Travel Canada in a Camper

Quick Rant: I talk a lot about alternate lifestyles. Some of these lifestyles may seem strange but in the year 2017, a lot seems strange. With climate change, dwindling resources, and uncertain political climates, we need some drastic changes in the world to help get back on track and survive as a species. Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic, but it doesn’t seem too farfetched does it?

Not too long ago I discovered /r/vandwelling while being SUPER productive one day. Despite not spending my time usefully that day, I really discovered something I’d like to do. With a homestead as a frugal home base and a warm weather getaway property, living costs might cut into my travel budget. Enter an adventure van.

North America is a massive place, and I’ll certainly never see ALL of it. A van will help me get around to a lot of it, and do so on a budget. Never needing accommodation, having a place to cook, and keeping the amenities of home; these are all advantages of an adventure van.

There may come a day when I don’t need the van anymore, so I can pass it onto the next. The value from retrofitting a $5000/$6000 van will pay itself off in no time! RVs are hugely expensive and guzzle gas; I’m looking for a smaller platform. If I fall in-love with living in a van, I could always upgrade as well. An adventure van seems like a great way to test the waters of a different lifestyle. Check out the stories available on the web, instagram, reddit, and more. If van life isn’t for you, it’s certainly an interesting look into a different type of life.

I’ll continue to write about different lifestyles, with the hopes of people looking at alternatives. You never know how you might find happiness, try something new!

-Mike

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FIRE: Where is the excitement?!

Okay, so I’m going to humble myself really quick. I don’t know shit about Financial Independence/Early Retirement. I’m new to the idea, and I haven’t even gotten close yet. There is so much passion coming from the people involved in this idea, they study every aspect of how to make the dream the reality. These people are the sensei to my samurai; seriously. These people love the journey and the result.

However, maybe I just don’t see the raw excitement coming from some when they reach financial independence. I guess it’s sort of like winning a race; you’ve reach the end, you feel good but you’re gearing up for the next one. I really hope when I reach FI that I can showcase my passions and really share the experience with anyone who will listen. FI is when you earn true freedom and you really get to own every minute of your life. Yell about it! Tell everyone! Say everything!

I know a lot of the publications I read are tailored to their viewer, but I’d love to hear about how amazing the end result is! Listen to a podcast that makes me want to pickup my keyboard, throw it across the room and go buy motorbike and drive across south america. Maybe finance isn’t emotionally exciting, but it could be, you know?

Maybe I’m just being a dick and ranting. Maybe I’m showing my thrill seeking behaviour. Whatever. Hopefully I can bring some fire to FIRE.

Stay tuned for more heat.

-Mike

Useful Subreddits

I’ve been reading http://www.reddit.com for a long time. Typically I’d waste time reading useless junk. I mean I still do, but I used to, too. All jokes aside, there is a tonne of great resources on Reddit and tonnes of talented people. Find me at /u/torontosurvivalguide

Below are some subreddits that contain a treasure trove of useful information to help make you more self-sufficient:

Business

DIY

Finance

Food

Lifestyle

Philosophy 

Self Sufficiency

Shopping

Travel

I hope you find something you like!

-Mike

 

 

Technology to Support Simple Living

I frequently browser /r/simpleliving and I think a lot of times people miss the point. There is this idea that you have to drop everything and revert to the stone age in order to live a simpler life. I truly think that doing so is a step in the wrong direction.

Many modern technologies give you the tools to make your life simpler. Here are spme examples:

A Library Card: Get a library card and borrow books instead of buying them. Borrow eBooks and load them onto an eReader. Borrow DVDs instead of buying them or pirating. Use library internet instead of paying for a connection at home. Your taxes pay for this so take advantage.

The Internet: Manage your finances using online spreadsheets like Google Docs; don’t bother buying a business suite. Do you banking online, why bother trudging to a bank to move money around. Use the internet as a research tool to learn more rather than enrolling in a course. All of these things and so much more are available for free at your leisure.

A laptop: Don’t buy a TV, watch things on your laptop. Modern laptops are nearly as good as a desktop, you probably don’t need a desktop and all of the peripherals that go with it. Get a normal cellphone and use video conferencing on your laptop to keep in touch. A laptop is versatile; don’t buy a million internet enabled devices to feed every perceived need.

A Smartphone: Maybe you don’t need a full sized computer (I do) and a large screen smartphone will feed your need. Use apps to help rather than distract. Keep your apps limited to what is necessary; don’t download everything on the market. Social media apps are typically bad. I keep messenger and snapchat to keep in touch with people, nothing more. Additionally, don’t buy a top of the line phone; get a robust off brand model to save your hard earned dollars. A smartphone with a good camera is also a benefit, you won’t need another camera and you can collect pictures instead of things.

Apps: Tinyscanner is a great replacement for a scanner. I use Trello to keep notes (and I can access it from anywhere). Google Maps so you don’t need a physical map everywhere you go. Carrot Rewards as a step counter with free Aeroplan rewards to boot! As I said before, don’t download what you do-not-need.

IOT Devices: Find Internet of Things devices to help you reduce your impact. The only one I would use would be a smart thermostat to help reduce my power bill. Find things that fit your needs and don’t go overboard.

Things you probably don’t need: A smartwatch, A TV, Multiple Computers

See how technology can HELP you with what you need, rather than adding more to your life. Buy used tech if you need something for a short time. A used eReader is half-price and is much more expendable as a result.

Keep it simple, smartie.

-Mike

Don’t Sweat Your Past

Now, I certainly didn’t start off on a bad foot on my way to financial independence. I finished school and gained meaningful employment at 23 years old with about $5000 in the bank. This was thanks to generous investing in my education by my parents, and 40+ hour weeks for years during college. Additionally, I’ve been working since I was 13 years old in one capacity or another.

I’ve spent some money along the way: $60,000+ on travel, $15,000+ on some university that I dropped out of, 10s of thousands on partying and expensive food. All of these things taught me lessons and were a lot of fun, so I can’t feel too bad about it. Now I travel on better budgets, invest time teaching myself, party without over consuming, and cook amazing food myself.

You can enjoy life in so many ways without spending excessive amounts of money, which was a lesson I had to learn. I’m glad I figured it out when I did. Sure, if I had an extra $100,000 to invest I’d be miles ahead. In reality, I am already miles ahead of where I would have been had I not found this lifestyle. Many of the most important lessons in life are hard learned, so I consider myself lucky.

Forget about your past and focus on the future while making sure you take in everything along the way.

-Mike

Documentary: Slomo

I came across this documentary on Slomo, a man who took back his life from the poorly named ‘American Dream’. By his own choices, Slomo stumbled upon his meaning of freedom and life satisfaction after significant hardship. Listening to him talk about his new found freedom and life is inspiring, and I am glad I discovered a sense of what I want in life. Not everything is clear yet, but I see a light in the distance and I’m working my way there. Enjoy!

-Mike

The Story of O.J.

 

So I took the week off to relax and catch up on life. I’m just enjoying life, having a coffee, and listening to some music when suddenly..Jay-Z is rapping about financial independence. Woah.

“Financial freedom my only hope. Fuck livin’ rich and dyin’ broke.” – Jay Z

The Story of O.J. tells a much more heartbreaking story than just that of financial independence, of course. The song has to be one of my favourite Jay songs and probably will go down as one of the best songs of all time (seriously, give it a decade for the rest of the world to catch up). The above lyric really stuck out to me, as hip hop as of late has become an example of excessive consumption and selling consumerism. To have such a prominent artist telling the story of investing rather than spending is a step in a more positive direction for the hip hop industry. Don’t buy chains buy bonds. Buy the Rolex that will gain value, not the one with the most after-market gems. Ball out without financial fallout.

-Mike