No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

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

Post by Dragline »

That was a very thoughtful entry. I am pulling for you in all your endeavors.

Part of me wants to shake your wife and say "since when do home improvements = happiness"? But I doubt that's a useful approach. I know some people are compulsive home improvers. I wonder if there's any appetite for the idea of buying a different house when you quit your job, which would mean that current improvements are not worth it.

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

Post by jacob »

sky wrote:I am finding that often there is a cheap solution that is readily available but I first purchase the expensive solution before I learn how to do it cheaply.
This seems to be true almost by construction since expensive tools often serve to compensate for the lack of skill rather than make more things possible. Hence, the process is to get the expensive solution; learn the skill; and then be able to substitute the expensive tool for a cheaper one.

One way to think of it as that all solutions are achieved via the extension of a tool from the body or mind. The only question is where the tool begins and the mind ends. The smarter one gets, the further out the mind/body ends.

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

Post by sky »

Dragline wrote:
I wonder if there's any appetite for the idea of buying a different house when you quit your job, which would mean that current improvements are not worth it.
We live in a very beautiful city, and have developed a small garden paradise around our home. We don't want to move, although snowbirding is attractive.

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

Post by steveo73 »

sky wrote:Somehow I need to overcome this and other vices (eat too much, drink too much beer) in order to become more physically fit and increase my physical capability.
I get this, I love to drink and eat.
sky wrote: I am doing the long slow exercise of walking daily. I rarely do heavy intense exercise. I need to include more intense exercise in my life.
I'm not really a big fan of intense exercise. I do jiu-jitsu and I love it but its intense exercise without trying.

The rest of journal was a good read. Good luck !

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

Post by sky »

October 2015

Going Through My Gear

After my two day backpacking trip, I learned a bit about what I needed and what I did not need, so I refined my packing list to lighten my load. I still have everything I need for a long distance hike, although as it gets colder I will need to add some additional clothing, mainly long underwear, hat and gloves. I still have luxuries: I use two sleeping pads, one Neoair inflatable and a Z-lite foam pad, which used together are extremely comfortable. I have an inflatable pillow and a bug net for a good night's sleep.

The backpacking season is rapidly coming to an end with cold weather approaching.

Three Season Gear List

Soccer shorts, tee shirt, long pants, long sleeve button down shirt, 2 socks, 2 underwear, rain anorak (jacket), wool hoodie, bandana, ballcap, tarp, stakes, guys, trekking poles, bugnet, groundcloth, neoair pad, Z-lite pad, sleeping bag, inflatable pillow, 2 one liter water bottles, Sawyer squeeze water filter, Sawyer water bag, washbasin (gallon milk jug bottom), toilet paper, hand disinfectant, wet wipes, shoes, headlamp, map, phone (camera), FedEx bubblewrap envelope to sit on, toiletry kit, medical kit, fuel canister, burner, pot, spoon, food bag and line, Leatherman Micra, nailclippers, compass, map, 2 trash compactor bags, pack. For weather under 50F add long underwear top and bottom, cap, gloves.

Flexibility, Stretching and Bending

The Reclining Chair is insidious, it provides an almost weightless comfort while reading, drinking a beer, watching the computer, or looking out the window. Lean back and the chair takes you into the sleeping position. You can spend a good portion of your day and evening in the Reclining Chair in complete comfort. Meanwhile, all this comfort time is turning your body in to a jellied mass of fat and flesh, blocking your internal organs from allowing a proper flow of blood, lymph, liquid and food. The natural state of the human body is gristle, sinew and bone, and it gets that way through constant movement.

Camping where there is no furniture showed me that I need to improve my flexibility. Some things which I found difficult:

Putting socks on while sitting on ground
Sitting cross legged
Sitting with my back against a tree
Squatting for long periods of time
Getting up off the ground from laying and sitting positions
Getting from a standing position to a sitting position
While standing, reaching down to arrange something on the ground

Flexibility Warmup

I have designed a series of exercises to address flexibility issues. The movements can be done on any relatively clean floor (or lawn). Some movements are stretch and breathe type movements, and others are physical exercise movements.

I have done this flexibility warmup every morning in October. I started doing one repetition of each movement. As the month progressed, I increased the number of repetitions of the exercise movements (marked with an asterisk) and I spend more time doing the stretching and breathing movements.

Raise arms in air and arch back (breathe and stretch)
Touch toes and stretch lower back
*Squat and rise
Touch toes and move to pushup position
PRONE (face down)
*Hindu Push Up
Arched back stretch (prone position)
Raise butt and swivel to face up position using hands and feet
Crossleg sitting position (breathe)
Stretch forward and to the sides
Extend legs and stretch
Raise and hold legs
*Situp, Crunch or Leg Raises
Back arch: lay on back, arch back, supported by feet and top of head (with hands supporting next to head), count to 6, twice
On back, roll to each side to stretch shoulder muscles
Roll prone on stomach with hands and feet in air
Lift body with hands and feet on ground
Raise to standing without using knees
*repeat these movements six to twelve times

Doing these daily movements over a period of a month has greatly increased my physical health and feeling of well-being. The improvement is at least equal to the benefits of walking.


Water is my elixir, a preferred beverage piped in from Lake Michigan (a melted glacier), filtered through sand, chlorinated, pumped through a network of pipe, served from a convenient tap, dechlorinated with a pitcher filter and chilled to perfection. What an incredible luxury to have such a lifegiving material easily at hand. One of the four elements, it makes up the majority of my physical body. I believe that I could live taking in nothing but water and air for many days. I increased the amount of water I drink each day by reminding myself in the afternoon and evening to drink a bit more than I usually would. I celebrate each sip as it becomes part of me.


I moved the compost pile to a garden bed that needs soil improvement. I surface tilled the garden area to remove weeds and debris. I made cuttings to propagate pear, currant, raspberry and gooseberry. I set up a new compost pile. I sowed field peas to try to improve nitrogen in the sandy soil. They are coming up well.

Transition Month

The weather has been changing from summer to fall, cooling off quickly, getting dark early. I have a feeling that I need a different focus, something new, another challenge. A common response when I get this feeling is to buy things. I have been spending too much time on the internet, which is likely to continue to be the case throughout the cold seasons. I need to keep directing this restless energy to exercising, cleaning and organizing instead of buying things.

Now writing at the end of the month, the leaves are falling. I gave notice at work. The weather has turned cold. I bought a camper van. The Lake is stormy and gray, with angry waves. My car is for sale. Nighttime frost is upon us. The universe is completely different at the end of the month compared to the beginning.


I am looking for a good word that describes taking care of one's self, one's home, one's clothing, one's cooking area, one's garden, one's workshop. The concept encompasses organizing, cleaning, maintaining, fixing, disposing, optimising and simplifying with the intent to make one's physical world more functional and useful, with a bit of beauty and inspiration included in the meaning. In discussion of backpacking, I use the term “going through my gear.” Caretaking is a word that covers part of the meaning of this concept. I am looking for a better word. Whatever word describes this concept, I want to spend energy, time and focus on doing this. I also have a theory that a focus on caretaking of what you have reduces the impulse to buy something new.

Read this Month

Edible Wild Plants, Lee Allen Peterson
Younger Next Year, Chris Crowley and Henry Lodge
People's Guide to Camping in Mexico, Carl Franz
The Forager's Harvest, Samuel Thayer


Pacing and Endurance

My last camping trip turned into a hiking marathon. Instead of three easy days, I pushed the second day and completed the loop, and went home exhausted. This is a repeated pattern in my adventure vacations in the past.

I will plan and accomplish a three day (or longer) camping trip in which I do not push myself to a physical limit, but rather pace myself, take breaks, limit my walking to a more moderate level so that I can continue hiking for a longer period of time and develop camping, cooking and hygiene routines. However due the late season, that may be next year. Being aware in the moment and sauntering requires far more skill than pushing through a marathon. I will seek out reasons to stop moving and investigate, appreciate and communicate while traveling.


I have been cleaning up things a bit, trying to make sure my living area is not a total pile of chaos when I look at it. I am looking through my areas of personal belonging storage (garage, basement, bedroom and office) and see if there is anything that can be disposed of. I gave away some clothes. I looked in the garage and did not know where to start. I have stuff for so many different hobbies but I don't have time to pursue the hobbies. I have enough fasteners to start a hardware store. I have enough stuff to do many different projects. I don't have room to work in my workshop because of all the stuff.

I don't plan on moving so there is no urgency to organize the mess in the garage. When I have time, I want to start building things and practicing the hobbies that I have equipment for. However, the chaos creates a feeling of distress. At the moment, I don't know whether to organize the stuff or dispose of it. For now, I clean and organize a bit, improving things but not finding a solution to the issue. More storage shelves? Bins? Storage locker? Move things from here to there? Rent a massive dumpster? Instead of being overwhelmed with the entirety, I will focus on each individual item and find the best storage or disposal method for that item.


I want to practice use of screentime for productive purposes rather than entertainment or addictive watching. It is too easy to get sucked into screentime and stay there for hours. One odd behavior is that I will lack the initiative or idea to search on a useful and interesting subject, and instead I will look at the same websites/forums over and over again looking for something new, stuck in a recurring loop of boredom. I will remind myself to close the screen and move away from the device, back into the magical physical realm where amazing beings live.


My fitness level is improving. As long as I continue with walking and flexibility exercise, I expect to continue improving my wellbeing. The next challenge is to find a way to improve diet and weight issues. As an intial step, NOT EATING JUNK is a fairly easy way to turn this problem in the right direction. Unfortunately JUNK often calls my name. The type of food that I feel gives positive energy is a no sugar, low carb selection, mainly fruit and vegetables with some protein. I am not too far from this, if I reduce the amount of pasta and potatoes, and avoid restaurants. I am not very mindful about what I eat, that needs to change. I will choose what I eat and select a limited amount of food that provides good nutrition for my body.

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

Post by sky »

Work Notes

I do not plan to publish these notes until after I leave employment. Perhaps in mid November, 2015. (Note: Today is my last day at work)

Early October

I am in my last three months of work as far as I can tell. I am leaving work because I can afford to, but I am also leaving because of the poor way in which I am being treated. In these last months I intend to change my approach to work due to my impending escape.

I have stopped trying to fix the organizational problems, but I will try to fix problems in my area of responsibility as best I can before I leave. I will try to continue to do a quality job but will not start new projects (if possible).

I have stopped complaining about the hostile treatment. I am trying not to make jokes about the incompetence, mismanagement and dysfunction. I am angry and bitter, which makes it difficult to not make nasty remarks. I expect to be battered around a bit and I will defend but not go on the offensive. I will try not to gossip and comment to others outside of the organization about the problems.

I will continue to document problems in a way that anyone checking my old emails will be able to understand why I am leaving, but will not make grievances or complaints.

I have a checklist of things to do prior to quitting.

Later in October...

I gave notice at work that I will be leaving at the end of the year. I asked that I be allowed to take my leave time as vacation, which provides me with health insurance to the end of the year. Surprisingly, I had enough vacation and sick time to stop working in mid-November. I am very close to ending my employment and suddenly having a lot of time available.

I am trying not to call it retirement, and I correct people who congratulate me on retirement. “I didn't retire, I quit!”. This is not the most gracious thing to say but I don't want to give anyone the impression that I am leaving under agreeable conditions. That makes things too easy for the bullies. Perhaps I should back off on this, it doesn't help me much and only serves to make enemies out of those who are left behind in the organization, both good and bad people. Don't burn bridges might be a better strategy.

It is difficult to find the correct words to explain. Retirement means something different than what I am doing, but it may be the most convenient explanation. But it is not really true. I may be returning to work somewhere else, so am I really retiring? I am not collecting retirement pension payments yet, so I am not really retiring.

I will no longer be associated with the organization and its decisions, my reputation may survive unscathed by the bad decisions that are currently being made. I just need to make it through a couple more weeks without losing it.

I am leaving work for two reasons:
One, I can afford to live a lifestyle that is more satisfying to me.
Two, I do not like the way I am treated or how the organization is managed.

My focus now is on the former, since that is the future. The latter is in the past and while not forgotten, it will fade away over time.

We bought a camper van, which has made it very easy to explain why I quit my job. We are going to travel out west and spend a few months this winter where it is warm. Instead of focusing on many minor complaints about the job as a reason to leave, I can give a reason for quitting that is positive and adventurous, that will resonate with many people who would like to do the same. Everyone understands getting out of Michigan in winter. Without a van and a plan, it would be far more difficult to get through these final weeks.

A Few Days Prior to Quitting

I am mostly sad about leaving my job. I am not sure how I will fill my time. I still believe that leaving my job is the right thing to do. I am halfheartedly looking at advertisements to find another job. What will happen when the yoke is removed from my neck? It has grown into my skin and is painful to remove. Perhaps the first thing I should do is find another yoke?

I was given a very nice send-off reception. A lot of colleagues attended and it was overall a very happy event. I received proclamations thanking me for my work. Many people have thanked me and congratulated me for reaching retirement. If the work environment were better, I might feel guilty for leaving. But I don't feel guilty at all, mainly I feel relief to be away from the negative situation.

Sometimes I think about going back to fix the problems in the organization. I may do this, but I want to spend a good amount of time away. Then I will assess whether I really care enough to take on that job. I have to be careful that it is not done as revenge, which would be damaging to me and the organization. It certainly would be deserved, and there would be satisfaction in doing it, but I am not sure that I want to dedicate years of my life to the work needed to fix the problems. I need to take time to separate self from organization before committing to any such path.

My Last Day

Today will be my last day of work. I am not planning anything special. I have a few tasks to accomplish and then will wish everyone well. I have a work meeting this afternoon to tie up loose ends and hand off my responsibilities. I have no sadness about leaving. I am leaving because I have other things I want to do. My desk is organized. My computer directory is the way it should be. I will leave my keys and card on the desk. I will need to take my umbrella, coffee cup and folder (notepad) home with me at the end of the day.

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

Post by jennypenny »

Congratulations! I can't wait to hear all about your camper van adventures.

People are dropping like flies around here lol.

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

Post by sea »

Congratulations! Maybe you don't need a yoke at all? That sucks that your workplace was so hostile, but you are free now. I applaud you for taking the high road though, it's tough to do when the culture is toxic.

I'm not FI, but I did take some mini-retirements already. What I did to reintegrate back to myself was explore things I used to love to do again or still enjoy but want to spend more time (e.g. hiking, travel, dancing, music, art, reading) and see what I still liked and try completely new things (street medic training, teaching English, community health worker massage training, kombucha brewing etc). Do you think you won't be able to fill your time? Especially with a new camper van? Traveling around sounds awesome! Do you have specific places you want to visit out west?

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

Post by sky »

I don't think that I will have a problem finding things to do. That was a fear that I had, most likely an unfounded fear.

We are going to be following warm weather, wherever that takes us.

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

Post by sky »

Thank you everyone for helping me stay on track.

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

Post by George the original one »

It's a bold thing you've done! Step lively into the new life.

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

Post by Ego »

That's great! I look forward to reading about your transition while camper vanning.

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

Post by sky »

November, 2015

I transitioned from employee to non-employed person in mid-November, 2015. These notes were written at various times in the month. There are some self-contradictory statements because of my different mental state at different times.

Camper Van

As expected, I have moved from one obsession to another, from backpacking to van camping. At this point in mid-November, the van is ready and equipped to take a trip. Buying and preparing the van is a money sink but it offers the ability to move cross country without needing hotels, and provides a comfortable home when parked in the wilderness or a parking lot.

The Adventure-Security Cycle

I seem to be someone who is constantly planning and preparing for adventures, which often turn out to be extremely short excursions (if I ever go on the adventure at all). I could blame it on being full time employed, which leaves me with little time to do what I want to do and a lot of desire to do something, anything different.

An adventure is an escape from routine and monotony. During the adventure, experiencing adverse conditions, one's thoughts may turn to seeking of comfort and security. This sets up a pendulum of adventurous planning at home, adventure plan execution and then running back to sit by the woodstove at home. At home, the monotony drives one to imagine and plan great acts of endurance and adventure. Out in the wild, faced with danger and discomfort, a warm bed at home looks very good. A never ending cycle?

With this history, committing to a 3 to 4 month van trip is somewhat disconcerting.

The Path Untraveled

Every choice leaves an infinite number of possibilities unchosen. How do you define success in selecting the path? Is it better to accept that fate is in control, rather than question one's every decision? Make big plans then let fate and synchronicity take over the details? Or perhaps do nothing, because if you did something, it might be wrong?

For many years I have been part of an organization where big decisions are made by others, and the decisions that I have made have been part of a bigger plan of action. My decisions have always been up for scrutiny and approval by groups of people, because their impact was on large numbers of people. My life and time were regulated by code of ethics, organization rules, expectations of others, schedules and calendars. I had a limited amount of time to do what I wanted, and even this time was influenced by what I thought that others thought that I should do in my leisure. I was unsatisfied with what I did with my free time.

Upon leaving the organization, my decisions are now impacting only my wife and I. The weight of deciding what to do is upon us. The potential choices and options of what to do with one's time are almost infinite. The decisions are just as crucial, as they determine how we will develop our lives and find satisfaction in our remaining time. The freedom that occurs upon leaving an organization and taking control of ones time is somewhat daunting because personal responsibility increases and failure directly impacts one's life.

In the organization, it was easy to blame my personal lack of dream follow-through on lack of time, job stress or something other than my own laziness. In fact, I have been wearing the ruby slippers the whole time, and could easily have freed my mind by making a decision and taking action. Instead, I huddled behind an excuse that something else was holding me back. Now, with no organization to blame, I know it was really just laziness that kept me from accomplishing dreams that I had desired.

Be brave. Go boldly as you move through the atmosphere. Do not second guess decisions. Do not regret decisions that are rescinded and replaced by other options. Go with the flow, bend with the wind, roll with the punches. Continue to consider and select the path that leads to the desired destination.

The key to avoiding indecision is keeping a good idea of the destination in mind and constantly testing your situation to see if you are moving in the right direction.


On our van trip, my primal urge will be to drive many hours a day until exhausted. I wish to relearn this behavior to saunter my way along. In other words, travel slowly and stop often along the way to see interesting things, talk to people, ask questions, etc. This is an important skill and it takes discipline to stop the vehicle. It is easier to keep on driving.

My strategy is to drive long days in the midwest, and start to slow down in New Mexico. However, if there is snow and cold weather, we will likely keep moving until we find warmer weather. Then I hope to saunter my way along.

Minimalism, Simplification and Creative Destruction

I have a concern regarding reducing and simplifying. As one gets rid of things and expunges bad activities, will one experience a loss of self? Reducing and simplifying leads to removal of ways of thinking that one once may have identified with as part of one's identity. Eliminating things results in elimination of one's way of thinking about acquisition, use and disposal of material objects. But elimination is a process, not the end goal. How does one know where to stop?

In some cases, people define themselves by what they own, its maintenance and methods of using it. Their thought process cpu time is taken up by focus on material things and activities surrounding those things. Following a path of simplification can result in a loss of identity for those people. This is not a loss of one's whole identity, but of a part of one's identity. This can lead to confusion and disturbing inner chaos, as one searches for familiar thought patterns and behaviors that no longer are valid as the material counterpart is removed.

Often a person's identification with material things is based on what they are taught. Often, people are conditioned by media through advertising and broadcast shows which provide examples for how to consume products. I would offer the premise that thought based on consumption is generally low level thought. I believe that media, marketing and advertising are making a concerted effort to keep people thinking in a low level, material based way of thinking.

There are higher value ways of thinking than consumer driven thought. Creative expression in arts. Social interaction. Science, invention and engineering. Cultural expression. These ways of thinking are available to replace consumer thinking, and are generally more stimulating and satisfying than consumption based thought. The loss of identity and elimination of material focused thought patterns that one may experience when one simplifies one's life may be replaced with new, more complex, higher level patterns of thinking and behavior.

As one simplifies one's life, it can be disturbing to lose known routines and thought patterns. One wonders if simplification can go too far. However, there are many other things that can replace thoughts that revolve around material good ownership and consumption. My hope is that as simplification progresses, it opens up mind time to thoughts that are of a higher value. As a process of simplification develops, it transforms from a process of elimination to a process of seeking high value thoughts and experiences. Behavior and thought focused on social engagement, creativity and self awareness fill the void as one reduces slavish attention to the maintenance of material things.

Then there is the idea that finding satisfaction in simply being (with absense of compulsion to act) is the highest form of thought. Slowing down the inner conversation to reach a level of peace may be the idealist's goal, rather than substituting one type of thought for another. I am not close to reaching that level, but perhaps that level of thought will explain itself as one progresses in self development.

At this point, I must stop writing about these concepts, because they are so far away from my experience that I cannot distinguish them. I am not an ascetic, or even a minimalist. I am just another person living in excess who imagines that life might be improved somehow with less responsibility for material things. I am on a tall steed on top of the highest hill looking across the prairie to the west to see as far as I can, yet the world goes on and on, far past my horizon of vision.

Days of FI

Days 1 and 2 were ecstatic, as if life would be Saturday everyday. On Day 3, I was pleasantly surprised that I was calmed down enough to listen to music and just look out the window, which normally I was too jittery and nervous to do. Days 4 and 5 were under a dark cloud, a storm passed and for some reason I did not feel well, perhaps I ate something bad or had a flu. I avoided people.

The problem when one has no established work responsibilities is that one's feelings tend to move into the front position of thought. When I did not feel well, it became a crisis event. In the past, I would have put the feelings aside, with work responsibilities and discipline in the forefront of my thoughts and priorities. In a non-employed, non-structured environment, my minor aches and pains were loud and in the forefront of my thoughts, and caused me distress, questioning whether I could succeed in “retirement” and whether I would fail in all my aspirations. Silly despair. A self-created crisis. Luckily, I did not make any important decisions during that time.

On Day 6, the sun came out, I had a wonderful walk and life is good again. Crisis averted, but it is frightening how vulnerable one can be to mood changes.

As an FI ninja, my defensive reaction today against the melancholy moods is to create structure for part of my life. Getting outside and walking have proven to be a preventative against sadness. I like to walk in the morning, because it is peaceful and it is a beautiful time of day. So my daily structured behavior is to wake one hour before sunrise, do morning hygiene, make coffee, do morning stretches and exercise, drink a cup, and walk for one to two hours.

Originally, I had hoped to sleep as long as my body wanted, and naturally find a sleep/wake pattern. But I became very frustrated when I tried to follow my “feelings”. I became lazy and in my laziness, did not exercise and began feeling unhealthy and weak because of it. My Day 4 and 5 crisis was a message that I need to change things. Therefore, I will spend the first three hours of my day doing a morning routine that I hope will give me energy for the rest of the day and help prevent laziness and resulting melancholy (Note: this ambitious plan crashed and burned).

Sunday, Day 6, I am living a day that usually ended in sadness that came from knowing that I had to return to work on Monday. Now it is different, I am not going back tomorrow. I have a few minor tasks to do, that is it.

Monday, Day 7, I went about my day, and late in the day was reminded that I usually would be working. I laughed loudly and any thoughts of regret about leaving work were chased away from my mind. I am starting to not care about getting things done in the morning.

Day 14, I am somewhat lazy with exercise and I am sleeping longer. I do not use the alarm clock, instead, I keep an east window uncurtained so the sun can light the room. I get up when the room lights up. When I discuss my old job I get somewhat distressed and depressed, so I avoid the subject. I have had a job offer which I politely sidestepped. I'm pretty happy as long as I don't start thinking about my previous organization. I generally am happy on the days that I get my walking hour in. Lack of daily exercise leads to depression. I am getting my checklists of things done but they are not too ambitious. Even in lazy mode, I am able to get quite a bit done because I have all day to casually get things done. I have time to focus and think, I am generally able to do things with clarity and care.

Another week and we start our van trip, which will be another routine breaker as well as completely changing the surroundings on a daily basis. New places, new people. I will not have internet access except through wifi hotspots. That may help reduce screen time.

Day 20, Took a walk this morning, which makes my mental state good. In fact, I think that the path to happiness starts with a daily walk.

In this log I have written about mundane, simple challenges that everyone faces. The reason that these mundane things are of interest is the transition that is taking place while I write this. I have taken the time to write this to help others who might fear the transition from work to early retirement. I do not plan to continue describing these everyday simple dramas of life, but they are an important part of transition, so here they are.

Daily Routines Which Have Been Challenged This Month

How long should I wear my soft morning clothes (sweat pants, slippers, sweater)? Morning clothes are comfortable but not socially acceptable to be seen in public. Morning clothes are not good when you are working on something in the garden or workshop and might get dirty. My goal is to be dressed in street or work clothes by noon. Ambitious, yes, but I am a disciplined individual. Morning clothes can double as exercise clothes for a morning walk around the track. 10am is a typical time when I dress for the day.

Hygiene: showering versus washbasin. In preparation for van camping, I went for about a week washing myself using a washbasin and washcloth rather than the usual morning shower. The washbasin is a satisfactory alternative to keeping clean, but does not provide the warm massage that a shower does. I suspect that the washbasin is healthier for the skin. The washbasin should be adequate for long term camping.

Shaving: Upon leaving employment, I stopped shaving. The first week of not shaving is typically an itchy, uncomfortable week where one avoids being seen in public looking like a bum, so looking pretty scruffy did not help dealing with transition issues. However, my beard is a symbol of freedom to me now. I may or may not go full Amish with the beard, my wife hates it.

Sleeping pattern, alarm clock or sunlight is the question. Being able to sleep in is a luxury, but like all luxuries, excess can corrupt. This time of year it gets dark shortly after 5pm and light around 7:30am. One might theorize that one should sleep when it is dark, but that is too much time to spend in bed. I am finding that 10pm to 8am is a pattern that I am fitting into (with some variation). I wake several times during the night and might read or think for a while before returning to sleep. Sleeping later than about 9am leads to mental self-punishment for being lazy. No alarm clock is necessary unless I have an appointment. I don't like appointments.

The Three Vices

The three vices that I fear the most are alcohol, reclining chair and screentime. In the first few days of FI, I have spent many hours on the computer, have drank beer about half of the nights, and spend most of my day in the reclining chair (where I am writing this now). I am very disappointed in myself. I am writing this on the laptop, sitting in the recliner while drinking a beer.

Next month, I will be traveling by camper van which will allow me to break from my usual behavior patterns, perhaps toward a better lifestyle.

Present Mind, Future Mind, Past Mind, Dream Mind

The present mind is the human thought that reacts with the current material world surroundings.

The future mind is the planner, scheme maker, good intention dreamer and task giver. The future mind's focus is to change material reality, hopefully in a desired direction.

The past mind is the memory of past experience, often full of pride or regret for things that have happened in the past. It often appears as an angry self-loathing for what one has done or not done in the past. It generally makes the present mind painfully aware of problems, but does not do anything to help one solve those problems.

The dream mind exists in the world of abstract idea and dream, outside of the dimension of time. Often enlightening, but frequently confusing and transient.

Before FI, I was often in the future mind, making plans, preparing for projects, wishing for a different life and imagining what that life might be like in the future. Both work and private life were heavy on future mind activities. There was also present mind activity in accomplishing the plans, but out of dissatisfaction with what I was doing, my thoughts constantly escaped from the present to the future mind.

As I thought about life after FI, I had good intentions to do many interesting things. With that much free time, just imagine how much one could get done! My future mind ramped up the task planning for all that free time.

As a man of FI leisure, my present mind has taken control of my thoughts and actions, and it overpowers the future mind. I have good intentions to wake early and exercise, yet I sleep in late and take it easy. I make lists of things to do, and may get around to doing them eventually. I sit around and relax a lot.

I am fairly productive, I have continued to walk for about an hour every day, which is my main hobby and activity. I get other checklist items done, because I have a lot of time to do them. But my motivation level to fill my day with productive activity is low. I listen to my present mind and my body, which tell me to enjoy relaxing in the early morning, and it overpowers my future mind which has planned an early morning walk at sunrise.

Despite this relaxed attitude toward getting things done, I feel that I am using my time well. My mental state seems to be more coherent and organized, perhaps because it is less stressed and jarred by frenetic life. I am still setting priorities and arranging life in a way that should result in improvement in happiness. My focus is still on simplification of my life, although our plan to go van camping this winter adds some planning and preparation responsibilities as well maintenance of a complex system. Hopefully the result of this effort will be an interesting winter of freedom and adventure.

Days when I get out early and walk an hour are usually good days.

The present mind has overpowered the future mind. Life is much better lived in the present.

Notes from the Essene Gospel of Peace:

Fast. Go and fast alone, show your fasting to no man. Put off your shoes and clothing and allow the air to embrace your body. Seek the fresh air of the forests and fields. Put off your shoes and clothing and cast yourselves into the water. Take an enema regularly. Put off your shoes and clothing and allow sunlight to embrace your body.

Love one another. Do not kill animals or eat them.

Eat herb bearing seed, tree bearing seed, green herb, milk, fruit, grain, grasses, honey. Eat living food, do not eat that which fire, frost or water has destroyed. Don't heat your food hotter than your own blood. Sprout grain, crush it, make thin wafers and dry them in the sun, turning them. Don't cook food, don't mix foods together. Be content with two or three sorts of food. Do not eat to fullness, only eat to two thirds full. Eat at noon and sunset only. Eat what is ripe and in season, from your own trees, not from other lands. Eat each in their month of harvest: barley, wheat, wheat wafers, grapes, grape juice, figs, sun dried figs and almonds. Eat dried figs and almonds in the months when trees bear no fruit. Eat herbs and milk.

Breathe long and deeply while eating. Chew your food well. Eat slowly. Do not eat in sorrow, anger or without desire. Only eat when you are hungry. Fast on every seventh day.

Wake with the sun. Do not sleep during the day. Do not remain awake at night.

Do not drink alcohol. Do not smoke.

Shun all that is too hot and too cold.

Be at peace with others. Be at peace with the earth. Be at peace with the heavens. ... Peace1.pdf

Note: I believe this document to have been written in modern times, as if it were from ancient documents. I am not a practitioner of this gospel. I am a meat eating, alcohol drinking backslider, yet I do have good intentions. My first suspicion is that I find it hard to believe that an ancient writer would promote enemas using the name of Jesus. Another suspicion is that the “translator” went on to write more books and eventually form a cultish health club and religious organization, all based on the original “translation,” making the translation seem like a self-serving forgery. If anyone ever finds the original document that the translation was taken from, I will recant my accusation of forgery, however at the moment I do not believe that this is an ancient text written by Essenes.

Having said that, there is some good advice and assistance for those seeking a more peaceful life. The diet plan is likely more suited to a short term cure than a permanent diet, but moving in the direction that the writer recommends is certainly a good thing.


Nag Hammadi

Transition Part Two: Travel

I have eliminated television media from my life for a number of years. There is an entire culture and history happening in media focused society that I am unaware of and uninfluenced by. Media culture is a self-referencing castle in the clouds. Media has very little traction to influence my personal behavior, although it has a great deal of power at the level of society.

I am no longer a part of a large organization with its rules, customs and schedules.

I am about to travel, taking away familiar landscapes and replacing them with new views every day.

The people that I know will be replaced by new people: all new, all the time (at least at first).

The comfortable familiarity of house and home will not be part of my life. Bye bye, reclining chair.

My high speed internet connection will go silent, I will go without my information addiction for days between hotspots.

In truth, I can always return to my home, and expect to do so eventually. But I do not think that I will be the same person.

The disassembly of the complex facade which surrounds the self will continue.

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

Post by sky »

December, 2015

Most people driving the highway between Quartzsite and Yuma probably see a desert barren of life. And for the most part, the low elevations are dusty sand deserts which are not all that interesting. But, take a five mile ride on a rough gravel road towards the mountains, and the desert becomes beautiful.

We are camped in the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, which protects the desert from the scourge of off road vehicles, and the natural beauty of the desert in the hills is far more apparent than where man has touched it in the valleys. This campground appears to be an old national park campground, long abandoned. It has 50 to 100 campsites, and there are three groups camping here. There is water here, but it is in an open tank, so it would need to be filtered to be drinkable. It would be adequate for washing or bathing.

Quite a few years ago, I read about a black box proposed by Buckminster Fuller, a box that would produce the basic needs of people, such as food, water and clothing. The box would allow people to live anywhere, with minimal effort needed to maintain the body's needs. One would hope that humans would then be able to spend their time in a way that pleased them.

Living in a van in the desert is not an ideal black box situation, but it is a way to approach the ideal for periods of about a week at a time. One can fairly easily replenish the systems of a camper van in about one day per week.

The systems that need replenishing are gasoline, propane, fresh water tank fill, drinking water jug purchase, groceries, black and grey water tank dump, trash dump and laundry. Perhaps a visit to the post office and a wifi hotspot would round out the needs of the semi-recluse van dweller.

This assumes that one has a self-contained van to live in. A van with a bed, toilet, comfortable chair, cookstove, place for one's daily hygiene, and perhaps a heating system for cold mornings. These systems may be complex, as with a full on class B camper van, or they may be more simple, as with a stealthy homebuilt camper van. For the frugal person who has a mind to constantly simplify and make the systems more efficient, the stealth van will be the result as one optimizes over time.

For those less driven by efficiency and frugality, an RV style camper van makes using and maintaining the systems easy. Typical weekly costs for a weekly supply run for two people in a class B van are:

Gas, $20
Propane, $10
Water tank fill, $4
Drinking water fill, $10
Groceries, $120
Black and grey tank dump, $10
Laundry, $10
Trash, free

The total base cost for two people is $184 per week. These are conservative numbers but be aware that it is easy to increase your expenses by buying additional items (frequently useless in the desert) and by driving excessively. Add in the expense of any of your personal vices or entertainment to get a more accurate total. The stealth camper van with one person can lower these expenses somewhat.

There are hundreds of free, fourteen day campsites available in this area. Most free campsites are found at the end of a long, remote gravel road, so having a reliable vehicle is important. Four wheel drive and high ground clearance are not a requirement if you are attentive to your driving and do not try to drive through sandy areas, or after it has rained.

Once your rig is set up, and you become accustomed to the routine of camper van life, the next challenge will be what to do with your time. Sadly, humans have been taught to deny their needs to the point that most people do not know what will satisfy them and have difficulties when separated from media entertainment. Boredom is a frequent complaint, and a problem that requires one's own creativity to resolve.

One can seek exercise through walking, climbing or running. One can seek intellectual pursuits through stargazing, reading, writing or contemplating. One can socialize with others, seek out social gatherings or create social events. One can seek pleasure through sunbathing, massage or gastronomy. One can create art through painting, photography or video. One can pursue one's vices in solitude. Discovering what fascinates you is an important part of creating a life worth living.

A camper van in the Arizona desert is a way to maximize your free time in a place that gives you as much solitude as you want, in an area of natural beauty with relatively good weather in the winter.

Notes on a Simple Stealth Camper Van System


I find that using a washcloth and washbasin in addition to baby wipes to be a satisfactory long term personal cleaning system. If it is cold, I use a small bowl with one cup of unheated water, and one cup of water heated on the stovetop to scrub myself down with a washcloth. If it is warm, I use "room temperature" water. Generally a washcloth bath in the morning and evening is enough to feel clean and comfortable, but anytime I feel like freshening up, I will do a quick scrubdown. I use baby wipes several times a day to clean my crotch. These are disposed of in the trash.


For urination, a pee bottle is essential. All one needs is a bit of privacy to have a convenient urinal. Empty the pee bottle daily by selecting a plant worthy of fertilization, and pouring the bottle near its roots. Rinse the bottle with a small amount of water daily. A bottle of 1.5 to 2 liters works well for daily disposal. Laundry softener or detergent bottles are frequently used. I do not know what comparable solution is available for females, and will let a female take the lead in recommending a solution.

For defecation, a marine portapotty can be used. Dispose of the portapotty contents in public toilets. Another option is to use a pail lined with a plastic trash bag. Double bag and dispose in a dumpster with your trash.


A simple water solution is to build a storage box for two five gallon plastic carboys (jugs) of water. These are readily available where you buy groceries. Purchase a pump that fits on top of the carboy. It may be desirable to have separate jugs for cleaning water, and reserve purchased purified water for drinking and cooking. Ten to fifteen gallons is a good amount of water for one person who is conserving water.

Wash Water Disposal

Disposal of small amounts of wash water (less than a half gallon or so) is best done by pouring it on the ground. This includes both dishwater and personal hygiene water. Minimize the use of soap.

Heating and Cooking

With nighttime temperatures above about 40F, heating a camper van is not a requirement, but it is a pleasant convenience. The real solution is to have warm bedding that allows you comfort down to the mid 20's F. In the desert, there are daily temperature swings that will allow you to hide under the warm covers when it is cold and dark, and be active as the sun warms up the environment. This can mean long periods of time under the covers waiting for the sun.

As an example, my bed of a sheet, blanket and sleeping bag is warm enough down to about 25F outdoor temperature with no heater running. Our van has some insulation but not on the windows, which is where a lot of heat is lost. My favorite trick for comfort is to get in bed with the covers up to my chin, and take a small fleece blanket and lay it over my forehead and nose, draping it down the sides of my head to my shoulders. With only my nose and mouth exposed to the cold, I get plenty of fresh breathing air but am very warm and protected over the rest of my body.

Parking the van facing the sunrise is a good way to capture the sun's warmth when you need it most. Heating water for coffee in the morning also provides a good amount of heat. A catalytic heater such as a Mr. Buddy heater can make mornings warmer and more comfortable, but in the desert, where the sun warms things up quickly, a heater is not a necessity.

Cooking and heating water can be done with a simple butane stovetop. If one has a propane tank for heating, it is more economical to use a propane stovetop.


Every van should have a house battery system separate from the starter battery. This allows use of the house battery without danger of discharging the starter battery, leaving one stranded. The house battery should be normally disconnected from the starter battery, but when the vehicle motor is running, the house battery should be automatically connected to the starting battery by a solenoid switch to allow for charging by the alternator.

A solar power system for lighting, data, music and fans is a desirable luxury (200W solar system). A refrigerator powered by solar or propane is another desirable option (400W solar system or propane)

As a convenience to allow for more electrical use, one can add batteries to the house battery bank, and one can add solar panels with a charge controller to charge the house batteries while the vehicle is stationary. As a general rule of thumb, a basic system to power lights, data and music would be a 200 amp-hour battery system (two deep discharge marine batteries) and a 200 Watt solar system with a charge controller. More batteries and more solar panels are always better, but this would be a good system to start with.

High Top

One of the most important features of a comfortable camper van is the ability to stand up while changing clothes or moving around. A high top van with enough room to stand in is an important feature of a camper van.


A roof vent is an important feature for warm weather van camping.

One Month Review of Van Dwelling

After almost a month of van dwelling, we have become part of a group of vandwellers whose basecamp is a somewhat bleak gravel plain, just a few miles from a highway exit and close to a small village with RV services. We get out and explore the surrounding area, but the need for community brings us back to basecamp every few days.

Despite being on a great adventure, we do have down days, and it takes time to get used to this lifestyle. Some of the complaints that we hear (and have) are:

Boredom, homesickness, cold weather, lack of natural beauty, frustration with one's rig or equipment, missing family and wifi problems.

Still, this patch of barren land is far better than parking in rows of RVs in an RV park.

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

Post by C40 »

I read through all of your journal yesterday. There are a lot of journals here and I don't keep up with them all. I found a nice surprise with yours. Congratulations on retiring!! I really enjoy journals describing the transition time and afterwords. It's nice reading about your daily activities and efforts to improve your habits.

How did you convince your wife about getting a smaller campervan instead of an RV?

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

Post by sky »

She liked the Road Trek, a small van was OK for her.

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

Post by skintstudent »

Just read through your journal - congratulations on your new found freedom! We also enjoy camper van holidays and it is interesting to hear how you are faring on longer stints.

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

Post by sky »

January, 2016

I cut short my report last month to post it while I briefly had internet access. I had wanted to discuss how trivial most of the van dweller complaints were, and how the solutions are for the most part internal, meaning that the solution lies in one taking action, making a decision, or changing one's perspective. The solutions are in one's control.

At the moment I need to examine a more important issue. I am approaching the edge of a watershed of sorts, cresting a hill and looking at entirely new territory. The previous watershed was related to career, dissatisfaction with career, strategies to escape career and reaction to leaving career.

The new watershed is what to do with the time of life.

Serenity Now

My naive perception of inner peace was influenced by my life during employment, when my thought time was controlled by needs of the organization. Inner peace was the absence of external interference and noise. When separated from employment, my initial goal was silence and stillness. I was able to accomplish this on several days, sitting in a folding chair in the sun outside my van, looking at the mountains on the horizon. This silence did help the healing process.

Eventually, boredom set in.

I'm sure that there is a higher inner peace that one can achieve through silence and meditation. I am now questioning whether that is a goal worth focusing most of my time on. I could see spending an hour a day to learn meditation, but it would not be the main focus in my life.

The question of what to spend time doing arises now and then. At the moment, I am content with looking at nature, walking, exercise, exploring and socializing.

Disconnection from Babylon

At home, I have a cable internet connection. On the road, I have none, other than finding free wifi hotspots. I have a laptop, tablet and phone without service (no phone or data plan). Disclaimer: my wife has a cell phone with data, so we do have instant communication available.

Starting out on this trip, I wanted to experiment with using wifi hotspots as my means of communication. It is working for email, but frustrating for other uses. I am now considering a wifi jetpack, but am holding back because of the cost and because there may be a mental benefit to being disconnected.

PROs of jetpack data plan

Able to use navigation apps
communicate with friends, email and voip
read and post on forums
satellite imagery
map backgrounds on nav systems
online work or business?
use of gas buddy, sanidumps, propane finder and other location apps
use of online resources

CONs of data, benefits of no connection

Clingy communicators have no power here
zero cost is possible
Timewasters may take over my mind with a data plan
mental clarity?
power hog
no phone wanted
more time available for creative work

After one month without internet connection, I may be past the internet addiction phase. Should I pay for internet so I can use it as a tool?

I am leaning against getting a jetpack mainly because without an internet connection I am spending time talking to people. My screen time is reduced and much of that screentime is creating content (video) rather than consuming content. However, I spend a lot of time searching out wifi hotspots and am often frustrated with low bandwidth on free hotspots. It costs gas to drive to a hotspot. This limits my ability to upload video. I may eventually break down and get a jetpack.

Current screentime activities include making videos, reading offline reddit subs, reading email, writing email to be sent at next wifi hotspot connection, reading ebooks, watching downloaded videos (generally documentaries downloaded with Tubemate), playing solitaire and writing this journal.

I have avoided television media for quite a few years now. On two occasions this month, I watched television while eating at a restaurant. The commentary on the sports games was inane, meaningless. I felt mentally poisoned by the advertising. I wonder if I am becoming alien to the world of normal humans.

Freedom, Pleasure and the Good Life

Moving to a lifestyle with greatly enhanced freedom leads to imagining what the potentials for freedom are. My interest in traveling by van was originally based on the desire to explore and see different things (a noble purpose). Now that we are out here, I see a great potential for comfortable living. If the weather were warmer, it would be possible to create a life focused on good food, exercise and enjoying the sunshine, in particular if surrounded by people doing the same. I am very interested in the difference in philosophy and life effect of an ascetic minimalist lifestyle compared to a more comfortable, pleasurable lifestyle. A life of sunbathing, swimming, eating well and socializing has its attractions.

The Three Vices

Reclining Chair

I spend time in a folding chair, in the driver's seat and laying in bed. Generally, I think that my seating choices are more healthy than a reclining chair, although I would not make the claim that my fitness level has improved. The constant climbing in and out of the van is sort of fitness training. Just getting out of bed involves sit ups and gymnastics.


Lack of internet access reduces the need to research things on the internet. I tend to spend time talking to people face to face rather than online. I replaced my dying laptop with a cheap WalMart HP 15, and now enjoy less power draw on the batteries and faster operation. Most of what I do on the computer is now creative rather than consumptive.


Despite best intentions, I am still swilling beer, perhaps less so than when living in a house. Not every night, but often.


I have not kept up with my walking, although I do walk shorter distances and stand around a lot talking to people. I am starting to increase my walking time.


Living in a van in the desert is easy and requires very little of my time to maintain the systems. I am very content and have no desire to move back into a house. This is a very sociable lifestyle, with many opportunities to meet people. Most people are great, some are best avoided. It is easy to move on without drama if things aren't right. We still have a house and will return in the spring, but I could easily make this a full time lifestyle. There is a great deal of free time and you can choose the place you live in, so it can be very pleasant.

I am starting to turn backpacker feral, bathing in the river, using catholes and pee bottles, growing out an untrimmed beard and wearing dusty clothes for a week or more before washing. I love it, this is real life.

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

Post by sky »

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

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

Post by 1taskaday »

Loving the journal.

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