RV52.com - The "Start Here" Button for RVing http://rv52.com An information resource for new or future RVers Tue, 27 Jan 2015 01:25:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1 Understanding RV Model Numbering – Quick Notes http://rv52.com/little-things-ive-learned-about-rv-naming/ http://rv52.com/little-things-ive-learned-about-rv-naming/#respond Sun, 25 Jan 2015 03:15:00 +0000 http://rv52.com/2010/03/12/little-things-ive-learned-about-rv-naming/ This might seem like a silly post, but here are some little things about how recreational vehicles might be named or what the little designations might be in their model numbers. Understanding RV model numbers makes RV shopping much much easier. It will also help you to get a bogey on price without actually talking […]

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This might seem like a silly post, but here are some little things about how recreational vehicles might be named or what the little designations might be in their model numbers. Understanding RV model numbers makes RV shopping much much easier. It will also help you to get a bogey on price without actually talking with anyone – just for quick mental notes of course.

I don’t think this is a hard and fast set of rules, but this should get you close.
SS = Super Slide
FK = Front Kitchen
RK = Rear Kitchen
RL = Rear Living
FL = Front Living
Q = Queen bed somewhere
K = Kitchen somewhere, many times this is used to show off the outdoor kitchen.
RE = Rear Entertainment (not much different from rear living)
BH = bunk house (extra beds for kids – not for example the kitchen table converting into a bed)
Once you know this code, then you can start to figure out the other variants manufacturers use.
The numbers in the model number seem to come in two varieties – One number that is more like square footage and one that is simply the length of the unit. Typically, you can tell them apart because square footage has an extra digit.
392 = 392 square feet. I think it counts the slides extended.
292 = 292 square feet.
29 = 29 feet (29 * 8) = the real square footage.
Now that you know the numbers and the letters, you can very quickly understand an RV and have a pretty good idea of what is in store for you.
Examples of different RV model numbers and what they translate to as near as I can tell:
  • Puma 19-RL — 19 foot rear living travel trailer
  • Puma 23-RBFQ — 23 foot Rear Bunk (or bath) Front Queen. This one actually is 28 feet long so the 23 doesn’t make much sense, but I think you could also think of it as a way to “sort” the product line from smallest to biggest with length as an approximation. In other words – don’t get too hung up on it.
  • Puma 28-RBSS — 28 foot (approx) rear bath super slide.
  • Puma 31-RDKS — 31 foot (actually 34) rear dining kitchen slide.
  • Keystone 288RLS — 288 sq ft (appxo 32feet x 8 feet wide) rear living slide
  • Keystone 330RBK — 330 sq ft rear bunk (outside) kitchen.

Of course these are my guesses – they  don’t really tell me, but I think I’m pretty close overall. Now that you have at least a partial decoder ring, the models can mean a little be more and be more useful to you. It isn’t a perfect scheme, but I think you’ll find it handy.

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RV ing lite – Things you really NEED in an RV for a good experience http://rv52.com/rv-ing-lite-things-really-need-rv-good-experience/ http://rv52.com/rv-ing-lite-things-really-need-rv-good-experience/#respond Sun, 18 Jan 2015 15:34:29 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39583 (this is an excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV) There is an old Zen saying – “Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.” What that means is that even though you may have really arrived at the pinnacle of mental states and internal peace, life still goes on. You still […]

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(this is an excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV)

Tweet This:@rv52 - Thx for making a list of the things we NEED in our RV - http://rv52.com/?p=39583 #RV

There is an old Zen saying – “Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.” What that means is that even though you may have really arrived at the pinnacle of mental states and internal peace, life still goes on. You still need to perform some basics.

The same applies for the Spartan RVer. You may have reduced your lifestyle, but you still need to have some things. Not all things are bad. The whole idea is to have what you need and very little else. It is NOT to have nothing.

There are some items that I would consider so important that I would say they are essential. Some of these things would be on my “essential” list.

* Scanner/Printer combination – I have been using Epsons for several years and have found them more reliable, easier to use, and longer lasting than Canon’s and HP’s. This is critically important because it is a portal in and out of your digital life. You have to be able to scan things. I like a scanner much better than digital photographs from your cell phone. They are much smaller, better auto cropped, and don’t get mixed in with your personal photographs. You get to avoid sorting pictures on your computer. I also think you need a printer. I’m always printing something – without a printer the inconvenience factor would be really, really high.

* Computer Laptop – I think a computer is essential. It stores your digital life. It is a communications portal. You can share your digital life with it. You can order things with it. You can do things with your computer that you can’t do with a smartphone or a tablet. Plus isn’t it nice to have a keyboard? I cannot, under any circumstance other than editing video, see the need for a desktop computer. A laptop should do it.

* Cell phones – I think this is critical. I for one would not live without a smart phone since it can get rid of so many other things like GPS, Cameras, Camcorders, Voice Recorders, and more and more and more. These things really are amazing.

* Backups – There is no real way to stress how important backups are. You CANNOT successfully back up your equipment to disk drives inside your RV.  If your RV burns down you are toast because your originals AND your backups will be destroyed. We backup things to a 3rd party, OFF SITE company called JustCloud.  I give them my strongest possible recommendation – click here to learn more about JustCloud – It works on pretty much everything: Mac, PC, Linux, Android, IOS, and heaven knows what else. I use it every day. I feel quite confident that my stuff is very, very safe.

* RVing items that are awfully handy to have when you need them:

  • Stinky Slinky
  • Stinky Slinky adapters of all kinds.
  • 30 Amp Cable / 50 Amp Cable
  • 30 to 50 and 50 to 30 Amp adapters
  • Drinking water hose.
  • Extra water hose.
  • Kitchen water pitcher that filters your water
  • Emergency whole RV water filter

* Modest Toolbox – I recommend a tool box with a reasonable set of tools. It is important to clearly draw the line between RVer and RV repair specialist. The RVer has enough tools to do the basics and knows how to use a phone. The RV repair specialist has an entire truck full of tools. A reasonable set of tools might be:

  • Pliers & Vise Grips
  • Crescent Wrench – focus on adjustable tools rather than complete sets – this reduces weight and space.
  • Screwdriver Set, modest though – focus on manual drivers to save weight
  • Hammer
  • Tire wrench – just make sure you have one somewhere
  • Jack – just confirm you have one
  • Electric Air Pump – Make sure it can go pretty high in PSI.
  • Tire Pressure Gauge -You’ll need this.
  • Teflon Joint Tape – Lots of water hoses on an RV. This comes in really handy.
  • Small Voltmeter – Excellent for measuring battery voltages and checking RV Parks electrical outlets BEFORE you connect.
  • If you think I’ve missed something, send me a note.

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Storage – Circling the Globe Several Times Over http://rv52.com/storage-circling-globe-several-times/ http://rv52.com/storage-circling-globe-several-times/#respond Sun, 11 Jan 2015 16:49:25 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39541 (this is an excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV) One of the options that RVers might consider for downsizing their life is storage. Their logic is that for a nominal monthly fee, they can keep their stuff in storage, and then when they end their adventures, they simply buy an empty house, fill it […]

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(this is an excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV)

One of the options that RVers might consider for downsizing their life is storage.

Their logic is that for a nominal monthly fee, they can keep their stuff in storage, and then when they end their adventures, they simply buy an empty house, fill it up with stuff and shazzam, they are back in business just like they left it.

Tweet This:@rv52 - I love my storage - you are a big meanie! - http://rv52.com/?p=39541 #RV
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Personally I don’t like this option.

However, it does avoid RE-purchasing furniture which is usually done at retail prices, while selling furniture is done at Craigslist fire-sale prices.

But in exchange for avoiding the RE-purchase it also allows everything you own to deteriorate in storage while you travel. Some of your stuff may be so hopelessly out of date when you return that you don’t want it. I’m thinking about TVs & VCRs which might have been pretty useful going in, but the HDTV and DVD revolution killed them.

Also, it seems very silly to spend $50-$150 / month in storage costs to keep your stuff. After two or three years in storage, you could easily be down three, four, or five thousand dollars in storage costs. I don’t get understand people would do that? My theory has to do with an idea that it is hard to “let go” for people.

If your stuff was SUPER valuable, like Picasso paintings that might make sense – but if you have that kind of juice, you really don’t need to downsize because you can afford to simply add RVing onto your life. You would keep you home in the Hamptons, right?

But the really, really big reason that you should avoid storage is that it is very unhealthy for you.

Storage is unhealthy for two reasons.

1) You leave a little piece of you behind inside your storage shed. That may not be much, but if your goal is to truly live and travel with complete freedom, total experiential immersion and 100% presence, then you can’t leave pieces of you scattered around.

2) This is related to #1, but just slightly different in an important and subtle way. If materialism is an illness in modern North American society, then perhaps absence of materials is an antidote. If you could learn to live without, learn to live light, clearly define your true needs and stay within those boundaries… then maybe just maybe when you return from RVing you might be surprised that you are the most mentally healthy and well adjusted person that you know. So not having storage might teach you that you simply don’t need those things, even when you have the space for them. That might be a very freeing thing indeed.

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Worry is Worship http://rv52.com/worry-worship/ http://rv52.com/worry-worship/#respond Sun, 04 Jan 2015 16:53:53 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39543 (an excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV) Just for a minute, I’ll get a little bit Biblical. For those of you who are not Christian, don’t be offended, there is some really great stuff in there. But I wanted to pick out just two verses from the most popular book in history. It also […]

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(an excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV)

Just for a minute, I’ll get a little bit Biblical. For those of you who are not Christian, don’t be offended, there is some really great stuff in there. But I wanted to pick out just two verses from the most popular book in history. It also happens to be a book in which I believe what it says – particularly when it is highlighted in red.

Matthew 6:27 – And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?

Tweet This:@rv52 - Matthew 6:27 - And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? -http://rv52.com/?p=39543 #RV

Luke 12:34 – For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Tweet This:@rv52 - Luke 12:34 - For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. -http://rv52.com/?p=39543 #RV

My wife has a saying… She says “Worry is worship.”

When you look at the two Bible verses, uttered by the greatest philosopher and teacher in the history of mankind, you should have trouble disagreeing. (Christian or not, most people can agree that Jesus was a pretty amazing dude, right?)

Your mental state – particularly one that is negatively oriented – simply cannot ADD to your life. Quite the opposite in fact. Negative emotion can be shown to produce elevated levels of cortisol.

Cortisol helps you handle stressful situations by readying your body with extra energy and power. That can be a good thing when you get these jolts of extra power only when you need them. But if you park your body in a continual state of chemical readiness, you actually will wear out your body. You are not meant to be at high alert at all times.

So if you have a bunch of stuff that you worry about, it isn’t adding to your life – worry can’t do that. Worse – it is killing you.

How do you handle this?

I’m reminded of a story about JP Morgan. In his day, around the turn to the 20th century, he was very very famous. An equivalent famous today MIGHT be Warren Buffet except JP Morgan was much more in the limelight than Mr. Buffet. JP was approached on the street by an investor who explained to Pierpont that he was having trouble sleeping at night because of the stock market. He then asked Pierpont what he should do. JP, without even skipping a beat told him “Sell off stock until you can sleep.”

JP Morgan, while very, very wealthy also knew that money was really just money. [ I read a really fantastic biography on JP Morgan here – The House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance ]

The second quote speaks to the idea of being present.

If you have your treasures strewn all over the country your heart will be strewn all over the country too. By heart, it means parts and bits of your mind.

Lets say you say “Just because it is in the Bible does not make it so.”

Ok. Fine.

But what if it is true. For example, you lets say you are enjoying life down in Biloxi. Having fun on the beach, gambling, drinking fine wine, and carrying on without a worry at all. Then the 10th of the month rolls by and you forgot about the payment to the storage place. So then they call you and give you some crap and say they are going to sell off your storage unit. You are able to fix everything, but now on the 10th of every month you carry that little bit of worry. You might even have a nice Steinway piano in the storage shed. But now you have in the back of your head worries about humidity and rodents. So you NEVER really get free of the stuff. Remember you put it in storage in the first place because you assigned so much value to it you wanted to keep it.

No matter what you believe about the Bible, the wisdom in the verse is rock solid. It gets worse if you have a house that you just kept. You’d worry sick about broken pipes, windows, burglars, and more.

So now lets bring this all together.

All your worrying, all your mindshare, all that energy that you devote to your stuff represents your attention. It represents mental energy. It represents focus – or for the things other than your stuff it represents a loss of focus. But if the application of focus, even in a small way, could be interpreted as a kind of adoration, then that starts to track with the Webster definition of worship.

And if your time is spent worrying about your stuff, then your worry is indeed, worship.

I don’t know about you, but worshipping at the altar of stuff, particularly fungible replaceable stuff that no one will care about when you die, is time NOT well spent.

What is the entire point of this story? To encourage people to break any emotional attachments to things. The better you can do this, the healthier mentally you will be.

The better you can do this, the easier downsizing your physical footprint into an RV will be.

 

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Biggest impediment to RV ing – The House – Thoughts from RV52 http://rv52.com/biggest-impediment-rv-ing-house-thoughts-rv52/ http://rv52.com/biggest-impediment-rv-ing-house-thoughts-rv52/#respond Sun, 28 Dec 2014 15:55:18 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39563 (this is an excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV) Not a lot of answers in this short article. But maybe, just maybe, somehow, this will help you by giving you different perspectives. Some of the perspectives might be contradictory, but again, maybe something will stick. In the United States home ownership is a cornerstone […]

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(this is an excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV)

Tweet This:@rv52 - Nice article on ideas around house economics - http://rv52.com/?p=39563 #RV

Not a lot of answers in this short article. But maybe, just maybe, somehow, this will help you by giving you different perspectives. Some of the perspectives might be contradictory, but again, maybe something will stick.

In the United States home ownership is a cornerstone of the US idea of middle class wealth creation. It has many special provisions in the US tax code. That makes the idea of a home a “bigger deal” in the US than in other countries, but it is a big deal in other countries too.

The whole idea of the Spartan RV is to really get you MIND wrapped around the idea that possessions just are not that important. That you can simply trade money for possession and back again is a pretty fundamental idea too. You just can’t fall in love with a thing. At the end of this book, if you feel a little bit detached from things and you want to go hug lots of people, then maybe I’ve done my job.

But the Spartan RV is NOT a book on managing your money. It is only about refining your feeling towards money and things.

But the house… it is the most thorny of the RV issues.

A house isn’t just a physical possession. Think about it. The first question out of people’s mouths almost anywhere in the world is “where are you from?” or “where do you live?”. That ties back into the idea of a house. A house is roots. It is belonging. It is being.

Even in the RVer parlance, almost everyone has a home-base. Home base is where a stuck on the ground permanent house is usually located. It is almost as if RVers think of their RVing as a temporary journey – a “going out”. Similar to St Paul’s treks through the middle east. St Paul always returned to his home base – except for the Rome part at the end. But everyone always wants to return.

There are LOTS of reasons to return, right? Children. Grandchildren. Cousins. Family. Friends. Those are pretty good reasons and I can’t fault a single one of them. Shoot – my secret fantasy is that my kids want to live on my 5 acres in their own little houses and we make a “compound” and do internet marketing together. Stupid I know, but don’t all of us parents secretly want the family to be this big happy kumbaya?

Take away the family aspect and aren’t you left with only friends and familiarity as the reason you return? Are those two things good enough?

Is the idea of “place” so ingrained in the human experience that we are fighting our inner being of who we are?

So if you can get to a financial place in your life where you are free from geography, can you truly be free to live without a home base?

I can’t answer any of these things.

But I can help you through some ideas about what to do with your home and how to keep it from holding you back. In NO WAY is this a complete treatment of the aspects of home ownership and finance, but maybe just maybe it will help you get over the hump or break loose some ideas.

A reader of my blog (http://rv52.com/the-official-rv52-com-blog/) wrote me one time saying that he was upside down on his house and that was a big impediment to RVing.

Just in case someone doesn’t know what “upside down” means, it really means that to sell his house, he may actually need to cough up money. It means you OWE more on the house than the house is worth. There might be an in-between idea where the house is worth less than you paid for it, but you still got some money back after paying off the mortgage.

For that reader, he is in a tough pickle because unless he has the money to pay off the mortgage he really is stuck with owning a home until he can make good on his loan commitment. You should always make good on your commitments with no exceptions. If you don’t then you are wrecking our country.

But that reader still has options.

You could rent out your house. You can use a property manager to do the heavy lifting on the renting. Property managers get 8-10% of the yearly rents to do this work – about a month’s rent. Get a good one if you can. No, really, get a really good one that you can trust. Otherwise your house could get tore up.

When renting your house – set your expectations accordingly. You’ll get an occasional headache from renting. You might make a little monthly extra cash, but probably not. More likely you’ll get close to covering your mortgage and your taxes. If you can have a long term successful run of renting you might end up with a paid-off property which is an excellent goal.

If the house can mostly cover its expenses, even if you are upside down, at least you’ll be somewhat close to not having to cough up money.

Be prepared to have a fund for paying 2-3 months rent and swapping out a carpet and painting occasionally.

You could just sell and pay off the mortgage by coming up with a little money. That requires some nerves of steel, but let me explain the ideas behind this crazy move.

If being underwater with your house is keeping you in place and your dream is to be on the road I have news for you. You will die someday. Be very careful about not living your life trying to recover a little bit of money. As you get older, this becomes more imperative.

Lots of people say – “I’m waiting to sell until the market improves”. But here is the scoop. At any one time your asset is worth exactly what it is worth now. If you don’t want to sell your house and take a loss but 15 other asset classes will provide a better return on the money, then it is better to sell the house and put the money in a different asset class (bonds, stocks, CD’s, T-bills, gold, pork bellies, and on and on).

Here is an example. You buy the house for $120K. It is now worth $100K. Based on the real estate market in your location, in five years it will be worth $120K again. However, you can find a CD earning 5% (this is just an example). In 5 years the CD will be worth $125K which means you would be worth more than the house. I’m ignoring all sorts of things like tax considerations or the idea that you need a place to live, but you can see what I mean, right? The QUESTION should never have been about how much money you lost, the QUESTION needs to be: what is the best place to put $100K to invest.

If you had to cough up the $20K in the example above then you look at the differential in value between what the $20K was making (CD @ 5%) versus mortgage loan at 7%. You would still be better off paying the $20K and getting an effective return of 7% on the money, which is 2% better.

Secretly – maybe not so secretly – I’m also a partial believer in the Dave Ramsey no debt is good good debt concept. If you want to sell your house and RV and the house debt is holding you back, then you have to attack it.

In general, freedom with no money is better than debt servitude with complexity and an asset that needs care and feeding.

Freedom is always better.

Tweet This:@rv52 - Freedom IS always better! - http://rv52.com/?p=39563 #RV

 

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Being Present Now – Mindful RV ing http://rv52.com/present-now-mindful-rv-ing/ http://rv52.com/present-now-mindful-rv-ing/#respond Sun, 21 Dec 2014 17:09:20 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39553 (this is an excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV) This may be the single most important chapter of this entire book. Once you are free from place, time, and worry, you can focus less on being free FROM something and focus on being free FOR something. There may be no better thing to be free […]

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(this is an excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV)

Tweet This:@rv52 - I LOVE LOVE LOVE the EXPERIENCES of peace that RVing gives me - http://rv52.com/?p=39553 #RV

This may be the single most important chapter of this entire book.

Once you are free from place, time, and worry, you can focus less on being free FROM something and focus on being free FOR something.

There may be no better thing to be free FOR than simply enjoying the moment you are in 100%.

I suppose it is the most cliche’d item in the last 5 years, but mastery of it can bring to your life a fullness of experience that few people ever achieve.

It is “being present”. People also might say “being in the moment”, “being in the now”, “creating the space” between people, “listening intently”.

There are already FANTASTIC resources that touch on this subject in a big way. I’ll give it a layman’s treatment, but before I get started, I’ll list some of the resources where you can go very deep on the subject:

Before getting into the real benefits of “being present” I just want to poke on how prevalent the topic is in mainstream culture – probably because it is so important.

In one of the Star Wars, Luke Skywalker is training with Yoda on Yoda’s crazy dark forest planet. In several of the training sessions, Yoda reveals to us his amazement of Luke’s powers, but just as Yoda is getting blown away, Luke’s disbelief causes him to not finish the exercise completely. Yoda chastises Luke for “always having his mind elsewhere”.

An example of just how critical and easily detectable “being present” is by another person came from the Queen of England. When speaking about Prime Minister William Gladstone she said “When I am with him, I feel I am with one of the most important leaders in the world.” However, regarding Benjamin Disraeli she mentioned that “He makes me feel as if I am one of the most important people in the world.” This can only be caused by truly being an active listener. My guess is that if you make the queen of England feel important then good things happen. No need to resort to puffery, simply be interested.

What are the benefits of “being present now”?

  • Better love life
  • Deeper friendships
  • Massively increased learning
  • Increased enjoyment of every day
  • Tons of ancillary benefits such as longer life, better health, better career opportunities, increased business, and on and on.
  • People just might attend your funeral

I can’t possibly dive into all of these, but lets take just a few and go over them.

Better Love Life – Think about this. All partners really want is for someone to love them 100% and pay attention to them. This means that when they speak, you put down the iPhone and you listen. You don’t look over their shoulder or glance at things around the room. Don’t stare either, you can watch different parts of their face and not appear psycho. Be sure to blink or you’ll appear psycho, but be intent on them. Mentally imagine there is a tunnel between the two of you that communications passes back and forth. Do this as much as you can and your partner will say things like “I’m really glad we had a nice talk tonight.” How about “You really made me feel special tonight.” When your partner senses that you value them, then you will get that back several times over. Yes some marriages are troubled. But most people earnestly want to be successful. Stop waiting for the other person to go first.

How does freeing yourself from stuff help? Easy! It is pretty hard to create that space between you and your lover if you are checking stock quotes on your iPhone. You’ll get no bonus points when you partner is asking you questions or checking your understanding and your mind was drifting to your classic car under the cover back at home. No, stop all those thoughts and focus. It will be worth it.

Better Friendships – This is like Better Love Life except it is with people who are not your lovers.

Massively Increased Learning – When you learn, you intake information from your ears, your eyes, and some of your other senses. But 9 times out of 10, your learning will involve reading, audio, visual, or video transmission of information from the source to you.  When your mind is thinking about the snowstorm back home – worrying about the pipes freezing – it isn’t fully paying attention to the learning material. You are in effect making a connection with bunches of static. Just like a far away radio station, you cannot hear all the music because of the static. If you had to replay the song you couldn’t do so with perfect fidelity simply because you never heard the full song. But if you had a close by radio station you would have heard the entire song, including the subtle notes.

Just like a static filled radio station, so it is with your mind wandering while learning. Worrying about stuff, or anything for that matter is simply static.

Logically, if you paid for the information, why would you pay and then not pay attention. That doesn’t even make sense. You would have purchased maybe $100 of information or learning and only got $50 of it – and it was YOU who decided to make the bad bargain.

Don’t do it. Leave your stuff behind. When you are ready to learn – learn without static!

Increased Enjoyment of Every Day – When you are fully present – when you are fully in the here and now – you can experience all that life on earth has to offer.

Just waking up, when you mind is focused on the very moment you are in, you can taste the coffee more completely, the subtle flavors are completely revealed to you. Stepping outside of the RV into the brisk air of the majestic beauty of the world, you nostrils can really take in the scent of the pine. You sense the hint of flowers in the air. You step boldly one foot in front of the other. You can sense your heart beat pickup as you start to walk. For the first time in years you truly hear the birds and the animals of the area.

None of this is possible when your mind isn’t focused on where you are at that very moment.

Why shouldn’t something so simple as cup of coffee be truly enjoyed. Beans harvested from the plants by human hands, dried, roasted, packaged, shipped, bought and sold, ground, brewed, and served. The fact that you get to enjoy it so far away is a miracle. It is the work of many many people. Hurrying through your cup unappreciatively is disrespectful.

People might attend your funeral – If you are a great lover (not just in the Biblical sense), a great friend, and find joy in all that life has to offer, then people will want to be around you. On your final curtain on this earth, they will find time to send you off as well.

One of the rewards of being Spartan-like is that you mattered.

 

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RV ing the Spartan (lite) way – A framework for clothes http://rv52.com/rv-ing-spartan-lite-way-framework-clothes/ http://rv52.com/rv-ing-spartan-lite-way-framework-clothes/#respond Sun, 14 Dec 2014 15:27:48 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39579 (this is an excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV) Clothes deserve a topic all by themselves. Surprisingly, clothes are very, very heavy. They also take up a fair amount of room. Clothes are also a big part of identifying who we are in the world. The neatness and cleanness of clothes also signal who we […]

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(this is an excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV)

Tweet This:@rv52 - Thx for popping my shoe-bubble. Darn you! -http://rv52.com/?p=39579 #RV

Clothes deserve a topic all by themselves.

Surprisingly, clothes are very, very heavy. They also take up a fair amount of room.

Clothes are also a big part of identifying who we are in the world. The neatness and cleanness of clothes also signal who we are to the world.

To be Spartan-like with clothes you must utilize balance. You should have just enough clothes, but not any more!

Are you surprised that clothes are heavy? Here is an experiment. Weigh yourself with a normal outfit and shoes, then weigh yourself naked. You’ll be very surprised at the difference. It could easily be as high as 5 pounds.

Multiply 5 pounds TIMES 40 outfits. That is 200 pounds of clothes! If your significant other has just as much clothes, now you have upwards of a 500 pound clothing weight inside of an RV. Remember, that some RVs might even have a carrying capacity of no more than 500 pounds.

You must watch the weight at all times. Especially if you are going to live in the RV full time.

I think the same rules should apply to clothes as they do to everything else, with some slight caveats.

* If it is casual clothing – you should wear it once every two weeks. I recommend having a 2 week supply of clothes before you need to launder clothes.

* You can wear your blue jeans more than one day so you don’t need a 1-to-1 blue jean to shirt mix.

* It is OK to a limited amount of special occasion clothing – perhaps 2 outfits for special occasions.

* Shoes – I’m sorry ladies – but you have to keep your shoe collection reasonable. I would shoot for 2 pairs of casual shoes, 2 pairs of bumping around sandals, a fitness shoe, and 2 pairs of nice shoes that can be worn with you 2 nice outfits and cross-over to some of the casual as well. That will give you plenty of choice without filling the RV up with shoes. Putting a shoe rack anywhere in an RV will affect your day to day living. Trust me I’ve done it.

* Husbands and Wives (or other similar co-habitation units) – Limit your TOTAL combined clothes collection to no more than what the closet can hold. If you have a full width closet that is the width of the RV then lets be realistic – let the lady have 60% of the space and you can take 40%. But under no circumstances should there be any clothes overflow except for the normal underwear, socks, and a small miscellaneous collection in a small set of drawers.

* If you have a travel trailer which has a right and left closet, there is no good way to give the lady more space. You’ll just have to each get one of them. (Hint to the ladies – a fifth wheel will serve you better if you have lots of clothes).

* Underneath the bed storage – Don’t fill it with clothes. The space is too juicy and if you’re not careful you’ll have lots of weight hidden under the bed.

The best “rule” I can give for keeping your RV Spartan-like in the clothing category is this – If you can’t fit it in your designated area for hanging clothes then you probably shouldn’t have it.

 

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RV ing and a philosophy of LESS – consistent with most forms of spirituality http://rv52.com/rv-ing-philosophy-less-consistent-forms-spirituality/ http://rv52.com/rv-ing-philosophy-less-consistent-forms-spirituality/#respond Sun, 07 Dec 2014 17:11:50 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39555 (this is an excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV) Many, many people believe in something – some form of higher power. My personal bent is belief in some guy that died 2000 years ago, came back to life, and mediates between me and the creator of the universe. Some believe in Mohammed, some Buddha, some […]

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(this is an excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV)

Tweet This:@rv52 - I LOVE LOVE LOVE the EXPERIENCES of being present with my Creator that RVing gives me - http://rv52.com/?p=39555 #RV

Many, many people believe in something – some form of higher power. My personal bent is belief in some guy that died 2000 years ago, came back to life, and mediates between me and the creator of the universe. Some believe in Mohammed, some Buddha, some people are Hindu… there are many, many more religions and things to believe on this earth.

If I’m a betting man I must believe that you are a believer in one of those religions I’ve listed above. I could be wrong – don’t hold that against me – I’m just betting the odds.

Now assuming that you are in one of those belief systems – I have to believe that you also have to want to be better at whatever your religion is – a better Christian, a better Muslim, a better Jew or what have you. If you aren’t striving to improve, then you really might be a fake. Again I apologize.

Following my reasoning, given you want to improve yourself, given that you are probably in some form of belief system, then it goes to follow that nearly EVERY ONE of these religions has as a fundamental tenant that you should not accumulate stuff for the sake of accumulating stuff. Having substantially more than you need is immoral no matter what seat you are sitting in.

So by choosing a Spartan-like life you are also choosing to be closer and more consistent to your belief system.

Doesn’t that make attending your normal religious services feel that much better?

You bet it does.

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Freedom from Worry – Philosophy on Worry Free RV ing http://rv52.com/freedom-worry-philosophy-worry-free-rv-ing/ http://rv52.com/freedom-worry-philosophy-worry-free-rv-ing/#respond Sun, 30 Nov 2014 17:06:48 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39551 (this is an excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV) Worry. Defined roughly as a “state of anxiety” over actual or potential troubles. As I write this a storm is coming in. We recently bought a new car so we parked the car in a nearby parking ramp because we didn’t want hail to hurt the […]

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(this is an excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV)

Tweet This:@rv52 - I LOVE LOVE LOVE the independence RVing gives me! - http://rv52.com/?p=39551 #RV

Worry.

Defined roughly as a “state of anxiety” over actual or potential troubles.

As I write this a storm is coming in. We recently bought a new car so we parked the car in a nearby parking ramp because we didn’t want hail to hurt the finish of the very pretty car. But once we did it, we moved on and didn’t think anymore.

We DID worry about the hailstorm. We took action to address the WORRY. Once we implemented our plan of action, worry was released.

Worry that leads to action that leads to release of the worry could actually be good.

Some people worry that the stock market might go down. The problem is that they cannot control the stock market. Their worry cannot spur action. Well it could – they could sell the stock. Then they will worry that they are missing out on the market going up. People who worry about the stock market very likely will worry simple to worry.

If you are RVing in Florida having the time of your life and you are worried about the 6 feet of snow that could potentially break the roof on your house, you are being a slave to your house. You are TAKING FROM your joy of the current moment and placing mental energy on something you can’t control and cannot take any action to remedy short of double checking your insurance. This is a great example of how possessions can keep you a slave to worry.

Worry that spurs you to action is good worry. That worry is temporary. One of the most important words in the definition is the word “state”. The state of anxiety is a state that is fight or flight. When you are in a fight or flight mode, you will produce cortisol. Cortisol is good for short periods of time, but for extended periods of time, cortisol will shorten your life.

For you to effectively know if you need to downsize something you need to ask yourself “Will I be thinking about this [insert thing here] while I am a thousand miles away from here?” If the answer is yes, then you need to seriously consider exchanging the item for cash.

Note: If you exchange something for cash because you were going to worry about the thing, then worry that you are missing out in stock market returns, you might need professional help. Certainly the question has to be – what exactly is it that you want or need out of all this worry?

But if you can be free from worry, you can completely detox your body from cortisol, get yourself some sleep, and leave your troubles behind.

Wasn’t that why you bought your RV in the first place?

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RV ing Spartanism made easy – courtesy of your cell phone! http://rv52.com/rv-ing-spartanism-made-easy-courtesy-cell-phone/ http://rv52.com/rv-ing-spartanism-made-easy-courtesy-cell-phone/#respond Sun, 23 Nov 2014 17:27:14 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39561 (an excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV) One of the neatest little handy tools that can be used for good or evil is a smart phone. If you still have a flip phone, you might consider switching because the smart phones are easy to make calls. No need to be afraid. It is just […]

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(an excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV)

Tweet This:@rv52 - You might have convinced me to get a smartphone! Thx. - http://rv52.com/?p=39561 #RV

One of the neatest little handy tools that can be used for good or evil is a smart phone.

If you still have a flip phone, you might consider switching because the smart phones are easy to make calls. No need to be afraid. It is just that smartphones can do much more. They are expensive, but if you don’t do too much with your computer, a smart phone can completely replace your computer.

I own an Apple iPhone. My wife owns a Samsung Galaxy. The iPhone brings you into orbit around Apple, and the Galaxy brings you into orbit around Google. Nokia has a slick smart phone and it brings you into orbit around Microsoft. I’ve no experience  on the Microsoft side of things so can’t comment on them.

Buying a smartphone on ebay or Amazon is a dizzying experience and I would recommend going to your local phone store that you trust to get some guidance. You might not get as good of a deal, but then again, you are more likely to be happy that you got what you needed.

Now that you have a smart phone, here are the ways that the smart phone can simplify your life substantially, which is yet another form of Spartanism (utility per dollar or utility per trouble).

I’ll explain how I use my iPhone. You can reasonably assume there are similar things on the Android (Samsung Galaxy) front as well.

  • Eliminate clutter from business cards. I use the business card app called “ScanBizCards”. There are others. This one cost $1.99 which is basically the same as free. It does a good enough job that I haven’t hunted for others. After scanning, you can make corrections. Then (a critical step) you can send the business card to your Apple Address Book and it will be saved for you on your iCloud and then all your Apple devices. I use this a bunch.
  • Get rid of the paper address book. Honestly, you probably aren’t doing that good at keeping up on your paper book anyway. I keep ALL my addresses in my Apple Address Book. Furthermore, it keeps anniversary dates and birthdays and puts them on my calendar. If I cared more, I would send out cards. But there should be NO address book clutter laying around your house. Or post-it notes!
  • EBooks – You can read Apple iBooks, Kindle books, and Nook books on your iPhone. You can also read PDFs. You can use iBook app to manage your PDFs, which means when you put it in iBook it appears everywhere on your Apples due to iCloud. Very cool. I’m not recommending LOTS of reading on your smartphone, but if you are bored it comes in handy.
  • Music – All your music can be on your iPhone. If you have lots of music stored on your Mac, you might need an iPhone with lots of memory. I’ve found that more memory is always better. No exceptions.
  • Presentations for Work and Play – Any presentation you put on your iPhone, say it is stored in your Keynote iCloud or in your email, can simply be displayed via the iPhone. I’ve presented successfully at work. Now you can eliminate your large computer completely. Personally I won’t do that, but you could. If you are in sales this could be invaluable.
  • Banking – Eliminate all papers from your bank because banking apps have your records online. Never write checks again – so you can eliminate checks. Never go to the bank again because you can eliminate having to deposit checks. I’ve done all this. Most national banks have good banking apps with picture deposit. I would also recommend having Paypal installed on your iPhone as well. It is related to banking.
  • Eliminate Any Credit Card Machines – this is only if you are selling things at shows. If you don’t have the Paypal triangle or the “square” you are really in the stone ages. If you don’t accept credit cards, then I would have to question your business acumen. I’ve heard that accepting credit cards increases revenue by 63%. Yes you part with 1-4% but come on, can’t you build that in? What are you scared of?
  • Pedometer – Your smart phone can replace your pedometer. Then it is a superior pedometer because it can keep track over time.
  • Emergency Scanner – When you want to grab a “scan” of a piece of paper, use your phone. I like scans better for a number of reasons, but sometimes you need to grab a copy of something because you might not get it another way.
  • Camera – 95% of the pictures with modern smartphones are good enough. Unless you make money from pictures, be honest, get real and get rid of the digital camera. Make sure you get them off your phone, onto your computer, and backed up. I had a friend who dropped his phone and a truck ran over it seconds later and he lost 2-3 years of pictures. Please don’t let me say I told you so.
  • Camcorder – 60% of the videos you need are just find with a modern smartphone. Get rid of the camcorder too! It seems harsh, but lets get down to the essentials.
  • Voice notes. Yep. No need for a voice recorder. Lots of ways to do this. Just look for a good app. Apple has an OK app for this. Not great, just OK.
  • GPS – Yep. Get rid of the GPS device. Apple app is fairly good. Google’s app for mapping and navigation is amazing. You can also purchase offline apps from the appstore as well if you need navigation when out of cell phone range. This does become an issue so to be fair to GPS, the smartphone is not quite as good, but I think it is good enough. Just know the difference.
  • Get rid of all those stupid plastic cards. I use an app called “Key Ring” and have eliminated my Lowes, CVS, Walgreens, Randalls, Health Club, and about 20 other cards. You take a picture of the front and back. It is pretty amazing and I highly recommend it.

I could go on. Depending upon your profession, you can find many apps that can reduce your need for extra clutter. No it can’t be a hammer if you are in construction, but it can carry a version of plans, allow you to geo locate from virtual to real world, make measurements, and do other things that are amazing.

So make sure you use your smartphone as a tool to simplify your life. And like all tools, the more you use it the more valuable it becomes.

[ P.s. Make sure you back your phone up every few days, even with iCloud. Someday you’ll thank me. ]

 

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Who wants used kitchen gadgets http://rv52.com/wants-used-kitchen-gadgets/ http://rv52.com/wants-used-kitchen-gadgets/#respond Sun, 09 Nov 2014 16:42:17 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39539 Could have been called: Getting over your stuff so you can downsize and go RVing (excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV) I love kitchen gadgets. My wife loves kitchen gadgets even more. Food, and the kitchen, tie into our deepest reptilian brain in ways we don’t even know. Our feelings on friendship, comfort, safety, […]

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Could have been called: Getting over your stuff so you can downsize and go RVing

(excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV)

I love kitchen gadgets. My wife loves kitchen gadgets even more.

Tweet This:@rv52 YOU try talking my spouse out of the gadgets - http://rv52.com/?p=39539 #RV

Food, and the kitchen, tie into our deepest reptilian brain in ways we don’t even know. Our feelings on friendship, comfort, safety, and family route through the idea of food. More than being necessary – food is a fundamental identifier of who we are.

Kitchen gadgets, implements, or appliances identify who we are.

Wine paraphernalia lets us say to the world, via visitors to our kitchen, that we are cultured, sophisticated, and very social.

Industrial looking refrigerators with the stainless steel doors, industrial looking cookstoves with bold burners, and a seriously big and varied pots and pans say that we are SERIOUS foodies. We prepare our food at home. We entertain lots of people. We are hardly bologna and Miracle Whip people.

But how much do we REALLY use.

Assuming we have all the stuff I described above, we probably only use maybe 2-5 different pans, tins, skillets, and more… EVER.

It is pretty likely too that bologna exists in our refrigerator. Or sliced ham. And most certainly a mayo or salad dressing-like product so we can slap together a sandwich.

For 95% of you the truth hurts. You blew all that money on things you don’t use but will look pretty good.

The good news: Some of the HIGHER end things like a copper pots or specialty skillets will convert to cash quite readily and you won’t be out much money at all.

The bad news: Toasters, coffee pots, toaster ovens, anything with the name Ronco… probably won’t convert well.

If you are going to downsize – these things gotta go.

In an RV, you are going to have a built-in refrigerator, a built-in small stove, likely three burners, a smaller built-in oven, and limited storage space. Pick the things you use AT LEAST once per week to keep from your BIG house kitchen. Everything else is wasted space and money.

That candy making pan you only use every third year to make peanut brittle – you can leave it behind.

When making fancy reductions or fooling with sautés, you might simply need to use a more mundane pan instead of a specialty pan.

In an RV, I don’t think this is about going without, it is making sure that the things you bring serve you well. It is better to wear one or two things out because they served triple duty than to have three things taking up space.

You simply must be relentless.

Heck, I’d even make the argument that a REAL gourmet chef can get it done when the equipment list is more limited.

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Being Spartan is not about being poor http://rv52.com/spartan-poor/ http://rv52.com/spartan-poor/#respond Tue, 04 Nov 2014 16:57:56 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39545 (this is an excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV) Before going into some of the really amazing things that being Spartan-like can do for you, I just feel compelled to deal head-on with the idea that I’m espousing a philosophy of “poor”, of lack, or doing without. No. It isn’t that at all. Being […]

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(this is an excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV)

Before going into some of the really amazing things that being Spartan-like can do for you, I just feel compelled to deal head-on with the idea that I’m espousing a philosophy of “poor”, of lack, or doing without.

No. It isn’t that at all.

Being Spartan-like is about having things in your life that you use, that have function, and bring you lots of joy, either from its use OR from some deep meaning associated with the thing. Having an potentially extremely expensive, high quality kitchen knife that is razor sharp that you use every day to prepare meals would be an example of a very good purchase consistent with Spartan-like RV living. Even if the knife was ridiculously expensive, if you get massive utility out of it, then it is a GREAT thing to have.

Having possessions that only consume(d) your money, time, and mental energy is to be avoided, particularly when those objects have no real daily value to you. Or worse, you bought them to show off! Egads, aren’t you better than that?

Owning an RV that is spending its days in storage would be very UN-Spartan-like. No utility, tied-up money, depreciating asset. Not Spartan-like at all.

Spartan-like is about having what you need. It is about having little emotional attachments to things that are simply “things” that you use.

But it is not about going without.

If going to Starbucks every day brings you huge joy, then by all means do it. If having a Steinway when an electric studio piano would do is important to you (and you play often), then by all means do it. But don’t just have “things” for the sake of having them.

If you have things, use them doggone-it.

In fact, having things and not using them is a TERRIBLE steward of the earths resources. Consumption for consumptions sake is ugly.

Stop it.

You can be Spartan-like if you have lots of money.

You can be Spartan-like if you have very little money.

It is about attitude, not altitude.

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Staying in Touch when RV ing and not letting email get you down http://rv52.com/staying-touch-rv-ing-letting-email-get/ http://rv52.com/staying-touch-rv-ing-letting-email-get/#respond Sun, 02 Nov 2014 15:23:58 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39559 (an excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV) Now that you have email, how do you manage it? If you are even the least bit interesting, you’ll get LOTS of emails. But email can run you over like a truck. You need to have email serve you, not the other way around. I see lots […]

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(an excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV)

Tweet This:@rv52 - thanks for some ideas on how to manage email - http://rv52.com/?p=39559 #RV

Now that you have email, how do you manage it? If you are even the least bit interesting, you’ll get LOTS of emails.

But email can run you over like a truck.

You need to have email serve you, not the other way around.

I see lots of people make folders and try to move things into the folder. But the emails might have a different ontology (cool word –  look it up) based on the context of what you need to know at the time. For example one email might be related to your bank (put in bank folder) and your taxes (put in tax folder). But you can’t be in two folders at one time. So that is a problem.

Some people simply keep everything in their inbox. That might be OK, but I can tweak this a bit to get a system that is SIMPLE, CONCISE, and very hard to argue with.

First all non-spam (mostly) email comes into your inbox. Some is automatically filtered and put into a “junk” or “spam” or “bulk” box. Usually you never have to look in here, but I check about every 2-4 days and just scan to see if something pops out at me as being from a friend or vendor that I’ve used.

Aside – Spam hurts my feelings. According to the spam senders, I’m “small” if you know what I mean. I’m bald. I’m fat. I’m old. I’m ignorant for many reasons – at least one is because I need an online degree. I wonder if the spam people know they are meanies with all those insults.

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You should have the following folders and I’ll coach you to use them:

Archive – The bulk of the email that you have managed, but for which you might someday have to look up for some reason, any reason.

Trash – Email that can disappear forever with no real ramification. This can even be from vendors (like your phone bill and more) because you will have online methods to get the records you need. I don’t put vendor stuff in here, but I’m pointing out that if you have an online source for your data, you don’t need to keep it.

Here is the procedure:

  1. Email is in the inbox.
  2. Read the subject line and the from.
    • If spam – something irrelevant you never asked for and you hopefully never want to see again – Mark as SPAM. Your email should automatically move it to the spam folder. If you asked for the emails because you signed up for them as an email subscription, this isn’t spam and you can deal with this another way (read on)
    • If NOT spam, but not anything you’ll read that the subject line was enough for you, click on “Delete” or “Trash” and it should be automatically moved to the trash folder and will be swept away someday forever.
  3. If NOT spam, because you asked for it but don’t want to receive it anymore, then do the following.
    • Open the email and find the unsubscribe link/button and click.
    • Then hit the delete button.
  4. The only thing that should be left now is email you care about. When you are done with this email and you never really have to revisit it, then click on the “Archive” button. Now you’ll have it forever – or a long time.
  5. For emails that are left, they form a sort of “to do list”. Just keep them in your inbox until you are fully done with them.
  6. Endeavor to have no emails in your inbox.
  7. Every few days I take the extra step on my Mac to copy the emails in “Archive” (which is online) to an offline folder on my Mac hard-drive so that I have them forever and if they get lost it is my fault not some vendor I can’t be angry at and couldn’t have recourse with anyway.

If you ever need to find an email, just get smart about searching your Archive folder and it will be there.

 

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RV ing the Spartan (lite) way – Thoughts about equipping your kitchen http://rv52.com/rv-ing-spartan-lite-way-thoughts-equipping-kitchen/ http://rv52.com/rv-ing-spartan-lite-way-thoughts-equipping-kitchen/#respond Tue, 28 Oct 2014 15:22:24 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39577 (this is an excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV) The kitchen in an RV is an area that can get out of hand very quickly. You will need to balance the convenience of having things available and “on hand” with the idea of having just enough. If you stockpile food or kitchen gadgets, you […]

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(this is an excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV)

Tweet This:@rv52 - Thx for ideas on how to keep my kitchen from getting too full -http://rv52.com/?p=39577 #RV

The kitchen in an RV is an area that can get out of hand very quickly. You will need to balance the convenience of having things available and “on hand” with the idea of having just enough.

If you stockpile food or kitchen gadgets, you RV will get overran and overweight very quickly.

Food:

Don’t stockpile canned goods. Canned good are very heavy. Making things worse than just being heavy, canned goods are very expensive. Stockpiling heavy cheap items is a surefire way to make your RV overweight and dangerous.

A great way to view food, when possible, is to try to buy locally and FRESH, as much as possible. Shop more at open markets and less at stores like Costco or Walmart. Those larger big-box stores are great, but they can cause you to over-buy.

Plus if you care about your health, buying local fresh food is better for your health. Buying local fresh food puts money in local economies and encourages local economies to be RV friendly.

When you buy local, you also can avoid some of the foods that are produced on industrial scale with the accompanying industrial problems.

When you cannot avoid buying at a larger big-box food supplier, refrain from buying bulk due to the added weight. Try to get a supply of food that will be mostly exhausted by the time you are ready to move your rig.

Gadgets:

Avoid gadgets unless you use the gadget AT LEAST a couple times a week. Gadgets consume space and have weight, both of which you have a limited supply.

I use a Keurig coffee maker EVERY day so this is a gadget which passes the weekly usage test. Stay focused on usage, not on impressing people. Purchase gadgets that help you use space more efficiently – perhaps reducing waste needs, storage needs, or accessory needs.

A GREAT example of a space saving gadget would be an aluminum can crusher – for those who drink lots of sodas. This gadget reduces the VOLUME of your waste. That seems like a pretty neat thing. Otherwise you’ll be overran with BIG TRASH in your RV. Worse, aluminum cans are recyclable which means keeping them around in an uncrushed state will be a big mess.

If you juice everyday a blender might be critical. If you only do margarita’s on Cinco de Mayo, then the blender might be useless weight.

My wife would not go without a toaster oven. I was able to keep a toaster out of the RV since the toaster oven could serve double duty as an oven and a toaster. We were hooked to electrical shore power so we were able to reduce trips to fill propane by using the toaster oven instead of the regular RV propane range oven.

All gadgets must be looked at closely.

If you find yourself saying “because we MIGHT need it”, then you probably don’t.

Entertaining:

Somehow, everyone always stocks the kitchen thinking about the big family dinner or a having a bunch of people over for dinner.

Sadly, this is the exception not the norm.

If you are going to entertain, focus on the people not the utensils and dishes. If you’re trying to impress people with your kitchenware, then maybe there is something inside you worth examining.

People don’t care about your plates. They care about you! If you’ll take the time to focus on your guests rather than your stuff, your life will be more rich and more full.

If you really want to impress people in your kitchen, you COULD focus on the recipe. Sharing a delicious meal that you prepared for your guests shares your skills with them and creates a shared experience together which builds relationships. This is how to impress.

Serve your masterpiece on simple plates – maybe even paper plates.

How should you think about your kitchen utensils, serving plates, and more?

Most of the time, you’ll be serving no more than 3-4 people at any one time. More place settings than this will encourage dirty dish accumulation and will mostly be unused weight in your camper.

I would recommend light weight, microwavable place settings. Find the lightest weight silverware that you possibly can. Limit serving utensils to a ladle and a couple big spoons and forks.

Avoid having dishes used for serving only. Serve the food directly from the cooking pots. This reduces dirty dishes and the amount of dishes in your RV overall. It is perhaps a bit simple, but it is practical – which is a fundamental theme of being Spartan.

Have just 2 or 3 microwave dishes that can be used to cook AND serve the food. If you get more than three microwave dishes, you’ll be serving food that has cooled off. If possible, if these microwave dishes can serve double duty by being used in the oven then you’ll even be more efficient.

If you are a baker who will actually bake quite a bit, then by all mean have a few extra baking utensils on hand. But avoid the complete specialty dishes that you would use only rarely.

I would think long and hard about having too many pots and pans. Limit yourself to a 3 to 4 pots and pans. Most RVs only have 3 burners which means you can use only three at a time. Perhaps a single skillet, sauce pan, large 1 quart and MAYBE a large pot should be enough. You know yourself best, but stay focused on the idea of using things at least 2x per week as your cutoff to being in your RV or in the trash.

You probably ought to have a drinking water filter. It is not practical to filter the whole RV [I’ll get hate mail and arguments with this so OK – bring it on]. You can and it is pretty easy, but it is even easier to get a Pur water pitcher and filter your water.

But keep your kitchen like you should keep your eatin’ – LITE!

 

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When RV ing – Careful Consideration is Good Idea for Your Email Addresses http://rv52.com/rv-ing-careful-consideration-good-idea-email-addresses/ http://rv52.com/rv-ing-careful-consideration-good-idea-email-addresses/#respond Sun, 26 Oct 2014 15:20:35 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39557 (this is an excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV) What is your email address? An awfully large bunch of people have email addresses that were given to them by their internet provider. You can tell by looking. The email addresses might look like this: Sparta@austin.rr.com Sparta@comcast.com Sparta@rogers.com Sparta@swbell.net Sparta@windstream.net If you are using an […]

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(this is an excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV)

Tweet This:@RV52 - thanks for some good tips on email addresses - http://rv52.com/?p=39557 #RV

What is your email address?

An awfully large bunch of people have email addresses that were given to them by their internet provider.

You can tell by looking. The email addresses might look like this:

If you are using an email like this, you are making your email life harder and more expensive.

Since you are planning on being an RVer, you are planning on being mobile. Since you are reading this article you are planning on how to downsize your physical footprint. You can’t downsize you physical footprint without seriously considering how to downsize your financial footprint.

If you are paying money to a LOCAL internet provider like Comcast they will give you a Comcast email (Sparta@comcast.com or something similar). Wow, what nice guys those Comcast guys are.

But then you decide to spend 12 months on the other side of the country and you don’t need Comcast anymore. The PROBLEM is that you have to keep  paying for their internet service to get their email. This might not be 100% true, but for many it is true. If you have to keep paying for their service, even though you aren’t using their internet, then that seems a bit silly to me.

The SECOND reason, which is related to the first is that if you decide you don’t want to pay for their service and cancel their service, then you need to change your email address. For heaven’s sake, if you do this, then DO NOT use the email address assigned to you by the NEW internet service – I’ll tell you the RIGHT thing to do at the end of this article.

The THIRD reason, is that the local internet service people are rookies. Really, your email is at risk because internet service providers don’t have that great of managed email services. You are going to get crappy interfaces, substandard tools and honestly, the world has much better things to offer.

The FOURTH reason is that by using the local internet service email address, you are divulging to the world more about you than you need to divulge. For example, if your email address ends in “rr.com”, then hackers know you have Time Warner internet service. Usually the email address has a prefix like “Austin.rr.com” so they can get your approximate location from your email address. They can also assume what equipment you have in your house, which is a HUGE help when trying to find vulnerabilities. They also know that you have an account with Time Warner with a credit card so they can zero in on the card. This is enough info for someone skilled to perhaps make a single phone call or two, figure out your credit card info, with you zip code, and wreak havoc on your life.

An aside related to the FOURTH reason is around security. Before creating Fort Knox, you are even better to make it so people don’t even know Fort Knox exists. That was an obscure way of saying “The best security is complete secrecy.” For example, if they don’t know your location, even if approximate, they will have a lot more trouble deducing things about you that can be used against you. I’m not trying to make you paranoid, but an email address, particularly when personal, should maybe not have any locality information in it.

I hope you can see that an email from you internet service provider isn’t the best thing.

HOW DO YOU GET A DECENT EMAIL ADDRESS AND WHAT SHOULD IT BE?

Getting a great permanent email address isn’t that hard to do. There are a few GREAT places to some that I would highly recommend.

  • Gmail.com- You can get email from Google called gmail. Your address would be [your_unique.name]@gmail.com. No one ever got fired for Google and you can do almost everything you would want to do with gmail. Great web based front end. Great search capabilities.
  • Yahoo.com – One of the original big daddies of email. Pretty much the same as Gmail, maybe even more reliable. Your address would be [your_unique.name]@yahoo.com. I personally use Yahoo and pay for an extra level of access that allows my Mac to work with Yahoo even better. Great web based front end. Great search.
  • Outlook.com – From Microsoft. I think Microsoft is solid, but I struggle with the idea of using them because everything always tries to hook back to other Microsoft things and I don’t have the time to always be working on the computer doing silly stuff. There are quite a few Microsoft fan boys though who have more time and for them, this is probably a fantastic choice. [Hee hee – I’ll get hate mail for this one!]
  • Icloud.com – From Apple. Honestly I don’t use it. As much as I love my Mac, I struggle to trust Apple on this one. They do great work on lots of things, but I’m just not so sure on email. I tried to sign my son up to icloud.com one day and to use icloud.com it told him he had to have an Apple device. No matter – it seemed fishy. From the outside it looks solid, but between gmail and yahoo, I just really feel the rest of the pack is “the rest of the pack”.
  • I would avoid facebook. I would also avoid small companies no one has heard of – too many things can go wrong and you’d be back to square one.

Now that you know some places to look, what should your address be?

I do think names with lots of numbers in them are not very good. They “scream” temporary. If you want to have a number or two that means something to you, then that is ok, but don’t make it too long. My wife keeps using “35” in her emails – wishful thinking I’m sure – but it works for us and her so who am I to judge. Go ahead and use a dot (.) to get more choice – or an under bar (_). Put your alma mater in the name. Make it truly yours.

 

 

 

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RV ing the Spartan way – What exactly can you leave behind easily? http://rv52.com/rv-ing-spartan-way-exactly-can-leave-behind-easily/ http://rv52.com/rv-ing-spartan-way-exactly-can-leave-behind-easily/#respond Tue, 21 Oct 2014 14:19:46 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39575 (this is an excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV) It seems a little bit silly, but if you are very new to RVs, here is a list of things you won’t need. You won’t need these because there is either no room in the RV for it, or the RV has it built in. This […]

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(this is an excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV)

Tweet This:@rv52 - Thanks for letting me know what I can leave behind! - http://rv52.com/?p=39575 #RV

It seems a little bit silly, but if you are very new to RVs, here is a list of things you won’t need. You won’t need these because there is either no room in the RV for it, or the RV has it built in. This list is partly the list of what things to get rid of…

* Couch – these are built-in to the RV.

* Comfy TV Chairs – these are built-in, come with, or there is no space and you’ll use the built-in couch. Sometimes, you can discard the RV chair and bring in your own – but beware the weight difference. Extra weight is dangerous and illegal.

* Dining Room Chairs – Almost always built-in. Usually as a bench.

* Dining Table – Built-in

* Master Bedroom Bed – Built-in

* Master Bedroom Dresser  – Built-in

* Big screen TV – Built-in, but you could replace. RV TVs are usually really cheap.

* Stereo System – Built-in and pre-wired. It would be hard to change the speakers, but you could change out the electronics. I’ve looked and decent super small surround sound systems are hard to find.

* Storage cabinets – Built-in. No room either.

* Range, refrigerator, microwave – Built-in usually.

* Kids Beds – If a bunkhouse, these are built-in. Usually, there is spare sleeping quarters in an RV and they are equipped with mattresses or inflatable beds.

* Desk – Sometimes built-in. Usually no room. Recommend using the kitchen table which is usually by a nice window. Very pleasant.

* Ottoman – There is no room. Leave it behind.

* Coffee Table – You really hate your shins don’t you?! Leave it behind. No space.

 

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RV ing the light and Spartan way – Cutting the ties to Cable TV http://rv52.com/rv-ing-light-spartan-way-cutting-ties-cable-tv/ http://rv52.com/rv-ing-light-spartan-way-cutting-ties-cable-tv/#respond Sun, 19 Oct 2014 14:13:42 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39571 (this is an excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV) One of the most foolish monthly expenses that I can see most of America doing is purchasing cable TV. Cable TV costs many, many people well over $100/month. And they pay it month after month after month. I don’t. I’m not deprived either. Even though I […]

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(this is an excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV)

Tweet This:@rv52 - I may NEVER watch cable TV again with your help! Thx - http://rv52.com/?p=39571 #RV

One of the most foolish monthly expenses that I can see most of America doing is purchasing cable TV.

Cable TV costs many, many people well over $100/month. And they pay it month after month after month.

I don’t.

I’m not deprived either.

Even though I haven’t purchased cable TV for years, I still get excited when I get to stay in a hotel room. Why? Cable TV will be there. Yay me.

Then I turn on the cable TV and I start the never ending click-click-click trying to find a decent TV show.

Ooooh. They have HBO! Oh darned. Crappy movie. Neat. Good movie. Oops. Already started. Oh well.

Off to the History Channel. All WWII all the time. Nope. Duck Dynasty or some nonsense like that on the History Channel. That isn’t even history.

I have sat and literally WASTED 2 hours clicking endlessly to try to find something to watch.

There has to be a better way.

There is – it is call the internet. You can watch pretty much anything you want, any time you want, when you want, on the device you want. Why in the world would you EVER pay for bad TV? It doesn’t make sense.

If you were willing to pay, something like $20/month, you could watch more movies, TV shows, and even a couple on-demand shows anytime you want. I’m not counting the internet costs, because not having the internet is really not something I’ll discuss in one of my books. I LOVE being connected. I’m only counting costs of TV.

I personally use Amazon Prime for most of our shows. This costs about $100 per year. But you get other things with prime, so I could argue (tenuously) that the Prime video comes free.

If you COUNT the Prime membership, then I’ve only spent about $10/month on a service in which you can get piles and piles of TV shows and movies.

If you want new releases, you can rent them from dozens and dozens of services. Even ABC.com and the other big networks provide the ability to watch their content for free off of their sites. Of course you get advertising but it is reduced.

If you’ll commit to getting internet based TV instead of cable, you’ll save a pile of money AND watch TV 100% at your convenience and leisure. It is a huge improvement. The next chapter is a pseudo-reprint of an article I wrote and published on RV52.com and on youtube which goes through how I connect everything.

Confession: There is one thing I cannot do that I badly want to do. As of this writing the Big 10 Network (btn.com) does not allow me to purchase BTN.com 2Go directly from the web. I would have to buy cable TV to get it. That shows you how UNFAIR the contracts are with the cable companies. It actually PICKS the pocket of the Big 10 Network. Why? Because I would gladly pay $20 to watch my dearly beloved Cornhuskers live off of the web. But BTN.com would NEVER see even 1/100th of that $20 per-person from the cable companies. I think they would make much, much more money without the cable tv deals. Can’t prove it though. But I’m still not buying cable TV.

 

 

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RV ing lite the Spartan way – Re-supplying your fantasy ship (RV) while at sea! http://rv52.com/rv-ing-lite-spartan-way-re-supplying-fantasy-ship-rv-sea/ http://rv52.com/rv-ing-lite-spartan-way-re-supplying-fantasy-ship-rv-sea/#respond Tue, 14 Oct 2014 14:16:35 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39573 (this is an excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV) Even though Spartanism is important (to me at least), you’ll still want things sent to you. Spartanism does not mean you must go without. There is a whole class of things you do and products you buy and consume which will happen which are 100% compatible […]

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(this is an excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV)

Tweet This:@rv52 - You gave me some great ideas on how to re-think buying groceries and things - http://rv52.com/?p=39573 #RV

Even though Spartanism is important (to me at least), you’ll still want things sent to you.

Spartanism does not mean you must go without.

There is a whole class of things you do and products you buy and consume which will happen which are 100% compatible with Spartanism.

I’m a huge user of technology. A laptop, smartphone, camera, camcorder, wireless router, printer, and several other things are almost a necessity, depending upon who you are.

If you are on the road for any appreciable time period, you’ll need to upgrade your tech and buy something or sell something using eBay or Amazon. There are zillions of online retailers so what is written here will apply to those unnamed retailers as well.

Every one of these retailers has the idea of a BILLING address and a SHIPPING address. These addresses do not have to be the same. More importantly, the smart retailers make it so that you can have an often changing SHIPPING address.

One great way that the retailers make it easy for you to change your shipping address is by having the idea of an online address book. I personally use the heck out of the address book on Amazon. I’m always shipping things to different places – for example – gifts for people – things for my mom – and then things for myself.

There is no reason that you simply can’t have things shipped to whatever address you are at. You have to double check the shipping address everytime or you’ll send things to the wrong spot. The other thing you have to do is to really think about when you decide to move out and make sure that you either send things AHEAD to where you’ll be OR wait and order. But these are small prices to pay.

Even your consumables, like coffee, tea, toothpaste, and toothbrushes can be purchased online very conveniently.

Amazon is a very amazing service. You could subscribe to a service called Amazon Prime (learn about Amazon Prime here) which would allow you to eliminate shipping fees on many many products at Amazon. If you can eliminate shipping fees, it makes purchasing things online very easy and convenient. You simply won’t have to feel like you are isolated or out of touch.

I have a Keurig (learn more about Keurig here) which allows me to make really good single serving coffee without a mess. The Keurig is a GREAT example of a “thing” that I use copiously which brings great joy. For some, this might be wasteful and extravagant. But for me I love it, use it often, and enjoy the fact that my wife can get something different from me and we can have coffee together. Its fast, there is no clean-up, no waste, and very few accessories. I cannot stress enough that Spartanism is about having things that give you utility, not living without.

We can supply our Keurig from Amazon or Keurig.com. We can also supply it from local stores, most of the time. The Keurig is mentioned here because no matter how remote you are, you can buy supplies no matter where you are.

After reading this, you should now be realizing that being mobile does not have to feel like you are discombobulated, disconnected, isolated, and remote. You can get the things you need using your computer (or telephone) no matter where you are. You can go mobile, without fear.

Before you even buy your RV, you should consider buying a few things and get used to online services (if you aren’t) so that it is second nature when you are on the road.

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RV ing the lite and Spartan way – How RV52 handles DVDs and Movies http://rv52.com/rv-ing-lite-spartan-way-rv52-handles-dvds-movies/ http://rv52.com/rv-ing-lite-spartan-way-rv52-handles-dvds-movies/#respond Sun, 12 Oct 2014 14:11:06 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39569 (this is an excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV Movies come in two main formats or at least you probably have two formats laying around. I’m going to ignore the Sony big disks that were about the size of a 12 inch LP. I’m assuming that you might have VHS tapes laying around. I’m amazed […]

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crowded shelf with dvds and vcr tapes

crowded shelf with dvds and vcr tapes

(this is an excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV

Tweet This:@rv52 - Nice writeup on a method to do your scanning of bills and things - http://rv52.com/?p=39569 #RV

Movies come in two main formats or at least you probably have two formats laying around. I’m going to ignore the Sony big disks that were about the size of a 12 inch LP.

I’m assuming that you might have VHS tapes laying around. I’m amazed at how many people still have VHS players and VHS tapes. Letting go is really just that hard isn’t it.

But then most of us still have these things called DVDs which come in a 6×9 plastic box called an amaray case. I’ll lump in the new fancy Blueray disks into this category too.

Between these two digital formats you can completely fill up a large bookcase. Worse yet, ask yourself, how many times have you gone back and actually watched those movies again? I’d venture a guess, probably very few times.

For VHS tapes there is no hope and no salvaging them. Just throw them away. No one wants them. Your player won’t really work. The tape quality stinks. You can’t sell them. They are just junk. Not even worth a garage sale quarter. Junk out the VHS player too. I’m sorry, but the time for these has came and gone. It is over.

For DVDs the prognosis is not much better. Hollywood has done such a very fine job of protecting the digital information on these that grabbing the movies and moving them to your hard drives is really not worth it. Even if you did get it done, movies take huge amounts of space. Then you’d want to back it up which would take up piles of backup time.

Unless you are a true, true videophile, or a real student of film and cinematography, I just can’t see keeping movies around. Buying movies is a really really bad investment.

So the RV52.com position on DVDs is to sell them or pass them on. Don’t keep them. If you want to have 3-5 laying around for the grandkids to watch over and over like kids will do, then great. But stop there.

For all movie watching, I would HIGHLY consider ONLY renting using RedBox, Netflix, or the online services. Yes there is an issue around internet bandwidth, but I think paying $2.99 to rent a movie you’ll only watch 1 or 3 times is still cheaper and a better deal than buying. There is no reward for ownership.

There is ONE “halfway” idea I will share.

Take all of the DVDs out of the amaray cases, throw away the amaray cases and put the DVDs into a very skinny DVD disk storage folder. You can condense a whole bookcase to something the size of a small Bible. That is a good compromise if you can’t get rid of DVDs.

Remember, movies are an experience. Its hard to “own” an experience. It’s just gray matter in your brain after all.

 

 

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RVing – Freedom from PLACE http://rv52.com/rving-freedom-place/ http://rv52.com/rving-freedom-place/#respond Tue, 07 Oct 2014 14:00:54 +0000 http://rv52.com/?p=39547 (this is an excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV) If you will implement a Spartan style RV lifestyle you will have increased freedom from geography. Geography is just another way of saying place. We get LOCKED into place several ways. The first way we get locked into a place is usually because of a […]

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 freedom from place

freedom from place

(this is an excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV)

Tweet This:@rv52 - I LOVE LOVE LOVE the independence RVing gives me! - http://rv52.com/?p=39547 #RV

If you will implement a Spartan style RV lifestyle you will have increased freedom from geography. Geography is just another way of saying place.

We get LOCKED into place several ways.

The first way we get locked into a place is usually because of a job. Many, many jobs still have a requirement that you are in a certain place at a certain time for a certain duration.

This book doesn’t go over how to make money without being tied to a location, but being Spartan-like can make a big big difference.

Here is how.

If you free yourself from lots and lots of stuff, particularly things that come with a payment attached either due to debt or due to a subscription, then you don’t have to make as much money.

If you don’t have to make as much money, then more and more jobs become an option to you because you can accept jobs that pay less. Or even better, you can accept part time jobs and earn less because you focus all your hours into just a few days a week.

Again, I want to emphasize this isn’t about living without, but instead clearly identifying what you are going to live WITH.

If, for example, you purchase cable TV ($100/month), Have miscellaneous payments to different memberships around your town ($200/month), and have a car payment that is $200/month more than a more reasonable car  ($200/month) then you have to earn enough money to pay for all this. In this small paragraph I’ve identified $600/month of expenses. Considering taxes, you would have to earn potentially $700/month or more to cover these bills.

Most people’s monthly financial footprint is even larger. It is just smart to identify the things you don’t use that much and CEASE to be a servant to them.

Lower your unnecessary costs from serving “things” and then you have more jobs to select from. More jobs to select from means you have more locations that will have jobs you can do. More locations means that you have much more geographic choice.

Another way we locked into place is with our stuff is just having a whole life tied to an area.

Some things that are hard to replace, for which you might HAVE to find alternatives no matter where you go, are medical people like doctors and dentists. I know my wife particularly detests having to find a new gynecologist. If you need medical attention where-ever you might be, you’ll have to get new people. But the point here is that the people you work with in your non-work life are how your current life slowly binds you to an area.

There are other things that are less traumatic that over a lifetime slowly start to hold you back. Maybe you have a hobby and you have a very good hobby supply store nearby. That is an example.

Or you just bought a BMW car and you are tied into their local service.

The new business model in America is to sell you something that has a monthly “tie-in” that you find valuable. Those monthly tie-ins get harder and harder to break. The more stuff you buy, the more monthly tie-in you get.

I know one thing for sure. If you reduce your lifestyle to the most essential things you will reduce this local tie-in. Furthermore if you work hard to scrutinize those tie-ins on the things you decide you are going to do anyway, that will help keep them to a minimum.

Finally, where possible make sure that whoever you do business with would be willing to do so via mail, email, and phone.

Now that you have worked so hard to be free from any particular place, why not drive another 100 miles and stay for 3 weeks at that hunting lodge resort in Utah. Does anyone really care where you are?

I didn’t think so.

Sounds like you have a good grasp on being location independent.

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