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 » Mon Mar 05, 2018 12:39 pm

SPENDING:

January: $881. Included $560 of gas driving from Baja Mexico to Portland Oregon.
February: $956. Bought a new phone, joined a gym, bought a bit of clothes.

Here's an update of my spending vs. income since retiring:

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MEXICO PICTURES:

Here are a few more pictures from Mexico. I’ve been very slow with sorting through and editing them:

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UPDATE:

I've been living with my friends for nearly two months now. It's nice being in a house, and spending a lot of time with them. But it's quite an unproductive environment for me. I haven't made much progress in deciding what I want to do next or on researching the details for the options I'm considering. I've started to do better on it more recently.



PLANS:

I'm not totally over van traveling, but I am feeling ready to start getting on with what's next. The options I'm currently considering are:

1 - Buy some land and build some type of small home. Depending on location, climate, and laws, may be some kind of 'alternative' construction method. (like earthbag, yurt, cabin, tiny house, etc.). The things I like about this option are the potential permanence of the property, of having my own little realm for growing things and whatnot, and being able to build a home that is as small as I want it. (though I need to do more research, it seems there is some chance I'd build it even smaller than I want in order to avoid zoning/permit/whatever laws. There'd be a lot to sort out here including what region of the country (just considering U.S. for now), how close do I want/need to be to a city, how much property, what is desirable for me, laws in that area, construction method, etc.... The big potential downside of this is if I buy property outside of a city/town and I spend too much time by myself or get annoyed with having to drive in and out of town to socialize.

2 - Buy a house, most likely one that needs some work. Fix it up. Then maybe sell it, or live in it, or rent it out (and maybe build a second dwelling on the property if there is room and it's allowed, maybe a tiny house on wheels that I could take somewhere else if/when I sell the house or just when I decide to). I’d like to learn more home remodeling skills, so this could be a project I enjoy. Could also make some money and allow me to spend more or live in more expensive cities later. Could be better for social life living in a city. Could still do option #1 later, and if I do also build a tiny house, just move it out to the land.


3 - Go live in southeast Asia for a while. Could be really cheap. The adventure aspect of it is not all that enticing for me at the moment. I have concerns that I would not be satisfied with the socializing/relationship options, as I’d likely be meeting travelers, ex-pats that float around, and the locals that speak english.



I’ve started trying to find books to learn about options 1 and 2. For option 1, I’m having a difficulty finding books that I’m looking for, ideally covering the subject of buying land, building a house, and some homesteading stuff overall (including region selection, assessing property, etc.) Most of the books I’m finding seem to be for people already living out on some land/farm. And there are books about building. So I guess what I’m missing is info on region selection and property buying. If anyone knows of good resources for those, please share them. (Prefer a book. if not that, a dense and thorough blog).

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bryan
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by bryan » Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:19 pm

What phone did you buy? I am thinking of getting a newer one myself.

You don't think all three of those plans sound kind of boring?

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C40
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by C40 » Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:58 pm

An iPhone SE. Verizon has the prepaid version on sale for $160, probably to clear them out before the SE2 comes out. I had to buy one month of service for $45. I think I may keep paying monthly until I go back out in the van and then just use my 3G MIFI for service.

I wanted to buy another BLU R1 HD for $60 (through Amazon Prime) but they got rid of that Amazon Prime special. If I had it to do again, I'd buy the BLU R1 HD for $100. The iphone is faster and more stable but the bigger screen on the R1 is nice, and the iPhone touchscreen doesn't work that great (maybe just (partly) because the screen is small and using apps designed for larger screens)

About the boring - No. You're joking, right?
Last edited by C40 on Mon Mar 05, 2018 10:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Kriegsspiel
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by Kriegsspiel » Mon Mar 05, 2018 4:52 pm

The Book On Flipping Houses by Scott was useful when I flipped a house. The info is scattered around online too.
Compact Cabins and Compact Houses by Rowan might be good to read if you were building a small house. It's mostly layouts, but he talks about building it modularly too.

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Re: C40's Journal

Post by patrickza » Mon Mar 19, 2018 3:44 am

Your Mexico pictures are stunning. Any reason you didn't stay longer? How about heading further south? My wife and I spent a short time in a campervan in central Chile and Argentina, stunning mountain and lake area. That's what made me want to move into a van when I pull the plug in a couple of years time.

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7Wannabe5
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:04 am

I think Bryan means that you maybe should try to think of something that almost nobody has attempted before, since you have the freedom to make such an attempt. Some suggestions off the top of my head:

1) Buy or build a personal submarine and attempt to make a profit from harvesting teeny pearls from the mollusks invading Lake Huron.

2) Recreate the 1897 solar steam engine design of Frank Shuman.

3) Invest in maple syrup leases and spend next spring on northward hike with the season, tapping and boiling over campground fires as you go.

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Re: C40's Journal

Post by RealPerson » Mon Mar 19, 2018 10:39 am

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:04 am

1) Buy or build a personal submarine and attempt to make a profit from harvesting teeny pearls from the mollusks invading Lake Huron.
I don't know about the Lake Huron part, but a personal submarine has been done. Some Danish guy built a personal submarine, invited a female reporter on board for an interview and then she disappeared. Turned out her killed her, cut her in pieces and tossed her overboard or something. Living underwater apparently does funny things to a person's mind. Maybe Jacob can chime in with the Danish connection. Hopefully not a family member!

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Re: C40's Journal

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Mon Mar 19, 2018 11:26 am

@RealPerson:

Egads! Still, I don't think personal submarine dwellers have as bad a rep to overcome as solo van dwellers.

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C40
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by C40 » Mon Mar 19, 2018 8:16 pm

I definitely like getting suggestions...

I think ~'doing something no one else has done' has no particular appeal to me. I don't have much desire to be special or a trailblazer. I think I have fully accepted that in the grand scheme of humanity my life will be meaningless. Uniqueness and progress are cool, but I don't currently value them enough to spend a large chunk of my life trying to obtain/create it.

Of course, that could change. If I pinpointed some specific opportunity within a realm I'm already focusing on, that could be interesting to pursue. But... in many cases I may actually prefer to learn things that are already well understood and documented, so I can learn them quickly and learn/do a wider variety of things over my life. Also, in general I think I'm more interested in working on the puzzle of how to create the 'best' life for myself (of which, in my current priorities, does not need to include pieces of uniqueness or progress for humanity)

....

People in vans have also recently tarred the vandweller reputation slightly. Remember that guy that went to a baseball field in Washington to shoot up a team of republican congressmen? Yeah, that guy lived in a van.

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C40
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by C40 » Mon Mar 19, 2018 8:29 pm

Also, if any of you young lone-wolf type single men want a motivational 'day in the life' ERE story, here's what I've done so far:

- Woke up naturally at 7am.
- Made lattes for my room mates before they go to work, wish them a good day, and make one for myself
- Watched a video of a sporting event I missed live this weekend. Had a big breakfast.
- Drove into the trendiest part of the city to spend four hours in the bedroom of a 25 year old woman (who works evenings). Have wonderful sex, lay around in bed talking about life... more sex.... Ask her about a book on her shelf with a particularly interesting title, hear her say it's her favorite book, and accept her offer to borrow it.
- On the way back to my van, stop by the Levi's store to try on jackets. Figure out which style and color I like and make a mental note to buy one online when they are 50% off.
- Go to a park on a hill overlooking the city and spend a couple hours sitting in the sun and reading the book. Look up out at the city, hearing it's continual hum of traffic and whatever, and think to myself "god damn, I'm glad I didn't have to go to work today". Get a text from the girl, thanking me, telling me she has a strong post-sex high and is dancing around her apartment listening to Madonna.
- Duck into a coffee shop for a couple hours to wait out the rush hour traffic before going home.

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Re: C40's Journal

Post by sky » Tue Mar 20, 2018 11:56 am

I am going to move back into my van so that my life might be more like C40's.

George the original one
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by George the original one » Tue Mar 20, 2018 12:03 pm

You better tell us what the book is and whether you like it. ;-)

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Re: C40's Journal

Post by RealPerson » Tue Mar 20, 2018 12:55 pm

George the original one wrote:
Tue Mar 20, 2018 12:03 pm
You better tell us what the book is and whether you like it. ;-)
I was thinking the exact same thing. Then I thought maybe I need a van. But after that I assumed it has more to do with C40 than a van. Then my wife told me to wipe that smile off my face and take the trash out. ;) Back to reality.

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Gilberto de Piento
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by Gilberto de Piento » Fri Mar 23, 2018 12:33 pm

How are things going with making money off Instagram and your blog (if you don't mind saying)?

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C40
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by C40 » Wed Apr 04, 2018 11:19 am

George the original one wrote:
Tue Mar 20, 2018 12:03 pm
You better tell us what the book is and whether you like it. ;-)
It's called "The Second Sex". By some french philosopher feminist lady. I've just read like the first 60 pages (of 600!). Some of the early stuff was written in a way that took me a long time to read (philosophical terms, annoyingly long and complicated sentences). But then I think it gets easier to read as it goes on. It seems good, but, I'd say, fairly outdated now related to my own current personal views on men and women, gender roles, and so on. (By outdated, I just mean very little ideas that are new for me). I think it will get more interesting later in the book where she applies her principles/ideas to specific roles, jobs, relationships, etc.


Gilberto de Piento wrote:
Fri Mar 23, 2018 12:33 pm
How are things going with making money off Instagram and your blog (if you don't mind saying)?
Horribly. I haven't really been trying to though. I've gotten some product placement deals for Instagram. One of them was for a whiskey ad, which I got the whiskey plus money for (like $130), but all the others are just product in exchange for making the ad. It is definitely nice at times, like when I wanted to get sunscreen, and wanted nice fancy stuff that doesn't have shit ingredients, but didn't want to pay $15 per bottle, so I pitched a few companies making very nice sunblock and got a supply that will last me over a year.

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Re: C40's Journal

Post by C40 » Wed Apr 04, 2018 11:53 am


-------------------------------------------
MARCH 2018
-------------------------------------------


Spending: $674

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WORDS

Been having a nice time up here in Portland. Got a hot little sort of girlfriend that I spend a day or two per week with. Been teaching my friends’ dog how to behave and taking him to play fetch most days. Been making a lot of coffee for me and my friends. I’ve been going to the gym regularly and have made huge progress. I was maybe 140lbs when I arrived. I wanted to get my muscles bigger so I was lifting and eating a lot. I got up to ~163 lbs, and then cut back down to ~153, and was as lean as I had been at 140. So that was a really nice improvement over just like 2 months. I’ve started gaining again in my last couple weeks here in Portland.

. . . . . . .

My mom is going through some life changes. She’s bought a van and asked for my help outfitting the inside. She plans to still have a normal home, and use the van for trips here and there.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be driving 1,700+ miles to Oklahoma where she lives and then doing the van conversion for her. If I had known I’d be doing this, I would not have driven up to Portland. These two long drives have resulted in many miles and a lot of extra gas used. But, it has been nice spending time with my friends and being inside a house and it didn’t cost a ton.

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about what type of long-term home I’d like to establish. more on this later, but one thing I’ll be doing during this drive to Oklahoma is stopping for maybe a week in Wichita, KS. Houses there are very cheap, so I want to go see if there are enough of the kind of people I like there.

. . . . . . .

I really fucked up on my taxes. I didn’t balance out my capital gains, and ended the year with +$11,000. I didn’t have to pay any capital gains tax, but this bumped up my income from ~$18k to ~$28k, thus reducing the amount of health insurance subsidy I was eligible for. I had to pay back $750 of the subsidy. If I hadn’t messed that up, things would’ve been perfect and my only taxes would’ve been refunds of foreign taxes on dividends, but instead I had to pay back the $750 minus the foreign tax refund.

I know that before I went to Mexico, I looked at my investing stuff, and I don’t know why I didn’t even out the capital gains. Maybe I thought that those would not count towards my income for subsidies.






MEXICO PICTURES

I’ve finished all the pictures from Mexico. I haven’t made a blog post yet, but here are some more of the pictures:

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Re: C40's Journal

Post by jacob » Wed Apr 04, 2018 2:04 pm

Be careful about the foreign tax credit. Once your taxable income becomes low enough (mileage varies), you will no longer get full credit. This surprised me last year, so I had to make some changes as holding international stuff got too expensive, relatively speaking. Our actual income all things included is higher than median but due to maxing as many tax-deferred accounts as possible and having almost all capital income being qualified, our taxable income is pretty low => foreign tax credit -> 0.

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Re: C40's Journal

Post by RealPerson » Wed Apr 04, 2018 2:29 pm

Beautiful photos. What were your favorite towns in Baja? Would help me plan our next visit to BCS.

How is van life feeling for you? I hear that many slow travelers start to tire of the travel after a year or so. I am curious if you are experiencing the same thing. Your talk of building a permanent place to live makes me think that you are looking for more permanency and less vagabonding.

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Re: C40's Journal

Post by wheatstate » Fri Apr 06, 2018 1:43 pm

Great pics. Fun travels. Thanks for sharing.

I will be curious how you like Wichita, the people you meet and your review of outdoor opportunities. The lakes are great. Cheney is about 40 minutes west with a cool sailing club, http://www.ninnescah.org/ There is a fun group of kiteboarders there as well. The town has a good riverwalk and Old Town trendy area with some bike path options.

Quick rundown on biking:
Gravel has exploded and is big. Lots of gravel roads to explore. Flint hills are nice. We climb mountains of wind; into the wind to start with a tailwind home. Dirty Kanza 200 in early June in Emporia, KS, about 2 hours from Wichita.
Road has some options, but not huge.
Mountain Biking at Lake Wilson is awesome. It is a couple hours north of Wichita, just off I-70 and worth a camp stop on your travels. I enjoyed this biker/vanlifer's shoutout to the IMBA epic trails at Wilson. He has good perspective and enjoys his biking and travels.
https://freehubmag.com/articles/home-wa ... aig-bierly

Congrats on your mom getting a van and moving your family on the ERE/adventure path.

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bryan
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by bryan » Sat Apr 07, 2018 5:52 pm

I didn't mean my "boring" comment to be an affront (though it wasn't a joke). It was more like something that BRUTE would say, and you touch on it ("fully accepted that in the grand scheme of humanity my life will be meaningless"). I suppose I was just trying to understand you better. Everyone hooked on and into "the Matrix" seems like an inevitable future, I guess.

I suppose I also admit everything is meaningless (yet nothing is meaningless). So better to treat it with value? One motivation for me is that our forebearers got us here, with a lot of sacrifice, so it would be a pity to "squander" it (whatever that means.. maybe they actually did it all so I could eat and drink all day while watching Netflix? :D).

Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite movies: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPhIW3EF8iU&t=2m07s

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