No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Where are you and where are you going?
sky
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Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by sky » Thu Jan 28, 2016 5:20 pm

For millions of years human evolved and the one thing they always had was a Nomad mind, that kept them on the move with the seasons, animal migration, climate changes, population growth and many other factors.

The humans that developed a NOMAD MIND survived and thrived while those who didn't died. Evolution has selected humans to be NOMADS. Some of us moved constantly and some moved slowly--but we all moved.

Then 10,000 years ago we adapted agriculture which forced us to stay in one spot, we stopped moving. By staying on one spot we needed communities, states, governments, laws, police--all of that led to CIVILIZATION. But, our old ways of thinking and feeling no longer worked so we slowly developed a whole new mindset and worldview called the CIVILIZED MIND..

Farming meant we were no longer free to roam and travel, it meant we had to obey laws. As capitalism developed the laws of the market place became the dominate power over our lives and now it is our absolute LORD and MASTER. Society summed it up as being "Good productive members of society.) but it really meant we became:

wage slaves,
worker drones in a hive
cogs in a machine
rats in a maze
no longer human beings, simply units of production, like any other tool to be used and discarded at will

When you stop working and move into a car, van or RV everything about your life changes and you start living like a nomad again, but you still have your civilized mind that wants you to be PRODUCTIVE above all else. But nomads aren't productive, they are free and happy. Your civilized mind hates that!!!!! Every moment of your life you were told it didn't matter if you were happy, only that you were productive. Suddenly you are happy but not productive and your mind rebels at that and demands that you DO SOMETHING!!

Do anything because you are a tool, a machine and all your value comes from production. Happiness is totally irrelevant--production is all important.

You're going through that now. When you retire and move into a car van or RV the civilized mind hates it!!

But, the nomad mind is still in there, that's the reason you feel this strong urge to become a NOMAD, it's literally written into your DNA, it's your normal, natural human way of thinking!

The nomad mind is sane
The civilized mind is insane

Because it's your normal, natural mind, eventually you will regain your sanity and the insanity of civilization will slowly drop away.

For awhile it can be very difficult to make the transition and you have to be willing to go through the chaos that will reign in your heart and mind while the poison of civilization is leaving you. It's very toxic and by disobeying it and not producing but being happy instead, it will punish you and you will be miserable for awhile.

There is nothing to do but go through it and let the toxic poison of the civilized mind out of your heart and mind.

Bob Wells
cheaprvliving.com

1taskaday
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Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by 1taskaday » Thu Jan 28, 2016 5:39 pm

Loving the journal.

sky
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Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by sky » Thu Feb 25, 2016 10:43 pm

February, 2016

Since I have so much leisure time, I have been reading up on Greek and Roman philosophy. I struck gold with the discovery of Epicurus (a stoic philosopher). With some adjustments for modern times, I find his advice very compelling. Pleasure, virtue, prudence, sober reasoning and tranquility are Epicurus' goals for living a good life.

"When we say, then, that pleasure is the end and aim, we do not
mean the pleasures of the prodigal or the pleasures of sensuality,
as we are understood to do by some through ignorance,
prejudice, or willful misrepresentation. By pleasure we mean the
absence of pain in the body and of trouble in the soul. It is not an
unbroken succession of drinking-bouts and of revelry, not sexual
lust, not the enjoyment of the fish and other delicacies of a
luxurious table, which produce a pleasant life; it is sober
reasoning, searching out the grounds of every choice and
avoidance, and banishing those beliefs through which the
greatest tumults take possession of the soul. Of all this the
beginning and the greatest good is wisdom. Therefore wisdom is
a more precious thing even than philosophy; from it springs all the
other virtues, for it teaches that we cannot live pleasantly without
living wisely, honorably, and justly; nor live wisely, honorably, and
justly without living pleasantly. For the virtues have grown into
one with a pleasant life, and a pleasant life is inseparable from
them."
Epicurus, in his letter to Monoeceus

How a should a human live to have a good life? This is an extremely important question that everyone should examine for themselves. The world would be a much better place if people would ask themselves why they are doing what they are doing.

This month, I am spending much of my time in a free campground near a free hot spring in Southern California, near the Mexican border. It is a real pleasure to be here due to the warm weather and the daily dip in the hot spring, which is a social event with the other campers here.

I visited a natural spring that I had heard about and discovered using aerial photos. After a long walk through the dusty desert I came upon muddy pools of water that had been used as a dumping ground in the 50's or 60's. Beautiful birds attracted to the rare standing water flitted their way through mounds of broken glass, debris and tires. So many beautiful places have been spoiled.

I have been asked to get a phone by several people.

It is silly not to be able to get a weather report
not to be able to get texts from others
not to be able to call others
not to be part of conversation among groups
not to be able to research things on the internet

But, at the same time, it is therapeutic not to have a phone or be connected to the internet.
Despite my constant agonizing over whether to get a phone plan, I still do not have one.
Sometimes I wonder if my escapism from media and communication is a weakness or mental issue. It probably is but at least I recognize the issue and have responded in a way that seems to benefit me. Besides, as soon as I get a decent WiFi connection I start wasting time watching funny gifs on Reddit as my top priority for use of bandwidth.

This month I faced a couple of tests.

I had to replace the fresh water pump in the van, which had failed. A Class B camper van is a pain when it comes to repairing things. I had to remove a partition in order to access a pipe, which took a few hours. There are some areas where the pipes are completely inaccesible, such as behind tanks. I recommend building a more simple camper van to anyone considering van camping. I passed this test but did not do so well on the peace of mind aspect, I panicked to a certain degree and was in some mental distress for the three days of repair.

The second test was getting a cold, which was a test of liveability of the camper van. Dealing with a cold in a camper van is not much different than at home.

We drove to San Diego and stayed a few days. A beautiful city, perhaps the nicest I have seen. Despite lots of traffic and constant jet and helicopter noise, it was a very attractive city. I considered getting a job and settling down.

The people that I met were friendly but there seemed to be a war on homelessness, and people living in vans were the target of the moment. There were overnight parking restrictions everywhere, and other vandwellers complained of tickets and harrassment.

Everyone I met was friendly, but still there was a weird vibe of paranoia, with everyone warning me about getting ticketed. During the time that we camped in a beautiful waterfront location, there were RVers in decrepit RVs parked overnight in city parks with no tickets issued while we camped there. But after a few days, I felt that the mental healing that I had gained in the desert was getting worn away.

On top of this, it was difficult to find a way to fill my fresh water tank, apparently regulations in response to the drought required most water spigots to be locked up. I probably could have found a source eventually, but I got tired of asking and looking for a water spigot. After three days, I decided to return to the desert so that I could get water and to get away from the traffic.

I did eventually find a water source thanks to a kind gas station manager, but by that time I was near the top of the mountain, trying to escape from the city and its sociopsychological disorders. A sign that I have recently seen posted in many California businesses is "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone". A great customer service statement to set right out there where everyone can see it. This pretty much sums up my experience in California. In many ways, California reminds me of Chicago, bad drivers, heavy traffic and strange customs. Time to head east. But not too fast, it is still blizzarding at home.

I like California very much (despite the silliness) and am very tempted to start applying for jobs. I would like some toys and to add to my savings. There is also a desire to use the skills that I have. However, we are rolling back east at the moment, and just crossed the Arizona state line.

sky
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Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by sky » Thu Feb 25, 2016 10:48 pm

Achieving and Maintaining Peace of Mind
A Rational Approach

1. Taking physical care of one's self promotes peace of mind
Eat nutritious and balanced meals
Exercise daily
Get adequate sleep

2. Cultivating self sufficiency promotes peace of mind
Knowing how to grow food creates a strong sense of security
Financial savings provides comfort and reduces worry
Being emotionally self sufficient makes one a strong individual
Knowing how to repair one's home and equipment promotes peace of mind

3. Cultivating friendships promotes peace of mind
Mutual assistance in times of need reduces anxiety and fear
Companionship to reduce loneliness and boredom
Good friends promote positive emotions such as love

4. Living a simple life promotes peace of mind
Simplicity reduces complexity and the number of problems related to maintaining complex systems
A simple life can be inexpensive, which minimizes financial worries and reduces the need for a high income

5. Daily habits that promote peace of mind
Relaxing while listening to music
Enjoying the outdoors
Conversation with a friend
Meditation
Practicing gratitude
Sleeping in a cool room

6. Realization that peace of mind ultimately comes from within
Accept reality and be content with the way things are

7. Realize that negative emotions worsen one's overall situation
Recognize and analyze negative emotions as they arise
Attempt to determine the source of negative emotions
Take action to resolve the source problem if possible

8. Focus on the positive
Always try to focus on the positive aspects of any given situation

9. Elimination of judgments
Negative events can precipitate positive events
One cannot know whether a negative event might be positive in the overall aspect of one's life
One should eliminate judgments as to whether an event is positive or negative

10. Recognize that all experiences and emotions are temporary
Avoid making important decisions when negative emotions are high
Give yourself time to move past negative emotions

11. Most events are trivial in the overall aspect of one's life
Day to day trials and tribulations will be resolved soon

12. Since the future is uncertain, one should eliminate one's expectations regarding future events
Elimination of expectations prevents surprise and disappointment

13. Negative visualization is imagining things that could go wrong
To eliminate fear and anxiety, one may ask one's self “what is the worst thing that could happen?”
Practicing negative visualization on a regular basis allows one to plan how to respond to problems that occur
Negative visualization reduces the fear and anxiety when the event actually happens
Negative visualization may lead to better appreciation of the positive things in one's life

14. Goal internalization
This is the practice of reformulating one's goals so that they are entirely within one's control
“Doing the best that one can” rather than “Winning the race”

15. Questioning the rationality of one's desires
Ask one's self why does one want X? For Y. Why does one want Y? (repeat and continue asking why)
Try to identify alternative solutions which are less costly or which have lower potential negative effects
The cost of attaining money or material possessions may far outweigh the ultimate benefits to one's state of mind
Desires for sensual pleasure usually only lead to temporary satisfaction and may increase such desires in the future
Peace of mind is achievable whenever one is free from severe pain or physical discomfort
Desires that are impossible to eliminate (such as food or warmth) are usually easy to satisfy

16. Selective emotional detachment
Emotional attachment to people through love and friendship can be very positive, but it may lead to grief and anxiety if the connection is lost due to death, separation or estrangement
One should analyze the expected costs of attachment compared to the expected benefits of the relationship. If the costs of attachment outweigh the benefits of the relationship, it is rational to detach from the relationship.
Know how to diplomatically break up with friends if the relationship turns negative

17. Elimination of envy
One should focus on one's own situation
If one has peace of mind before comparing one's self with others, then there is no reason for envy

18. Letting go of the past
The past is gone forever, so it makes no sense to let the past events to affect one's present state of mind
One cannot change the past, which means that backward looking negative emotions serve no purpose and are therefore irrational

19. Dichotomy of control
Some things are at least partially under one's control, and some things are not
Realize that it is irrational to worry about things which are not under one's control
If avoiding something harmful is at least partially under one's control, then do one's best to avoid it (beyond that it is out of one's control and it is irrational to worry about it)

20. Living in the present
Living in the present, one may learn from the past and prepare for the future
Since neither the past nor the future currently exist, they should not negatively affect one's current state of mind
Backward looking negative emotions can be addressed by letting go of the past
Forward looking negative emotions can be addressed by recognizing that it is irrational to worry about things that are outside of one's control
Concentrating on the present moment should crowd out disturbing emotions related to the past (regret) or future (fear or worry)
One effective way of focusing on the present is to ask one's self whether one is in severe physical pain or discomfort; if not, there is no reason why one cannot currently enjoy peace of mind now
If one is in severe physical pain or discomfort, one may concentrate on pleasant memories or anticipate future pleasant states of mind

21. Recognizing the emotional effects of physical discomfort
Realize that negative emotions may be caused by physical discomfort
When uncomfortably warm or hungry, one may be susceptible to anger and frustration
With this realization, it should be easier to dispense with the negative emotion
Remedying the physical discomfort should help eliminate the negative emotions

22. Focusing the mind on thoughts that crowd out or counteract negative emotions
This can be done every time one recognizes the intrusion of a negative emotion
Examples of thoughts to crowd out negative emotions include thinking of things which one feels fortunate about, focusing on one's love for a loved one, recalling pleasant memories or imagining a tranquil and beautiful landscape
An effective way to clear the mind is to imagine: “What will be my next thought?”

23. Conquering boredom and loneliness
Boredom is an unmet desire for mental or physical stimulation
Boredom arises in part by the false belief that satisfaction comes from outside one's self
With the realization that satisfaction comes from within, the boredom can usually be eliminated
Meditating or listening to relaxing music may reduce boredom
Loneliness is an unmet desire for companionship
This desire can be eliminated by becoming comfortable with one's self by fostering unconditional self-acceptance, achieving deep self-knowledge, and cultivating robust self-reliance
Boredom and loneliness are mutually reinforcing, so that reducing one may help in reducing the other

24. Neutralizing insults and humiliation
Insults cause suffering only if one takes offense, so by choosing not to take offense, one can maintain peace of mind
To the extent that one can reduce or eliminate one's insecurities, doing so renders one immune to offense
Eliminate one's insecurities by accepting oneself, one's situation and one's limitations
Humiliation can be reduced by eliminating regret, anger and frustration
An effective response to insults is to respond with humor, in particular with self deprecating humor
One can also ignore the insult and act as if one did not hear it

25. Deconstruction of grief
Grief is caused by self-pity and empathic suffering
Use techniques to neutralize fear, sadness, loneliness and boredom to address self-pity
Use methods of eliminating judgments, living in the present, focus on the positive, recognition of impermanence and selective emotional detachment to address empathic suffering

26. Cultivating a benevolent disposition towards others
Use the Platinum Rule: “Do onto others as you believe they want done to themselves”
The greater the capacity for friendship with the other person, the more short term sacrifice that one may invest in the relationship
If the chances of reciprocation are high, the benevolent act is more likely to return a benefit
One can benefit one's own state of mind by helping others

27. Promoting peace of mind in those one cares about promotes one's own peace of mind

28. A policy of honesty and keeping promises promotes peace of mind

29. When one has been benefited by another, reciprocation promotes peace of mind

30. When one has been harmed by another, a strong bias against retaliation promotes peace of mind
One should retaliate only for deterrence, not retribution
Retaliation should be considered only after all other reasonable alternatives to effect deterrence have been exhausted
The costs of retaliation should be considered and weighed against the possible benefit of deterrence
If one determines that retaliation is appropriate, such retaliation should be the minimum necessary to act as an effective deterrent

31. Abiding by the rules of one's society promotes peace of mind
Breaking the law may result in fear of punishment
Penalties are generally harsh and outweigh the benefits of breaking the law
Reputational costs of law-breaking can be severe and life long

32. Avoiding politics usually promotes peace of mind

Modified from the original by: http://philosofer123.wordpress.com

leeholsen
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Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by leeholsen » Fri Feb 26, 2016 7:58 am

sky wrote:
The nomad mind is sane
The civilized mind is insane

Because it's your normal, natural mind, eventually you will regain your sanity and the insanity of civilization will slowly drop away.

For awhile it can be very difficult to make the transition and you have to be willing to go through the chaos that will reign in your heart and mind while the poison of civilization is leaving you. It's very toxic and by disobeying it and not producing but being happy instead, it will punish you and you will be miserable for awhile.

There is nothing to do but go through it and let the toxic poison of the civilized mind out of your heart and mind.

Bob Wells
cheaprvliving.com

Second.

if you worked in a corporate environment for any time and cannot conclude that it's a functional prison, you're just not very aware imo. would you really choose that type of environment just for a nice car ? I would not. although that life does provide a feeling of comfort, it is a very sad existence.

although I know many of the ere community goes carless, that's really limiting imo. I've been on top of mountain ranges on the west and east in the usa and once I have the ability to do that on any day, I'm never going back.

George the original one
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Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by George the original one » Fri Feb 26, 2016 10:47 am

> After three days, I decided to return to the desert so that I could get water

Ironic, that you have to leave a city for the desert in order to get water!

sky
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Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by sky » Wed Mar 30, 2016 10:34 am

We returned home mid month after a long drive across the plains. Things were great until San Diego and then we kind of lost the spirit of the trip when we headed back east. We should have stayed down south for another month to avoid cold grey weather. We had the post-trip blues for a while.

I had hoped to go backpacking but some things came up. I am pretty disappointed and not too happy about it. When the trees green up out here, I may do some local hiking.

Worked on maintenance items on the van, cars and house. Applied for a few jobs. Volunteered to work on a tall ship. Started fooling around with an internet business. Started some seeds for the garden. Tried to sell my car then decided a reliable, economical vehicle was worth more to me than what I could sell it for. I am designing a small shanty boat to take down the Mississippi (yeah, right).

I completely fell back into the reclining chair/screentime/beer swilling lifestyle. I am starting to walk a bit more now that the weather is getting better. Living in a house is quite comfortable but more boring than living in a van.

My original plan for April was to backpack the New Mexico section of the CDT, but that fell through due to some family issues. Now I am going to volunteer on a tall ship to get it ready for the season, and maybe crew on it. It is close by, I can walk to it so I like that.

However, once the van maintenance is complete, we may take off again, either locally or longer distance. The van needs a new roof vent, and I have it but am waiting for decent weather so the caulking cures properly. A nice sunny day and a little bit of ambition and it will be done.

So at the moment, a number of maintenance jobs are being completed, I have a few projects that I am working on, a potential fun volunteer job, but no real plans. I do expect to stay around home most of the summer, since we live in a great area as long as the weather is good. June to September, I'd rather be here than anywhere else. Although I do like to explore up north.

sky
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Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by sky » Thu Apr 28, 2016 8:58 pm

This month was a continuation of maintenance items and waiting for snow to melt. I completed a number of camper van maintenance items and have one open item that is somewhat difficult to figure out. I did some maintenance on my car which is now in good shape.

We traveled up north, van camping for part of a week but then ran back south due to cold weather. It was nice to be vanning again.

I volunteered at the maritime museum and learned a bit about how tall ships are rigged.

I started my indoor hydroponic garden (lettuce) and started seeds for an outdoor hydro setup (cherry tomatoes). I am trying to figure out how to build a hydro setup without buying much, just using stuff I have and things I can get free. Its easier just to buy stuff. Garden projects will result in keeping me at home and limiting my ability to travel long periods of time during the summer. I guess that is OK but what am I giving up? My garlic garden in the dirt is growing happily, and my grapes are starting to bud. I soaked some gooseberry twigs in water over the winter, will they survive? who knows.

I bought a boat trailer for $100 that I thought I could sell for $250, but I may keep it for my own use. I designed a concept for a small shantyboat that could be built fairly easily and big enough to live on and go down the Mississippi, maybe. I found another cheap and quick sailboat dinghy design that I liked a lot. I am designing a cargo bed that will fit on the boat trailer and a roof that will turn the cargo bed into a camper with a raiseable roof, Alaskan camper style. I am trying not to allow myself to build another project but I probably will.

My garage is somewhat organized but still needs work. My list of things to do includes get a fishing license, brew beer, replace bottom bracket cartridge, learn to vegetarian, set up vpn and learn Spanish.

I am looking for jobs but not enthusiastically. I started a small internet business and made 0.1J the first month, not too bad. It is kind of fun, selling cheap trinkets to children. Not fulfilling but interesting.

My backpack is calling me and I will try to get some time in June on the North Country Trail. We have visitors coming in May that kind of blocks out that month.

sky
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Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by sky » Thu Jun 30, 2016 6:21 pm

This month I have made some important progress.

I feel like I have crossed a minimum point and now am ready to start adding interesting, fascinating activities. I know that I can live with a bare minimum of things even though I don't need to. It has become obvious that if one wants low stress, then simplicity can give you that. Now I can pick and choose new activities that don't have negative consequences of high maintenance, cost, having to deal with difficult people, etc.

Learned to cook good tasting vegetarian food and eating self cooked vegetarian meals several days a week.
Bicycle riding 10 miles daily.
Stretches every morning.
Started bodyweight fitness strength training.
Exercise has become my main activity and focus, how wonderful it is to be able to preserve one's health.
I am pretty much living in soccer shorts, wicking tee and flip flops, when they get stinky I put them in a pail of hot water and mix them around for a while, then hang them up outside to dry.
Garden experiments that are working out well so far, the big harvest starts in a few weeks.
Joined an online computer science course.
Did some van camping in northern MI and the south side of Chicago.
Really happy about how beautiful the weather is and what a great town I live in (beach town on Lake Michigan), no need to travel for a few months because I like it here.
Not real thrilled with backpacking this time of year, I don't like ticks and mosquitos.
Decided I don't want a job.
Did some research on starting a business and am not real excited about it.
My online business is doing OK but I may let it die for now, it is boring.
Enjoying a very simple life with few responsibilities.
I have a list of things to do but most of the crucial things are done.

Goals:
It would be nice to socialize with like-minded people, I am pretty much a loner at the moment.
I will reprioritize my list of things to do.
Find a few nonstressful activities that fascinate me.
Cook and preserve garden produce.
Stay cool.

jennypenny
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Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by jennypenny » Thu Jun 30, 2016 8:03 pm

sky wrote:It would be nice to socialize with like-minded people, I am pretty much a loner at the moment.
Are you traveling with your partner? (I'm sorry if I missed an update about that.)

sky
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Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by sky » Fri Jul 01, 2016 6:52 am

Yes, except we are not traveling now.

sky
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Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by sky » Sat Sep 03, 2016 9:13 am

August, 2016

Living with few responsibilities and being able to choose what one does each day has been very satisfying. This has been the best summer of my life. Still, there are things that could be optimized.

For most of the summer, I did a daily cardio exercise of bicycling 10 to 20 miles. In addition, I did a bodyweight fitness routine about 3 days a week. I also did stretches every morning. This focus on health related fitness is the most enjoyable part of having freedom to choose what to do with my time.

I experimented with a vertical garden, constructed with a tarp folded in half and sewn in a checkerboard pattern, and then each square was cut open to form a pouch. The tarp was hung on two fenceposts with a wood beam supporting it. A mixture of peat moss and vermiculite was used to fill the pouches, and a drip irrigation system was installed to water each pouch. I transplanted tomato plants into the pouches. I used hydroponic nutrients to water the tomatos. This test was very successful, although next time I would use perforated tubing run inside the tarp rather than the drip emitter system. The drip emitters clogged frequently, requiring a lot of maintenance and attention to keep the plants alive. I would also use soil in the pouches rather than the peat moss/vermiculite mixture. Herbs and greens would be better plants for a vertical garden than tomatos. I plan to install perforated tubing irrigation in my garden next year, being able to water plants easily will make a huge improvement with my sandy soil.

http://imgur.com/a/kgav5 , http://imgur.com/a/5Thsw

I did a "Something from Nothing" type trade. In April, I bought a $100 boat trailer off of craigslist and pulled it home in a snowstorm. In August, I sold it for $250. I found a folding kayak in a web forum for $200 and drove a few hours to get it. It required a small amount of repair work, with a bit of epoxy and glass cloth it is now in good condition. Using mostly materials I have hoarded in my workshop, I built a leeboard, rudder, kayak trailer and mast step. I have a few old sails which I will use or cut up into smaller sails. I scrounged two aluminum Sunfish masts from trash day alongside the road. The kayak trailer will be pulled behind a bicycle, so no automobile required. The sailing kayak is still under construction and has not yet been tested but I am pretty sure it will be successful. I had a similar kayak and did a trip to North Manitou island in Lake Michigan 30 years ago. So I now have another nomadic vehicle, highly capable of long distance adventure travel, with a bonus that it can fold up into the trunk of my car.

One negative thing about adding a boat to my belongings is that I am reminded of how much responsibility for maintenance of the boat is added to my life. It is really nice not owning much and not having to worry about much in the way of maintenance.

Now that the heat of the summer is passed, I need to plan a backpacking trip, probably on the North Country Trail near Manistee. We may take the camper van up to the Upper Peninsula as well. I am not sure if we are going to escape winter this year, my wife does not seem to be excited about leaving the conveniences of home. After returning from van camping for almost 4 months this spring, our house seemed like a palace and being able to have space, a comfortable chair and a shower were a luxury. Maybe we will do a short run to the south, rather than the long trip out west.

We cut the cord in August, cancelling Comcast and their $85 monthly fee for unreliable internet service. We are using a wifi device at the moment, and waiting for a faster wifi device to arrive. Current internet is $5 per month of 3G. The new device will be $35 per month of unlimited 4G. However, my vendor is flaky and I am not real happy about the customer service. I bought and installed a rooftop antenna, which gets a number of local tv stations.

I am learning to program in C at a basic level. It is interesting and I am proud that I am able to run programs. I am using a raspberry pi and have it set up so that it can run programs 24/7. I wrote a simple timer and am comparing different methods of calculating primes, to see which is faster. At the moment the pi is not doing anything spectacular but I hope to do some basic web scraping and database connection soon.

I did some car maintenance myself that I normally would have had a mechanic do. Brakes, tuneup, alternator replacement. I will do these jobs again, I am glad I learned how to do it on my cars. I used to do work on my older cars, but they were 1960s technology and easier to work on. It is kind of a pain, and I always fear that I will have to have the vehicle towed to a mechanic if I fail, but I have been successful so far. It has saved a lot of money, and I know what condition the car is in. Sometimes I consider reducing the number of vehicles that we have but since they are old and paid off (except for the camper van) we are using them.

I applied for a job helping with the apple harvest at a cider mill, but I hope that I don't get it.

Financially, we are doing fine with our income. We don't seem to be able to save much but that was intended. Our income amount was selected based on past expense budgets. The market has been kind, I don't think my net worth has dropped much, if any. I don't look much at my investments and I don't have much to do with spending money. I let my wife handle the spending. Our budget provides her a certain amount to spend each month and she does what she wants with it. I get $100 to play with and can count on excellent cooking and a comfortable home managed by my wife. I would prefer to live on less money but we are living the lifestyle that she is used to. It is working so far, so no complaints. It is very low stress for me. In 5 years my pension comes in and we will have a big boost to our income.

After 10 months of retirement, I can say the life satisfaction level is extremely high.

Goals:

Continue fitness exercise.

Plan ahead and mark the calendar to make sure I do interesting things.

Reduce alcohol, I am not binge drinking but drinking more beer than I would like.

Be more social.

sky
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Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by sky » Fri Oct 28, 2016 9:28 am

October 2016

This post marks almost a year of ER.

I am trying to optimize my morning stretch routine. I call it "Stretching for Old People".

Stretching for Old People

Do each of these for 30 breaths except for the optional one. I try to meditate and focus on my breathing while stretching and counting breaths.

1. Reach for the Sky, while standing, raise arms, arch back with belly forward
2. Touch the Earth, while standing put hands on ground in front of feet
3. Squat, move to squat position with hands between legs
4. All Fours, support yourself with hands and feet, as if in upper pushup position
5. Back Arch, lay on stomach, raise torso with arms, look up
6. Cross Leg Sit, sit on floor with crossed legs, lean forward
7. Sitting Leg Stretches, from Cross Leg Sit, extend one leg forward and lean in that direction, do both legs
8. Side Leg Stretches, lay on back, arms to each side, lift leg up and over to other side turning hips, turn head to opposite side, do both legs
9. Optional - Back bridge, lay on back with feet near butt, fists next to head, lift body supporting with feet, fists and head for a few seconds.

Meal Prepping

My breakfasts are water, coffee, fruit and a homemade breakfast burrito. I make 16 of them at a time and freeze them, which takes about 2 hours. In the interest of not gaining weight, I eat a breakfast burrito and try not to eat anything else until dinner time (evening meal).

Breakfast Burritos (usually made in a batch of 8 or 16)

large tortilla
1 Tbs refried beans
2 Tbs mashed potatos
2 Tbs scrambled eggs
1 tsp salsa
1 tsp bacon bits
1 Tbs grated cheese

Roll into a burrito. Wrap in tin foil. Put in ziploc bag and store in freezer. Thaw in refrigerator for a day, remove foil, heat in microwave and serve.

The cost is about $1 per burrito.

You can add small amounts of other things to the burrito, such as: sweet potato, corn, chickpeas, carmelized onions, cream cheese, sauteed mushrooms, sauerkraut.

I intend to try to improve this recipe by adding vegetables (cole slaw mix, sauerkraut) to improve nutrients, and by calculating calories/fat and adjust the portioning to what I think I need to eat.

The benefits of meal prepping are: you can make what tastes good, you can control what and how much you eat, it is inexpensive, it reduces the time spent on cooking each day.

Minimalism

I am in saving mode at the moment, waiting to find out the impact of health insurance and income tax on my budget. For the next few months, I am trying not to spend anything other than for food/housing and important maintenance items. I am getting good practice at saying no to many impulsive desires that pop up in my head. I find myself "bottoming out" with minimalism, in other words, it can become boring and I need to think of things to do. The first impulse is to buy something, but if you can get past that, you can get to the point of reading, writing, exercising, building or some other activity which is more creative and uses what you already have.

There are very few things that I am required to do each day. Daily household work and maintenance can be done in just a few hours. The rest of the time, I can choose what I want to do. It is not always easy making the right choices, I still spend too much screentime sitting around. I have to be creative to avoid boredom without starting some expensive project.

Alcohol

I was looking back at my logs and found it somewhat pathetic that each month I would resolve to drink less alcohol and yet I did not do anything about it. So I stopped drinking alcohol. There are occasional desires to drink but not too bad.

Travel

Last month we drove to northern Ontario and van camped along Lake Superior near Wawa, and near the west side of Algonquin Park. The natural beauty was spectacular. Canada is too expensive to spend a lot of time in, however. I went backpacking in northern Michigan and was exhausted and had foot pain. I feel like I am getting too old for some of the adventures I dream up. It is good to do more than you can handle sometimes, but not when it makes you feel like you have failed when you are done. Next time I will try to condition myself better, hike shorter distances each day and get better shoes. I do not plan to drive out west this winter due to some health issues and the cost of travel. Although we may drive south for a shorter trip in February, to escape the winter for a short time.

Fitness

After some interruption due to travel, backpacking overexertion and recovery, I need to restart my bodyweight and cardio routines. I am clearing an area in my garage to allow for a pullup bar, parallel bars, jumprope area and staff spinning. This should keep me going during snowy weather when I can't bike or walk outside easily.

Projects

During the summer I found a cheap folding kayak in relatively good condition. I have been slowly building a sailing rig for it (leeboard, rudder, mast partner and step, mast, sprit rig). When I am done it will be a good long distance touring machine with the possibility to sleep aboard. In my garage workshop, I have many bits and pieces of sailing gear so have been able to put most of it together without buying expensive equipment.

I need to install an antenna for my ham rig. We have new neighbors who trimmed trees and are keeping up the property nicely, so my old method of hanging wire in trees may not work anymore. Between not wanting to spend any money and not knowing which antenna to put up, I am currently in analysis paralysis. Time is running out, when the snow flies it will be too late for this season (we get a lot of snow). I mainly listen and don't talk much, so all I really need is a wire outside somewhere, but as a matter of pride I like to have a fully functional transceiver.

Cleaning and Organizing

Cleaning and organizing is a thankless job that is surprisingly difficult to do. When you are cleaning up, it seems like you are not getting anything done and it feels like you could be building something instead of cleaning. In fact, cleaning is an essential part of building, or at least preparation for building. Organizing is a complex mental exercise of figuring out how to store things so you can find them again, and performing triage as to what to keep, what to pack away, and what to throw out. I am trying to spend a lot of my time doing cleaning and organizing. There is a big benefit to mental clarity and satisfaction once you have cleaned and organized an area.

Maintenance

I am currently caught up with vehicle maintenance (knock on wood). I often think about going car-free and how this would simplify my life. I have learned quite a bit about doing repairs on my own, which is satisfying. It is easy to spend more than necessary when you DIY car repairs, through mis-diagnosis and changing parts out to see if it fixes the problem. But that is part of learning.

The house is ready for winter. I do have to plan for painting in the spring, and reroofing the garage at some time.

Work

Sometimes I think about getting a job, for something interesting to do as much as for some extra money. But jobs require you to show up at certain times, so I don't think I want to do that. It would be nice to learn a new skill, or practice excellence in an old skill. It would be nice to be around people all day, although people who are forced to be around each other out of economic necessity are not always nice to each other. I think what I am looking for is not a traditional work situation and I haven't found it yet.

Social

We have had friends over a few times this month and will be visiting others soon. It is nice but it does not really satisfy the need to be part of a tribe. I am part of a few internet forums, but this type of engagement is somewhat artificial. Ideally I would like to be part of a group of people working on fitness, gardening or building things (motors, electronics, computers, makers). At the same time I am somewhat reserved and want to protect my privacy from crazy people or people who criticize. I don't want to get into a group which requires purchasing expensive equipment, and I don't want to pretend I can keep up with fit younger people in a fitness activity. I live in a town that is very seasonal, and winter time can be lonely. I have made some progress by getting together with people but it is not even close to what I need as a social being. However, I don't believe that my ideal social group exists, so optimization of what does exist is the better path to follow.

Calendar

Spending more attention to scheduling things has really paid off in improving life. Putting an event on the calendar is half the battle towards making it happen. Originally, I thought that waking up every day and deciding what to do that day was like paradise; the problem is that nothing extraordinary ever happens by itself. Adventure needs to be conceptualized, planned and brought into being. Of course, not every step needs to be planned, but the event needs to grow out of one's imagination to come into being. The skill of imagining and creating activities and events is critical to fully living one's life.

Goals

Conceptualize and implement interesting things to do
Meet people and create a social network
Eat food by rational choice
Be active with physical fitness activities

sky
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Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by sky » Wed Nov 30, 2016 11:49 am

November 2016

Health Insurance

We selected a higher deductible health insurance for 2017 and reduced the cost for two people from $770 to $462 per month. The old deductible was about $7,000 and the new is $14,000.

Spending Fast and Reducing Consumption

I am in a spending fast in November, restricting my spending to food and fuel. I am making a list of things I want/need but have also been able to find free stuff to avoid buying stuff on my list. It is fairly easy for me to not purchase things because I have collected a lot of stuff over the years (wood, fasteners, bike parts, camping gear). I am not in complete control of my spending, my wife also purchases things, so the spending fast may not be such a monumental accomplishment. I went out to a restaurant only one time in November.

In late November, I broke my spending fast by purchasing some electronic components and an online course, so I did not make it the entire month without spending money. However, looking at the list of things I wanted to purchase, many of those things are unnecessary and I may not buy them at all.

I considered stopping driving for a time, with the idea to use a bicycle for food shopping. I hesitated because we love to take long rides through the countryside and because my favorite food store is across a highway with a somewhat risky section of road for a bicyclist. I could get off the bike and walk on the grass at the highway exit ramp, which would reduce the danger. The city in which I live is a good candidate for no car living, however I love being mobile and seeing the land. I often drive with no destination in mind, just to look at the country.

I have reduced the number of internet sites that I participate in. I try to start my browsing sessions by searching on keywords of interest rather than clicking on bookmarks or reading through reddit. I still spend a lot of time on the internet. I started an online course.

Social Engagement

In the past month, I went from being lonely to having so many social engagements as to wish for private time. So I stopped creating events for a period of time, then started to get bored and now wish for company again. It seems that the many lonely people out there desperately need someone to create events and invite them to the event. I wondered whether people would even want to come visit but each time it was greatly appreciated and I was thanked many times for hosting.

Event Planning and Hosting

Create a contact list of persons who you would like to socially engage with.
Select a date about two weeks into the future.
Select the people who you would like to invite to an event.
Make up a name and short description of the event.
Two weeks prior to the event, send an email with the name, description, time, date and location of the event to all of the people you would like to invite.
One week prior to the event, call the people you would like to invite and chat with them, ask them if they will be coming.
Four days prior to the event, call anyone who is bringing something (food, drinks, alcohol) to find out if you have everything you need.
One day prior to the event, buy any food or beverages needed, and clean up the area where the event will happen.
On the day, prep any food and beverages.
Be a gracious host, welcome everyone, serve everyone, talk to everyone, thank them for coming.
Clean up.

Fitness

I drank alcohol one time this month, and did not care for the effect. Perhaps I will not drink alcohol at all any more. This is a major shift from someone who at one time was known as a homebrewer and a connoissuer of the malt beverage.

I am bicycling or walking between one and two hours a day. I have neglected my stretching and bodyweight fitness this month and hereby resolve to spend more time on them.

Skills

I learned a new skill, to darn socks. This month I am keeping a threaded needle on my dresser and every time I discover a sock with a hole in it, I immediately stitch it up.

Food and Lifestyle

Meal prepping continues to provide dividends of free time, good food, easy meal preparation and calorie control at low cost. I continue to make a batch of breakfast burritos and freeze them, taking out one per day to defrost (I eat a "normal" dinner). Most recently, I made 24 burritos in three hours, which cost well under $1 each. The size and calorie content of each burrito can be portioned based on one's needs. It is easy to size the portions to avoid eating too much. Burritos are a packet of food, and packetizing food consumption makes it easier for me to limit my caloric intake to a certain schedule. I take one burrito out of the freezer each day so my consumption is defined and there is not more food available for snacking (in theory). For weight loss, I can decide to skip breakfast and eat a burrito at noon.

I fantasize about a vandwelling, meal prepping lifestyle, where I drive to a store, purchase ingredients, cook and prepare a half month of meals with fresh ingredients, store them in a solar powered freezer and drive off to camp in a remote location with food prepared for two weeks. One could live at extremely low cost, with the only daily responsibilities being personal hygiene, fitness, gear maintenance and organization. Suddenly, one's day becomes entirely available for reading, personal interests, socializing, crafting, meditation, pleasure and observing nature.

I miss the desert. This time of year before the winter holidays is usually a time of long nights, cold temperatures and binging on chocolate and high calorie snacks, which are a weakness of mine. If the choice were mine, I would travel during this time to escape the traditions of the holiday season.

Politics

Despite the advice from my respected teacher, Epicurus, I became a political candidate for public office. The mental disturbances manifested themselves almost immediately as I played an internal 3D chess game against multiple players day and night. I justify this disturbance to my tranquility as being necessary to defend the quality of life in the place I live. I am currently fascinated by direct democracy and collaborative democracy.

Ongoing Goals

My goals are essentially the same as last month, and I did a fairly good job of accomplishing them this month. Next month I will try to optimize and make incremental improvements.

sky
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Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by sky » Sat Dec 31, 2016 2:32 pm

December, 2016

I packed most of my clothes into a bin, and am trying to live on a reduced number of clothes. My goal is to reduce my clothes inventory. I currently use one set of clothes for exercise, one set for working (garden or mechanic stuff), one set of morning clothes (soft clothes) and one good set of clothes. I'm not trying to live out of one bag, but in that direction. I cleared out one drawer in my chest of drawers and am using just that drawer at the moment, although it does not hold all my clothes, it holds most. Through the month I have been more or less following this strategy. I am not throwing the unused clothes away yet, I am keeping them for the future.

I am moving toward a plant based diet, with a focus on simplifying preparation. My current favorite plant based meal is bean tacos, which is cooked beans with shredded cabbage, nutritional yeast flakes and hot sauce on toasted corn tortillas. Thats it, and it is my usual lunch. I continue to meal prep breakfast burritos with these same ingredients in flour tortillas. So my chosen diet is pretty monotonous, but it is food that I eat with pleasure and look forward to. During this month I learned about health benefits of sprouts and have started a routine of sprouting, with the intention of replacing chopped cabbage with sprouts on my burritos and tacos.

My changes in diet caused some disruption in our household. We had an unspoken custom that we eat together and share meals. My switch to breakfast burritos eliminated eating breakfast together. Then I started skipping lunch in order to lose weight, so my wife had to cook for herself. This worked fine, except that there was a transition period where she felt uncomfortable cooking for herself and not cooking anything for me. I had to reassure her that I did not want any food and she should cook something that she liked for herself. Once she was comfortable with that, we could both eat what we liked. We still eat dinner together, but I try to opt out when possible and eat my preferred food, bean tacos. December is a month of chocolate binging, cake consumption and rich holiday dinners. I am not trying to stop the binges but I weigh myself each morning and if I am above a certain weight, I don't eat breakfast. If I am above a certain weight plus 2 pounds, I don't eat breakfast or lunch. That is my attempt to rationally control my diet. I am finishing the month at my target weight, which means the rational approach worked. Next month I will go back to dropping weight.

In early December, we experienced heavy snow over a long period of time. I stopped walking and stayed inside for the most part. I went into hibernation mode and did not exercise much. I have taken advantage of good weather later in the month to do my daily hour of walking.

I spent time organizing my electronic hobby stuff and generally going through my gear. A lot of internet time viewing videos and reading trivia. Too much internet time leads me to dreaming of travel and adventure. It is early in the winter season, too early to be getting restless already. I am getting things accomplished, but am running out of things to do. I believe that every person is responsible for their own boredom, and one must discover interesting things to do. Hopefully I can find things to do for the remaining months of winter.

I accomplished a number of geeky things this month, such as learning to use sailing routing software to find the optimum route based on wind forecasts. I used the software (qtVlm) to race in a simulation race on sailonline.org and did pretty well racing against the experts. It was 6 days of focusing on the race, waking up to process wind forecast changes every six hours and strategizing for most of my waking hours. Normally I would not spend so much time on a simulation like this but it was blizzarding outside, so I'm glad I had something of interest to do while trapped inside. I installed a few computer games which was OK but I got bored after playing the first or second game. I built some ham radio stuff which worked. I am quite happy about what I accomplished, however, the lack of exercise and too many hours at the screen made me feel depressed and desperate for a change. I need to switch out of the digital screen watching mode and focus more on exercise and living in the natural reality rather than the virtual.

My net worth is looking good. At the end of the year, I can say that this was the best year of my life. Life never stops providing challenges, and financial independence does not mean that one lives in an ideal paradise of 100% happiness, but it is pretty close and you can get closer and closer. Over the past year I have learned, and I now know how to live to be happy. For me, happiness means having modest, very selective desires and interests, that are achievable with the limited resources of time, energy and money that I have available. This breaks the behavioral pattern of trying to buy happiness by purchasing things. When you start looking at what really brings happiness, health comes to the forefront. Eating a simple, healthy diet and exercising for an hour a day have become the key activities in my life. After one's own health, social aspects are important and relationships deserve care and attention. Surprisingly, the most important things in life come with very little cost. It takes discipline to make the right choices, and to follow up the rational decisions that one makes with appropriate behavior. If a person can control their desires and follow the rational path, life and happiness await them.

This blog may go silent for some time. I am planning to change usernames next year on a number of sites that I visit in a (probably futile) effort to be anonymous.

To those who read this, I wish you tranquility and happiness in 2017.

sky
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Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by sky » Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:29 pm

Greetings to the forum and to all those interested in or living in early retirement. I hope this message finds everyone well and moving their lives in the right direction. I have not posted in some time in part because I was involved in an election and partly because I want to reduce my exposure on the net.

The Epicurean based philosophy which I wrote of earlier continues to be my guide to happiness, tranquility and the good life. The deep philosophical questions that I am confronted with on a daily basis are: should I do my stretches today? should I do my fitness routine today? should I walk or bike for an hour today? should I eat healthy food or this unhealthy food which tastes great, and should I drink alcohol this evening? Life decisions are pretty easy when you don't have to work for a living and you get to decide what you do every day.

I am very happy that I have been able to live for over 2 years without the demands of wage slavery. I feel like I have turned the tables on the capitalist system and am riding a wave of investment growth instead of working my life away. My net worth is close to what it was when I quit my job, even though I pull out a monthly allowance. There seems to be some risk in the market at the moment, not that I follow it closely, but I am not too worried, I have a buffer and can take some loss. Life is great when you get to decide what to do with your time. The key part of my strategy is not spending much and reducing desires. This occasionally leads to boredom, and the need to find new low cost fascinations to follow.

My current fascinations include growing microgreens, a basement hydroponic garden, low cost backpacking gear, walking, especially walking along Lake Michigan and travel by van camping. I hope that microgreens will become a steady self-production food item. I have a great hydro garden with lettuce, parsely, cilantro, kale and tomatoes. Hydroponics works but it is very slow and energy intensive. I don't like dealing with the nutrient solution, which is salty and very corrosive. Microgreens are faster and more nutritious so I may turn off my high power lights and focus more on microgreens. I don't do a lot of backpacking but I like to experiment with tarp shelters and I try to maintain a complete set of gear that I could use to through-hike a long trail. In the summer, I built a sailing rig for my folding kayak which is almost done but yet untested. I am learning about mindfulness meditation. I hope to take the camper van south to escape winter for a month or so. With these fascinations and various maintenance jobs around the house, I get a few things done every day and am satisfied and feel like I am improving my life every day.

I ran for public office and lost the election. I was very detailed and public about issues that needed to be addressed and what I felt needed to be done. I had a great campaign committee and strong support. It was extremely stressful because suddenly it was not just me in a personal campaign, I was a leader with responsibilities to my group. It is also unpleasant to have to pretend to be a normal person. My opponent copied my platform so now my goals may be accomplished and I have no responsibility to attend or participate in government. Being politically active is against my personal philosophy, so I am not unhappy that I did not win the election. I became politically active to defend my neighborhood and I hope that I have accomplished that even without a victory. My mental health will be far better than if I had won.

I continue to seclude myself from media, and do not watch tv or listen to radio, with the exception of occasional foreign tv over the internet. I do not participate in social media. I am trying to reduce my screen time and exposure on the net. I find that when I search on a specific subject of interest, I can find very valuable information. However, much of my screen time tends to be mindless redditing. Sometimes I find good information on a new subject which I did not know about. While I was a candidate, I joined a number of political groups, but now I am unsubscribing. Most news is BS and everyone is trying to spin things in a certain way. The less politics I see, the happier I seem to be. When I am bored, I tend to waste time watching videos, but I am working on spending time on meditation or writing/creating rather than watching youtube or redditing. Media addiction has been a long term issue with me, and I am pretty happy where I am right now, but I need to stay vigilant.

I am somewhat concerned about the winter season. It is less comfortable to do anything outside, so I may not get the exercise I need. I will need to keep looking for new fascinations to follow to avoid boredom. I have even thought about getting a job, but they require you to show up at certain times and I am not interested in that. I would like to be involved in some group doing something interesting, but don't know of any such groups in my area. I will have to look around a bit.

I wish everyone well, and please remember that despite bad news, you can build a pleasant life by controlling what visuals enter your mind and focusing on the people and things around you.

halfmoon
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Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:19 pm

Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by halfmoon » Sat Dec 23, 2017 11:11 am

sky wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:29 pm
I am somewhat concerned about the winter season. It is less comfortable to do anything outside, so I may not get the exercise I need. I will need to keep looking for new fascinations to follow to avoid boredom. I have even thought about getting a job, but they require you to show up at certain times and I am not interested in that. I would like to be involved in some group doing something interesting, but don't know of any such groups in my area. I will have to look around a bit.
I don't know if you like animals, but you could volunteer at a shelter and/or foster a rescue dog. This would get you outside exercising and meeting others. There are LOTS of groups on Meetup or Facebook that get together with their dogs, either for hikes or just socializing while the dogs play.

Papers of Indenture
Posts: 158
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Location: Baltimore, Maryland

Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by Papers of Indenture » Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:12 am

Just checking in. Epicurus is a special interest of mine. I like the way you articulate the principles.

My wife and I are 32 and hoping to be in your position one day.

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