February 15, 2010

Slimming Down - The start of a longterm goal

When I left GA I was proud to have all of my clothes in two big 22 gallon sterilite storage containers. Along with those two I have two 44 gallon ones, filled with climbing gear and misc. items in the other. I even have two more smaller 12-15 gallon ones for food and office/books/computer stuff. I was excited to have everything I wanted to pack, plus a few extras, all loaded into the Xterra with some room to spare. That's saying something for the Xterra for sure but it's also saying something about my initial packing list... it was huge.

Of course I donated some clothes before I packed, but I did manage to get every single article of clothing besides a few jackets, packed into the two 20 gallon containers. My newest idea involves living out of a backpack for long periods of time. I'm in the process of researching other's stories to find out what they realized they needed or didn't need after months of living like this. Ideally I want to travel down to the Florida Keys, Bahamas, Costa Rica, Cancun, Grand Cayman area to enjoy the beach for a while. I'm TIRED of the snow, haha.

Totally different lifestyle than I ever thought I would enjoy and I may not, but for now it seems really interesting. Staying the States I think I will keep my Xterra and probably even take it with me since it's providing a really good place to sleep and chill. Eventually I would like to do away with it for a while and see how that goes. No home, no car, just a backpack.

I often get asked what I do for money and/or did I save up a bunch to come travel. Everywhere I read the cycle is to work for some months or a year and then go travel with the bread you saved up. It's an awesome plan and it works for lots and LOTS of people all the time. I however an into web design, have been for almost four years now and I make ALL of my money right now from that alone. I have 3 clients that pay me either weekly or monthly and I don't have to clock in anywhere. It's the most portable job ever! I would advise the other method of saving up and then traveling though as it seems much more feasible with a lot of jobs, you don't have to have something portable necessarily to do that. If you want some more inspiration about traveling and maybe some fresh ideas on life in general, check out this website: StumbleUpon.com <-- just click on the "Stumble!" button up top to see something new and exciting!

February 10, 2010

A tight fit for $20

No, I'm not in Tiujana! Here's what happened:

I decided to go to Fresno for 2 nights and look at backpacks and just get a dose of civilization. About 8 minutes from the house I pass by this self-storage place and see a truck & pull-behind camper wedged in the entrance gate. I decided to turn around and see if the person needed help since it looked like they were alone at first. I get out and ask the guy if he needed help, and he did... very much so. He was at least 60 and could hardly walk. Having already broken out a window on his camper by hitting the gate pole, he was upset and frustrated. So I guided him in as far as we could go but it wasn't going to fit. For the next hour we jacked up the rear of the trailer and pushed it over so it slid off the jacks, moving it further and further away from the pole it was about to hit. Sadly it just wasn't going to fit so once more he decided to try backing out and coming in at a different angle.. I had to guide.

Backing out of the gate took 12 minutes at least, he was creeping and kept wanting to know if everything was cool, even though I assured him it was fine. When he was lined up straight to pull back into the gate, the camper was about 1.5-2 inches from the pole he had hit the first time. It took some precise turning of the wheel and an ever-so-slow pace but we got it in completely. He also asked if I could help him set it up on the storage property, maybe I was such good help he figured he would keep me around for a bit? He told me he had bought the camper when he and his girlfriend decided to travel down to GA where she was orginally from. He mentioned twice that she has passed away "a couple of years ago", I felt bad for him having to deal with the camper and memories. Finally done, it had been two hours since I stopped to see what was up and now I was finally leaving on my way to Fresno. But I didn't leave empty handed! Bill gave me $20 and kept bragging about the help, which I made sure he knew was no problem.

The main reason I turned around to help Bill was not because it looked like he was in a bind, but more that I've been deprived of any new friendships in the last week + some days. I figured I'd help guide the guy in, he'd shake my hand, introduce himself, and I'd be on my way. I got a lot more than that AND got more of a story from him than anyone in a while.

February 7, 2010

Telling my stories

I've been reading lately about so many people making money by writing about their travels. I feel like I should be in on that! I need to learn how to write better.. specifically more interestingly and develop the ability to captivate my audience. Some people are making money just by having tons of visitors come and read their blogs, others are making money by selling videos and articles to travel sites/companies. That's a sweet job!

Lately I haven't blogged much b/c I don't have too much to say, nothing new has happened. I will give you this one story though, it's short and maybe I'll start now on my "captivating" writing skills. Hope you enjoy.

Two days ago, Thursday, I broke the faucet handle off of the shower. Having never done much home improvement (plumbing at least) I thought, oh shit what's it going to cost to get this fixed? Well since I'm all into this dirtbagging lifestyle I thought I'd give it a few days, I didn't really need a shower for at least another 2-3 days. So the next day I go to the grocery store to get some foods and a faucet handle, but decide to hit up this dirt road on the way back. The same one I visited with the mountain bike, I thought it would be fun in the Xterra since it was so hilly. Well 2 hours later I'm stuck in the bottom between two big hills. The ground was so slick that going down them with the brakes pressed I was sliding sideways. It was the slickest I've ever seen, seriously.

It took me 45 minutes to remember the snow chains I had in the back that I've never used. They had to help even if it was just a little. Surprisingly they allowed me to power right up the hill without slipping the first time! As I'm driving back down out of this dirt road/trail I pass by the backside of this guy's house and he waves kind of confusingly. Once I get back on the pave road I had to drive slow b/c of the snow chains and I didn't want to pull over in someone's yard to remove them plus it was only .6 miles to my driveway. Well that same guy met me in the road and stopped me and said "why don't you take those damn chains off your tires before you ruin your car". I did. After he realized i wasn't drinking/smoking/stealing anything from "his property" he offered to take me up the hill in is Kawasaki Rhino. Now my dad bought a John Deere Gator 4x6 when they first came out so I'm interested to ride in this thing no matter where we're off to.

Speakig of "off to" this guy is nuts in this Rhino. Right out of the yard we're sideways finding out way onto the trail back up to where I was. The trail is about 5 feet wide with big ruts down the middle and left side and it's now dark-thirty. He was obviously familiar with the trail as we're doing 44mph with one headlight! You can't see around the corners and we're sideways half the time dodging trees the size of cars. "Holy shit we're going to hit a tree and/or flip" I kept thinking, but the Rhino held it's ground without any concern. I was really impressed. I don't know if the guy was drunk at all but he took me on some of the more adventurous obstacles he knew the Rhino would make it up, a 65 degree dirt hill for one.

I get home and I'm covered in mud from head to toe. Maybe now you're realizing as I am... the shower is not fixed. Luckily it only took about 13 minutes to fix the shower and it works better than ever now. I'm sure Janet and Phillip will be happy it's smoother now too. So that's my best day here yet which is isn't saying much considering I've been sticking around the house for 4 days.