RoamingFrancis' Path to ERE

Where are you and where are you going?
nomadscientist
Posts: 94
Joined: Fri Mar 13, 2020 12:54 am

Re: RoamingFrancis' Path to ERE

Post by nomadscientist »

jacob wrote:
Wed May 13, 2020 2:59 pm
Methinks there's a bit of survivor bias in the "be the best person in your field" advice. IIRC, he used the example of bothering to read a difficult paper that most other computer scientists hadn't. One field's high achievements are another field's minimum requirements. It's therefore important to realize the size of the lake one is swimming in before attempting to become the biggest fish. Smaller but highly compensated lakes are found in intersections and virgin territory. This is unfortunately also where a lot of business failures are found, but sometimes one can luck into it. For example, people who had spent a few months dabbling with HTML twenty five years ago suddenly found themselves highly paid experts because they could hack up the "homepages" that every company suddenly figured they needed. Smaller lakes with lower compensation are found everywhere.
How meaningful do you think the average compensation of the lake is?

I think I'd make far more as a top plumber than I make as a very reasonable physicist. Most professions have a tiny tail of extremely highly paid people who are basically not part of the ordinary distribution. If you want to be part of this tail in sports, music or science you are probably going to fail regardless of how good you are, but if you are competitive in one of these things there are less competitive but related professions where expecting to be in the tail is reasonable.

One part of this is that all professions eventually become "business", the real money is always in having an equity stake, and "less competitive" professions often (but not always) offer equity stake for more people at a lower level with less skill. A lot more plumbers than web developers are millionaires and I bet a fair few of them never graduated high school. That aside from the fact that corporate employment is simply disagreeable to most creative people.

FIRE can be seen as corporate employees trying to make this leap to equity stake, not by starting their own firm because it's good as impossible, but by buying out 0.001% of their employer.

RoamingFrancis
Posts: 148
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2019 11:43 am

Re: RoamingFrancis' Path to ERE

Post by RoamingFrancis »

RoamingFrancis' Transition to Vanlife

After some self-reflection, discussions with my IRL friends, and @AxelHeyst, I have decided that I want to move out of my parents' house.

Of course, I still want to follow ERE principles while doing this. I've thought about a couple different options - tiny houses, small apartments, RVs. The best option given my surroundings seems to be a van conversion. I've never done anything like this before, so it'll be a learning experience and fun project too.

I really like the design of the van in the following YouTube video. Simple and classy.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vsm6S1A7iSY

As I have never done anything like this before, planning the details will likely be a bit incoherent. Please bear with me and point out if there is an obvious lapse in my thinking.

I've begun to scout out places to park my rig around the neighborhood. Ideally, I'd be able to find somewhere to camp out right by school, and use the school's facilities for classes, showering, and social time. I found a beautiful forest preserve not too far away.

What remains is the actual logistics of a van conversion: figuring out solar panels, water, waste, cooking, etc. As I said, I have 0 experience, so I'm just going to have to dive in and try to learn. Will I be able to get this done before winter? No clue.

I will include more logistical details at a later point, as I have some other things to attend to tonight.

Renaissance Skill Updates

I've begun an online permaculture course and have finally made some progress in fixing my bike. It feels so good to fix things yourself. I'm not sure if I'm going to continue with the course; it seems a bit intellectually shallow and huckstery. I really want to understand the soil biology, ecology, and botany at a deeper level than what's been covered so far.

One cool concept that I learned about was Alan Turing's reaction-diffusion system. Fascinating! Unfortunately the course didn't provide much detail, so I'll be left with Wikipedia to try to understand more of the depth.

bigato
Posts: 2643
Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2011 12:43 pm
Location: Brazil

Re: RoamingFrancis' Path to ERE

Post by bigato »

What a mess of a van! I don't like it. And the design is not simple at all.
If you really want simple, take a look at C40's for ideas.

AxelHeyst
Posts: 175
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:55 pm
Location: The Mountains, USA

Re: RoamingFrancis' Path to ERE

Post by AxelHeyst »

I love the idea of doing a van conversion (obviously), I just gotta raise a big red flag with your climate (cold af winters). The best heating system vans have is their wheels - when it gets too cold, those wheels get a'rollin to warmer climes.

It can be done, of course, but I haven't seen anyone pull off a cold-weather rig build out without a) a ton of insulation and b) a decent wood stove. Only a wood stove will provide enough heat while keeping it dry in there as well, anything else will allow too much moisture buildup. But it's going to be tough stealth camping, if that's what you need to do, with a smoking flue pipe sticking out your rig. At any rate, it's also going to be tough to pull of a properly winterized vanbuild cheaply.

Plus there's the investment of time, which everyone (yours truly included) always massively underestimates.

I'm not you, but I'd look in to a shared room with cool people in your situation. What's the range of reasonable $/mo in your area for that sort of thing?

2Birds1Stone
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Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2015 11:20 am
Location: Earth

Re: RoamingFrancis' Path to ERE

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kw7nXz8SDRU&t= some ideas for you!

https://youtu.be/_6KvBnQJ-ws - "Sometimes the coolest way, is the jank way"

RoamingFrancis
Posts: 148
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2019 11:43 am

Re: RoamingFrancis' Path to ERE

Post by RoamingFrancis »

Thanks for the kind responses everyone.

@AxelHeyst The winter is definitely my main concern regarding the vanbuild. I am planning to spend the vast majority of my waking hours at the college campus, and really only retire to the van for sleeping. Maybe some sort of system with a sleeping bag and a space heater would suffice?

My area is fairly expensive - most of the apartments I checked are something like $1000 / mo aka too much money.

My intuition tells me that my best option at this point is to leverage social capital - I think I could probably find something cheap with friends or friends of friends. Though one problem with attending a community college in a fairly high-cost area is that just about all the students live at home; I might have to do some digging to find something.

@2B1S Thank you for the videos! I love van videos

jacob
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Re: RoamingFrancis' Path to ERE

Post by jacob »

I presume you've read Walden on Wheels then? Ken Ilgunas (formerly known as Spartan Student) lived in a van on the campus parking lot in North Carolina while getting his degree.

RoamingFrancis
Posts: 148
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2019 11:43 am

Re: RoamingFrancis' Path to ERE

Post by RoamingFrancis »

I have read Walden on Wheels; I really liked it. Ken Ilgunas is a great adventurer.

My main concern with the van is that I live in a much colder climate than North Carolina.

AxelHeyst
Posts: 175
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:55 pm
Location: The Mountains, USA

Re: RoamingFrancis' Path to ERE

Post by AxelHeyst »

Oh you know what, I looked up the data on your approximate location, which indicated it doesn't get much below 0F. The lowest lows are typically more in the positive single digits (F). I thought you would have to deal with weather a bit colder than that. ~0F is doable... you're not going to be *comfortable*, but I don't think it's as terrible an idea as I initially thought.

You're going to need some LEGIT warm sleeping gear. If you don't ventilate the van enough, moisture from your breathe will freeze on interior surfaces (this is basically going to be unavoidable to a certain degree, but some ventilation will keep it to a manageable level). Propane space heaters will *add* moisture to the space (and also they're a little dangerous in an enclosed space because gas and oxygen and stuff), so careful with going that route. That was my downfall last winter.

If you can park in a place with shore power (via that social capital magic you were talking about!) you can run an extension cord from a house to your van, and run an electric resistance heater and/or an electric blanket, and you'll be set.

I'm not sure how much juice an electric blanket pulls, you might be able to run it off of something like an 'enhanced' goalzero yeti 400, but I'd be doubtful. (By enhanced I mean, add another 35AH battery to it. I have one of these, plus a 1000w inverter, happy to share info on).

Other strategies: make a bottle of hot water on your camp stove in your van (with the window open!), wrap it in a coozie of some sort, put it in the bottom of your sleeping bag.

Don't do any of this stuff without a CO alarm in your rig. If you have any source of fire, make sure you have a smoke detector as well. I never sleep in any rig without CO and Smoke alarms (you can get combination CO/smoke alarms). If you have a source of propane in your rig, get a propane alarm too. Turns out you can't breathe propane.

One of the reasons I failed out of winter is because I was continually occupying my rig - sleeping, cooking, working, hanging out it in. Constantly pumping moisture in to it. It never dried out. Since you'd mostly only be sleeping in it, it'll get a chance to dry out during the day. Also, it'll mostly be well below 40F, so mold won't grow anyway. :lol:

RoamingFrancis
Posts: 148
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2019 11:43 am

Re: RoamingFrancis' Path to ERE

Post by RoamingFrancis »

Ooh, fun! That's good news!

I've got a high quality sleeping bag somewhere (I believe built for 0F), and I think I can get my hands on the rest of the stuff.

I am not Christian, but I do have a badass priest friend from local volunteer groups and she said I could keep the van in the church parking lot. I'm still gonna keep looking for other spots, but I've got at least one solid find!

If I can find a shared house near the school, that could be a good option too. I definitely want to move out, but I want to take my time and find the best choice.

RoamingFrancis
Posts: 148
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2019 11:43 am

Re: RoamingFrancis' Path to ERE

Post by RoamingFrancis »

Personal and Philosophical

I started this nursing degree mainly because I wasn't sure what else to do. Now I feel the need to clarify a deeper purpose. When I ask myself why I'm spending so much energy on this shit, my usual answer is "Why not?". I have a fairly natural propensity for foreign languages, and was definitely a language nerd growing up. Then I totally shifted gears and decided to study nursing instead, mainly because I didn't see many options at the time of the decision. Sometimes I ask myself why I'm not studying languages, which I'm already really good at, instead of trying to stay on pace with everyone else in science classes that I've always struggled with.

I think we are at a unique moment in history in which the worlds of Asian contemplative practice, indigenous entheogenic healing, and rigorous Western science are meeting each other in a way that could quickly improve the quality of life for a lot of people. I think an understanding of medicine, as well as the ability to learn languages and cross cultural barriers, could allow me to have a role in this investigation and live a life of service.

A goal for myself: I turned 20 a couple days ago. By the time I am 30, I want to have spent a year on silent meditation retreat. 10 days down, 355 to go!

Random Tidbit

I wonder to what extent circadian rhythms are ingrained into an individual. I, for example, tend to be a night owl, but I'd love the ability to wake up at 4:30 am as if it were easy. Is this just a habit pattern like any other, or are there deeper physiological principles at play?

Review of Getting Things Done, Part 1

This afternoon I read Part 1 of David Allen's Getting Things Done. Part 1 outlines guiding principles, and later parts add details. I am a Wheaton Level 0 in the GTD world. As such, I skimmed some parts, and reflected on others more deeply. I also noticed some connections to mnemonics and meditation in the book.

GTD is written from a "salary man's" point of view. It is aimed at the corporate world, but the concepts seem more broadly applicable. The core insight revolves around "open loops," aka distractive psychological gunk. The rest of the book talks about building an external system to unclog them.

Since learning that many Greeks viewed writing to be a handicap to the memory, I have felt shame using paper to keep track of things. I could feel Socrates' ghost looking over my shoulder and wagging his finger in disdain :D However, now I think that memorization is better reserved for deeply valuable information, such as memorizing the Dhammapada or foreign vocabulary. An external system is just fine for my deadlines!

Allen breaks productivity down into horizontal and vertical productivity.

Horizontal is essentially juggling different tasks. I suck at this and have no comments yet.

Vertical productivity is efficiency on a specific project. There is one concept I find particularly interesting - outcome visioning. Allen discusses an interesting bit of cognitive science. We notice what matches our preexisting beliefs and identified contexts. Carpenters notice buildings; dentists notice teeth. We can add and modify identified contexts through focused attention. Focusing on the color red will lead to deeper noticing of the color red in the future. Clarifying outcomes through focused attention can make it clearer how to get there.

This explains why loving-kindness meditation makes people nicer, and why practicing equanimity with a leg pain during mindfulness practice makes it easier to keep your cool when anger arises elsewhere in life. This has powerful implications for improving quality of life, and I'd love to dig into the nitty-gritty research of it! Focused attention can lead to long-term changes in cognition.

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