The season is upon us when parents threaten their kids with spies who report directly to Santa Claus and children add new toxic plastic molds of superheroes to their mountains of toys. Yes, it’s time for Consumeristmas Christmas!

So why would I – a guy with no kids – be an authority on what to give kids? Because as I discussed last week, I have my own blog so I can spout whatever nonsense I want! But, this nonsense has met the approval of my nieces and nephews parents, and the kids aren’t too horrified by it either. In fact, I think the older ones actually like it.

Instead of adding to their ever growing use-once-and-never-touch-again toy pile, my wife and I have instead opted to start buying them stock. Yes, the stock market stocks. Now, instead of owning a piece of cheap crap the company produces, they can actually own a part of the company peddling junk everyone else! Continue Reading…

Unplugging from the Matrix

November 6, 2017 — 4 Comments

Technology has quickly changed the way we live our lives. It’s hard to imagine that 20 years ago there was no Internet, 15 years ago there was no “social media” and 10 years ago we weren’t glued to our smartphones. All of these new things snuck up on us without our ability to prepare for them and through them we’ve voluntarily hooked ourselves up to the matrix… which, interestingly, debuted with Keanu 18 years ago (thanks Google)!

Before we had the Internet, our minds were limited to the information we had access to, which was mostly determined by television, our friends, authority figures, advertisers and how willing we were to go to the library.┬áIf we wanted to sit around and watch cat memes all day, our only choice was to go stare at live cats. Continue Reading…

Thinking is hard. It requires attention, focus and… oh look, a new car. Wow, it’s a pretty pearl colored mid-size SUV. Speaking of mid-size SUV, have you noticed all mid-sized SUVs look the same now, whether it’s an Audi, Toyota, BMW or Hyundai?

Oh wait, I was thinking about something else… our lives are complex. There are literally thousands of decisions we make every few hours, with most of them so programmed that we don’t even think about it anymore. I wake up to my alarm clock, get out of bed, hop in the shower, get dressed, eat breakfast and head to work*. Within those steps, there are hundreds of little decisions to make. Should I put my socks on my hands or my feet? Should I wear underwear or go commando? Should I drink straight from the milk carton or use a glass?

Luckily for us, there are entire companies to help us do our thinking. They’re called advertisers. They tell us what we need to make us happy, how we should dress to stay trendy, how we need to look to be considered beautiful and much more. Thanks to advertisers, many of our hardest decisions are made for us! Continue Reading…

July was it. Our last full month to travel as our renters were due out at the end of the month. We raced up to Alaska in June so we could get at least of one month of exploring before heading back. We estimated two weeks of heavy driving to get all the way through Alaska, Canada much of the US and back to Texas. This left us with approximately ten days to further explore Alaska. We decided to spend it in some of the biggest Alaskan highlights – Denali and Wrangell-St. Elias National Parks. Then, it was back towards the real world (maybe)*.

Total June Cost: $4,316
Total days in the camper: 30
Total days out of camper: 0
Cost per day: $139
States Visited: Alaska, British Columbia, Yukon, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma
Total Miles: Approx 6,100

Summary

There were a lot of “Wow’s” in July. From one of our new favorite National Parks (Denali), to the huge amount of miles covered (over 6,000) and one of the highest spending months since we started traveling. It was a purposeful stalling in Alaska while the weather was good that caused most of it, but the inevitable can only be delayed so long, and we had to head back south. Emotions were conflicted as nowhere had held us voluntarily captive as long as Alaska and we knew it would be hard to make it back, but money can’t last forever and no more renters meant no more supplemented travel and covered house payment. The real world was calling, and we couldn’t send it to voicemail again. Continue Reading…

June was our time to make the long and scary drive up through Canada and into Alaska. I won’t get into much more detail on the drive as I already covered most of it, but as always, I’ll break down the costs and add some more details along the way. After floundering a bit in Washington and staying in casinos for five nights in a row due mostly to exhaustion, we hoped Alaska would renew our energy and let us finish our trip on a high note… and Alaska delivered.

As with previous travels to scary places like Myanmar and Vietnam, the fear quickly subsides as the journey progresses. The unknowns become answered, and the fear and anxiety lightens as we progressed in the journey. Alaska went from a far away dream, to one of our most desired destinations to revisit. Combined with the amazingness of Canada, it has quickly jumped to one of our favorite places in the world, and the expenses were quite manageable.

Total June Cost: $3,733
Total days in the camper: 30
Total days out of camper: 0
Cost per day: $124
States Visited: Alaska, British Columbia, Yukon
Total Miles: Approx 4,500

Summary

We prepared for the worst and hoped for the best as our Canadian and Alaskan journey began. We loaded up on groceries in Washington and scouted out free sites along the route. Although the total driving miles were quite daunting, gas prices were much lower than we had planned, thanks to a favorable Canadian exchange rate along with cheaper gas prices overall. Amazingly, we spent less in June than we did in four other months while on the road! We skipped some of the things we might have done if we were on a regular one-week type vacation, but those are the financial sacrifices we’re willing to make to enjoy such a long journey. Let’s get into the details: Continue Reading…