the animal's journal

Where are you and where are you going?
Gilberto de Piento
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by Gilberto de Piento »

If you do anything dependent on tourists figure out how to own TripAdvisor. Every time I travel now I use TripAdvisor for almost all my decisions.

nitelight
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by nitelight »

epic saving rate!

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Ego
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by Ego »

Alaskan Skills Academy?

There is a well developed model in the yoga world where people come for a few weeks for a retreat to learn specific elements of yoga. Here is a good example of a place that is extremely successful at it. I would guess they are bringing in more than a million dollars a year in revenue. Probably closer to two.

http://www.theyogabarn.com/schedule.html

The way they do it is rather interesting. They break down the core elements of the yoga practice into tiny bits, then teach programs revolving around each bit.

You are living a life (lifestyle) that many people dream about. You are learning new skills the hard way by trial and error. People willingly pay good money to bypass the hard way and have someone teach them. I bet you'd be good at it.

theanimal
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by theanimal »

GdP and nitelight- Thanks!
Ego- Thanks for the info. That looks interesting. I'm not entirely sure what'd I'd offer, but certainly something to think about.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The month of March was somewhat interesting. I left for the wilderness therapy training in the second week of March. All was going well, but something felt off. I felt like I was overcommitted and didn’t like the thought of continuously travelling back and forth about 800 miles at separate points throughout the year. So I quit. There were great people and what seemed like a great job, but this doesn’t appear to be the right time. I came back to the Arctic and have been here since.

March is the busiest time of year here. Chinese students on spring break flock to northern Alaska to watch the aurora. I was working long hours by choice and have enjoyed some great auroras recently, especially the past two nights. Things have dwindled down here and I just finished my last tour until the summer season begins in mid May. My bosses were relieved to have me come back; they wouldn’t have been able to get through the month of March without me. Both they and I know that I am a highly valuable asset to this company.

I’ll be finishing up my CDL training in the next couple weeks. I was given a raise yesterday and I was able to renegotiate it higher and given another raise today. I don’t feel as if I asked for enough, but oh well. I plan to ask for another one later this year. With tips included, it ends up being fairly substantial. A 56% raise. So all things considered, I am fairly pleased with the result.

In other news, I’ve been planning to have a garden here this summer and have been making progress on that. A couple of friends wanted to help out, so they will be pitching in. I’ll post more in the garden log thread but we’ll have 3 3’x8’ raised beds growing Yukon gold potatoes, beets, cabbages, carrots, broccoli, greens, beans, sugar snap peas, turnips and flowers among other things. Seeds will be started inside and likely will go in the dirt about 1 month from now.

Also, I paid off my biggest and highest interest bearing student loan in March! There’s a little bit left now that’s at 3%. I’ll be paying that off more slowly than what I had been doing previously, with the aim to have everything paid off by the end of next year. Savings rate for March was down a bit with travel and increased living expenses. Savings rate around 73%. April will be back in the 90s. Savings rate for the first quarter of 2016 ended up at ~85%.

Kriegsspiel
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by Kriegsspiel »

theanimal wrote: Interpersonal Relations
In 2015, I believe I advanced more in this area with regards in interacting with others. As someone who tends much more to the introverted side, I occasionally can have issues dealing with others (relating to others, overconfidence, mediocre conversationalist etc.). Living and working in close proximity helped a lot in this regard in allowing for experimenting and practicing new ways of interacting with others. This should continue to improve going forward.

My job(s) also help with this too and will only continue to do so. So far, I have led over 900 guests in the time I have been up here. I have dealt with a large variety of people from all places on the globe and don't recall any negative experiences. Most of the people leave extremely satisfied. My new job as wilderness therapy will likely help even more so. Living in extremely close proximity with troubled youth (mainly from a native background as well) should provide for tremendous growth, and at a much faster rate, than what I am experiencing currently.
That's great man, very cool. Any hot ladies running around up there? Well, either way, contact with people is great. As they say, No man is an island, but every man has a peninsula.

theanimal
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by theanimal »

Kriegsspiel- There sure are. In total, there are 14 women in the area. 6 of the 14 are very attractive. 10 of the 14 are in a relationship. 2 of the 14 are children. 1 of the 14 is a lesbian. Leaving 1 single woman, who I have no interest in. The Arctic is no place for a single bachelor :lol: .

There's a popular saying in Alaska with regards to women seeking men: "The odds are good, but the goods are odd."`As long as I keep my sanity and hygiene up to decent standards, I'll at least have a leg up on all the odd ones. But women are few and far between.

theanimal
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by theanimal »

I was going through my finances for the year and categorized some of my expenses. Work related expenses are the highest, with that being the bulk of my spending. Most of that is a result of travelling to and from the wilderness therapy job, rent for the house I shared there and any equipment purchased for that job. That being said, it doesn't amount to very much. Barely over $1k. Still way more than ideal obviously for what amounted to just over a week. But that will not be budging by more than $20 for the rest of the year. My non-work related expenses are slightly over $300 for the first 4 ish months. 75% of that is or is related to books. I'm fairly pleased with this. I don't anticipate any major percentage changes through the rest of the year. I'll likely be purchasing a rifle in the next two weeks, but it'll be used and I think I can get one for a fairly decent price. That will (most likely) be my biggest expense for the rest of this year. Total expenses under $2k would be nice. Not sure if that'll happen this year, might have to settle for 2.5k

nitelight
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by nitelight »

Rock on! Awesome work with savings. Very inspiring!

theanimal
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by theanimal »

April 2016

We'll start off with the financials. Another great month for savings. 95% savings rate. I had to go into town for a week this month to finish up my CDL training. Everything went well and I'll be taking my road test to get my CDL license this upcoming week. Most of my expenses were work related. That being said, they were still very low. If I could figure out a way to get the books I wanted to read up here (that I can't access at the library) without buying them used, my expenses would essentially pare down to ~$0-25/month.

Yesterday, I set up my raised garden beds. I'll be laying the soil and germinating the seeds this week and likely planting towards the end of the 2nd week in May.

I have really gotten into the idea of developing multiple mental models. I was somewhat interested in it before, but now am going after it with great zeal. Reading books like More Than You Know, Seeking Wisdom, Investing:The Last Liberal Art and Consilience really helped to drive this point home. It's a long journey, I anticipate it'll take me at least a few years to get a grasp on most of the models intuitively, but I'm looking forward to it.

Spring is here in the Arctic. All the snow is melting, it doesn't get dark anymore and it is hot. Winter is over! I feel as if there's been a great weight lifted off my shoulders. Winter in Arctic Alaska is likely one of the toughest mental things I've gone through. Looking forward to next time..after summer though.

Here's a photo from an overnight hike the other day, from the top of a mountain. A look at some of the more iconic mountains in the area. This is around 11 PM.

Image

Dave
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by Dave »

I just caught myself up on your journal for 2016 - sounds like you are continuing to do amazing things. Keep it up!

I am interested to hear how hunting goes for you. Starting when I was around 5, I have hunted squirrel, rabbit, dove, pheasant, goose, turkey, and deer. Since I moved to Chicago and am now car-free, this is quite a bit harder to do than it used to be, so I haven't done it as much in the past year. Nevertheless, learning to hunt and process wild game has been a major part of my life, and is certainly an interesting skill to have!

Hoosier Daddy
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by Hoosier Daddy »

Thank you so much for posting animal! Your journal is so interesting and I'm thankful for being able to read your story. Can't wait to hear what comes next!

theanimal
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by theanimal »

Thanks Dave and HD.

Over the past couple months there have been some new developments. The first being that I now am a commercially licensed Class B driver. The test was successful on the first go and I've been using the license to do tours for my current employer in a large coach bus. I have a competitive advantage as I'm the only one with a CDL. The downside is that it is a bit more work, since I am dealing with a larger volume of people. But I also am making more money.

Hunting
In the beginning of May, I also purchased a .10-.22 Ruger American Semi-Automatic Rifle. For much of May, I just used it for target practice purposes, honing my skills with the gun. Eventually, one of my local friends suggested that I take it and look for some ducks and geese. I decided to do just that.

I went hunting on three different occasions before the season ended. The first time out, we (a friend came along) found quite a number of ducks but didn't have any success in getting close. I had one good shot and fired, yet missed. Too far away.

The next occasion was much more successful. We tried out the spots we had been before, with the same results. Getting fairly close, shooting and just missing. We then decided to check out a much larger lake in the area. Here my friend was successful as there were a pair of ducks that swam directly towards us as we sat on shore. As we were walking back, I decided to check out another lake before leaving. The topography was situated perfectly. Between myself and the lake, there was a small knoll. I inched up the knoll on my stomach hoping that there would be some ducks in the marsh along the coast just beyond the hill. My suspicions were correct and there were about 8 ducks idling on the side. At about 60 m, I waited for the right opportunity and fired away. This time I was successful. I killed a Greater Scaup, plucked the feathers, skinned it and had a nice meal a couple days later on. The season closed just about a week after that and time/weather didn't really cooperate to offer more opportunities to hunt. Next, I'm hoping to try for spruce grouse in the fall and if things are going well, after a caribou as well.

Gardening
I have been actively involved in starting and maintaining two gardens within the area. I'm growing potatoes, beets, turnips, lettuce, arugula, cilantro, kale, broccoli, cabbage and carrots among some other greens. I'll have to post pictures in the garden thread when I get a chance. Things are going well in this regard.

Outdoors
I leaped past a threshold recently. As those of you who have read my journal know, in the past I've had mental issues with pursuing some of my goals outdoor recreationally speaking. A couple weeks ago, I competed in a wilderness race within the area. 110 miles, off trail, self supported, human powered and away from any roads. I did very well and finished in 53 hrs 45 min. My only means of transportation was my 2 legs and feet. This event was something that I've dreamed about doing for the past three years and not only have I done it, but I completed it at a very high level. I debated about how much to share here, but if you're interested in reading more, there are places where I've written in much more detail..

Miscellaneous
I have been playing the ukulele quite regularly and am becoming decently skilled. I usually only play for about 30-45 min a day though so progress is somewhat slow.

I have also been learning Mandarin since I believe the beginning of May. In the winter, 90% of the guests up here are Chinese, so besides being an interesting thing to learn, it'll help to provide me another competitive advantage. I've dropped off in my studies the past couple weeks as I've been busy with the wilderness race and the ensuing recovery from that. I'm planning to get right back to it on Monday.

I am making fairly good progress on developing skills for the year. One thing that has been lacking has been attempts at bike maintenance. I have the book and I have the broken bikes. Time to get to work.

Finally, financially speaking things are still continuing to go as they have been. I've earned a bit more over the past 2 months than what was typical for me for the previous year. That should continue going forward. These past two months have included slightly higher spending, which I'm not very happy about. I've still been able to maintain a high savings rate though. 87% in May. 90% in June.

Matty
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by Matty »

Well done on the "race"! 110 miles is a lot of distance to cover on foot in 2 days. Have you ever covered that sort of distance in that time before? I guess having almost 24 hours of light in the middle of summer would be handy!

Nice work on the hunting success too! That's something that I have had on my project list for awhile. I have access to some hunting land so just need to purchase a firearm and work on my knowledge/skill, licensing etc. Something I hope to incorporate over the next year.

Good luck with the bike maintenance. I rebuilt an old mtb for touring last year and it was a nice hobby when the weather was average!

Dragline
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by Dragline »

That's really incredible stuff. Talk about making it "real" -- as in the quest for fulfillment that is; you are pretty much ruling the world. Especially that race. I'm going to go around saying -- "yeah, I know that guy . . ." But the duck is more my speed.

DW was just reminding me of a duck we had once where she fried up the skin as a kind of "duck bacon" and our dog was so entranced by the smell that she did a dance on her hind legs as it was carried to the table.

jacob
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by jacob »

WRT Misc ... I'm absolutely tickled that you're getting so much use out of the ukulele. If I could ask you one favour: If you ever get tired of it, pass it along and tell the story of where it came from, that is, the story of it, and tell whoever adopted it to do the same. And so on and so forth. #propagate

I like stuff to have stories. I'll try to do the same for a certain bow. I already have an idea of who is to be #3... Dude is a trapper. Looking to move to AL. This being a small world, I give it 30% you'll meet him/them some day.

EMJ
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by EMJ »

Looking to move to AL
Jacob: AL - Alabama, AK - Alaska

theanimal
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by theanimal »

@Matty- No I haven't covered that distance so quickly before. It certainly surprised me a little bit and made quite the impression on everyone else within the race. They all know who I am now. No darkness helps quite a bit. I was able to go for as long as I liked. Good luck to you on the hunting! I talked with some folks from Australia a couple weeks ago about hunting and it seems like you have some good opportunities down there.

@Dragline- I've been feeling like I'm on top of the world. I'm in control of every aspect of my life and things are going just as I planned. My dream is coming to fruition before my eyes and I'm living it. A partner might be a nice addition, but hey they say you can't have it all ;) . That duck bacon sounds interesting. I'll have to look into that for next time.

@Jacob- Will do. I purchased a book with hundreds of songs that made it fairly easy to want to play. I just find a song that I want to learn or hear within the book and start going. After you gave it to me, I didn't play much at all for a little while. Things are much different now. And like EMJ, I think you meant AK? Because I have no plans to go to Alabama..but sounds cool. I'll keep an eye out in the future for a trapper with a familiar looking bow.

theanimal
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by theanimal »

As I mentioned last summer, I've been looking to secure my own place in this area and get some autonomy. With my employer providing for housing and food, I am living a fragile lifestyle. It's great on a financial basis, but if I lose my job or don't want to work here I can't live here anymore. That's not desirable.

Recently, I made this desire to find my own place known to a friend in a nearby town. He offered some suggestions on people I could contact for possibly renting out a cabin. There is very limited private property in this area and as a result it is often in high demand. I contacted two owners last week. One is a billionaire who has a functional, small cabin (which we'll call cabin A) that would need some work in a quiet section of town. The other cabin (cabin B) is a place that has been recently vacated and is ready to go with some light maintenance, yet near the entrance of the town (sees quite a bit of traffic in the summer) and near a noisy summer resident.

I finally heard back from both individuals within the past couple days. Owner of Cabin A would be thrilled to have me live there and work on the place as needed. He would not charge a thing and would give me a couple months notice if he came up with his family to visit for a little while. The owner of Cabin B is willing to rent me the place in exchange for some maintenance on the cabin from time to time for $100. Great news on both fronts!!

I'm leaning towards Cabin A. It's hard to beat free. My friend had a nice line about the deal, "billionaires don't worry about rent." The cabin is located in a significantly quieter spot, yet it is small and would need some work. It is livable now, the walls are solid, there is insulation, a new woodstove the owner bought a few years ago and a new roof that he put on. I would have to add a power setup (solar with battery bank), water well beneath the house and I'm thinking of adding a small addition on the back, for a separate room to sleep in. The cabin is currently somewhere around 14x15.

Cabin B is nice in the sense that it would take minimal work and is slightly larger. It has a main room that's similar in size to cabin A with a small additional room on the back for sleeping. It's woodstove is not as good and it's located in a noisier spot. I'd still have to install a power system and possibly a water well. There would also be the extra ~$1200/yr for rent.

Thoughts? Anything that I should consider?

saving-10-years
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by saving-10-years »

Cabin A. You'll get some skills and a lot more freedom (privacy). I am imagining that its only when you are not working that you will be there so the isolation won't be such an issue? In fact you might like the break. The Cabin B thing sounds like its a proper rental (and he could maybe up the rent when its fixed or change who he rents to, which affects your desired security). Cabin A sounds more like a home-sitting arrangement. As long as he needs the home there he will like to have someone care-taking it.

Congrats on having two options. Your are obviously persuasive/desirable as a tenant.

Augustus
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Re: the animal's journal

Post by Augustus »

theanimal wrote:As I mentioned last summer, I've been looking to secure my own place in this area and get some autonomy. With my employer providing for housing and food, I am living a fragile lifestyle. It's great on a financial basis, but if I lose my job or don't want to work here I can't live here anymore. That's not desirable.

Recently, I made this desire to find my own place known to a friend in a nearby town. He offered some suggestions on people I could contact for possibly renting out a cabin. There is very limited private property in this area and as a result it is often in high demand. I contacted two owners last week. One is a billionaire who has a functional, small cabin (which we'll call cabin A) that would need some work in a quiet section of town. The other cabin (cabin B) is a place that has been recently vacated and is ready to go with some light maintenance, yet near the entrance of the town (sees quite a bit of traffic in the summer) and near a noisy summer resident.

I finally heard back from both individuals within the past couple days. Owner of Cabin A would be thrilled to have me live there and work on the place as needed. He would not charge a thing and would give me a couple months notice if he came up with his family to visit for a little while. The owner of Cabin B is willing to rent me the place in exchange for some maintenance on the cabin from time to time for $100. Great news on both fronts!!

I'm leaning towards Cabin A. It's hard to beat free. My friend had a nice line about the deal, "billionaires don't worry about rent." The cabin is located in a significantly quieter spot, yet it is small and would need some work. It is livable now, the walls are solid, there is insulation, a new woodstove the owner bought a few years ago and a new roof that he put on. I would have to add a power setup (solar with battery bank), water well beneath the house and I'm thinking of adding a small addition on the back, for a separate room to sleep in. The cabin is currently somewhere around 14x15.

Cabin B is nice in the sense that it would take minimal work and is slightly larger. It has a main room that's similar in size to cabin A with a small additional room on the back for sleeping. It's woodstove is not as good and it's located in a noisier spot. I'd still have to install a power system and possibly a water well. There would also be the extra ~$1200/yr for rent.

Thoughts? Anything that I should consider?
I think the critical factor is the billionaire. Let's say he reneged on his promise and gave you two weeks notice? How would that impact you? What would stop him from doing so? I'd almost want to pay him rent, or get something written in with exactly the work you're agreeing to do and some kind of fixed length of stay with the option of renewal or cancelling at the end, or a termination clause that doesn't leave you up shit Creek. He might be a great guy, but people change their minds or forget or misunderstand. As a contractor I've also had lots of misunderstandings when bartering labor, it is a lot harder to set expectations with barter than with cash. Otherwise it sounds like a great deal.

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