Friday 23 December 2016

Frozen Pants

So . . . my pants are frozen. I have to admit, I kinda saw this one coming, but didn’t have much of a choice. 

I had to wash them and then had to dry them. Drip drying was the best way to get the bulk of the water out. Well most of it got out but the rest was frozen in place.

This is not the best shot but they're not frozen enough to stand on their own, but you get the idea.

They have the consistency of a frozen sponge (yes I have seen that freeze too). I have a backup plan, so don’t fret.

I plan to be in my camping spot tonight with my electric heater cranked up for the next ten days, so those pants will be nice and dry (and unfrozen) in no time.

It is just one of the adventures and challenges that crops up when you live in an RV even in winter. 

Heat is an issue at the best of times but when you have things to dry, even more so. 

The key to success in this life is to just take things as they come and solve the problems as they come up one by one. 

So, when you have frozen pants, don’t get mad, just heat them up (without melting them or setting them on fire. 

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive and keep moving forward!

Thursday 22 December 2016

Drawing Out Departure

So, as you all know I am heading out for my Christmas Break on Friday after work. Exactly when I leave is yet to be determined. Why?

Well, because the boss informed us that instead of our usual quitting time of 2pm on Fridays may be extended to 3pm just in case some customers want some last minute items.

Tomorrow is payday and so it usually my running around day, which includes grocery shopping. I figured why pack all that into one day, so I did my grocery shopping last night.

For one, it gave me something to do, for another it let me do my shopping at a more relaxed pace as well as get me that one more step towards being ready to shove off.

Tonight is also packed as I have my banking and gas fill up to do, but I also have to renew my vehicle registration and of course pick up next year’s park pass when I get to Banff. 

I am still looking forward to this break and eagerly await being on the road. These diversions help pass the time until that wondrous hour of departure and freedom.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive and keep moving forward!

PS: the pants are still not dry.

Wednesday 21 December 2016

Pants Problem

So, the inevitable happened last night, clumsy me spilled something on the pants portion of the stylishly fashionable Quad-Thermal Underwear contraption that has been a stable of my wardrobe for the last month (or two).

This means I have to wash them, but since I have sewn the cuffs together that means washing the whole thing, rather than just the affected layer.

Cheap me, decided not to do a special laundry run just for this (since I just did laundry on Friday). So this means scrubbing with a brush, some soap in a bucket before leaving it to soak overnight.

Funny thing about thermal undies, particularly when they are in grouped together is that they are an effective sponge. Sooo I have a very heavy, damp pair of thermal underwear pants.

In order to dry them, these will take a few days in this weather or a nice hot summer day in the sun. The trick is that they are too heavy to just hang over a wire rack, as they will flop down.

So the compromise that I came up with was this . . . 

The wire thing is the wire rack laundry rack that I bought from a large discount retailer. It is built just like a scissor-lift and takes a bit of doing to get into my small bathtub in my micro-bathroom.

Up top I have two “pants hangers” or “skirt hangers.” I find them handy in such cases to use as large clothes pegs. This way there is a bit of air getting the inside and the whole thing can drip-dry over the next few days.

Thankfully the weather is not too bad these days, so I can just go back to wearing a couple pairs of sweat pants and sweat shirts. Once again function over fashion. 

As always: keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Tuesday 20 December 2016

Countdown to Christmas Break

Okay, so while the nice weather is a nice break, it is not the break that I need. For some reason I find the dragging drudgery of work and the cold weather of late has taken its toll on me.

I need: warmth, space, peace and quiet, lack of rushing traffic two feet from my door and yes free-flowing electricity.

So I find my thoughts drifting and planning for the wondrous and delightful days that are coming, the ten days and eleven nights that is my Christmas Break in Banff.

Sure it is a break where I am by myself at a time when one should be surrounded by family, but this is my life these days. 

I do plan to have a family and all that, I know that time is just not yet; first things first things first: Get debt free, get land, then start family (but I digress).

I will make it through this week that seems to tic by much slower than most, due to the wonderful reward that lies at the end of it: peace and quiet.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Monday 19 December 2016

Hibernation Halted (For Now)

Friday night was spent first running around, then hibernating. Saturday was spent at the library, so as to use someone else’s heat and electricity for the day. 

Saturday night found me retreating ever further into my sleeping bag. I found myself curled up somewhere in the middle of it. 

I still turned my face to face the opening of the bag so as to ensure that I could still get fresh air, yet not stick my face out in the sub -20C temperatures of the trailer. 

This changed Sunday morning when finally the cold snap lifted and manageable temperatures returned. This meant that no longer needed to hibernate.

I was even able to run my furnace and get the temperature above zero, by noon I could push things to a balmy 10C. I was even able to keep this up until I went to bed.

I spent a lot of time wiping things down as the frost that covered most surfaces of the insides of the trailer melted. 

Such is life, but I am just happy that I was able to defrost my trailer and even use my deadbolt lock again. For the past few weeks it has been immobilized by frost in the open position. 

This meant piling things up in front of the door, so as to ensure that if anyone tried to enter, they would make noise and wake me.

That is all changed now, for the foreseeable future at least. I should be able to keep my trailer above zero, for the foreseeable future. 

I am still looking forward to my Christmas Break in Banff that is set to commence this Friday afternoon. 

I will do whatever shopping and running around that I have to do Thursday night (which is payday) so I can just run to the hills, as soon as I get off of work Friday.

As always: Keep your head up your attitude positive and keep moving forward!

Friday 16 December 2016

Random Act of Kudos

Last night I had a visit from a stranger, but it was not an unwelcome visit.  This individual had apparently been driving past my trailer (in my Eastern Home) for months and wanted to stop by, yet never did.

Last evening this guy did stop by and the only thing he wanted to say (apart from hi) was the fact that he respected me for what I was doing. 

He also said that I had more courage for living in my RV and actually tackling my debt rather than just give into it. This is one of those things that I have never really given much thought to (how “courageous” I am).

I, for one, just see this as a path that I must walk, because I want greater and better things for me, most of them revolve around and require freedom. 

For me, that is what total debt freedom is . . . freedom, the freedom to do what I want, and go where I want. 

After all, I will not only own (outright) my little home on wheels, but also know how to live in it in any climate. 

That will mean that as long as I have cash to cover my living expenses, (Say $600.00 a month) I can truly to where I want and do what I want.

It was nice to hear from someone and hear that not everyone thinks I’m nuts or the local hobo. It was also nice to remind myself of why I am out here . . . freedom. 

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive and keep moving forward!

Thursday 15 December 2016

Winter Water Woes

Okay, so with the deep freeze still with us, for a few days yet, I thought I would let people know how I have been keeping my water liquid. 

There are a few options, one is to store water in metal containers each one able to contain a gallon. 

Why? Well you can put the metal container on your stove and melt the solid block of ice, yet it is not too large or heavy to handle.

I have not found those yet, so I will go with my backup plan which is to have a number of smaller water containers, such as 1.5 litre water bottles. 

I keep filling them up at work and taking them home each day. This way I let work keep my water liquid during the day for me.

At home I fill up a hot water bottle and snuggle my bottles of water (and coffee creamer) in a bag wrapped in a towel.

This way the water (and coffee creamer) will stay (mostly) liquid by morning (mmm, coffee cream slushie). 

I still do my trick of filling my coffee percolator and kettle the night before. Logic and experience have taught me that one. 

This way it doesn’t matter if the water in them freezes overnight as I can simply put the kettle or coffee percolator on the stove . . . they’ll defrost quickly enough.

When the weather is warmer I can go back to filling my five gallon jugs of water at the grocery store, as I prefer. 

When I have water in them I shake the jugs up like a martini shaker. This is to break up the ice in them as at least you can pour out shards of ice into the kettle to melt.

With the weather in the deep freeze, though, my large jugs can and will freeze solid in no time flat. This makes them ineffective to use south of -20C

Just try defrosting a large block of ice . . . it may freeze fast, but it won’t melt fast. At least not without the heat of summer (which is a long time coming.)

My trick these days is to only bring home enough water to last me the night and morning. That way I can function yet not have useless blocks of ice. 

The absolute backup plan is to melt snow, but I haven’t done that yet, as I would prefer to do that and then put that melted water through some sort of water filter.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive and keep moving forward!

Wednesday 14 December 2016

Bucking a Disturbing Trend

Statistics Canada released a report today that stated that household debt has risen in this country to a point where the average person owes $1.67 for every $1.00 earned 

Technically they said “Disposable Income” but nobody elaborated just what that means, is that after tax income, or what?

Anyways, the trend is that people are piling on debt at an alarming rate. I, for one, have no illusion as to why . . . 

People are tapped out and just can’t make ends meet, so they turn to credit cards, lines of credit and other forms of credit to keep going.

Sooner or later this will run out and people’s fiscal house of cards will collapse. This is why this blog entry is for anyone reading this to seriously consider tackling your own debt.

Once again, you don’t have to go to my extreme to get your debt under control, and eventually eliminated (yes it is possible).

What you do need to do is to downgrade your lifestyle in order to free up cash in your monthly budget and put that cash towards your debt.

You can do this in a number of ways: rent a room, rent a house with another family, or even move in with family. 

There are a thousand ways to do it and the best way to start would be to imagine what you would do if you were suddenly unemployed.

That will get you thinking of the drastic ways that you could downgrade your lifestyle to balance your shockingly drastic reduction in your monthly income.

Just think about it, because being mired in debt is not right, nor acceptable, even if it has become “normal.”

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive and keep moving forward!

Tuesday 13 December 2016

Budget Alchemy

Okay, with time ticking down to payday, and my Christmas Break, my thoughts turn towards my last budget of 2016. 

Specifically, me finding a way to pay for what I need to pay for and still end the month with my three accounts fully funded. To make a long story short, I have managed to do it.

Sure it is an arbitrary dollar figure that I have put on myself but it is a target that I have set for myself and, if I must say, a good target. 

This is key for me moving forward is to build up an “Oops Fund” into each and all of my three accounts. 

This is because I will be doing the unthinkable . . . handing over large wads of cash to the bank when they are not asking for it.

Again, this goes back to my experiment that I will commence next year so that I can pay the Wanda Loan off faster, by paying the bank directly.

The plan that I did for the truck was to save the principle up in my long term savings account. This is a bit dangerous as I can start seeing things (or property) that I could by.

With all of the fuss that I have made about Total Debt Freedom Day: Nov, 7, 2017, anything less than sudden and unexpected unemployment would be allowable in order for me to miss that deadline.

The key today is that I have a plan to fund my three accounts back up to what I deem the minimum acceptable levels. 

Remember, you can’t control the future all you can do is control the present and in so doing, direct your future. 

What that means is you can shape your future by managing your money wisely, here, now today, as in this payperiod.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Monday 12 December 2016

Cold Snap Snap

Okay, so I did run to the hills this weekend and I will admit that it was just to give myself a break from the deep freeze.

All in all it was a good weekend and I was able to warm the trailer up and defrost most of my belongings. 

I have seen things freeze that most people don’t think could/would freeze. Did you know that dish soap turns to a foamy consistency when it freezes? I do.

Now I am back at it and after that little break I know that I can and will hunker down and continue to make it through winter as efficiently as possible. 

Again, another twisted game in my near future is to see how much cash I can save even in the depths of the deep freeze that is this latest cold snap. 

After all, all I really have to do is heat me, as in my body, not my trailer . . . I see a lot of my Bear Mode in my future.

As in just not bothering to run the furnace and spending as much time as possible out of the trailer and in a building or in my sleeping bag when I am in the trailer.

Ah yes, that wonderful place called the library is calling me next weekend. I can think of a number of things and projects that I should be working on that can take up my time.

The break this past weekend was needed and did not cost as much as I had thought that it would. I will have to break down and take more of these breaks in the future, as it is necessary.

I will make it through winter and quickly put my budget back on track and top up the Mid-Term Savings Account that I raided for this sojourn.

The view was fantastic, though, due to the fact that I was able to get my favourite spot.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward.

Friday 9 December 2016

Bear Mode Engaged

Okay, so I find myself hibernating this cold snap away. Oddly enough it has been saving me on resources . . . so there is that.

Essentially what I have been doing is just not heating the house during the week . . . in this sub -20C cold snap. Here’s why.

Everything in the house is not just frozen but in a deep freeze, so at least none of my food will spoil J

Anyways, what I have been doing is chaining in and out of my cold weather getup at work. That way I change in a warm environment and not in the frozen house.

I will move the house to my evening parking spot, have my dinner, relax for a bit with a cup of herbal tea as I listen to a bit of radio.

After that, I just turn in, as in tuck into my sleeping bag. I can still do some stuff or even listen to the radio if I want (I have a remote.) All from the warmth of my sleeping bag.

In the mornings I don’t get up when I used to, nope, I stay in bed until I have to get up to get my morning rolling. Other than that I am hibernating this cold snap away.

In the end, all I really need to do is heat me, myself, my body and not the rest of the house. So far it is working and I will see how things go in the future.

I will admit that I am taking a cold-snap break by running away from the cold for the weekend by going to the hills and my Very-Western Home (Banff.)

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Thursday 8 December 2016

Wanda Loan Update

So, last night was a regularly scheduled Wanda Payment. That means that I logged in this morning to see just how accurate my estimations were. 

Well, wouldn’t you know it that the pattern held true and so my estimations were right on track. In fact the amount taken off of the principle of the loan increased by $0.10. 

Furthermore I was able to accurately predict the balance amount, to the penny! So this means that it is possible to predict what is going to come on these loans.

This is important so that I can see and establish a regular pattern if I do nothing out of the ordinary (control) and compare that to what happens when I make my various payments (experiment).

So, things will get quite interesting over the next few months on the Wanda Loan front. As I will study what effects my various payments have on the loan.

This is so I can predict going forward what is going to happen on this loan and estimate when it actually should be paid off.

That way I can tweak and adjust what I am doing in order to ensure that I pay the Wanda Loan off on that glorious day, known as Total Debt Freedom Day! (Nov, 7, 2017).

With as much fuss and fanfare I have made about that day (that I have picked) I had bloody-well better make that day!

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive and keep moving forward!

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Back to Mother Nature’s Deep Freeze

I am not talking about the weather, although it is cold, sure. I am talking about my fridge and freezer, as in I can’t run them when the weather gets this cold.

Without going into details about modern refrigeration, the back of your fridge is not only supposed to get warm, it needs to get warm, in order to keep the insides cool.

Since the back of my fridge hangs its butt out in -20C weather these days, it is safe to say that it is as warm as I am. 

That means that if I run the fridge now, I risk damaging it. So what do I do? I do the most counter-intuitive thing anything could imagine: I leave the doors open.

Yep, since the weather is actual deep freeze temperature the best thing for me to do is to let that cold air into the house and further into the fridge and freezer.

The fridge came with these plastic attachments to prop the fridge and freezer doors open when you are storing the trailer. I simply use them to prop the doors open, while I am at work, in order to keep my stuff frozen.

It works, a little too well as it happens, but at least nothing is going to spoil. Water is another issue for another blog entry, but at least I know how to keep my fridge cold even when I can’t run it.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive and keep moving forward!

PS: I was interviewed by Bill Macfarlane from CTV News Calgary, in case you are interested, here you are: 

Tuesday 6 December 2016

I Cuddled my Laptop Last Night

I do like my laptop, but not that much. After all, it is a cheap laptop, but it does get the job done and I don’t have any payments on it.

The reason I was “cuddling” my laptop is an old trick that I had to get back into the practice of: sleeping with my electronics.

What happens is that when the temperatures drop into the definite deep freeze overnight your electronic devices: laptops, smart phones, tablet computers, etc need to be kept warm. 

Trust me, your electronics do not react well to being frozen. There is a serious risk of damage, or at the very least them just shutting down or acting screwy. 

So, the simplest solution to this problem is to take them into your sleeping bag with you to allow your body heat to keep them warm all night long.

What about in the morning? The electronics I am not using I just leave them in the still warm sleeping bag. (It’s better that way.) Why?

Well, when I am up and about in the morning the heater is going so the place warms up, somewhat, as in near zero. 

(Near zero being the operative word . . . Zero is the target to get up to.)

What do I do during the day? I cheat by taking my electronics with me to work to let them stay warm during the day.

For the evening, I put my electronics that I am not using in the sleeping bag with a hot water bottle. That does the trick of warming my sleeping bag for me and keeping those electronic devices from freezing up.

This may seem silly, but trust me you don’t want to push it with your fancy electronic devices. 

The real problem isn’t in the freezing them . . . it’s in the turning them on and using them when they are frozen (trust me.)

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Monday 5 December 2016

Happy Anniversary to Me!

Okay, so it is that time of year again, it is exactly three years since I started this journey of being an Urban Nomad and yes started this blog.

It has been a long three years filled mostly with me figuring things out as I went. I most certainly did not have all of the answers, and I certainly don’t now. 

Life is a process of constantly revising and honing what you do, of constant improvement. 

Last year I set out five goals for myself let’s see how I did?

1. I will put and keep $1000.00 in my main account at all times.

Okay, this one I have been very successful at and indeed have expanded this policy to all three of my accounts. 

I now vow to have at least $1000.00 in all of my accounts: Main, Mid-Term Savings and Long-Term Savings. 

(So, count this one done!)

2. I will consolidate my truck and trailer loan, and configure it to pay it off in 3 – 4 years.

Okay, this one did not pan out, as it didn’t seem possible, but I did pay off the truck loan (October) and I do have a plan to pay the trailer loan off by Nov 7, 2017. 

So all in all I will be ahead of schedule. In fact even earlier than my most generous estimates (As in both paid off in 2 years rather than 3 to 4) 

(Count this one as half done and in fact on track to being done.) 

3. I will buy myself that new laptop that I want (and have earned).

This one is done, sorta. I did get a new laptop, but nowhere near as nifty or advanced as the one that I had hoped for. 

Fiscal prudence won out and I got what I needed, not what I wanted. This seems to be a reoccurring theme in my life.

(Regardless, count this one done.)

4. I will save $10,000.00 in my contingency fund (with incremental goals of $2000.00.

Seriously not even close, and I won’t even start on this one for a year. Even then it will be trickle savings as I build up the Homestead Fund. 

(Count this one . . . delayed . . . seriously delayed.) 

5. I will pay off my Truck and Trailer Loan

As I said before the truck is paid off and the trailer loan is the current focus of my fiscal efforts. 

(Count this one as half done and in fact on track to being done.) 

So, what are my goals for the next year? 

1. I will, at all times, maintain a balance of at least $1000.00 in each of my accounts: Main, Mid-Term Savings and Long-Term Savings.

2. I will pay off the trailer loan (Wand Loan) before the end of next year with a target paid off date of Nov, 7, 2017.

3. I will maintain all of my credit cards at a $0.00 balance, paying them off in full each and every payday.

Those are big ones and so that is all of my goals for next year. This will be the year that I claw my way to total debt freedom. 

Beyond that, I will work towards getting my own place and paying cash for it. That is next year, though as I have my work cut out for me if I am to do keep all of my three goals all year long. 

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Friday 2 December 2016

In Training

So, the cold weather cometh, thus I must be prepared. I am not talking about breaking out the winter clothes or the -40C rated sleeping bag (that’s the easy part.)

No, I am talking about getting myself prepared, and re-adjusting what I deem an acceptable interior temperature. These days that is a balmy 5C . . . inside the house.

The lowest setting on the thermostat is 4C but I find 5C to be okay and I can handle it. 

Don’t get me wrong, I am bundled up in my winter clothes, complete with gloves and sleeping toque, but I am okay.

These days I could push the interior temperature to 10C or perhaps up to 15C. Warmer is nicer, so why not do that while I can, right?

The trouble with doing that is that the higher you go, the more the furnace runs. The more the furnace runs the more propane it burns and the more electricity it uses. (Thus warmer = more expensive.)

It can also mean that come morning (when I reeeeeealy want to run that furnace to take the bite out of the air) the batteries are dead and the furnace won’t run.  

The other reason is that when the really cold weather arrives (and stays) I will need to be ready and in full “Polar Bear Mode” to not just handle it, but take it in stride.

This is more for my mental and emotional well-being than anything else. In order to be in a well-balanced and non-agitated state of mind all winter long, I need to just accept the new norm.

I know from winters past that I will never have over 20C temperature in my house unless I find some place to plug in (as in to the electric grid). Thus a weekend camping is a nice retreat to warmth with a view.)

I will have a cold house and that is that, there is little I can do about that fact. I can, however, change my attitude towards it.

This winter I am determined to just change my expectations of what a “warm” house is and in so doing, improve my winter.

This is my life and the lifestyle that I have chosen, so I had best make the best of it. Once again, this is not forever just for now, say three years? 

I will have a warm and cosy home again, just not for the time being. I will, however, have a greatly improved cash flow, and that is something worth bundling up for.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Thursday 1 December 2016

Christmas Break Still Unsettled

So here we are, December the 1st and the deep freeze is upon us, or rather it should be fully entrenched come Sunday Morning. 

It has been dancing above and below zero for the last little while, but that is supposed to come to an end come Saturday night. 

For once it cools off Saturday night the temperature will not poke its head above zero for some a few months (Chinook notwithstanding). 

This is neither here nor there and certainly nothing I haven’t seen before or can’t handle. Don’t get me wrong, I am not enthused that the deep freeze is nigh, but I can deal with it.

Since it is the 1st of December, I had hoped that what the man at my favourite campground in Banff was true in that at least a few campsites would be up on the reservation system today.

This is not the case, and while I will check daily, it looks ever increasingly like I will be driving to the mountains with blind faith and trusting in dumb luck that a spot will be available. 

That is something I hate doing, as I will be driving after work and the last thing I want is to find out that nothing is available or that the park is closed for whatever reason. 

I have been assured that it will be up and running, but you never really know and when it comes to my Christmas break, I don’t want to leave anything to chance. 

Ah well, there is little else I can do, as I don’t want to go anywhere else, that is my mountain retreat. No matter what happens, I will be okay, and I will deal with it, I always do.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive and keep moving forward!

Wednesday 30 November 2016

Winter Rituals Resurrected

Okay, so the first taste of real winter has come, at least in the overnight temperatures anyways. 

The bitter cold of real winter will hit next week, but for now, at least I get a small taste of what is to come. (It was -12C overnight, which will be a daytime high next week.)

What this taste of winter allows me to do is to remember and practice all of those little winter rituals that I have developed in winters past.

Such as: bundling up a bit more as soon as I get home, lighting candles for light, and who could forget wearing the sleeping toque all evening, night and morning.

It is all of these little rituals and habits which seem silly, but have a reason and a purpose. They all help to keep me warm and weather winter. 

It is not a pleasant process, or one that I would wish on others, but I wear it as a badge of honour: I can live in my RV on the streets of a Canadian prairie town and live to tell the tale (sans-frostbite). 

I will grumble, and I will protest, but most of all I will look to spring. Or as I call it “Anti-Fall” as it is just like Fall, it just happens in reverse.

During these few months of “Real Winter” all I really need to do is to warm myself up, not my trailer . . . just me. That is something that I know how to do, and know how to do efficiently. 

The thing to remember is that when it comes to winter is that it is all in the resources, more specifically, the resources used; the more efficient the usage the better.

It is far too easy to just run the generator every night and keep the furnace cranked. 

To do so would use up way too much gasoline and propane, which would negate any cost savings staying in the trailer over winter. 

This is because the more resources you use, the more cash you are required to spend. 

So bundle up buttercup and just hunker down, after all, body heat is the cheapest (nicest when shared) and most renewable form of heat there is.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

(and stay warm)

Tuesday 29 November 2016

Get a Room, Why Don’t You?

It seems inevitable that every time the weather starts to get cold (as in starts to dip below zero during the day) that someone suggests that I rent a room for the “real winter.”

You know, get out of my trailer for the really cold months, say December through March. It’s only 3 months, right? What’s the big deal, right?

It is a big deal, to me. I know that nobody else may understand but when I moved into Wanda full-time, I swore that I would not rent again.

I told myself that, for better or worse, unless my life was in danger (as in south of -40C) that I would continue living in Wanda until I finally BUY a place.

For me, staying in Wanda for the long haul is not really a matter of pride, or even a test of macho bravado, but practicality, and fiscal prudency.

You see, if I rent a room or even a campsite, that would take a bite of $500.00 – 1000.00 out of my budget each and every month. 

That would all but pause my savings plan for those months and in so doing, lengthen the time it would take to get the Wanda Loan paid off, and yes build up the Homestead Fund.

This Urban Nomad Lifestyle is, and always was, intended to be a temporary measure to correct my fiscal situation that I allowed to get so disastrous.

It is also a protest, as in: why should anyone have to forgo living in a warm and cosy home, just to get ahead in this country? 

The answer is, of course, that nobody is ever expected to get ahead in this country. We are never told to pay off debt, just “Manage Debt” 

Manage Debt, as in keep paying those minimum payments. When you get rid of one debt, get another one . . . Don’t get me started, but at best, that is another blog entry.

Back to me and my rental-moratorium. I would allow myself to campsite at a year-round campground, but it would have to be as a case of last resort. 

To me, doing such a thing would be a sign that I couldn’t handle doing what I am doing and needed the comfort of such a living arrangement. (As in sustained -40C temps.)

Not to mention that such a campsite is would cost me approximately $900.00 a month, plus the cost of power. No thanks, I will keep that cash in my pocket and move my hiney ahead, thanks.

So, whilst I have approximately three years to go before this Urban Nomad journey of mine may come to an end (at the earliest), I will stick it out (stiff upper lip and all that).

I have already been through two winters living in Wanda. I can do three more (or more) if need be. I know what to do, and I know how to handle it. 

The most important thing is getting in the right mindset, to just accept that winter has come. I’ve done this before, and I can do this again.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Monday 28 November 2016

The Long Road to Roots

As some of you may know from my Facebook status update over the weekend that I got kicked out of my Western Home on Saturday evening.

It was nothing personal, I just got caught up in a sweep they seem to do now and again in response to some people who just stay there 24/7 /365.

I understand that it is their right to do so, as it is private property. They have a right to say who can and cannot stay there for how long.

It is just frustrating and a bit sad that I have once again lost access to a place that is, or was, my weekend home; such as it was.

It was a place for me to put my slide-out out and therefore have a bit of extra space, coupled with not having traffic roaring two feet from my window all the time.

Such is life, and these things can and will happen as long as I remain mobile. Mobile is what I am and shall remain for 30 months at least.

How have I come up with this number of two and a half years? Let me break it down for you.

I have (as of Wednesday the 30th) 11 months and 1 week until I pay off the Wanda Loan in full. That will put me a year from now: Late November 2017.

At which pointy I will most likely have decimated all of my savings and so will need a payday to top up the Mid-Term Savings before starting the next phase of my journey to a home.

That phase is of course building up The Homestead Fund. I plan to have $60,000.00 in that fund before I start to seriously start to look for a place.

By my Estimations that will take me until late May 2019 (Yes, 30 months from now).

Even then I will need to stuff an extra $6000.00 in extra cash, over and above my regular, ambitious, savings plan to make that goal.

This target of $60,000.00 will give me enough to buy something and pay for all of the closing costs.

Exactly what I will be able to get for that or where it will be, is anyone’s guess. I plan to buy something for cash outright and not get a mortgage.

This is an ambitious and some may say unrealistic goal, but I have to start somewhere, I have to have a dream and a vision of what I want.

After that I need a plan to get me there. I have both of those, and yes I am working that plan.

That is the essence of the recipe for success and the way to improve your life: Dream, Set Measurable Goals, Plan, Act.

What having a piece of land means to me, is a place to finally belong. It means having a place to put down roots, of building something permanent, something lasting, and yes, a life.

My life is transient and in a constant state of flux and, in truth, on hold. It will be so until I can finally unhitch Wanda on that patch of dirt that I own.

The only way that this number (30 months) until that date will shorten, is by way of some sort of outside intervention: lottery win, crowdfunding, etc.

I may have jokingly asked for donations before, but I was not serious then, and I am not asking now.

(Don’t let me stop you if you indeed feel so motivated to donate or arrange a crowdfunding campaign, though . . . $100,000.00 in total thanks).

I will pay my own way, on this journey to have a home of my own. Even if it is just a patch of ground with nothing but trees, grass and perhaps a stream, that sounds great to me.

I choose to see that there is an end in sight that, sure it is two and a half years away, but there is some sort of end in sight; an end to this Urban Nomad Journey.

Just buying the property is not enough, as there are improvements that will need to be done to make that land a home.

I will, most likely, need to keep working for a year past the time of buying the property.

That eventuality is too far unseen, as I may yet get a place near this work or some other decent job. At which point I can still be home, and steadily improving my home.

Once again, I digress, while it is a long road to a place where I can set down roots, I have a dream, measurable goals, and a plan. So, there is a real chance that this will happen, that I will finally have a home of my own.

As always: keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Friday 25 November 2016

Don’t Look Too Far Down The Road (Trust Me)

It has been said that “Inch by inch, anything’s a cinch, yard by yard anything is hard.” What that means in today’s blog message is to just focus on the now.

This is a lesson that I keep needing to learn. When I look down the road and the long haul that I have to go before I can return to some semblance of “normalcy” the view is depressing.

Why? Let me lay it out for you.

First of all I have a year and one winter (as in this one) to go through before the Wanda Loan is paid off and I am debt free (Nov 7, 2017). 

So far only one tuchus-freezing season: Winter 2016

Well, after that I will be debt free with next to no cash in hand and still living in my RV. 

My next goal, as I have stated numerous times, is to buy a plot of land and start that Science Research Community (for lack of a better description)

To do that, in order to even begin to look for any land remotely close to what I want, I will need at least $60,000 in my hot little hand.

At my best estimates that puts me sometime in May of 2019 . . .

Three tuchus-freezing seasons: Winters of: 2016, 2017, and 2018. 

Naturally, before driving off to start said Research Community from the ground up (literally, as I will be buying raw, vacant land) I will need, you guessed it, more cash.

So that puts me a year later at somewhere in the spring of 2020 . . . 

FOUR tuchus-freezing seasons: Winters of: 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019.

At least I will be standing on my plot of land, with a place to live (Wanda) a fistful of cash and a dream, not bad . . . even if I will be: 50, still single (let’s face it), and still without a real house . . . 

Yet, to look at the bright side, I will be totally debt free, on a piece of land that is mine and paid off, with a modest pile of cash in hand in order to start my dream, and another adventure in life.

I will just focus on the now and hold true to getting Wanda paid off on time. I will then look towards the next phase of my journey: saving up the cash, after that, buying the land. After that . . . planning and working for settlement (as I save up cash).

It is all in how you look at it, and for me, I need to block out the steps down the road, as they are not guaranteed. 
All I really have is this moment, so I can either use it to move myself and my plans forward or I can sit and wallow in my misery and complain about my life. 

Today may or may not be a good day to die, but it is a good day to DECIDE then ACT to change your life.

I choose to stay focused on the positive direction that my life is moving in. I am in this situation because I failed to act and do what was necessary to fix it, years ago. 

I made this mess, and so I and I alone am responsible for cleaning it up. I will get there, on my land, just not today; someday though.

As always: keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Thursday 24 November 2016

Wanda Loan Paydown Plan Update

Just because I have paused beginning the Wanda Paydown Plan one month does not mean that I have paused my study of the Wanda Loan. 

Today was a regular Wanda Payment, so that means that the balance of the loan has changed this morning. 

So, with new balance in hand I have plunked that into my Wanda Paydown Estimator Spreadsheet and a pattern is emerging. 

I have notice that with each and every Regular Wanda Payment that the amount of Principle that comes off of the Outstanding Balance increases by 10 Cents!

Here is the schedule for what has come off of the Outstanding balance so far:

1. October 27: $43.08
2. November 10: $43.18
3. November 24: $43.28

With this info in hand I have speculated what the payments in December will look like and see if I am correct. Again this is part of my plan to be able to predict what will happen in the future of this loan. 

Why is that important? Well when I start to pay down in earnest this loan, I want to be able to accurately predict how quickly I will actually pay this loan off.

Why is that? Well I want to know if my plan will help me hit Total Debt Freedom Day (Nov 7, 2017) or not. As well, in a nerdy way it is kinda fun, and feels like I am cheating the system sorta.

Just in case you are curious, here is the spreadsheet as it stands now. 

Just FYI: The checkmarks on the side let me know if that payment has actually happened or not. So it is a quick way to let me know where I am in this ever changing spreadsheet.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Wednesday 23 November 2016

Hedging My Bets

Okay, so yesterday was payday which means that by now, all of my money has been allocated and distributed. 

My bills have been paid or monies set aside for their automatic payment, life is normal, since I am broke once again. Something we all know, all too well.

The exception is that I have a smidgen of money put aside in case something goes kerblewie and/or life tosses me a slight bump in the road.

I am about to embark on a phase where I hand most of my money over to the bank and in essence give it away. If I need it again, I will not be getting it back (but they’ll lend me more).

This time of year (Corporate Liability Insurance Renewal Time) is always a stressful time for Boss, this year is no different. 

It was an off-handed remark of his which set me on this journey of being an Urban Nomad this time of year three years ago.

That comment was his openly musing to just “pack it in” and “close up shop” and “get a job elsewhere.” 

This year he just vented about the stresses of a small businessman, but I could tell that the temptation was there.

This is also complicate by the murky and uncertain future of trade relations between us up in Canada and getting access to the market where 80% of our sales directly into.

Being a small company, my immediate fiscal future rests on the whims of one man and the fluctuations of the market and the access thereto. 

With this in mind, I gave myself a bit of a “fiscal stress test” yesterday and found that if I were suddenly unemployed (for any of a thousand reasons) I would not fair well, 

This goes especially if there was a delay, or I was ineligible for, unemployment insurance. This gave me a chill and a moment of pause.

It is for this reason that I will delay the start of the new Wanda Loan Paydown Plan until my January 7th payday.

For this payday and the two in December, I will focus on building up my savings. I will still go on my Christmas Break, but whatever cash I can spare will go into my two savings accounts (Mid-Term and Long-Term).

Since I am not talking about taking an epic trip to Vegas or buying that stellar laptop, but instead socking cash away, this cash can and will be used to finish off the Wanda Loan in November.

Yet, at the same time, I will have this pocket of cash to live on if the need arises. I need to be prepared for just about any eventuality that can be solved with cash.

I don’t want to borrow money, as I like keeping my credit cards at a zero balance and the thought of being totally debt free is what keeps me going.

So, this is the new plan, as it stands.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive and keep moving forward!

Tuesday 22 November 2016

Payday Dance Finalized

I have been wondering what to do with the shortfall in my budget that prevents me from funding each of my accounts to $1K (as planned).

I had thought about just underfunding my Main Account, but that tends to lead to (as this past weekend revealed) the F*it attitude.

This then leads to me just spending a bit more anyways due the belief that I will never get out of this debt anyways. 

I thought about just overfunding my Mid-Term Savings Account but just making sure to stay above $1K in it. 

I wanted to make sure to never touch that $1K and keep it for that Monsoon day. That was when it hit me . . . that was what the Long-Term Savings was for.

So, what I will do is put (and leave) that $1K into the Long-Term Savings Account as that is for when I really need it.

The Mid-Term Savings Account, I will keep topping up as much as I can, and also dipping into when I need it over the course of this year.

This way all of the money in the Mid-Term Savings Account is available for me to use, not just anything over $1K. 

I really do hope to top this up to that $1K mark, but it will be a stretch if that happens this year. At the very least I will have 1K in my Main Account and $1K in the Long-Term Savings Account.

I have a year of my most stringent budgets yet to look forward to, but it is necessary if I am to be debt free by the end of 2017. 

For my future and my own sanity I need to be finally free, finally and truly free. Debt freedom does not just mean fiscal freedom, but total freedom.

Debt Freedom will allow me to go where I like and do what I like, as long as I have a bit of cash in my pocket. That is something worth freezing, scrimping and economizing over.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive and keep moving forward!

Monday 21 November 2016

Progress and Success

My regularly scheduled blog entry had been pre-empted by this cause to pause and reflect on past successes and look forward to future ones.

Tomorrow is Payday and that means that it was a year ago tomorrow that I paid off the last of my large and looming credit cards.

In the year since then I have saved up and paid off my truck (two years early). Not bad when you think about it.

I am now working on paying my trailer (the last and largest debt that I have) in another year. 

It will be tight and I sincerely hope that I can get it done by Nov 7, 2017, but in reality as long as it is paid off . . . period, that is a win. The sooner the better.

I look forward to not only saving up for that property but starting to settle it. I can see myself puttering around and trying to make it a place where people would want to come.

In any event, it will be a place where I want to go, that is for sure, and with any luck, not to mention determination, I will remain debt free. 

For now though, I need to steel myself for the cold weather to come. I just need to get back into polar bear mode, after all, this bit we’re in, it’s the warm part. 

I will, as always, survive and thrive, and in so doing, come out the other side stronger and all the better for it.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive and keep moving forward!

Friday 18 November 2016

Getting Ahead of Myself

Again, one of my greatest strengths and weaknesses is my ability to envision and plan for the future. 

It is this ability that tends to lead to frustration and aggravation these days. Why?  

Well, I keep thinking and planning as if the Wanda Loan is already paid off, that it is a done deal. 

Again, why is this bad, since in the realm of goal setting this is good thing, right?

One of the best ways to stay motivated and ensure that you will succeed at your chosen goal is to envision it already achieved. So, why not be happy about this?

The trouble is that I already find myself thinking about “what next?” What happens after the Wanda Loan is paid off? 

I think about saving most of my take home income for myself, sure. I think about saving up for a property, sure. 

The most aggravating thing is the thought of starting to settle that property, of starting the research and construction of my various “off the grid” type contraptions.

I pause and wonder about renting a small space, in town, even a garage or something of the like. 

A place where I can start to play with car alternators in order to design better power generation equipment, all based on the humble car alternator. 

Or even Water Filtration, waste processing and yes water reclamation from sewage. You know, to find ways to recycle everything and waste nothing.  

That, to me, is fun, that kind of clomping on forward, type of research with a practical end is fun for me.

Yet, I have a year to go before even considering renting such a space, or setting aside any kind of research budget let alone getting a research space. Reading books is pointless unless I can try something out. 

No, for now it is all “stay the course” keep up my miserly ways in order to close out this phase of my life, one that has been with me far too long: the one of never-ending debt.

I will make it, I will pay the Wanda Loan off, and I will get that little workshop, just not yet, as I can’t spare a thin dime out of my budget and still make Total Debt Freedom Day (Nov, 7, 2017)

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive and keep moving forward!

Thursday 17 November 2016

Deficit or Underfund?

Okay, so, I am facing another fiscal dilemma, one which requires some pondering and fiscal dancing. 

This all started a few weeks ago when the on button on the radio in Wanda broke, sorta. 

The plastic button that you push broke from its moorings and twisted so that it wasn’t pressing the actual electric button underneath. 

What I did was take the radio apart and just removed the plastic button, leaving a hole in the face of the radio. 

For the last few weeks I have been turning the radio on and off by poking through the hole on an angle with an old stylus (a pen-sized stick with a rubber end). 

This worked until I poked that electrical button off of the circuit board . . . with the radio still turned on.

This meant that I couldn’t turn it on (or off rather) without me yanking the main wiring harness connector behind. 

Knowing that parts for this radio (as in the plastic button that started all of my problems) were non-existent (as in they wouldn’t sell me it), I knew that I needed a new radio.

I did a bit of research and was going to buy a better radio (since I had to replace this one anyways). Why not, since I was buying a new radio anyways, right?

I found out that the newer model was a power pig and the last thing I need is a radio that drains Wanda’s batteries faster, but does pretty much the same thing. (Yet still with no satellite radio.)

So, I ended up ordering the same model radio that I have from a Canadian company. Don’t get me started about trying to buy stuff from the states. 

It was after ordering the radio that I remembered that I had a remote control which I could just use that to turn the radio on and off . . . *smacks head*

I then decided that I wanted the properly working radio for Wanda and the broke one would be the shop radio . . .

As in the radio for the workshop that I will have on the property that I will buy . . . in the summer of 2019 (large cash windfall or crowdfunding effort notwithstanding). 

How this affects my current fiscal plans is the rule that I have that all credit cards are to be paid off completely each and every payday.

This means that this radio will put a sizable (yet not stupidly-sizable) hole in my budget. Up until this I was able to complete the task of putting $1K in each of my 3 accounts.

This will mean that one of the three (Main, Mid-Term Savings , or Long Term Savings) accounts will not make that mark, the question is, which one.

The other option, that I have rejected is to just carry the balance for a payday or two. This will lead to me just tossing a few other items now and again (I know me) onto that card and its balance will grow.

While, technically I should underfund the Long-Term Savings, as that one is the lowest priority, it is also the last account that I touch when I need something. So the cash in there would be left alone for a monsoon day.

I should underfund the Mid-Term Savings as that is what it is for. Yet I set a goal to put $1K in each of those accounts by this next payday and I meet my goals.

I will most likely dip into my Personal Overdraft as a way to punish myself for this spend, and ensure that it will be back up to “zero” of $1K in that account as soon as possible.

It may seem silly, but cash is still tight as starting next payday I start that Pilot Project with regards to the Wanda Loan.

That is the little experiment that I am running to see if regularly making extra payments will decimate the amount of interest that I pay on that loan. 

(Stay tuned to find out.) 

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive and keep moving forward!

Wednesday 16 November 2016

Winter Nature Necessities

It was mentioned that I should “Get a bucket” rather than dart outside. To that I will say that I do have a bucket to poop into. 

I tend to know where the public restrooms are and do my business there, when they are open. I save the poop bucket for late night emergencies.

As for what it looks like here it is: 
I have blogged about it and how to build it here: 

In a nutshell it is a five gallon bucket with a kitchen sized garbage bag lining it, with a bit of pipe insulation around the rim to hold the bag in place and give a bit of cushioning. 

To pee, most times I use a regular washroom, however, when they are closed I just find a forlorn tree or fencepost and “water” it.

I do have a pee jar, which is just a pickle jar (sans-pickles) as it has a wide mouth and a secure lid. (Trust me, you don’t want to spill your pee jar.)

The theory is that you can pee (into the jar) without going outside into the biting cold. The next morning you then pour out the contents of that jar at the base of some tree or bush.

I only break the pee jar out when the weather is south of minus twenty Celsius. Warmer than that I just get up, go outside to pee.  

If the pee freezes in the jar before morning (it has happened) then either put the jar in front of the furnace or heater to warm it up, or heat it up on the stove.

How you safely heat it up on a stove is to put the pee jar in pot half-full of water and boil the water. That boiling water will indirectly heat the jar up without breaking it. 

Then once the pee is melted enough to pour out, go find that thirsty tree and “water” it.

Again, this is not a glamorous subject but one that is necessary to cover. Trust me, the time to think about this is not in the middle of the night when you can’t use your toilet and all of the public washrooms around you are closed.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive and keep moving forward!

Tuesday 15 November 2016

Changing Seasons, Changing Habits

With the change into Winter Mode, a few things have changed and I have to constantly remind myself to do things differently. 

Such as not pouring the last of the coffee down the sink, or washing my hands in the bathroom sink, and yes, not using the toilet. It is this last one that has caused me minor troubles.

You see, when I sleep I typically prefer to sleep, shall we say, without pyjamas. I find that not only is it more comfortable, but it also, the less you wear in bed, the warmer your bed is.

What happens is that by wearing less, your body heat can radiate quicker to the bed and heat it up. So while I am a bit cold (and complaining) getting into bed, soon enough I am warm.

The trouble comes in the middle of the night when one of the joys of getting older kicks in . . . that urge to pee in the middle of the night (oh joy).

So there I am, all snugly warm in my bed and my house is now a fridge (at best) and a freezer (at worst). Then the inner debate comes . . . how badly do I really need to pee?

I know what needs to happen, now that the weather has turned colder and now that getting out of bed to pee means going outside to find a forlorn tree or fencepost; clothes are needed.

So, I need to wear my warm clothes to bed, thereby meaning I will already be wearing warm clothes when I emerge to dart outside to take care of business.

This is yet another sign of the changing seasons and thus one more way that I need to adapt what I do in order to not only survive in this Urban Nomad Lifestyle, but thrive.

After all I have eleven months and three weeks until total debt freedom, and that is worth getting a little chilly for.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Monday 14 November 2016

Final Fun of Fall

Winter is coming and it apparently made an appointment this year. 

As it turns out that it was a good thing that I went to Banff this last weekend as things are finally going to take a turn for the sub-zero.

So, sure I did go out to Banff and I made sure to BBQ while I was out there, partially for the tasty food, but also for the novelty of being able to do so (sans-parka) in November. 

I have been watching the weather forecast like a hawk recently, looking for that time when the weather will finally dip below zero and stay there. That day is Wednesday.

What that means is that I am now in Full-Blow Winter Mode. What that means is that I can’t use any of my tanks meaning I can’t use my sinks or toilet. 

This is a big shift for me, as now I can’t do my dishes in my sink or even have a jug shower standing in my bathtub. 

Why? Because that water would go down to my Grey Water Tank just like any business that I do in the toilet goes down to the Black Water Tank.

Again, why is this an issue, after all I have been doing this all this time since I winterized, right? 

Well, with the weather now about to dip below zero and stay there (as in the daytime highs will also be below zero) this means that my tanks and sewer connection will freeze.

When this happens, at best I can’t open the valves to drain the tanks, but at worst that water backed up there will crack the pipes, connection or rupture the tank.

In my books, that is not worth the risk so I drain my tanks just before it freezes and then not use those tanks until Spring. As in when the daytime high is consistently above zero.

Sure there are heat tape, skirting and other measures that you can take to minimize this freeze-up risk, but none of those work if you are mobile, as I am.

So, with that in mind I made sure to drain and flush my tanks, making sure that they are all clean, dry and ready for winter (as in totally empty).

I made sure to do this during the day yesterday, so sure I had to move and setup camp again, but it was worth it. 

By draining and flushing yesterday afternoon I was able to take my time, and do so during daylight. When I dump at camp, I typically do so on my way out of the campground on my way to work.

This time I was able to flush it out and let it drain completely, as there was no line-up waiting to use the dup station. 

I didn’t use the built in flushing nozzles that Wanda has, as I wasn’t sure how well or completely those lines would drain before the freeze-up. 

So, what I did was use that spray nozzle, wand-thing that I bought to spray and wash the inside of the tank. 

With the clear straight pipe that I attach to the sewer connection I can easily see when the process is done. 

How is that? Well, when the water flows clean, clear and without chunks or floaties. Hey this is not a glamorous job, but a necessary one. 

So, all in all it was a good weekend, and the best of all is that my favourite section of the campground should be open by the end of November. 

Even better is that it should be available to be reserved online in early December. This means that I may be able to pay for and more importantly secure my spot for my Christmas break.

I hate going out there and not knowing that I have a spot, I much prefer to not only know that I have a spot but be able to pick it ahead of time.

Ah well, winter may be coming, but this is nothing that I haven’t seen before.

On a happier note, here are some pictures that I took this last weekend: 

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!