ERE Year 2 - Geoarbitrage, Permaculture, and Nomadic Lifestyle Design

Where are you and where are you going?
pk+
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Joined: Thu Nov 02, 2017 2:31 pm

Re: ERE Experiment - Vagabonding a COVID-19 Minefield!

Post by pk+ »

In Poland, 14 day quarantine starts when you register in gov mobile app (perhaps there are some exceptions for non-smartphone people) and you spend it in your home. Police will call you on random time of day and request you to show in window, etc.

Gov facilities are supposed to keep only people that need monitoring and help (ie very sick, old). Although I would avoid them ;)

2Birds1Stone
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Re: ERE Experiment - Vagabonding a COVID-19 Minefield!

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

Thank you for that info! My parents told me that one of the LOT repatriation flights from western Europe was brought to Jasionka airport and then all passengers had to undergo 14 day quarantine in military resort at Jawor, on Solina before they are allowed home.

I spent some time this morning on Skyscanner and Google Flights and there are numerous flight options for June 7th from Lisbon to both Krakow and Warsaw, both direct as well as via UK. Tickets are about $100-150 each, so not bad either!

14 day quarantine on the orchard would be pretty easy. Enough space to exercise, sit outside, and get some productive cleaning/gardening done.

pk+, which part of Poland are you from?

2Birds1Stone
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Re: ERE Experiment - Vagabonding a COVID-19 Minefield!

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

Musings

Bit of a mid-month update....

We've had some fantastic weather here the past few days, and today I took full advantage this morning with a 46 mile bike ride from Lisbon to Cascais, up to the southern entrance of Sintra national park, and back to Lisbon. Normally this distance is pretty easy on my road bike, which I am quite used to riding. But on a $200 MTB, it was quite the challenge =D especially after walking/hiking 70 miles in the past week.

Portugal renewed the state of emergency, as expected through May 2nd. Maybe we will get lucky and some things open up before we leave in June. Namely beaches, cafes, and parks for us. Overall we are quite happy here. Life is slow and simple, with plenty of time to relax and soak everything in. Costs have flattened for now, and our cost per day has dipped to $90 on our 40th day of travel. Can't believe it's already been 40 days! We have 7 full weeks left here before we leave, and plan to enjoy every single day.

This week we also received our stimulus check, and it was the full amount for a married couple. Definitely helps offset the initial costs of the trip! Our backup to Poland is likely to be a return to the USA to do a car-camping road trip, for an undetermined period of time. My dad has a spare work van that he's not using for the foreseeable future.......it will all depend on how things play out both in Poland/EU and the USA over the coming month or so.

Hope y'all are staying safe and healthy.

classical_Liberal
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Re: ERE Experiment - Vagabonding a COVID-19 Minefield!

Post by classical_Liberal »

Well, I'm hoping for the best, but if you end up car camping we'll have to meet up this summer!

2Birds1Stone
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Re: ERE Experiment - Vagabonding a COVID-19 Minefield!

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

2Birds1Stone wrote:
Mon Mar 23, 2020 1:20 pm
Our costs look like they should level out to ~75 Euro/day longer term here. Not bad for two people renting through AirBnB and not being too frugal with grocery choices. There just isn't much else to spend money on.

...snip.....

I am considering trying to buy a used bicycle. Not too much space to store one, and I wouldn't be able to take it with me once we leave by bus/plane eventually, but I miss riding, and it seems like a great way to explore the further areas of the city, or even bike to Sintra, etc.

..snip....

We are up to 2,060 confirmed COVID cases with 23 deaths as of today.....compared to my home state of NY with 21,000 confirmed cases and 160 deaths......hope we made the right choice by bailing =D

...snip......
Musings

1) Yesterday marked 46 days since leaving NY, and as predicted our costs have already dropped to just a hair under $80/day. New projection shows that dropping to <$70/day by the time we leave Portugal in June. If we land in Poland that will drop further to ~$55-60/day by end of the summer, which is a huge geo-arbitrage win for living costs.

2) The bicycle proved to be an excellent purchase. I've been doing a long weekly ride on the weekends, and have made some local acquaintances through cycling. We also continue to walk a lot, with an 18.5 mile hike in Sintra this past week.

3) Crazy how these numbers have exploded, Portugal is up to 23,000 confirmed cases with 880 deaths, only 5 weeks later. While NY is at 288,000 confirmed cases and 22,000 deaths.......insane. Retrospectively we definitely made the right choice by bailing.

@c_L, done deal my friend. We are also hoping for the best right now. It looks like we will have to make a fairly last minute decision, but currently leaning toward flying to Poland via the UK, so long as flights are still available for our travel window. Poland still feels much safer than NY, and the rest of the country (USA) is still too locked down to make a long term road trip responsible/enjoyable.

This months financial recap will be an interesting one, as TTM spending has hit record lows since 2014, both individually and as a household. Looking at purely 2020 data (4 months), we should come in @ $6,200 spent, which is only $1550/month. Annualized that's only 1.08 JAFI per person!! We obviously can't go purely off of 4 months data, especially under these unprecedented circumstances, so the TTM numbers will be the ones to watch in the coming months, but we anticipate a sharp downward slope through the end of the year.

Mentally we are doing quite well, given the circumstances. Hiking, cooking, bike riding, reading, and walking a lot are basically business as usual for the wife and I. We do miss in person human interaction, going to a coffee shop, occasional happy hour, and the gym. Other than that, this is not too different from out normal lives. We discussed how much this would suck if we were not physically active and didn't enjoy cooking. How much Netflix can one person watch before losing their mind? We video chat through FB or WhatsApp with family and friends almost daily, which has been a big help in maintaining relationships and getting some social interaction with the outside world.

My brother runs a pharmacy in NYC and they finally received IgM/IgG COVID-19 tests yesterday. Him and his wife tested negative for antibodies, and her mom, who was a suspected case a few weeks ago, tested positive. In keeping tabs on the various related threads here, doesn't sound like there is consensus on the reliability of these tests, or the future immunity once someone has been infected, but an interesting data-point none the less.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: ERE Experiment - Vagabonding a COVID-19 Minefield!

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

It's really hard to believe that this week will mark 7 months since I gave notice and left my career behind. For anyone who has been following more closely the past year, you'll remember that I also had a long family related trip to EU last summer, which was the gateway to pulling the plug. It feels like longer than 7 months since I've been a productive member of the workforce, with my last real assignment/project wrapping up in May of 2019!

Since I'm a data geek, I was fucking around with the graphs and charts in my ERE spreadsheet (we all have a ERE spreadsheet right?), and was curious to see through all of the recent noise. In order to do this I had to zoom out a bit and take a look at the past year, vs. typical monthly or YTD updates. The results were smile inducing, but not completely surprising. Since we only have 5 days left in the month, and I can predict my spending over that time, some interesting data points I wanted to share, as I feel like I've been semi-FIRED for nearly a year now.

1) Actual Individual Trailing Twelve Month (TTM) spending has gone down 18% YoY (year over year), from $18,641 in April 2019, to $15,257 in April of 2020.

2) Income from a 3%/4% WR is up 9.5% YoY, from $14,835/$19,780 in April 2019, to $16,251/$21,668 in April of 2020.

3) Actual Combined Household TTM spending is down 22% YoY, from $35,800 in April 2019 to $27,840 in April of 2020.

4) Despite the 2020 bear market, thanks to significant decrease in household spending and modest increase in combined NW (+$65k YoY), we have gone from 17X combined living expenses to 24X combined living expenses in the past 12 months.

5) This is the first time I've crossed below an individual 3% WR! Largely due to the very significant drop in spending over the past 4 months.

I'm not posting any of this to brag, but rather to illustrate the power of lowering consumption on the math. A friend on another FIRE forum made a post yesterday about really enjoying striving to be very frugal without feeling deprived which really resonated. This has been my mantra for the past few years. It's part of the reason why I relate more to the ERE crowd vs. the more mainstream version of FIRE that's become so popular on the intrawebz these days.

Hope everyone is healthy and well.

Seppia
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Location: Italy

Re: ERE Experiment - Vagabonding a COVID-19 Minefield!

Post by Seppia »

Great stuff!
Intuitively, your numbers are around what I would expect to happen if I pulled the plug.
Poland seems like the obvious choice VS going back to NY right now: without getting too political it seems like Europe in general is taking COVID19 a little more seriously than the US.
Numbers are dropping fast here in Italy, so I'm still hopeful we'll be able to safely meet in a few months :)

2Birds1Stone
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Re: ERE Experiment - Vagabonding a COVID-19 Minefield!

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

April Financial Update

Combined Assets
$686,700 (+$35,700)

Combined Spending
April - $1,489
Trailing Twelve Months - $27,809

Combined Income
$2,400 - Fed Stimulus!

Savings Rate
38%

Current Withdrawal Rate
4.1% (Portfolio = 24.5X annual expenses)

Musings
Individual April spending = $782, broken down for anyone curious;

$385 Housing
$173 Grocery
$4 Transportation
$94 Entertainment
$37 Travel/Health Insurance
$35 Misc
$54 Gifting/Charity

Individually @ $15,239 - TTM Spending, 36X annual expenses, and a 2.8% WR!! So long as spending stays under $1k in May TTM and WR% will continue to improve baring another huge leg down in the markets (I bet I jinxed it!).

In April I walked 277 miles, ran 8.1 miles, and biked 145 miles. Looking to increase these for May, especially the biking/running!

Our largest expected expense in May will be the flights (if we can find them) to Poland via the UK.

theanimal
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Re: ERE Experiment - Vagabonding a COVID-19 Minefield!

Post by theanimal »

Very impressive walking numbers. Are you hiking every day? Trails? What kind of terrain?

2Birds1Stone
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Re: ERE Experiment - Vagabonding a COVID-19 Minefield!

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

@theanimal, not every day, but a few times a week. Biggest day was 18.3 miles and then it's a blend of 10-12 mile days and 6-8 mile days. Since we are in a very walkable city, without much else to do, we tend to explore a lot by foot.

Terrain is a mix of 75% urban/paved paths and 25% trails (dirt, rocky, etc). This past week we even walked an old railroad track for 5 miles returning to Sintra from São Sebastião. Talk about a killer calf/shin workout! The days we hike trails, it's usually a decent elevation gain on top of the mileage, my Garmin registers ~130-150 "stories" of climbing on most of those days.

@Seppia, I have to agree with you 100%. Heck, looking at C40's journal it looks like even Vietnam handled this 100x better than the USA. I too hope we can meet up! Although logistically it might be harder since we've exhausted my wife's 90 day Schengen pass until we can figure out a permanent residency/citizenship route for EU. Maybe you feel like visiting Poland for a few days =)

Other Random Tidbits

1) Portugal announced that the state of emergency is ending after this weekend, although not much will change from a practical standpoint for quite a few weeks/months.

2) Both TAP Portuguese and LOT Polish Airlines announced that they will extend their layoffs through May 31st, which will make getting to Poland a bit more tricky. FlixBus has also suspended operations globally.

3) After 51 days in Portugal our cost per day is down <$75/day all in.

4) I still haven't had the balls to invest any of the cash sitting in my Roth IRA, and fear I may have missed out on a good opportunity over the past month.

bigato
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Re: ERE Experiment - Vagabonding a COVID-19 Minefield!

Post by bigato »

What about start biking towards Poland instead of biking around in circles? ;-)
From Sintra to Poland it's roughly 3200km. If you average 80km/day, that'd be about 40 days. Not sure about the borders and visa situations though.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: ERE Experiment - Vagabonding a COVID-19 Minefield!

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

Hey @bigato, I've joked about doing it quite a few times, but unfortunately my wife is not much of a cyclist. Even if she were, it would be a bit of a logistics nightmare trying to get the right bikes, gear, luggage, to make a trip like that safe and feasible. Shops are still closed here. Biking with 25+ lb backpacks is not the easiest thing to do. If I was here by myself, it would be a no-brainer. I could easily cover 100-120 km/day on the right bike. Not sure about housing along the route, as many accommodations are closed through the countries we would need to pass through, esp Spain, France, Italy, etc. It's much easier to backpack through using public transport. The biggest visa hurdle is that we have to get out of the EU by June 8th, and then re-enter Poland from a non EU country. This is why a flight through the UK, Ukraine, or another non EU country is the best way to go. We have looked at flying to London and trying by bus, but it's a mixed bag on what is operating with Covid-19 right now.

I do wish to bike across Europe in the future, here is the best site for information on routes and their completion as of 2020. https://en.eurovelo.com/

It's going to be 85 degrees here today, and we plan on spending it in a local park mostly reading in the shade and hanging out by the water. Going to try to find a good ebook to read through my library back home. Hoopla is a great app!

Don't think I've posted about this before, but one small cost/lifestyle win for us has been completely getting rid of cell phone service while in Lisbon. We haven't had/paid for talk/txt/data since the first month here. It's been more than just a cost advantage of saving $20-30/month. Not being connected all the time has led to way less screen time. I simply downloaded an offline map of Lisbon through Google Maps and use that for navigation. If we need to look something up, it's never a bother to find some free WiFi hotspot in the city.

This trip so far has been a real eyeopener for how little we actually need to be happy. I feel like we could even downsize the amount of stuff we had packed and brought with us. Likely will since our inter-Europe flights will limit our baggage even more than we anticipated. Nearly 6 months since I sold my car, don't miss it at all! Definitely won't go back to being a two car household ever again.

bigato
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Re: ERE Experiment - Vagabonding a COVID-19 Minefield!

Post by bigato »

It sounds like you guys are doing great even among the pandemic. Way better than you would by staying put in NYC. Who'd thought that? I wouldn't. That's nice and a tribute to being courageous. Congratulations.

The Old Man
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Re: ERE Experiment - Vagabonding a COVID-19 Minefield!

Post by The Old Man »

2Birds1Stone wrote:
Sun May 03, 2020 1:35 am
The biggest visa hurdle is that we have to get out of the EU by June 8th, and then re-enter Poland from a non EU country.
You probably already know this, but to be clear. Remember that before you reenter the Schengen Zone you have stay outside of it for ninety days. So, after you leave Portugal by June 8th you will be unable to reenter the Schengen zone until ninety days have passed - roughly Sep 6th.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: ERE Experiment - Vagabonding a COVID-19 Minefield!

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

@The Old Man, that is normally the case with most of Schengen, but Poland has a separate bilateral agreement with the United States allowing a separate 90 day stay for US citizens after getting stampes out of Schengen. We will have to stay within Poland for the duration of those 90 days and the timer doesn't reset for rest of Schengen until we are out of Poland as well. By then my wife should be able to establish spousal visa/residency.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: ERE Experiment - Vagabonding a COVID-19 Minefield!

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

Musings


Since today marks another year around the sun, it's a good day to reflect on the past 12 months, and boy did quite a lot happen in that time. Since May 9th of 2019;

1) Took an impromptu trip to visit/help family in Poland for 5+ weeks
2) Stood up to an awful employer and pulled off "Office Space 2.0"
3) Engineered my own layoff
4) leanFIRE'd
5) Got married!
6) Sold everything and went voluntarily "homeless" to travel the world during what turned out to be a global pandemic
7) Survived (so far) my first bear market, shortly after leaving on said adventure.
8) Currently thriving on a budget that's below the US Fed poverty line

Hope that the next year is just as interesting/eventful!

It's storming here today, so a pretty low key day. Been blessed with plenty of warmth and sunshine the past week, including a day where it hit 91 degrees. I'm tan enough to get mistaken for a local at this point, which is amusing. My Portuguese vocabulary has increased by several hundred words, without much intentional effort. This is definitely not the trip we had planned, but what a cool experience!

classical_Liberal
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Re: ERE Experiment - Vagabonding a COVID-19 Minefield!

Post by classical_Liberal »

Holy crap! That's a lot in the past year. It's amazing how well life works out when you're willing to take some risks. Keep kick'en a**!

2Birds1Stone
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Re: ERE Experiment - Vagabonding a COVID-19 Minefield!

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

Thanks c_L.

I feel like it's been a roller-coaster of a year, but ultimately that's what keeps life interesting. As I reflected yesterday, on the past year, my mind shifted towards the future, and it's currently a blank slate. I don't have anything specific I want to accomplish at this time, either professionally or personally. No specific place I would like to settle down, or even travel to after spending some quality time with family in Poland over the summer. The world is in such a state of flux that even mid-term planning is difficult. A thread was dug up and bumped on another part of the forum, which made me think further into the future. The OP of that thread warned the folks here that what we enjoy/want/etc now very well can/will change in the future. Not a new concept, and something we discuss here with regularity, but it forced me to really think about how I can enjoy the present, while continuing to give my future self options.

Right now it feels good to see expenses dropping as a result of lifestyle change, without any real focus on money. However, is it really sustainable? I guess only time can tell, and it forced me to think about the choices to be made in the coming months/years. I was thinking about how to make it sustainable in the longer term. A few ideas came to mind;

1) https://wwoof.net/ - working on an organic farm in return for free housing and some meals. Could be an exceptional way to learn new skills, meet like-minded people, and see places that we hadn't planned. Maybe @bigato needs a hand on the farm ;)

2) https://www.workaway.info/ - similar concept to WOOFing, but broader types of work/stay arrangements. I've seen interesting projects like building homesteads/earthships, teaching English, cooking, etc.

3) Settling in a very LCOL area like Poland or SE Asia. Already explained the orchard in Poland, and that's definitely an option. SE Asia is a big unknown right now, with things getting more and more complicated for foreigners there. Could be some lasting cultural/xenophobia issues in the region, will have to revisit this one after spending some time there.

4) Inspired by @AxelHeyst, I consider the semi-long term viability of living full-nomad in North America. COVID-19 related logistic issues have made this a bit more difficult, but could be a strong possibility for the future. The general popularity of the "vanlife" movement has increased restrictions/scrutiny in many popular destinations, but it's still possible to do, especially if you have some land that's private to boondock on, such as Axel has.

5) Continue traveling on a modest budget and pray for some inspiration to find a feasible way to earn income along the way. I'm really terrible with thinking of side hustles that are location independent and could provide a good time vs. reward ratio.

We budgeted about $30k for this year of travel, with a $6k buffer to "reintegrate" into society. So far we've burned through $4k of that, but $2.4k was offset by the Fed stimulus, so still have plenty of time to wander about and figure things out.

Hope everyone has a good week ahead.

classical_Liberal
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Re: ERE Experiment - Vagabonding a COVID-19 Minefield!

Post by classical_Liberal »

I've read that thread a couple times before. I remember the story of the poster, and the interactions with @jacob because it was what really sold me on ERE. Today, I now have the confidence that i am one of those people that can manage to make this type of life work. If anything I'll end up shifting to the productivity/earn too much side of semi-ERE. It's just not in my blood to do it any differently.

I love the trapeze analogy. Rereading it now though, with just a tiny bit more experience, the flaw I see in it for me (or my personality) is that it's not a single trapeze in front of you. There are dozens to choose from and you have to pick which one to try to leap to next. This is my biggest problem. Given that fact you listed five possibilities right off the top of your head is some evidence of this problem. Now, as problems go, it's a great one to have. But I still use a fair amount of my mental energy contemplating these things. I really think there is something for me to learn about the whole "being" vs "doing" in this realm. Obviously @oldpro was/is very good at going with the flow, and just being.

One side note to all the concerns over old age health care in that thread. I just want to point out, having the knowledge to manage and navigate healthcare options as we age is a skill like any other. Just like other skills, 99% of people do it really, really poorly. This is actually one problem/fear I do not have. It is possibly for most to learn given enough effort, but I think most feel resigned that healthcare is one of those things only an "expert" can handle, beyond doing our best to maintain good health. That's just really not the case, like anything else specialized, it's possible to use the 80/20 rule to help make good, informed decisions in this realm that will save a lot of heartache (potentially literal heart aches) as we age. A caveat being that most young people probably do not consider the physical and/or mental limitations that may begin to impact them as they age, and the poster was right that this needs to be considered and expenses may pop up in other realms (ie not just healthcare) to maintain lifestyle.

mooretrees
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Re: ERE Experiment - Vagabonding a COVID-19 Minefield!

Post by mooretrees »

Such an interesting place to be right now. Most of us here are planning and planning, living today but waiting for tomorrow and what we hope it can bring. To be in a place where the future is wide open, and you aren't actively working on some future dream is pretty different. You have done a great job putting yourself in that place and I hope you can enjoy it!

Any kinds of plans beyond the next couple of weeks feels useless to me. I think about stuff, but then just have to shrug and say, we'll see. I hope you can get to Poland and enjoy that orchard. Get your hands in the dirt and continue chilling. I really enjoy reading about this journey, it's not what you imagined but you really seem to making it work.

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