akratic's ERE journal

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George the original one
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Re: akratic's ERE journal

Post by George the original one » Thu May 28, 2015 3:30 pm

To use a mixmaster on metaphors, the man emerges from the woods!

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Re: akratic's ERE journal

Post by C40 » Thu May 28, 2015 5:41 pm

Great to hear about your progress and about finding better hiking / camping companions.

Don't just leave us hanging on the bug repellent recipe! What is it?

And the yacht/Bahamas options sounds wonderful!

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Re: akratic's ERE journal

Post by jacob » Thu May 28, 2015 6:43 pm

It makes sense that the AT would sort in the same way as a long race does. If everybody starts at more or less the same time, eventually, you leave the party crowd and beer drinkers behind unless you're one of them while the speedsters are up ahead unless you're one of them. In other words, in the long run you get the crowd you "deserve". Another word for this is ergodicity. One potential downside which might not hold on the trail is that once you reach a "stable distribution", you no longer see many or any new people. This could also be an upside allowing for deeper relations :)

Question: Have you gone lighter or heavier in terms of packing since you started?

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Re: akratic's ERE journal

Post by ffj » Thu May 28, 2015 8:37 pm

See this guy down there?

http://www.wkyt.com/home/headlines/Lexi ... 14461.html

Thought about you when I read that the other day. Glad to hear you are finding your groove and all the undesirables are falling by the wayside.

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Re: akratic's ERE journal

Post by theanimal » Thu May 28, 2015 8:38 pm

Good to see an update! You've certainly made it through the hardest part mentally. The first few hundred miles is where most of the people do quit (as you've found out). I'll be looking forward to reading about your update from Maine in a few months!

Besides your clothes and shoes, how has the rest of your gear fared?

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Re: akratic's ERE journal

Post by akratic » Thu May 28, 2015 9:55 pm

@George: Nice :D

@C40: this link after substitutions looks to be the closest thing I found with a quick google search: http://backwoods.blog.com/gear-reviews/ ... repellent/

@jacob: Cool word: ergodicity. Your race example is spot on.

To answer your question: roughly the same. I quickly cut the stove, fuel, pot, camp shoes, bottom of convertible pants, gloves and injini toe socks but added an mp3 player, kindle case, watch, gaiters, extra darn tough socks and heavier sleeping bag. Soon I'll cut a bunch of cold weather stuff such as thermal underwear and long sleeve hoodie.

@ffj: haven't seen that guy, but I did hear about it on the trail.

@theanimal:
- tent: Tarptent Notch: 7/10. Great tent all around, but if I did it over again I'd probably 1) trade away some vestibule space for more room immediately above my head and 2) pay up for a zpacks tent or possibly a hammock.
- backpack: Zpacks Arc Blast 52L (Orange): 10/10. This is the best backpack. It gets uncomfortable above 25 lbs though.
- quilt: MLD Spirit 28: 2/10. This is the only major gear I hated so much that I swapped out on the trail. As a restless and picky sleeper, I found the quilt to be super annoying. It's so much nicer to simply zip or unzip a sleeping bag to adjust temperature rather than to fiddle with clasps and buckles or sticking body parts out. I would have liked the EE Quilt that you recommended slightly more (everyone on the trail with a quilt has EE).
- sleeping bag: Brooks Range Drift 15: 5/10. This bag is perfect size/shape for me and is so much more comfortable than the quilt. The main thing I don't like about it is the hydrophobic down, which I believe to be causing the down to clump and lose loft much faster than normal. Basically I paid a price premium for a feature -- hydrophobic down -- the hurts more than it helps. If I could do it over again I'd probably get the Zpacks 20 degree bag or the Brooks Range Alpini 15.
- sleeping pad: NeoAir XLite: 9/10. This is hands down the best option in a tent. In a shelter it's too noisy. I sleep 90% tent and 10% shelter, so I'd pick this again.
- water treatment: Sawyer Mini: 9/10. This thing rocks. Arguably the full size one is better because the faster flow rate matters more than the extra 1oz. However, I'm engineering a gravity system for my mini (using just stuff I already have in my pack) that will make it superior once I work out the rest of the kinks.
- trekking poles: Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork: 8/10. These are solid and I'd choose them again. However, I thought cork was supposed to mold to my hands and it isn't. Also Black Diamond tells thru-hikers with gear problems to go fuck themselves, whereas Leki fixes gear for free, so I wish Leki made this product.
- flip phone on Verizon: 9/10. I get way better service than other people with this combo. I'm just missing weather on the phone. Also other thru-hikers transform into cell phone zombies as soon as they get wifi, whereas I do not.
- Kindle Paperwhite: 10/10. The perfect luxury for the trail. Lighter than a single guide book and the battery lasts effectively forever. The Kindle Voyage is too brittle and the cheaper Kindle lacks the backlight. I've read 11 books so far.

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Re: akratic's ERE journal

Post by Matty » Thu May 28, 2015 10:37 pm

Thanks for the detailed update Akratic. I’ve enjoyed reading about your trip so far! I’d love to do a long distance thru-hike like the AT at some point!

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Re: akratic's ERE journal

Post by thrifty++ » Fri May 29, 2015 6:49 am

I'm truly amazed at how quickly and how young you have become FI.
How did you end up having $46k in assets after travelling and before starting work? Didn't you have student loan debts and other debts etc?

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Re: akratic's ERE journal

Post by akratic » Fri May 29, 2015 8:02 am

Hmm, thrifty++, I did work before traveling. My work/travel history following undergrad is something like:
a) 1 year masters (free plus I got a stipend that I probably saved $5k of)
b) 2 years working
c) 1.5 years travel
d) 3 years working with extreme mindset
e) 2.5 years travel

Before b) the initial 2 years of work I already had some decent personal finance knowledge, having read Your Money or Your Life, Rich Dad Poor Dad, The Millionaire Next Door and some basic Bogglehead style investing books. In 2 years of work I maxed 3 years worth of 401ks and wiped out all $15k worth of undergrad debt (MIT gave me grants for everything else) and my car debt and saved up the cash that I'd travel on during c). At this point I thought I was doing pretty good living on $25k/yr and having around a 60%-70% savings rate.

At the end of c) -- when the travel cash was close to running out -- I found the ERE blog and then became more badass during d) and e).

I'm headed back to the trail in another 30 minutes. See you guys in a month or so. 8-)

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Re: akratic's ERE journal

Post by thrifty++ » Fri May 29, 2015 2:31 pm

Wow you really have been diligent. That's awesome. I have been taking longer than you to get my shit together. But I am happy it is happening at least. I am sure you will be able to apply similar strategies to buy that house in Boston if you decide to do so. Have fun on the trail

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Re: akratic's ERE journal

Post by learning » Sun Jul 05, 2015 7:17 am

from your May 28th post:
== Mind ==

The biggest thing on my mind is homeschool. I've met 14 homeschooled kids on the trail, and I'm shocked at how cool and capable they all are. With homeschool as a real possibility for my hypothetical kids, the locations we can consider living change dramatically!
I´ve be thinking about this lately, too. Would you elaborate on what your observations were of the 14 homeschooled kids you met? In what ways were they cool or capable that would be different from similar people who have gone through the school system? Would you share any specific ideas that you may have had about homeschooling your kids, any specific developments in your thoughts on where you would live intead of that area in Boston you were concentrating on, and how these changes would impact your financial planning?

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Re: akratic's ERE journal

Post by akratic » Mon Jul 20, 2015 8:27 pm

I’m at mile 1,500 now, in Massachusetts, over 2/3 of the way! I’ve being doing over 100 miles a week consistently, for at least the last eight weeks in a row. I’m now two days ahead of schedule.

== Body ==

I finally hit my stride and started feeling strong. My friends keeps telling me how skinny I am now, but it is a healthy weight, and the weight I was before the hike was unhealthy. My fitness is seriously improved, and I can charge up most mountains now without a break.

Admittedly, the terrain did get pretty easy there from the end of VA, through WV, MD, PA, NJ, and NY. Recently in CT and MA it has started getting difficult again, and the White Mountains of NH loom large.

I had thought I was done with being injured, but in the last week or two some earlier injuries — knee pain, Achilles tendonitis and shin splints — have started to resurface. However, I shall finish regardless.

== Mind ==

I’m still thinking about entrepreneurship, and my ideas there are increasingly refined. I’m also still excited about homeschooling my hypothetical kids, but that hinges on buy-in from my hypothetical wife.

I’ve read some good books recently, especially these:
- War and Peace by Tolstoy
- The Meaning of Human Existence by E. O. Wilson

I’ve also been thinking about the habits I want to choose after my hike is over. I will have a clean slate.

Although I eat 7 meals a day while hiking, my diet afterwards will be:
1) 500 calorie Vitamix breakfast smoothie with all vegetables and fruit needed for the day, plus oats and protein powder
2) 300? calories of Nuts (the only truly healthy portable food?)
3) 2,000 calorie dinner, one from a list of 15 and growing that we know how to cook, or a meal out occasionally.
You can probably see the Warrior Diet influence here, but I think this variation will be easier for me to stick to.

I want to keep the fitness thing going as well, and intend to buy both an erg and a weighted bar to hold while playing DDR, and then to combine that with regular weight lifting, occasional backpacking trips, and ideally some kind of pickup sport on the weekends.

Regarding computer usage, I’d like to be much more focused with my time spent online. I intend to accomplish this in a few ways. For one thing I will have new daily rules such as no time-wasting websites like reddit.com before 5pm and no internet whatsoever after 11pm. But also I will borrow the idea of the sabbath from religion or the “zero day” from hiking and institute one day every a week, probably Saturday, with no internet access whatsoever.

Regarding cell phone usage, I’m loving the flip phone I got for the hike. When I finish the hike I will probably cancel my Republic Wireless smart phone subscription and instead use a combination of Google Voice on my computer and the $75/yr Selectel Wireless plan on the phone.

== Interpersonal ==

The quantity of people that I’m meeting has dropped substantially, but the quality has risen. Here’s two of the more interesting ones:

An extreme hiker who has hiked almost 10,000 miles in the past few years. For him the 2,190 mile AT is but a section of a larger hike. Amazingly, his entire pack including food and water weighs just 7 lbs. He doesn’t have a stove or camping pad or tent or changes of clothes, of course. But even more shocking is his diet: 1-3 bars, such as Clif Builder Bars, per day, 300-900 calories total. That’s it, and he goes 30-50 miles a day. He trains in the offseason like a power lifter, adding tons of muscle and fat. Then while hiking he carries almost nothing but eats his own body. Either he’s a convincing liar, or nutritionists need to find this guy and study what’s going on inside his body. I’m pleased to have progressed far enough on the hiker Wheaton scale to appreciate the greatness of what he’s doing, rather than seeing him simply as insane.

An extreme father, with a staggering number of kids, all of which he expects to be millionaires by the time they’re 30. He's on the path to accomplishing this by encouraging them towards career choices that both fit their individual personality type while also maximizing ROI. Why get a four year engineering degree resulting in a $60k/yr career, he wonders, when you could get a two year dental hygienist degree and make $90k/yr. Then bust your ass from 20 to 30, spending little, investing almost all the income, and then be free to do meaningful work for the rest of your life after that. It’s hard to argue with him, and kind of surprising to find perspective like this in the middle of nowhere.

== Next ==

I’m fascinated by backpacking hammocks and want to experiment with hammocks both while backpacking and at home.

I intend to start a garden, in gallon buckets if necessary. This garden will be oriented towards utility, towards growing the things we regularly eat and seeing how that compares to going shopping.

And we’re still trying to decide where to live and what to do after my hike is over.

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Re: akratic's ERE journal

Post by akratic » Mon Jul 20, 2015 9:11 pm

@learning:

If you were to score these homeschool kids on various dimensions like social skills, integrity, athletic achievement, whatever, they would be near the top of the scale for every scale. Drilling into social skills in particular, they can effortlessly converse both with other kids but also, unusually, with adults. They can talk to strangers, they can carry conversations, they listen actively, the works.

For example, their parents want the kids to be bilingual, and rather than years of rote memorization, they'll just move to a spanish speaking country for six months and let their children learn from other kids on the street.

I mean basically what I learned through their example is that there's no ceiling on how well homeschooling can turn out. It just requires a lot of foresight and planning and effort from the parents.

As for specific implementation ideas, the important thing to get right off the bat is socialization. These kids on the trail have a barrage of places they meet friends that they attend every single week, including a sport, their church, and various hobbies.

My thoughts for later on in high school is my own kids could take every single AP test and class there is. If the kid crushes the SAT and gets a huge number of 4s and 5s across AP tests, it wipes out the legitimacy concern that colleges might have regarding homeschool.

Homeschooling might alleviate one of the biggest expenses you have as a parent, which is paying for a big house somewhere expensive with good schools. But more than that, it could turn out way better for the kids than public school.

I don't actually have things planned out in terms of where we might live in the future or how much money this would save. I just know it could change the game.

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Re: akratic's ERE journal

Post by cimorene12 » Sat Jul 25, 2015 8:47 pm

akratic wrote:@learning:

If you were to score these homeschool kids on various dimensions like social skills, integrity, athletic achievement, whatever, they would be near the top of the scale for every scale. Drilling into social skills in particular, they can effortlessly converse both with other kids but also, unusually, with adults. They can talk to strangers, they can carry conversations, they listen actively, the works.

For example, their parents want the kids to be bilingual, and rather than years of rote memorization, they'll just move to a spanish speaking country for six months and let their children learn from other kids on the street.
One of the Mustachians I met moved to Spain for a while. His twins were in bilingual school in Madison (still no idea how there was one in such a relatively small metro area), and they've assimilated well enough to stay a second year.

They've been traveling around Spain while based in Granada, and frankly his life looks awesome.

http://bucking-the-trend.com/
akratic wrote: I mean basically what I learned through their example is that there's no ceiling on how well homeschooling can turn out. It just requires a lot of foresight and planning and effort from the parents.
It absolutely requires a ton of planning and effort. I'm pretty sure you can handle it, though; organizational/logistical challenges don't seem too difficult for you. I'm sure that it will be an interesting problem to solve.
akratic wrote: As for specific implementation ideas, the important thing to get right off the bat is socialization. These kids on the trail have a barrage of places they meet friends that they attend every single week, including a sport, their church, and various hobbies.

My thoughts for later on in high school is my own kids could take every single AP test and class there is. If the kid crushes the SAT and gets a huge number of 4s and 5s across AP tests, it wipes out the legitimacy concern that colleges might have regarding homeschool.
I've been writing about homeschooling on my blog for years, as I believe it goes hand in hand with independence and self-motivation. I'm nowhere near an expert, but I've looked into different variations of homeschooling for my someday-maybe hypothetical children. How would you feel about just putting your kids in college from a young age? The Brainy Bunch is about a large family that sends their kids to community college around age 12, where their kids are still getting a lot of support. They've got pretty young kids who are doctors or going for their PhDs and stuff. Their kids aren't even that gifted. They are pretty average kids. Worth a read, I think.

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Re: akratic's ERE journal

Post by akratic » Sun Sep 27, 2015 12:02 pm

I finished the Appalachian Trail! Actually I finished three weeks ago.

I have a lot to say in this update, so I think I'm going to split it into two posts, the first about the trail, and the second about what comes next.

On the trail I lost 40 lbs with a diet consisting mainly of pop tarts, gummy bears, trail mix, crackers, cliff bars, ramen noodles, and all you can eat restaurants. I also lost the ability to smell funk/BO on myself and others. I learned knots, tenting, hammocking, and all about homeschooling. I started rising with the sun at 5am and being sound asleep by 8pm. I met a lot of interesting people, but none that I'll phone in a future crisis. I became the strange person at Walmart after not cutting my hair for 5 months, rarely changing my clothes, and only showering and doing laundry about once a week. I developed calluses all over my feet and surprisingly my hands. My achilles heels and the soles of my feet still hurt despite three weeks of rest. My heart is strong now, and I can breeze through activities that used to leave me out and breath and with a racing heart.

I am more confident in myself now. Hiking every day was hard, but I pushed through it. I watched countless others -- who appeared to be both stronger and better suited to life outdoors -- drop out or cheat. Cheating was rampant on the trail actually, and here are some of my own estimates of the percent of people who called themselves thru-hikers engaging in each activity:
- 30% "yellow blazed" aka skipped hiking miles by driving past them in a car
- 10% "aqua blazed" aka skipped hiking miles by paddling downstream in a canoe
- 90% "slack packed" aka had a shuttle driver to carry their tent and most of their gear while they hiked with just a day's worth of food
- 50% slack packed either south or north depending on what direction was easier; most egregiously they would drive to the top of a mountain and then hike south, and then the next day drive to the top of the same mountain and hike north -- never actually hiking the mountain, but technically walking every mile.

I never cheated and finished my hike as "a purist", a word with negative connotations for most hikers, as it implies a holier than thou attitude towards other people's corner cutting. I guess I did consider it lame when others cut corners like that, but I kept that opinion to myself and my closest friends on the trail.

I spent around $3k during these five months, plus the cost of gear -- probably 10% spent less and 90% spent more. The main things I saved money on compared to other hikers were alcohol and motel/b&b rooms.

I learned more about minimalism and needing less. On the trail, almost everyone is a minimalist, as every extra pound in your backpack is a really big deal. Except in rare cases, the people who started with heavy backpacks either quit or got significantly lighter. I found inspiration in other people's slim packs, especially the two hikers I met near the end with packs under 30L and 10lbs.

I never really got to be alone for extended periods of time. I picked the wrong trail for that. I saw the same people over and over as we would continuously pass each other. The way socialization works on the trail is that there are shelters every 10 miles or so with three walls and a roof. If you want to socialize, you go there. If you want to be alone, you go to your tent or hammock. I liked this system a lot better than normal life! Both activities are free, and it's very easy to switch between them, so you can effortlessly spend just the right amount of time socializing and being alone. I got significantly better at interacting with SPs, and I really treasured the handful of NT and NF people I found on the trail.

A few times I experienced an almost spiritual connection to nature and a true feeling of awe and having my breath taken away. Especially as a non-religious person, I treasure these few experiences, as they are unique in my life.

I also sometimes felt a strange sense that I was actually doing what my body was designed to do. Sometimes I would awake from "stealth camping" (camping at a hidden non-designated site along the trail) and look around myself and see no landmarks at all, nothing but trees and dirt. And yet I could find the trail again easily, something that should have been impossible. Also my brain seemed to work better while I was walking. A sleepless night which would have left me iritable and grumpy in normal life didn't ruin my day quite as much.

The main thing I miss from the trail, however, was the simplicity of life. For me, there were no temptations, and little need for will power. I would wake up with four days of food in my backpack, and four full days of hiking to get to the next Walmart. And so even if I didn't feel like hiking, or if it were raining, there was no choice to make or internal arguing or rationalization. I just hiked. Carrying an extra day of food just to allow myself to be lazy was out of the question, as a day of food is *heavy*. And if I slacked one day and didn't hike enough, the next few days would have become brutally hard. And so every day was about the same, and it was good. When I was tired, I rested. Usually I finished my 17 miles or so, and then I relaxed in earnest. I could relax either by talking to other hikers, reading on my Kindle, playing cards if the right people were around, or calling my girlfriend on my flip phone. And then as soon as it was dark I slept, and as soon as it was light I woke up.

When I compare this life to my regular life, even my post-ERE regular life, it just makes my regular life seem so deeply flawed. In my regular life, the categories of work, relaxing, and sleeping are barely separated at all, but instead blend together in this sloppy and ineffective way. When I "should" be working, such as developing a startup idea on the computer, I have to resist this strong urge to relax instead and open up another tab. The same can happen with sleep, where I have to fight to send myself to bed, instead of staying up pointlessly. Even my relaxing time in regular life is often spent ineffectively, as I repeatedly choose low impact activities like chain-watching youtube videos. On the trail I read 31 books, including some long ones like War & Peace. In regular life I don't read nearly this much, but I could!

I have this strong desire to design my life to be more like my trail life, more simple, and requiring less internal fighting. However, I can't figure out how to do it. It seems like I might need to do something drastic, like live without internet or without electricity. But I don't live alone. I live with my girlfriend, and so extreme ideas like that don't even get off the ground.
Last edited by akratic on Sun Sep 27, 2015 12:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: akratic's ERE journal

Post by akratic » Sun Sep 27, 2015 12:02 pm

Now that the trail is over, the main thing I want to do, other than simplify my life as described in the previous post, is figure out where to live.

We want to start putting down some roots somewhere. Our travels and adventures for the past three years have been fun, but we keep experiencing the same downside: by spending at most a couple of months in each place, we aren't allowing our relationships or friendships to develop into deep and meaningful connections. There just isn't enough time to really get to know somebody and let them get to know us. Instead, the end of the relationship is always in sight: when we move, when they move, when the trail is over, etc.

Unfortunately there seems to be no good choice about where to live. Our favorite people are scattered across the US and even across the globe. The few cities with a strong concentration of our friends and family happen to be brutally expensive: New York, San Francisco, and Boston, arguably the three most expensive cities in the country! (Actually Boston's inclusion is the only arguable part.) As a hundred-thousandaire, I will no longer be FI if we choose one of these three cities.

Mind you, we do want to live in a city. I love being car-free and walking or taking public transit everywhere. We also only connect strongly with a tiny percent of people, so it helps to have a big pool to draw from.

We would ideally like to be near our families in Boston and New York. However, I would be fine if I only saw my family one month a year, in Maine, where we all take our vacations together. For outside the box ways to stay connected with her family, the main trick we have is the whole family flies for reduced prices, and so a city with a direct flight to New York could be considered.

And so we started with a big spreadsheet of all the cities with direct plane flights to NYC. The main things we're looking for are walkable/bikeable/ideally with public transit, affordable, with a good quality of life, not too terrible weather and friend potential.

These are the cities still remaining on the spreadsheet: Chicago, Philadelphia, San Diego, Austin, San Francisco, Charlotte, Denver, Boston, Baltimore, Portland OR, Raleigh, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Virginia Beach, Richmond, Salt Lake City, Worcester, Charleston, Charlottesville.

The next plan is to take a road trip starting in New York and spending about a day each in the cities we don't know a lot about: Philadelphia, Charlotte, Baltimore, Raleigh, Virginia Beach, Richmond, Charleston and Charlottesville.

We leave on Wednesday. After the road trip, maybe we'll be able to make a decision?

However, I'm just not very excited about the prospects of living in any of these places. Our strategy for the past few years has been to do things we're really excited about, but in this case it feels more like choosing the least bad option.

I wish there were Galt's Gulch or ERE City or some other place that felt like less of a compromise and more of an opportunity.

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Re: akratic's ERE journal

Post by ether » Sun Sep 27, 2015 12:59 pm

Welcome back mountain nomad.

I think you'll find living in a big city will conflict with your desire to live a simple life.
Your search for simplicity reminds me of the character Levin in the story "Anna Karenina"
I spent half my life in Philadelphia and the city is anything but simple.
Unless you're living in Society Hill, your going to see a lot of unemployment, drug addiction, urban decay and desperation.
It's not a great place for a child to grow up and it's expensive.

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Re: akratic's ERE journal

Post by thrifty++ » Sun Sep 27, 2015 1:40 pm

I really liked your hiking story. Sucks that you cant live where your friends are. New Orleans would be awesome though! You could come to NZ. Its not particularly cheap but it is at the moment with the "Kiwi Peso" having plummeted to a 30 year low against the USD in the last few months. You could definitely live a peaceful and relaxed life here and go hiking all year to your hearts content without seeing a single person!

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Re: akratic's ERE journal

Post by m741 » Sun Sep 27, 2015 3:20 pm

Wow, congrats! I can't wait to see what your thoughts are about the cities on your list.

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Re: akratic's ERE journal

Post by Ego » Sun Sep 27, 2015 5:55 pm

Congratulations!

The trail sounds like it was an incredible experience as did your ski-bum winter.

I always find it interesting how we take things like roots and social connections for granted when we're enmeshed in them and then how we yearn for them once we are away for a while. We've found that choosing a place to live when we return to the US always seems to turn out similar to how you described pairing down your trail gear. At first we think we absolutely must have this or that, and are reluctant to compromise. Or worse, because we could live anywhere we suffer choice-paralysis. But then once we narrow it down to the essentials we realize that we could probably make a good life just about anywhere.

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Re: akratic's ERE journal

Post by nestbuilder » Sun Sep 27, 2015 6:35 pm

Have been enjoying your journal-thanks for sharing. I wonder if exploring more medium-sized cities/towns would be beneficial? There are decent options where walkability and pub transit are still available but you are not totally smothered in a concrete forest with a crush of people. At least for me, getting to a major airport several times a year, albeit 2 hrs away, is not prohibitive. In fact with bolt bus or shuttles, it is quite cheap.

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Re: akratic's ERE journal

Post by FrenchGirl » Mon Sep 28, 2015 8:28 am

Your journey to ER (and everything after) is so inspiring! A dream of mine is to travel an extremely long distance on foot as I imagined it would feel great physically (good for thé heart) and spiritually (the silence, the communion with nature, the performance), now your experience with the AT look like exactly what I dreamt about. I had no idea such a thing existed => yet another reason to spend a few months in the US at some point in my life.
Anyway, congrats on your performance!

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Re: akratic's ERE journal

Post by Quadalupe » Mon Sep 28, 2015 12:16 pm

@FG,

if you're into hiking, you can get this experience (partly) in Europe with GR routes (Grande Randonnée).

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Re: akratic's ERE journal

Post by FrenchGirl » Mon Sep 28, 2015 3:54 pm

@Quadalupe Thanks for the link! Not quite as good as the AT but definitely seems to be a good place to start

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Re: akratic's ERE journal

Post by jacob » Mon Sep 28, 2015 6:15 pm

@akratic - Methinks for such an important as "settling for the duration", spending more than a day in each city would be a good idea. For example, how would spending a day in Chicago reveal the practical implications of the hub-structure of CTA.---That getting to the loop is easy but that in order to get anywhere requires going to the loop along one line and then going out some other L line. (Rhetorical question; I think it wouldn't.) IOW, as for Chicago, this basically means choosing between brown, orange, pink, red, etc. friends as few seem to want to spend 2 hours on the train just to hang out.

PS: Also consider that settling anywhere very much cramps certain opportunities... while of course opening up others.

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