------------------------------
MAY 2017 - MONEY
-------------------------------------------


SPENDING

Image

Image




INVESTING

I want to do some investing work this month. I have ~$13k cash in my Roth IRA, most of it is from converting ~$10k from the Traditional to Roth. So I need to buy some stocks. Probably REITS. I’ll look at buying more O. I also need to research others. I also already own some DLR, HCP, and OHI. Of those, the only I’d think about buying more of is OHI, though I haven’t looked at many of the numbers for it yet.

I also may convert some of my Traditional IRA from Vanguard funds to individual stocks in order to get better yields.

Plus, I have some stocks in my post tax account that I’m going to think about selling. (VOD, MCD, NSRGY, the rest of my KMI, and - because the prices have more than doubled since I bought them - some of my RAI and MO). And before selling them, I’ll try to decide what to buy with the proceeds, or, at least make sure there appear to be some good things to buy out there.

SustainableHappiness
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by SustainableHappiness » Thu Jun 01, 2017 7:43 pm

Your story/journal is really cool (although I've only gotten the surface so far). Thank you a ton for sharing!

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C40
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by C40 » Tue Jun 06, 2017 12:02 pm

Here's a summary of where I went in May.



New Blog Post: May 2017 Adventures
Image

Sedona, Grand Canyon, my favorite campsite ever (along the Colorado River, pictured above), and Zion National Park (maybe my favorite place ever)

Noedig
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by Noedig » Tue Jun 06, 2017 10:07 pm

Great thoughtful blog. Like the bit about how people seize upon a positive experience and turn it into a personal Meaning Of Life for a while. I wish you inner peace and good encounters.

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C40
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by C40 » Sun Jun 11, 2017 11:51 am


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C40
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by C40 » Tue Jul 11, 2017 10:17 am

HI FOLKS!



Image
Spending Update - Q2



I'll have a post coming summarizing my travels in June. I took a TON of pictures, so It's going to be a while to get through them...

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Viktor K
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by Viktor K » Tue Jul 11, 2017 11:01 am

The vast majority of my income is from dividends
I meant to send you a PM about a month ago but I think I exited out of it because I was intoxicated and it seemed like a drunken ramble :lol:

I'm still curious, though. If I may ask, how is the blog income?

More generally if needed, would you recommend starting one with the intention to monetize it?

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Allagash
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by Allagash » Mon Jul 24, 2017 9:00 pm

C40, I know you are not that long into the vandwelling life yet, but wondering if you have given any thought to the end game? Any initial thoughts on what part of the country you may decide to settle or what type of lifestyle/set up you might be looking for?

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C40
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by C40 » Mon Jul 31, 2017 11:42 am

Viktor K wrote:
Tue Jul 11, 2017 11:01 am
The vast majority of my income is from dividends
I meant to send you a PM about a month ago but I think I exited out of it because I was intoxicated and it seemed like a drunken ramble :lol:

I'm still curious, though. If I may ask, how is the blog income?

More generally if needed, would you recommend starting one with the intention to monetize it?
Hello :-)

My blog income is non-existent. ZERO. Well, I've made about $10 Amazon commissions from people who followed affiliate links I had on some posts and then bought other random stuff.

My blog traffic is low. My SEO is probably horrible. My posts are just generic travel and personal finance updates. They aren't the kind of posts that people go looking for on the internet. I've considered starting to make some "how to [xyz]" posts, or if I really wanted to have a go at it, some "8 [xyz things] you must do [this summer]" posts. But I haven't ever felt like it.

For me, so far, Instagram is where it's at. The return on effort there has been WAY better than on my blog. For about 9 months, I was just dumping pictures there as an afterthought. As I saw my account gradually growing, I started putting some more thought into my pictures and the captions I write. I also started using a bot that likes and comments and follows accounts who are interested in the kind of content I post (this helps potential followers find me as it makes my account show up in their notifications).

I now have 14,000 followers there and my more popular posts get seen by about 7,000 people (well, accounts) and have about 1,000 people either like or comment or save the picture. On my blog, a more popular post might get 1,000 views over a week. The strength of Instagram (and other social media) is that it provides a platform for my content, a large population of users, and good ways for them to find me. My blog is basically the online equivalent of someone's physical art and writing that's sitting out at the corner of two rural roads that get little traffic.

I'm just getting to enough followers/engagement on Instagram that smaller companies are starting to ask to send me stuff for free with the expectation or agreement that the item will show up in my pictures and that I'll tag their accounts. So far I've received a really nice Ecuadorian alpaca wool Indian style blanket, and a back-country water filter. Since I don't have much need or desire for 'stuff', I'll be hoping that I can start featuring inexpensive products for some monetary compensation. I expect to start pitching to companies soon.

I have found writing captions for Instagram posts much easier than writing blog posts. I believe the two reasons are that the Instagram posts are limited to being fairly short (About the length of my reply so far), and that when I go to write a blog post, I feel more pressure to do it well and be complete, while an Instagram caption seems less important so I can just churn them out more easily. In one or two cases, I've copied and pasted these Instagram captions I've written over into blog posts.

If you're thinking about making a blog to monetize it, I'm not really a good person to say whether it's a good thing, but I'd say, only do it if you really are making it mainly for the purpose of monetizing it, and will be willing to research and create the kind of content that gets a lot of pageviews, and to keep focusing heavily on SEO, research, analyzing what works, etc. - And that you're willing to write content that is repetitive, or basic with mass appeal, and is not really useful for yourself other than for making money with the blog. In other words - only do it if you're willing to look at it mainly as work, and not as some kind of personal sharing or art.

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Re: C40's Journal

Post by C40 » Mon Jul 31, 2017 11:52 am

Allagash wrote:
Mon Jul 24, 2017 9:00 pm
C40, I know you are not that long into the vandwelling life yet, but wondering if you have given any thought to the end game? Any initial thoughts on what part of the country you may decide to settle or what type of lifestyle/set up you might be looking for?
I think about that some. I have a few options in mind for next life phases. Right now, they are:
- Move to southeast Asia or Mexico/ Central/South America for a few years
- Buy a little cabin/shack somewhere in the Western U.S. (or some land to put a yurt on) and live there (garden, do a lot out outdoors stuff, whatever else). Or maaaaaybe find a cheap/free way to live in a really expensive city like San Francisco or Seattle.
- Go live on property that my immediate family buy soon. Three groups of them are looking to buy property in a certain part of the country. They all hope to get a few acres each. That means room for me to park my van for a while and live there and help them with projects, or,.. land for me to build a shack, put down a yurt, etc. This would be nice as it would provide me with a long-term place to live every now and then between various life phases, but that I wouldn't have to worry about taking care of while I'm not there.

I'm not sure whether I will complete my Vanliving phase entirely and then go to the next thing, or if I will mix them together. The latter two options would lend to mixing the phases together well, while the first wouldn't, other than a pause for a few years.

I'm still enjoying the Van thing a lot, and have rough plans in my mind for at least another full year of it. But it's hard to guess how much longer I'll do it. There are moments where I sort of wonder what I'm doing and if this is really what I want, but most of the time I'm just enjoying it (a lot). So, could be another 6 months, could be another few years, or I could get killed in Mexico this winter. We'll see. I think If I spend a long time doing it, like 5 or 10 years, I'd really start to question if I'm missing out on other opportunities in life.

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Re: C40's Journal

Post by C40 » Mon Jul 31, 2017 1:16 pm


-------------------------------------------
JULY 2017
-------------------------------------------



MONEY
Spending: $693
Income: $1,143
Rolling 3 months avg income: $1,474
YTD Savings Rate: 55%



FAMILY AND SIDE TRIP

At the start of July, I’d just came into Colorado from Utah. I called my Dad to get input on where to go in Colorado. He told me about some places, and then said I should come out to Denver (where he lives) and go along with him out to Tennessee for a couple weeks. He’s thinking about moving there. My ~brother in law and nephew were also going to be going out there during that time. My brother and his girlfriend are also already out in that area. My aunt might be going too. On the way home, my BIL would stop at my Mom’s and Step Dad’s place for a few days. So… if I would just drive to Denver, I could tag along to the southeast U.S., and see all of my immediate family in one trip.

So, of course I went. I’d never been out there, so it was cool to see that part of the country. It was strange just tagging along with people and I felt a little bit like a kid at times.

I also hung out near and in Denver for about two weeks of time.

And that was the whole month of July.



PLANS
For August, I’ll be up in the mountain in Colorado for the rest of the summer, heading southwest through the state. Then after that, it’s further southwest and, I still hope, into Mexico for the winter.



CRAZY TATTOO PLANS
There’s an artist in Toronto that I’ve always wanted to get a tattoo from. I used to go there for work so I was trying to schedule time with her during one of those trips. She’s too popular, and her booking process is too tight for that to have worked out. But now, I’ve gotten in during one of her booking periods. I’m looking at going out there in October.

I am approaching this as a challenge to see how inexpensively I can travel across the country. I’d be flying out from either Las Vegas or Los Angeles. I have points from all my previous work flying so those will cover the flights - well, just to Buffalo. Bus tickets from Buffalo to Toronto are very cheap. Now I’m trying to sort out a place. I have a couple good prospects already (one guy from here on the forum, and one other I know through Instagram). I’ll also need to sort out whether to do the tattoo small enough to all be done in one day, or a larger one that takes two sessions and 10 days in-between to heal. The two-day tattoo would add more complexity between available booking dates, when it would work to stay with someone, and whether staying 2 weeks is actually a good idea



BLOG POST - JUNE TRAVELS

lots of pictures.. LOTS

Blog post - JUNE ADVENTURES
Image

Felipe
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by Felipe » Mon Jul 31, 2017 2:27 pm

It's cool to see you living up your life while stashing.

I agree about blog income. That was one of the first businesses I tried to develop. Many weeks of work later I made my first 100 something dollars and hung my hat realizing I was working way too hard on something I didn't like to get less than minimum wage.

Instagram reviews sound fun. You could put in affiliate link in the caption to get some commission while you fine tune your pitch.

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bryan
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by bryan » Mon Jul 31, 2017 3:21 pm

One thing about a certain free-roaming van life is that you can reduce some expensive expenses by being flexible in time and place. For example, you can tour to Mexico for some healthcare or if you ever need to fly anywhere, you can be sure to depart from a cheap hub location (e.g. find those crazy cheap flight deals that are only available from certain airports).


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BRUTE
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by BRUTE » Tue Aug 29, 2017 9:06 pm

yea, Zion is pretty fucking amazing. way better than the Grand Canyon.

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fiby41
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by fiby41 » Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:58 am

Felipe wrote:
Mon Jul 31, 2017 2:27 pm
.

I agree about blog income. That was one of the first businesses I tried to develop. Many weeks of work later I made my first 100 something dollars and hung my hat realizing I was working way too hard on something I didn't like to get less than minimum wage.
Same here but it was only 17 USD for me. :(
Felipe wrote:
Mon Jul 31, 2017 2:27 pm
.
Instagram reviews sound fun. You could put in affiliate link in the caption to get some commission while you fine tune your pitch.
AFAIK links in instagram captions (and even profile bios) are unclickable.

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Re: C40's Journal

Post by Jason » Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:11 pm

I first heard of Zion Canyon when watching a documentary on Warren Jeffs. It looks really beautiful but I'd be scared of running into chicks with those really big foreheads that inbreeding seems to bring about.

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Re: C40's Journal

Post by C40 » Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:50 pm

Jason wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:11 pm
I first heard of Zion Canyon when watching a documentary on Warren Jeffs. It looks really beautiful but I'd be scared of running into chicks with those really big foreheads that inbreeding seems to bring about.
You don't need to worry about that in Zion. In some towns in Utah there are definitely a lot of fundamentalist looking folks. As far as just walking around goes, to me they seem nice, weird, and harmless.

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C40
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by C40 » Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:54 pm

fiby41 wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:58 am
Felipe wrote:
Mon Jul 31, 2017 2:27 pm
.

Instagram reviews sound fun. You could put in affiliate link in the caption to get some commission while you fine tune your pitch.
AFAIK links in instagram captions (and even profile bios) are unclickable.
Caption links are unclickable

Bio links are clickable (but then you have to write something in your caption convincing them to go to your bio, and click on the link, and ....

Stories can contain links that people ~"click" by swiping upward. This could be a decent place to put affiliate links. The drawback is that they're gone in 24 hours. (Stories are Instagram's copy of how Snapchat works. It's basically the same)

I have made some more progress with Instagram features/ads. I'll write about it in my August journal update

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C40
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by C40 » Thu Aug 31, 2017 9:17 pm


-------------------------------------------
August 2017
-------------------------------------------



Money


Image

Spending was about $1,000 for August.


Image

I spent like $450 on coffee-making equipment. That was starting with nothing and should be about all the equipment I need.


Image

With my spending relatively low, my net worth in years is going up. It will go up more in the next couple months, even with this big tattoo I’m getting.


Image

I split up my net worth chart into more categories - to show my account types separately. This will help visualize the effect of an IRA ladder over the coming years. If the stock market stays steady, here’s what should happen: the Traditional IRA value will stay about the same. The Roth should double over the next 5 years. After 5 years, the Roth will stay about constant, and my post-tax accounts will start to grow.





New Income Sources

At this moment, my current hobby income streams are:

— Shirt design sales: ~$45/mont
— Patreon: $12/month
— Instagram - paid advertisements: ~$100/month**
— Instagram - free stuff and discounts on purchases: ~$250/month


** I’ve only done this once, so I’m not sure about the frequency of these

If I continue Instagram paid ads at that rate, that’s $160 per month, or about 15% of my spending. I don’t expect to get Instagram ad jobs each month.. but, the number and compensation I get will grow over time.

I’m wishing I would put in about 3-4 days of making new shirts each month, as that would reliably increase the shirt income. It might require following pop-culture more closely, and I don’t really care to. But if I just recognize an idea when I come upon one, I can make them here and there, and I have made a few last month and this month.



Instagram income details

(First off, as a potential income source, I don’t recommend this. It’s only useful if you are already good at photography, already doing/shooting some type of niche that will do well, and would have fun posting on Instagram. It takes a lot of work and time. )


I’ve started reaping some benefit from all the pictures I’ve been dumping on Instagram. It comes in a few different forms:

Companies send me products for free, in exchange for them ending up in my pictures, and at time me writing about them. So far I’ve gotten $371 worth of products from this, starting in July. (A nice wool blanket, a survival water filter, some camp plates, a packable blanket, towels that pack small) These are all things that I already wanted but hadn’t gotten around to or wouldn’t have actually bought. I’m only willing to take things that I actually want, and so far I’ve had good luck. Sometimes the company just has one thing, like the wool blanket, and sometimes they’ll reach out and ask which of their products I’d like. Most of these deals have initiated from them contacting me, but I’m starting to pitch brands. The limiting factor is that I just don’t want much stuff, and the kind of things I’d really love to get free (camera and bike gear), I can’t get unless I have way more followers. A related opportunity for these kinds of posts is that some companies offer to make a coupon code that I can share, and in some cases they’ll pay me a set commission for all sales where someone uses the coupon code. (of course I’d be relying on them to actually do so… I’ve started considering whether I share that coupon code in various other places on the web.. it’s a bit of a moral grey area)

Companies sell me stuff at their own cost. I pitched to a company that makes a manual espresso maker. I wasn’t convincing enough for them to send me a unit, but they sold me one at about 40% of the normal price. (a ~’savings’ of $104

Companies pay me to show their product. Basically to make an ad. So far I’ve done this once, for a whiskey. I’ll get paid $104 plus a really nice bottle of whiskey.

I have 15k followers, which is basically when you start being able to do this kind of stuff. Compensation amounts increase ~linearly with more followers. The effective hourly wage for doing these, even if I only count the time for those specific posts, is not good. But I’m having fun with it. It’s a kind of validation for my photography that I haven’t gotten so far.

I believe there is potential to parlay this kind of work into more traditional commercial photography, and I may pursue that in the future. Initially I’ll offer large picture files for free to the companies that I do these Instagram collaborations with. If they use them in their advertisements/newsletters/websites, I’ll have experience and credentials for trying to get other paid commercial photography work. The advantage I have vs. more normal photographers is that I’m already going to cool outdoor places.

One side of all this that is sort of time consuming and can feel a little annoying is the pitching. So far, most of my collaborations have came from companies contacting me, so there’s little to do. But if I continue doing product features, I need to focus specifically on getting things that I actually want. I need to spend time learning how to pitch to companies, which is not something I’ve ever done before. It takes some time and learning. It’s halfway fun to learn, and it’s a skill that could be useful at various other times in my life. I’m, in effect, learning the marketing/advertising side of business.




Patreon Details

Sometimes my mom (and stepdad) give me advice or urge me to do certain things. Sometimes when I do them and they work out well, I think “shit, mom’s been telling me to do that for a year. I should’ve done it right away”.

When I was visiting them in July, we were talking about hobby income and entrepreneurial stuff. They’ve been particularly interested in these things lately. They urged me to set up a Patreon account as one way to make financial use of my Instagram engagement, and they helped me brainstorm potential patron rewards. They pointed out to me that considering all the varied and stupid ways people spend money, among a crowd of 15,0000 people who like looking at my pictures/writing, there will definitely be some that would want to send me money.

For those not familiar with Patreon, the most common way it’s used is for the consumers of creative output to support its creators directly. It’s becoming the primary way that podcasters, some youtube creators, and other similar folks get paid. Also, many creators who set up Patreon accounts also share extra material with the patrons as a thank you and a way to encourage people to pledge.

As an example, there’s this guy, Chris Ryan who makes a podcast. He doesn’t put ads on his podcast. He has this Patreon account set up. Some people who really like his podcast pledge through Patreon, and they pay him a certain amount per month or per podcast episode. He gets paid at least $634 per month this way.


So anyways, I created a Patreon account . The rewards I give supporters are a map showing all the places I’ve camped, and also what are essentially very thorough how-to blog posts on the subject of living and traveling in a vehicle (I’ll be making one per month). So far I have a few patrons at $12/month total. These came from two Instagram posts mentioning it, so if I continue talking about it, there’s potential for it to grow.






Updated Personal Goals

Ok, I had these as my goals for the year:
Image

I’m capable of accomplishing all that in one year, but it’s too many different goals to properly keep track of. With my current amount of free time, I think I’m better off focusing on goals with a 1-3 month time period - where I can make significant progress in a few different areas.

Also, for some things that I’m already definitely going to do, like controlling my spending, and general fitness, I don’t think I need to include in these goals. I will have goals for these, but they are a bit more secondary and go somewhere else.

These main Goals are for changes and for starting new things - where I want to make step changes in my skills and habits. Here’s my first draft for current goals:

INCOME STREAMS
— Execute current Instagram feature
— Get more Instagram product features - start with coffee-making
— Make some more shirt designs
— Make some more investing changes before going to Mexic
— Try out options trading (for some stocks I own and am considering selling)

PREP FOR MEXICO
— Start learning Spanish (on 9/1)
— Get to very basic communication in Spanish (by 11/1)
— Learn about laws, camping rules, and safety
— Research logistics (WIFI, cel service, mail, water, money, laundry)
— Start deciding where to go






Toronto Trip
I’ll be in Toronto, basically downtown, September 17-21

Anybody else wanna meet up? I’ll be getting a tattoo all day on the 19th.

The travel costs for this will be low, as I’m using airline points for a flight, and crashing on the couch of an ERE forum member :-). The tattoo will pricey, probably close to $1,000.




….. boy, this was a lengthy one… not sure if it’s useful to write out so much, but sometimes it does help me hash things out in my head.

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Viktor K
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by Viktor K » Thu Aug 31, 2017 11:24 pm

I just came across Patreon in September! I watch a lot of how-to make-a-game videos on YouTube, and their creators more often than not have a Patreon account. Some of them make a few hundred dollars per month doing it. I hope to earn some income from there one day too, when/if I've got more knowledge to share.
C40 wrote:
Thu Aug 31, 2017 9:17 pm
.. boy, this was a lengthy one… not sure if it’s useful to write out so much, but sometimes it does help me hash things out in my head.
I'm glad you do write so much, I find if I don't learn from what you write here, it at least sparks a bunch of great ideas.

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