2018 YEAR END SUMMARY
Well I did quite a lot.
MEXICO TO PORTLAND:
Feeling ready for a break from living and traveling in the van, I drove from the southern tip of Baja up to live with my closest friends in Portland. The plan was to hang out at their house during the winter, and then in the summer go out on some trips around the PNW with my van. It was great living with my friends.
Dating and finding lovers was going decently well. While Portland is full of interesting people, I don’t do the greatest there dating. I don’t stand out much. Also, a good portion of the locals are jaded and I don’t dig that. Still, it went well and I stay in touch with a couple women I met there, and share a warm adoration with one.
PROJECT MOM VAN:
My mom split up with her second husband in the spring. I pretty much knew what was coming if/when they split up. She’d buy an empty cargo van and ask for my help converting it into a camper. Right away, she did. I left Portland when the weather was getting close to perfect, and drove down to the human roaster of Oklahoma.
The van project went well. Took longer than I expected, but that’s not a problem. It was nice to live with my mom for a while, and she appreciated it a ton. Dating and friendships went decently well, but I did learn from being here and from a couple trips to Tennessee/North Carolina for family stuff this year that I wouldn’t be so pumped about living in the South.
If you missed it before, there are more pictures and info on page 47 of this journal.
LIVING IN TUCSON:
After finishing the van, I was going to head to California to putz around Santa Barbara and San Diego for the winter, but was hoping I’d like one of the cities along the way enough to stop to live there. I liked Tucson, and I stopped here.
Real estate is pretty cheap. Weather is great. It’s warm enough throughout the winter to do things outside. Summer will be very hot, but hot doesn’t stop me from doing much. There’s tons of interesting desert and mountain stuff right on the edges of town. And there are a fair amount of interesting people.
I rented a little 250 square foot house (with its own yard) for $575/month all inclusive. I like the house. There are pictures of it on page 48 of this journal. I’ve built a bed frame and a big shelf for the wall near the door.
I bought a motorcycle for riding around the city and for adventures out in the desert and mountains. It’s a little Dual Sport / Farm Bike. A Yamaha TW-200. Here it is:
It’s a 2009 model. It had only 1,100 miles when I bought it. It’s obviously sat a lot. It ran well though. The only issue, which I didn’t discover until after i’d bought it and went on a longer ride, is that the voltage rectifier/regulator always stopped working once it warmed up. So the battery would go dead. I did the troubleshooting to sort that out, replaced it, and it’s been good. I’ve done some work since it is old/sitting. Changed the oil, the fork oil (actually only adjusted the level because it looked good), and the front tire. I’ll change out the rear tire, the chain at some point, and maybe put in a different sized sprocket for lower RPM at speed (the bike is geared extremely low). I also put a rear rack on it and I attach a milk crate to that for carrying things. I’ve been riding it a lot, and enjoying it, and the bike has 2,100 miles now.
I use it for nearly all my in-city transportation, and numerous trips out of town - one to Phoenix and a bunch to just go ride around and explore. I’m loving this as a means of transportation and trying to drive my van almost never.
EXPLORING AND PLANTS
I’ve been going out hiking here and there. I put some plants in my yard, which was empty when I moved in. Mostly it’s a bunch of aloe plants that I got for free from a lady in town that didn’t wan them anymore, and a few cuttings of cacti from out in the desert and the adjoining yards.
I got some books on the Sonoran desert and on foraging plants for food and medicinal uses, so I’m looking forward to trying that out (for food)… “some day” I think I’d like using some foraged plants to make fancy soap, creams, deoderant, and so-on to sell to spendy people. But that’s a “some day” thing.
DATING AND FRIENDS
This is going quite well. My stock is high now and I have no shortage of women to date and sleep with. They of course aren’t all my type so I do some paring and choosing. I also have some budding friendships going.
The post FIRE challenge:
I think I have made things slightly hard for myself with my post-FIRE lifestyles, and I’ve found myself at times regretting my choices/timing. I built the van out, sold my house in St Louis, and went off traveling before I quit my job. That has been a lot of fun.
Now that I’ve stopped doing it, looking back, it also does not seem like a
‘normal’ phase of life for me. And also, now that I’ve been deciding where I want to live for the long-term, and how I want it to be, I’ve came to think that I had things going pretty damn well in St. Louis, and in many ways it is/was a good city for me. So I found myself wishing I’d just stayed there for a while after quitting. Or wishing that I’d continued working longer, which would simplify the process/decision of buying a house.
Anyways.. as I’ve been settling in here in Tucson, things have been going well. I’ve been settling in nicely, making friends, have been getting as many lovers as I could want/handle, and so on… I’ve also felt in some amounts lazy, unmotivated, and unfulfilled. When I saw this in M741’s journal, I thought I could have written it almost word for word myself:
m741 wrote: ↑
Thu Jan 31, 2019 6:56 pm
With all this stuff going on, I've actually been very lazy. I'm a bit lethargic and unmotived many days though I sometimes power through. I asked in another thread about personal mission, something that becomes a noticeable void when you stop working. My fundamental problem is one of meaninglessness - I'm not driven to complete any particular project, and as a result my days don't feel urgent and I don't really want to do a whole lot. I'm still thinking about how to deal with this.
I think I know
what to do
I feel that the more time/energy I spend on thinking directly about happiness, fulfillment, self-actualization, the more I end up finding gaps and feeling bad about them. I think it’s better if I set up good web(s) of goals every now and then, and just allow/trick myself to get focused on and lost in:
- Making and being around long-term close friends and lover(s)
- Working on hobbies, goals, systems
- Earning some more money to pay for a house and/or just feel more secure
- Having a well-established home that I enjoy
I’ve been getting on with this stuff, and have been feeling better. I do still need to reset/clarify my personal goals though.
… again… ?
Now… in terms of getting on with those: as for location, I’m happy so far with Tucson. It has its strengths and drawbacks and overall I like it. Ideally, for here, I would own a really small and cheap home, and would leave some/most summers or for as much as half the year to go travel. I’d often going up to the PNW and spend a good deal of that time away living with my close friends.
Another option I’ve started considering is go to back up and live with my friends in Portland full time. These are the friends I lived with for a few months at the start of 2018. I was going to stay longer, but left (much) earlier than planned to go help my mom. So I didn’t live out that phase up there to its end/conclusion. Nearly every time I talk with one of the two friends, she asks/demands me to go back up to live with them. And lately I’ve started thinking about doing it.
I like living in that area about the same as Tucson. The weather is quite grey and cloudy in winter, but there are still sunny days and with my flexibility, I can go outside on those days and soak it up. The thing that eliminates Portland for me long-term is real estate cost. But… my friends would probably be happy to have me live there not paying rent, maybe indefinitely, just helping them with home projects, caring for their dog, and being good company for them.
So… now I’ve created a decision for myself between staying in Tucson and settling in long-term vs going up to Portland.
Thoughts on staying in Tucson:
(+) I like the weather and land
(+) Enough people for friends and lovers
(+) Real Estate is relatively cheap (for now)
(+) Feels like a good long-term option - like I could stay here indefinitely
(+) Close to family (Brother and Mom are in Phoenix now)
(-) Long-term water shortage issues and climate change (will get warmer)
(-) Fairly high rates of poverty and property crime
Thoughts on going up to Portland:
(+) Would live with my closest friends. We have TONS of fun together
(+) Likely zero housing spending
(+) Tons of interesting people to make friends/lovers with.
(+) Heavenly weather in summers. Winters would be bearable/ok for me since it doesn’t get that cold.
(-) Wouldn’t be a permanent arrangement. When I leave there I might feel as I did when I stopped van traveling - that I spent the last years just messing around. Could offset this by focusing on earning money or establishing/building income sources.
(-) Living with the friends has it’s stresses. Main one is related to one of them being in a pretty big rut in some ways, which is out of my control.