C40's Journal

Where are you and where are you going?
User avatar
BRUTE
Posts: 3187
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2015 5:20 pm

Re: C40's Journal

Post by BRUTE » Tue Nov 01, 2016 8:26 am

@C40: for strength purposes, leaning the feet against a wall is fine. free standing is badass, but brute is more after the strength than balance.

for simulating deadlifts, brute has some yoga bands. he just uses all the yoga bands together for isometrics. it's pretty intense, brute almost blacked out the first time he went all-out :) in general, brute really like isometrics.

pull-ups are tricky, yea. maybe from the back door of the van with the door open? C40 could also get a pair of gymnastic rings and throw them over tree branches, or even find a way to mount them in/on the van? they can be used for rows, dips, pull-ups, and more.

CS
Posts: 237
Joined: Sat Dec 29, 2012 10:24 pm

Re: C40's Journal

Post by CS » Tue Nov 01, 2016 11:28 am

Wow. Great photos. You are really using that wide-angle lens (and the associated distortion) in a fantastic way. Most people can't even see it, much less use it so effectively.

User avatar
C40
Posts: 2025
Joined: Thu Feb 17, 2011 4:30 am
Location: Western U.S.
Contact:

Re: C40's Journal

Post by C40 » Wed Nov 02, 2016 12:34 pm

CS wrote:Wow. Great photos. You are really using that wide-angle lens (and the associated distortion) in a fantastic way. Most people can't even see it, much less use it so effectively.
:-D Thanks!

User avatar
Viktor K
Posts: 282
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2016 9:45 pm
Location: China

Re: C40's Journal

Post by Viktor K » Wed Nov 02, 2016 2:40 pm

@C40

I'm super stoked for you man! A net worth or average monthly withdrawal rate graph would be cool. Now that you're "doing it" it'll be good for others to see how the assets fluctuate in retirement. I, for one, am super interested in doing what you did with the van once we hit our ERE over here. Living in the van would be a little difficult (not impossible) while being employed, but once you're free, what a great cheap way to spend a few years traveling around. Have you thought about that actually? How long does this chapter (van-life) last for? What's next? Or are you more in just a honeymoon stage right now, living life day to day? Stay safe on the road man but otherwise hell yeah! Keep taking those photos they're awesome!

NickHalden
Posts: 58
Joined: Wed Nov 04, 2015 3:48 am

Re: C40's Journal

Post by NickHalden » Fri Nov 04, 2016 10:16 am

I recognize the Cambria scenery from my roadtrip there 4 years ago. I was not enlighted by ERE principles back then so I spent like 20% of a years income in 3 weeks, but I LOVED it and will probably never forget about it.

Thanks for keeping us posted :)

User avatar
C40
Posts: 2025
Joined: Thu Feb 17, 2011 4:30 am
Location: Western U.S.
Contact:

Re: C40's Journal

Post by C40 » Mon Nov 14, 2016 11:54 pm

I'm making very slow progress on redoing my finances file and charts. I'm now in San Diego. I've spent some time with Ego and he's even more awesome in person than he seems on here and in his commercial and book. I've also started on a fun project with a friend who lives here. In the meantime, here's a little recap of my thoughts and experiences in Santa Barbara, CA.

SANTA BARBARA
 
On my way south, I stopped in San Luis Obispo for a few days. The big news here was that the plants in people’s yards started looking wonderful. And they smelled good! Really fragrant! Wow! Just walking around a block I’d walk by 4 or 5 different wonderful scents from these plants. This was the first city on my way down the coast that smelled this good. Maybe it just seems this way because I've spent little time here and haven't seen these kind of plants, but the plants people have in their yards here seem so much more beautiful and varied that what I'm used to from the midwest. 

After that I went down to Santa Barbara. There are some national forests around there, so I went into the forest to camp for a while. I went to the Santa Barbara district which is - big surprise - right by Santa Barbara. Turns out they are worried about fires right now and don’t allow you to do much of anything. You want to camp? Ok sure, yeah, you have to go into one of the 2-3 campgrounds right next to each other (basically a parking lot). Oh and you have to pay $20 per night. No fires anywhere in the Santa Barbara ranger district. No No No. NO! 

So I went down into Santa Barbara. I’d spend the next 15 days there.

Santa Barbara is really freakin’ nice.
 

SANTA BARBARA IN A FEW PARAGRAPHS
First thing's first: the best beach there is Hendry’s. It’s way better than the others. The second best beach is over by the 4 seasons resort, which has free wifi. Santa Barbara was the first place on my journey down the California coast where the water was warm enough to swim in relative comfort. It’s still pretty cold, but you can go in it without wanting to get right out. And it’s not cold enough to painful. The weather was absolutely perfect while I was there. The highs ranged from 70-85 and the lows were around 50-60. I spent 6 days at the beaches - at least a few hours each time laying on the beach, reading, and going in the ocean. 

The main road in downtown is State Street. It’s really nice. They’re doing shopping right. No mall. Lots of stores along a downtown street. There are pianos sitting on most corners along State Street. Each time I walked the length of the street (about a mile), I’d pass 4 or 5 people playing a piano very well. I never knew that so many people who are just walking around in public can sit down at a random (and I’d guess, pretty crappy) piano and play wonderful music. I bet there are very few cities where you could get music of this quality by placing communal pianos downtown and letting whoever wants play them. Maybe something to do with how much money people spend? (including piano lessons for kids)
 
This is a great city for road cycling, as long as you like going up hills. The city is on a pretty narrow stretch of flat land between the coast and hills/mountains. There are a number of different paved roads going up those hills. I rode up San Marcos St. 4 or 5 times. The views from that road are wonderful. Others (Gibraltar) are probably as good or better.

House prices in Santa Barbara are insane. I checked Zillow and put an upper limit of $500,000. No results. NO RESULTS. There are some small and crappy houses here but there’s not one for sale for less than half a million. People here seem to spend a LOT of money.

The age demographics here are odd. There are a ton of old people. There are a lot of college kids. There’s not many people in between. Except for in the Mexican parts of town. They have all the normal age ranges. 




HOW ABOUT A HISTORY LESSON?
There is some interesting history here. It’s now been a few weeks since I read about this so I forget the names and the details are cloudy.
 
There was a guy - an American - a decorated guy who had some fame for bravery, exploration, and other successes. He was in charge of the American military in the area at the moment when the U.S. decided California was too awesome to let Mexico keep having it. This awesome guy lead the U.S. Army (or whatever) over the nearby mountains to storm into Santa Barbara for a battle.

Backing up a little - the Spanish had set up a fort in Santa Barbara. It was a few acres in size. It was some buildings and hallways that made an outer square, with most of the middle open (although there were also houses and other buildings added to the middle at some point). 200 people lived in there, and 50 or so were soldiers. Now, I guess, this fort and the land were a part of Mexico.

So the brave Americans come running down the hill over the mountains. It was snowing and cold and everything up there. Windy as hell. Slippery. Treacherous! A bunch of their horses and mules died. But no soldiers. They came charging down the hill towards Santa Barbara, foaming at the mouth, ready to crush these little Spaniards/Mexicans into oblivion. 

The Mexicans in the fort saw them coming and were appropriately worried. A nice old lady in the fort convinced the leadership that it wasn’t worth fighting. When as the Americans charged in, the Mexicans said “nah, we don’t want to fight”. So they didn't fight. I don’t know exactly what happened next. But pretty soon all of California belonged to the United States.



VANDWELLING IN SANTA BARBARA
It’s easy.

Parking is no problem. In the suburbs to the west, there are plenty of neighborhoods with room to park. In Santa Barbara itself, it’s more congested, but still pretty easy to find spots. The tricky part is the street cleaning schedule. They have a very specific rotation and each street has a 2 hour “No Parking” window every week when the street sweeper comes through. The schedule is all spread out, so one street may be closed 8-10am Monday, and the next 1-3pm Tuesday, and so on, with the cleaners appearing to work full days all weekdays. Well, one time I parked and forgot to check the sign, and I happened to pick the wrong street at the wrong time and caused a little bit of the street to not be cleaned and got a ticket for $50.

If you’re looking for easy places to park where you don’t have to worry at all during the night about someone not liking you parked there, this is the best one in town: (34.426664,-119.690942). If you want to park near a library and where you solar panels will get lots of sun, this is a good area: (34.424184,-119.678544). 


Shopping area at night - just off State Street.
Image

At the beach - the one by the four seasons
Image

Image

Image
 
When I was taking the pictures above, a guy walked by and talked a bit. Then I saw him a little ways down the beach and we spoke more - for about an hour. He's probably in his 50's. When I told him about my van and traveling, he told me a bunch of stories of his own - how he's had two different Volkswagon vans that he either lived or traveled in. How he went to Yosemite a TON of times and would camp there against the rules, hidden in plain site in his van (and would just not respond to the knocks of rangers, which would quickly move on) or hidden out in the park, at times in a sleeping bag on a tarp, out in the open with no tent, just nestled in some prairie. He said there are groups of climbers and other sorts of people who know a bunch of tricks for free camping in Yosemite. 
 
 

On the way down to San Diego
Image
I love this picture :-D 

What’s next?
- I’ll be in and around San Diego for the next month or more. (I drove through the entire Los Angeles area quickly. I wasn’t in the mood for LA. I did have an In N Out Cheeseburger. mmmmmmmm, yeah buddy!)
 
A lot is happening in San Deigo. I'll have some cool stuff to share.

User avatar
BRUTE
Posts: 3187
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2015 5:20 pm

Re: C40's Journal

Post by BRUTE » Tue Nov 15, 2016 1:00 am

has C40 tried protein style at In & Out?

User avatar
C40
Posts: 2025
Joined: Thu Feb 17, 2011 4:30 am
Location: Western U.S.
Contact:

Re: C40's Journal

Post by C40 » Tue Nov 15, 2016 1:13 am

BRUTE wrote:has C40 tried protein style at In & Out?
I have not. That sounds good. Or, at least, it sounds ok. I'll try to remember this the next time I eat there. So far I'm at about one visit per three years.

User avatar
cmonkey
Posts: 1593
Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2014 11:56 am

Re: C40's Journal

Post by cmonkey » Tue Nov 15, 2016 8:53 am

C40 wrote:On my way south, I stopped in San Luis Obispo for a few days. The big news here was that the plants in people’s yards started looking wonderful. And they smelled good! Really fragrant! Wow! Just walking around a block I’d walk by 4 or 5 different wonderful scents from these plants. This was the first city on my way down the coast that smelled this good. Maybe it just seems this way because I've spent little time here and haven't seen these kind of plants, but the plants people have in their yards here seem so much more beautiful and varied that what I'm used to from the midwest.
One of my goals in life is to live in a different climate, and this is the motivator. I'd like to experience year-round gardening at its finest, but I don't want to give up that 4-season living either. So it's tricky, but I bet we can figure it out.

This year would suggest that I might not need to move, though. A new climate seems to be finding me :P

I'm really glad you have kept updating!

sky
Posts: 807
Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2011 2:20 am
Contact:

Re: C40's Journal

Post by sky » Tue Nov 15, 2016 3:19 pm

We loved San Diego and thought about staying permanently.

http://www.cheaprvliving.com/forums/Thr ... ture-heavy

User avatar
C40
Posts: 2025
Joined: Thu Feb 17, 2011 4:30 am
Location: Western U.S.
Contact:

Re: C40's Journal

Post by C40 » Tue Nov 15, 2016 3:29 pm

sky wrote:We loved San Diego and thought about staying permanently.

http://www.cheaprvliving.com/forums/Thr ... ture-heavy
Oh thank you, those look like great locations (some of which I've seen over the last week). Yeah, San Diego is wonderful. Everyone has their own preferences, but after driving through San Francisco and Los Angeles, San Diego feels like an Oasis.

_JT
Posts: 29
Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2016 2:40 pm

Re: C40's Journal

Post by _JT » Tue Nov 15, 2016 4:23 pm

SLO, Santa Barbara, and San Diego are all great. Although I also loved LA when I lived there. But it takes some time to get into.

User avatar
C40
Posts: 2025
Joined: Thu Feb 17, 2011 4:30 am
Location: Western U.S.
Contact:

Re: C40's Journal

Post by C40 » Mon Nov 21, 2016 9:03 pm

THE “JUST PICK IT UP” STRATEGY

My family and friends of course all know that I’m living in the van. I’m doing something that seems quite unique to them, and that has it’s own little challenges or opportunities to optimize. This combination has generated some interesting “you needs” from them, and some interesting “well, I don’t exactly need” explanations from me.

When I’m talking to a family member or friend, some of them have said, in a way that’s apparent they’re now remembering something they thought of or saw before, “Oh, you need an [ACB] for [XYZ]. The things they bring up are not stupid, they often just wouldn’t be worth buying for me, or they wouldn’t be worth having given my space limitations. Some things include:
- A toilet/porta potty thing
- A grill
- Metal sticks to roast things over a fire with
- At least 5 other things I can’t remember.

I should just say, “oh, thanks. That’s so nice you thought to tell me about that, I’ll check it out”. But my INTJ way of thinking and whatever other social ineptitude I have leads me to say “well, that would be cool to have at certain times, but ……”. Often the issue is that the recommended item would only serve one function, and occupies too much space to be worth carrying just for that one purpose.

Sometimes, I’m able to use this explanation:
[quote=”C40”] Generally if I’m able to fulfill the function of a [THING] by just picking something up off the ground, I don’t need to carry around a [THING] in my van all the time. When I need to do [xxx] I could just find a [yyy] on the ground and use it”. All three of the examples above actually fit this pretty well.

- I don’t need to carry around a toilet inside my van, because all I need to poop in is a little hole in the ground, and a trowel takes up barely any space in my van (and in cities there are toilets all over the place)
- I don’t need to carry around a grill when I can just make a fire on the ground.
- I don’t need to carry a metal stick for roasting things on a fire when I could just pick up a stick off the ground and sharpen one end
[/quote]

Jacob explained this when he was on a podcast years ago, talking about a grill not being needed if you can just take the rack from inside your oven outside and put it on some rocks. Was that his interview on “The Survival Podcast”?

So, something good to keep in mind when you think about buying something (and all the effort that goes along with that – researching, going to a store, deciding, storing, etc.) is: “can I just pick something up off the ground to serve that purpose?”



Image




THE “DO NOTHING STRATEGY”

This one is golden, especially when it comes to limiting spending on hobbies and fun stuff.

Here’s an example:
I have a bike computer that’s 8-10 years old. It’s a good one. I haven’t used it for years. I decided recently to start using it again. It’s a Garmin computer that has a mapping system, routes, ride history, etc. It has an internal rechargeable battery. So I needed to charge the battery. It uses micro USB. I didn’t have a Micro USB cord. Over the next week or so I looked while I was in stores that might have one. Nope. None. Too outdated. Ok, they’ll be really cheap online. Nope. $20.

I’m not spending $20 on an outdated $3 cord. So I just did nothing. It went on the mental (and written) list of things I want.

Fast forward a month, at my friends house. They like bicycling we went on some rides together. I brought up the micro USB cord thing. My friend said “oh, I might have some of those in the desk in our office”. We go in there, open the drawer, and there are SIX micro USB cords right on the top. Ha!

Doing nothing has saved me thousands of dollars, at least hundreds of hours of effort, and in many cases has solved my problems better than just buying something right away.

This strategy works best when you’re also able to not have crises in your life. A crisis needs to be solved immediately. Immediate solutions are often expensive and not entirely effective. The opportunity and willingness to wait, or to “do nothing” works wonders for bringing you serendipity. Other times helps you realize that you didn’t really want or need that thing so bad.




Image





FUNNY MOMENTS WITH MY FRIEND


FREE STUFF JUST APPEARING!
My buddy who lives in San Diego is a videographer. When I got to town he said “Where are you parked? I’m coming to meet you to smoke a joint an talk business”. That business was that he wanted to make a video about me living in the van.

We were out shooting the other weekend. The first place we went was a little area of dirt overlooking a beach and sort of swamp. While he was setting up his camera and the shots, I walked around to move trash that was probably in the shots. One of those trash Items happened to be a 6 pack of tall beer cans, with four of the cans remaining in the 6 pack. Unopened. The cans and seams were undamaged so I took the 6-pack over to my friend to ask if he wants it. He did and said that it’s a fancy beer. $15 for a 6 pack.

The third location we went to was near a Library. We found a parking spot in the Library and started walking over. As we walked past the front entrance, there was a rack of books and magazines with a “free” sign on it. One book quickly stood out to me, about a subject we had been discussing with the friend’s girlfriend last night , something she seems very fascinated about. We took another book, and about 10 magazines that my friend likes reading. Score!



Image




TRASH EPIDEMIC OF THE “RICH”

One evening we did some shooting near a beach. That’s where the pictures in this post were taken. While driving back towards my friends house, we went down a road with beachfront houses. My friend noticed some trash cans out on the street and said “oh yeah, this street is a dumpster diving goldmine”. He listed a number of nice things he’s found here left out for trash by their owners. Furniture, electronics, etc. After passing 10 or so houses, a trend was apparent. These people throw a lot away. Every house had multiple trash cans out. Some had SIX or SEVEN! I thought maybe this was just because trash pickup was infrequent. Surely, with this much trash, it must only be collected one a month. Or every other week? I asked my friend. He said “oh, the trash is picked up twice per week”. TWICE PER WEEK!

By my quick calculations, these households are throwing away somewhere between one and four THOUSAND pounds of stuff per month.




I’ve hung out with Ego a number of times since arriving in San Diego. I want to write about some of the things I’ve learned of/with him, but after writing the above I need a break. So, stay tuned folks.

CS
Posts: 237
Joined: Sat Dec 29, 2012 10:24 pm

Re: C40's Journal

Post by CS » Mon Nov 21, 2016 9:51 pm

That's an amazing amout of trash. Holy cow.

Love that you guys found beer on the beach. Now if someone would just leave some gluten free beer sitting around here, life would be golden.
Last edited by CS on Tue Nov 22, 2016 11:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
theanimal
Posts: 1077
Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:05 pm
Location: Gates of the Arctic
Contact:

Re: C40's Journal

Post by theanimal » Tue Nov 22, 2016 2:36 am

Beautiful light in your pictures.

I get the same offers in terms of things that could better my life. Portable washing machines, ideas for power etc. All are well meaning, but I have the same tendency as you and tend to shoot them down right away. Another area in which to improve.

Looking forward to your next post. And if you're willing to share, it'd be great to see the video your friend makes once he's done with it!

User avatar
bryan
Posts: 1002
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2014 2:01 am
Location: mostly Bay Area

Re: C40's Journal

Post by bryan » Tue Nov 22, 2016 4:55 am

Nice post!

> - I don’t need to carry around a toilet inside my van, because all I need to poop in is a little hole in the ground, and a trowel takes up barely any space in my van (and in cities there are toilets all over the place)

On one hand I agree, considering I did without one for two years mostly in urban environs. On the other hand a toilet is the one item I kept telling myself I would be sure to include in my final build.

User avatar
cmonkey
Posts: 1593
Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2014 11:56 am

Re: C40's Journal

Post by cmonkey » Tue Nov 22, 2016 10:10 am

I practice that 'do nothing' thing quite often, usually with books I want or video games I'd like to get on Steam. Wait for them to come down in price to less than 90% of the original price. In fact, I might not even want them by then. If I do, then I get them and spend practically nothing.

We don't really get the "You could really use item XYZ" comments. Instead they are just bought for us. :? Unfortunately the only permanent solution is trash service as it just seems impossible to give certain things away.

+1 on the trash level, that is insane. :? Maybe they are in reality minimalists with relatives that just won't STOP giving them shit. :lol:

User avatar
C40
Posts: 2025
Joined: Thu Feb 17, 2011 4:30 am
Location: Western U.S.
Contact:

Re: C40's Journal

Post by C40 » Sun Dec 04, 2016 11:16 am

WEBSITE!
I made a website. It’s basically a blog. The website is called My Wild Dreams. So far I’ve just been setting up the front/landing page, and making a few blog posts to get started. I think I will try to get caught up on my trip reports so far. Now’s a good time for that because I’ll be moving slow during the winter.

Here are the main reasons I started the blog:
  • * To work on improving my writing (I think having a website will help me challenge myself more than I do with just forum posts)
    * To have a better place to share my travels, the places I go, and the pictures. I’ve been posting on a couple other travel related forums, but I think this will be a better outlet. I should be able to control the formatting better (though so far, within the blog posts, I definitely can’t). I chose a name that’s not specific to vanliving so that if I want, I could continue the blog after I move on to other things, without having a mismatched name.
Expected subjects:
  • * Travel tales
    * Some overall Vandwelling information
    * Some personal finance information (nearly all people who want to live in vans and travel are interested in that side of it)
    * Pictures!



PODCAST EPISODE
I was on a podcast. It’s called Fighting Failure. The podcast is mostly meant for people considering or making entrepreneurial efforts, but he story would be useful for his target audience. My episode can be heard here: Fighting Failure Episode 6 – A Path to Freedom. We talk mostly about personal finance, early retirement, and reducing spending. It’s 30 minutes long. It’s a pretty basic conversation. Those already familiar with ERE/FIRE won’t learn much new, or anything at all. If you’d like to put a voice to the name, here you go.

How it happened:
Not long after arriving in San Diego, I hung out with an old friend for a weekend. One evening, a friend of his invited us to meet them at a bar/restaurant to watch some UFC fights. While there, my friend was telling one guy (Jared) about me being retired, living in the van, and traveling. Earlier, I’d overheard Jared telling another about a project he was working on. Some stuff about how people don’t go after their dreams (enough) because they let their fear of failure get in the way. Jared talked to me a bit and asked me if I’d be on his podcast. Sure, what the hell.






FINANCE
  • * I chose health insurance for next year. I just continued with the same plan. The total price went up a BUNCH, but for my estimated income next year, the subsidy is huge. My projected monthly premium is under $40!
    * Looking at my data for the last two months, it appears my basic monthly spending will be around $600 per month. That doesn’t include hobbies or entertainment, so my actual spending will be higher. I could get the basic cost down to under $500 pretty easily.



PICTURES

(I’m behind on processing them… here are a few)

On a walk with friends:
Image

Image

Image

Image



I have some To-Dos for December:
  • * Update financial tracking file. Need to revise it to better match my current focus. My old file was build during my acquisition phase and focused on that a lot. I have some ideas but haven’t worked on it at all yet. I’d like to get it ready before January.
    * Need to check my capital gains YTD and see if it makes sense to sell some stocks to reduce it to zero. And maybe I carried forward capital losses… need to check that too.
    * Get the hell out of the city. I’d been in cities (other than while driving) all the time straight since I was in northern Oregon! That’s like 6 weeks. Yesterday I came out to a National Forest northeast of San Diego. It’s very nice up here. The weather is perfect during the day but cold as hell at night. My MIFI internet speed is faster up here than in most cities, so I have the best of both worlds – an amazing place to ride my bike, take pictures, look around, and still the ability to do computer stuff that I want to.

frihet
Posts: 140
Joined: Thu Jun 06, 2013 10:33 pm
Contact:

Re: C40's Journal

Post by frihet » Sun Dec 04, 2016 1:15 pm

Thanks for sharing your journey. Really beautiful pictures. Looking forward to see more of them on your new blog. The open spaces you have in the US is really something. Strikes an expansive cord in my being. Recently drove from Denver to Crestone for a retreat with some other Swedes. Wished the whole journey that they would stop talking and let the scenery wash through them instead.

Envious of your long silent drives.

User avatar
Ego
Posts: 3973
Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2011 12:42 am

Re: C40's Journal

Post by Ego » Sun Dec 04, 2016 3:11 pm

Hey, the website looks fabulous! And the podcast. Nice job. You did a particularly good job outlining the basic ideas of ER to an audience who wouldn't naturally be open to them. Very well done with both!

Post Reply