Something From Nothing Log

What skills to learn, what tools to get
bigato
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by bigato » Sun Mar 17, 2019 6:09 pm

Too bad you guys won't be visiting Brazil's capital this time :(

7Wannabe5
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Mon Mar 18, 2019 6:27 am

Ego wrote:We naturally revert to those things that bring us into flow.
Excellent point. I think everybody's ideal retirement is not far from how they would have spent their vacation time when they were 10 years old, given adult level freedom/competence, and a little bit of spending cash. I briefly dated a man who was early retired in his mid-50s from the building trades. His main hobbies were cycling and rummage sales, and he told me that when he was a kid he basically lived on his bicycle all summer (unfortunately, he was not at all bookish.) When I was a kid, I definitely made use of my bike, but mostly just as transportation to library, lake or candy store (sigh) with additional occasional use as something like very dangerous go-cart (down the hill to the lake.) This use of bicycle as accessory to adrenaline-inducing activity was also in play in my more recent activity of biking through very rough neighborhoods in Detroit, but I am mostly happy on my bike when I can fill the big wicker basket in the front with books or garden produce or a bathing suit and beach towel. If I bike-camped, the point would be to get to the next state park in order to explore the trails at a slower pace, with secondary motive being tricking myself into getting into as good shape as the devoted biker guy I dated. I mean, we were a pretty good match in other mutual flow context, but that's only because he took the aerobic lead :lol:

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Ego
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Ego » Mon Mar 18, 2019 9:26 am

@1task Ah, you know the truth. At the meeting for the hike the other day there were a bunch of couples. The guys all seemed to know the details. Where they would camp. What gear they needed. How long each day's hike would be. How to take the bus and ferry to get to the entrance.

Except for me.

@CL, @Rube & @Jenny @7w, Thank you!

@bigato, we almost made it to Brasillia. There is an inexpensive TAP Air flight from there to Portugal which we considered. It is the least expensive flight between South America and Europe. Combine that with the fact that Brazilians are just fabulous people and we were sold. But I started doing the timeline from here to there, El Chalten > Bariloche > Buenos Aires > Florianopolis > Rio > .. that put us out of season for Jordan. We will be back to Brazil someday.
jennypenny wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 5:31 pm
I sometimes wonder if my own family is happier/closer than most because my son's illness functioned as a common enemy that helped us bond. It's a weird thing. Ego used to say we all need to find challenges to make us stronger, but maybe it wasn't just about strength -- maybe he was getting something else out of it that he didn't realize.
While our contrived challenges are nothing compared to your real world challenges, I agree that difficulties bond people in ways that good times do not. Veterans claim that camaraderie is the thing they miss most when they leave the military.

It comes down to those stages of maturity... dependent > independent > interdependent. I'd imagine that there are some few rare people who are able to move from independent individuals to interdependence without catalyzing events. We've come to realize that contrived challenges bond us together in preparation for those inevitable times when the real world catapults a bomb into our world. In the end, that bond is the most valuable thing we have.

We went for a run this morning. It was close to freezing with a strong wind blowing hard on the waterfront. I had a song in my head for the entire run. Perhaps it fits here...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhMfd-NhCeo

SavingWithBabies
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by SavingWithBabies » Mon Mar 18, 2019 1:16 pm

So happy to hear from you Ego. I too hope you'll keep sharing. This thread/journal is one of my favorite here. We've kept flipping although mostly by buying low and selling high (reading about your free finds has always been amazing). Looking forward to hearing how your trip goes.

Freedom_2018
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Freedom_2018 » Mon Mar 18, 2019 3:37 pm

If you are doing the Camino Frances, in the town of Castrojeriz we found by sheer chance the ' Hospital del Alma'. One on the highlights of our Camino.

Oh and Buen Camino.

Gilberto de Piento
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Gilberto de Piento » Tue Mar 19, 2019 1:40 pm

Hi Ego, I'm happy things are going well for you and you are posting here.

My recent "something for nothing" items:
- Found a bike on a move-out pile last fall. It needed a bolt to get the brake lever working again. It was in great shape so it sold for $60.
- Bought a bike last fall for $10. A little rusty but mechanically good and a name brand. Fixed a broken spoke and sold it for $65.
- Found a front wheel on the curb last year. It worked fine so I sold it for $10.

RealPerson
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by RealPerson » Thu Mar 21, 2019 12:47 pm

@ego
We are in Latin America ERE style as well, and in a similar budget! We are also using new Airbnb because they are often so cheap (great Airbnb hack). But we have a thing with shared kitchens. Frequently people leave them in such a gross condition that it takes our appetite away. Do you have a way of dealing with that issue or some way of filtering out the good places? Would love to hear, especially pertaining to Latin America. Glad to see you back!

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Ego
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Ego » Mon Mar 25, 2019 7:39 am

The last day on the trail we were camping in the Torres Central campsite. Mud. Rain. Cold. And mice eating anything and everything left unattended. We were getting low on food and had only a small bag of pasta for lunch. I was anticipating a hungry evening. Leaving the bathroom there were two large ziplock bags full of an unbelievable assortment of nuts and berries just sitting on the top of the trashcan. They weighted about 1 1/2 pounds each. The bags each had a small hole where a mouse had chewed through the plastic to get at some goji berries. Minutes before I was considering eating a mouse for dinner so a few mouse holes were nothing. I brought the bags back to the tent like a conquering hero and we scarfed down nearly an entire bag in an hour.

Image

@Freedom, Thanks! We are doing the Frances and will certainly stop at the hospital.

@RP, Cool, perhaps we crossed paths? The cleanliness of shared kitchens can be a problem. Mrs. Ego searches the reviews for the word kitchen or cocina to see what people say about them. We carry our own pot, cutlery and cutting board so that helps.

We ran into a guy on the trail this week who told me he waits until the last minute to book Airbnbs. He goes through the booking process but then clicks "Contact Host" on the last page before booking. He uses this contact to offer the host a lower price. If they agree, they send him a special offer for the dates he selected. He said it works about 1/3 of the time.

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Ego
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Ego » Sat Apr 06, 2019 2:06 pm

Begpacking has become a thing. Or maybe I should say #begpacking. The simplest definition would be travel funded by different forms of begging, busking, selling or earning small amounts using your wits.

There are different types. Some write a cardboard sign and outright beg to get by. It's not so bad in Europe where there is a great deal of wealth but in Latin America the begpackers are in direct competition with Venezuelan refugees. Then there are the buskers, window washers and sellers of various things. In Medellin we stayed in a hostel where the Argentinean Workaway volunteer would make vegan chocolate balls in the kitchen and offer them on the street around the university for a donation. She earned enough to save for the next leg of her travel.

This week we've been staying in an illegal Airbnb in Barcelona run by another Argentinean who rented an incredible historic five bedroom two bath apartment, furnished it with Ikea furniture and listed it on the site. I peppered him with questions yesterday and was amazed at what he was willing to tell me just because I asked. The other rooms are rented to longer term expats who pay 400-500 euro each plus utilities. Our room rents for $40 per night. He pays 2000 euro per month rent and about 220 per month for all of the utilities. Back of the envelope calculations tell me he is just about breaking even and living here for free. Barcelona cracked down on Airbnb last year so he listed it with a fake name and incorrect address.

I've been surprised by the number of Argentineans we've met who have essentially given up on their country and are roaming around hoping to find somewhere to earn a reasonable living. While Venezuela is rightfully getting a lot of the headlines, I think Argentina might be an under-the-radar refugee crisis.

Tomorrow we run the Cursa Corte Ingles 10K around downtown Barcelona. Entrance was free!

https://www.cursaelcorteingles.cat/

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jennypenny
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by jennypenny » Sun Apr 07, 2019 7:02 am

Maybe Argentinians learned their lesson after the last go-round and are getting out sooner this time.

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Ego
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Ego » Sun Apr 07, 2019 10:38 am

@jp, I think you are right. It seems like everywhere we turn we are tripping over them.

Regarding something from nothing, we spent the last few days museum hopping. Last night we hit the Catalunya Museum of Art (free on Saturdays after 3pm) and today we visited the Picasso Museum (free on Sundays with advanced reservation) and the Barcelona History Museum (free on Sundays) saving a total of 72 euros or about $80.

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Ego
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Ego » Fri Apr 12, 2019 9:38 am

Since 2006 this guy has been one of my competitors on ebay. He is an ex pro cyclist who started out selling his end-of-season team issued cycling gear. Definitely something from nothing. Then he began selling the gear for his teammates and charging them a commission. He is located in Boulder where there are tons of professional athletes so he branched out to other sports and sold the gear issued to other professionals (climbers, skiers, snowboarders...). He got good at liquidating used gear so some of the manufacturers began using him to get rid of their returns. At one point he was the largest seller of used bikes on ebay. He recently got a $9 million injection of cash and expanded again.

https://www.outsideonline.com/2393460/p ... e-retailer?

I've often thought that it would be nearly impossible to scale this type of business. Apparently I was wrong.

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Ego
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Ego » Sat Apr 20, 2019 12:11 am

Yesterday we drove out into the Eastern Desert to see the desert castles and the Azraq fortress that T.E. Lawrence used as his base of operations during the Arab Revolt. Out in the middle of nowhere we passed the massive Azraq refugee camp built to temporarily house refugees from the Syrian Civil War. It provides shelter for about 40,000 of the nearly 1.4 million refugees living in Jordan.

I wanted to learn more about the camp. Among one of the UNHCR reports I found a few something from nothing stories.

The Inventors of Azraq
http://tracks.unhcr.org/2015/03/the-inventors-of-azraq/

Marooned indefinitely in this desolate wasteland, it would be easy for these refugees who have lost everything to give up hope. But despite the horrors they have seen and the hardships they now face, I meet people striving to improve their lives with the only tools available to them: their knowledge and determination.

A few short youtube videos
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyyePq0g9Gc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vb9WZWUh3Rc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wm5IF1erDAw

Kriegsspiel
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Kriegsspiel » Sat Apr 20, 2019 8:20 am

When he and his family arrived at the camp last June to find there was no electricity, the 52-year-old self-taught plumber and electrician took matters into his own hands.

Every family is issued a solar lantern when they arrive, but even in the desert solar power has its limitations. “Sometimes there is no sun, so we can’t charge the lamps. That means we would have to go to bed early. But there is wind, and wind is good.”

Using a dynamo he found at the local market, a wooden pole, some sheet metal and telephone wire, he built a wind generator that provides lighting for their shelter and communal toilet. As if that were not impressive enough, the only tools he had to work with were a pair of nail scissors and some pliers.
I think they may be referring to the Waka Waka. When you buy one, they donate one (something from nothing?). I have two, one of which can charge a cell phone. Great for camping trips or when the power goes out during a storm.

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Ego
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Ego » Wed May 15, 2019 2:10 pm

We bought tickets to the Bucharest opera for Sunday night ($10 each) but only have travel clothes so we'll have to buy something to wear.

The city has many second-hand clothing stores and a few Buffalo Exchange type places where people can sell their used clothes. We are torn between buying flamboyant costumes that would make the night more interesting but would be harder to resell or something more traditional that can be resold.

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Ego
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Ego » Mon May 20, 2019 10:27 am

We had a great time MacGyvering solutions for our outfits for the opera. It took us to areas of the city we would never have been to otherwise. We hit the incredible Târgul Vitan flea market and a bunch of thrift stores. I don't think we'll be able to resell this stuff but we'll give it a try nonetheless. While it doesn't look like it is going to be a something from nothing, it was certainly an inexpensive way to get an outfit for a one-off formal event.

Image

Image

7Wannabe5
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Mon May 20, 2019 11:47 am

@Ego:

Nice! I sometimes do something very similar when I am trying to break myself of the habit of wearing tattered pajamas until noon or the same pair of overalls everyday. I will flip through pictures in magazine or on fashion site until I find somebody vaguely approximating my phenotype wearing something approaching practicality for my lifestyle, and then try to recreate the look for less than $X.

I have often found that budgeting even just a tiny amount of money for a challenge like this is a better spur towards creativity than attempting to spend no money whatsoever.

Lately I have been so slacker-slob-style-minimalist in the girl stuff shopping , I was literally down to just one pair of pants in my wardrobe this weekend, and they were covered with mud from my garden, and I was on my way to check into a very nice hotel. So, I walked into a thrift store, bought 2 pairs of pants off the rack for $10 without even trying them on, and luckily they both ended up fitting perfectly.

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Ego
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Ego » Mon May 20, 2019 12:49 pm

@7w, Hah! You'll probably have those pants for years. Great story.

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Ego
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Ego » Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:58 am

People send this guy old handtools for free. He documents the restoration on his youtube channel and resells them on his website. Brilliant!

Hand Tool Rescue Youtube page https://www.youtube.com/user/erzzi6

www.handtoolrescue.com

Laura Ingalls
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Laura Ingalls » Sun Jun 02, 2019 7:51 pm

Ego wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:58 am
People send this guy old handtools for free. He documents the restoration on his youtube channel and resells them on his website. Brilliant!

Hand Tool Rescue Youtube page https://www.youtube.com/user/erzzi6

www.handtoolrescue.com
The steel in old ones is seriously superior to modern ones. My dad inherited his grandpa’s shovel collection in the early 1960’s. Many handles later still in the garage/shop at my parents. I would think that most of those tools would date back to my great grandfather’s young adult years ~1880-1890.

My dad always had a bucket of sand mixed with old motor oil that he would dip them in after use.


Your opera outfit reminds me of my 17yo ds prom get-up. All Goodwill except for the tie he had bought earlier and a borrowed belt. In about $25.

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