Author Topic: Alternative Mustachian, with a truck :p  (Read 2657 times)

Mike Key

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Alternative Mustachian, with a truck :p
« on: August 03, 2015, 09:37:49 AM »
I joined this forum back in Feb of 2012. Haven't been around in the last couple of years. Back then I posted about saving 50% of our income, riding my bike to work and selling my car. Well, I bought a truck. Here me out.


We continued, paid off all debts, had two daughters, sold everything we owned and moved into a tiny aluminum house on wheels this past May.


We purchased a 2007 Airstream and a used late model 2010 Ram truck to tow it. Spent a few on modifications on the Airstream, solar and cell equipment. (paid for buy selling all our "stuff") And slowly made our way west after traveling up the east coast to say goodbye to all our family as we knew we'd be staying on the west coast for a long time.


 
(Boon-docking outside the Badlands in South Dakota)




We're debt free, we budget for $2500 a month for our family of 4, but on average spend way less then that. I still work as a web developer and save 75% of our income. We've reduced almost all the normal bills folks have living in one place. Because we can camp off-grid in BLM lands and places for free, we save a lot of money.


And while you might think it's gas intensive, we actually spend less than when we both commuted to work in the old days. This is because we usually camp right where all our activities are. Hiking, biking, fishing, etc.


As for food, we practice a personal philosophy of trying to support local businesses as we travel. We avoid anything that is a franchise. Try to look for farmers markets and local IGA stores. And often, we "stock up" on move days so the Airstream is in tow and saving gas since we're not running back into town. Because usually that's a long way away.


I kind of feel like this is having our cake and eating it too. We didn't quite retire, but we're not waiting to retire to live our life how we want. 3 weeks ago, I finished my work and went for a hike around devils tower.


Ultimately, we plan to do this until we tire of it, and then with savings and investments, purchase some rentals and a farmlette somewhere here in the West and continue the simple lifestyle.






velocistar237

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Re: Alternative Mustachian, with a truck :p
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2015, 10:26:26 AM »
Mike! Thanks for stopping by and letting us know what you've been up to. Sounds like you've found a great approach, and that's an awesome setup you got there. Makes me tempted to switch fields to something more mobile.

Laundry list of questions (feel free to ignore any you don't want to answer):
What was your process in deciding to do this?
How do you get internet?
What are you thinking about doing in terms of your daughters' education?
How did your family react?
Are you working full-time?
Can you describe your solar setup?

Slee_stack

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Re: Alternative Mustachian, with a truck :p
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2015, 10:40:49 AM »
This will bring up the same pros/cons of doing the RV thing.

In the end, if your living happier in the interim with less expenses, it must be the right decision.

As you astutely point out, the future could be completely different if you desire it.  This is one part of your life's adventure.  You have the freedom to change your lifestyle again...and again...and again.

Kudos!

Chris22

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Re: Alternative Mustachian, with a truck :p
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2015, 11:03:41 AM »
As for food, we practice a personal philosophy of trying to support local businesses as we travel. We avoid anything that is a franchise.

Do what works for you, but franchises ARE often local businesses. 

Mike Key

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Re: Alternative Mustachian, with a truck :p
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2015, 05:35:52 PM »

Laundry list of questions (feel free to ignore any you don't want to answer):
What was your process in deciding to do this?
How do you get internet?
What are you thinking about doing in terms of your daughters' education?
How did your family react?
Are you working full-time?
Can you describe your solar setup?

1.) When my first daughter was born, I kind of just had this realization that I was working towards the goal of modern suburbia. Get rich, retire, and then you'll live your life. I didn't want to go into an office everyday. I'm a little old fashion in that I believe work is essential to a man, but the 8 hrs a day away from my family felt unnatural. On a short vacation trip my wife and I had the realization that we felt more at home together in our car on the road, than we ever did in our house back in Florida. It made us realize our home could be anywhere, and we where growing tired of our "stuff" and accumulating "stuff". I discovered thru instagram a large community of people who live and travel full-time with kids, and that kind of became a visual motivator that we could do this too.

2.) Verizon Mifi - so I scored a grandfathered unlimited plan. I spent some dough on a Wilson Electronics (no WeBoost) booster and antenna, and some other networking gear. We use an app called "Coverage" to verify that we will have cell signal in a given area. So far so good. It's worked flawlessly. I need about 3mbps or more to work. Sometimes we've got it crazy fast, sometimes if it's a great spot, it's kinda slow for youtube, but always enough for handling work.

3.) So we have two under two right now. Got some time, but we plan on homeschooling. I was a public school failure, wife was homeschooled with two years of public high school. She ended up getting a masters degree. And me, I dropped out at 9th and got a GED. Somehow I managed. I just don't trust the public school system anymore. We are not religiously motivated. Our science books will teach evolution thank you.

4.) Skeptical, how will you afford it, that's impossible, etc. Problems I don't have has become a personal motto. People always seem to want to project their problems as the reasons you won't be able to do XYZ.

5.) Yup - well define that. I don't have a set schedule. But the team I work with is online EST and we chat during a normal days hours pretty regularly.

6.) I have 405 watts on the roof via 3x 135 watt panels that go into a BlueSky MPPT charge controller and charge my batteries. I make enough power during the day to run all our gear. What I need is more batteries. I bought my system from AM Solar, really great guys. Was planning to piece things together, but the more I researched, the more I didn't want to solve everything myself. When I got the kit, I understood what I was paying a few more dollars for. Quality and just amazing service, down to giving me zip ties and labels and individually wrapped everything with notes so I could install everything myself.

For work, I built a standing desk and use a 25 inch LG ultra wide monitor during the day, consumes 18W if the max brightness is set. All the lights are LED, and the fans are low power anyways, at 3 Amps on the max setting. One of the reasons I liked the Airstream over other campers, WINDOWS WINDOWS WINDOWS. We almost never need to use a light during the day. Plus we can move around with the temperature. Most of the time we just have all the windows open, the fans going, and it's comfortable. (For us)

I didn't want to self promote, but if you wanted to see how this all looks: https://www.facebook.com/boldadventure/photos_stream?tab=photos_albums

Things that run on propane, stove, furnace, water heater & refrigerator. The refrigerator will run for nearly two months on 1 30 gallon tank.  The furnace eats the most propane the fasts. The stove and refrigerator use the least and the water heater a close 2nd. I have two 30lb tanks. Just spent $21.66 to fill one tank. I use one as a service tank and the other as the spare. Lasted me about a month and a half.



As for food, we practice a personal philosophy of trying to support local businesses as we travel. We avoid anything that is a franchise.

Do what works for you, but franchises ARE often local businesses. 

Yes, that I recognize. I guess that would have to be really expounded on this. Mainly two types that I eschew, restaurants; particularly fast food. We rarely eat out, but now that we are on the road, as a personal preference if we want to eat out, I want eschew the national franchises. Apple Bee's is the same everywhere, and I feel their blandness ruins our cultural landscape. My logic approach to non-restaurants is a bit different. An ACE Hardware or Do-It place is usually a franchise, the money is staying local unlike say a Home Depot. I mean you can argue a lot of sides of this, the people being paid, they're local. The real estate taxes are local, etc. I haven't quite defined it 100% and to say eschewing all franchises, might be a bit misleading.


Bob W

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Re: Alternative Mustachian, with a truck :p
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2015, 12:37:07 PM »
You are rocking it my friend!   You have the advantage of going to really nice places on off days and off seasons.   I bet you are often the only folks around.

What is your typical stay.   I imagine if varies per location.   Just curious if you shoot for 1 or 2 weeks per location?   

I almost diverged when you quoted $2,500 as a monthly budget.  So glad to hear you state that you are substantially less than that.  I would guess you are more around $1,400 not including health insurance.  Depends on the gas usage and heat usage a lot I suppose.

Any plans to head south to someplace like South Padre or the Mexican Baja for winters?    I think I would enjoy moving with the seasons.   Northern and mountain climes in the summer and southern/south west in the winter. 

I'm sure there is never a dull moment with 2 little ones.   Guessing 3 years and you'll resettle somewhere.  So lots of time to pick the perfect idyllic setting.  Take lots of pictures.   You'll forget the kids were ever that size and they'll remember very little of the experience. 

Mike Key

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Re: Alternative Mustachian, with a truck :p
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2015, 09:56:27 AM »



You are rocking it my friend!   You have the advantage of going to really nice places on off days and off seasons.   I bet you are often the only folks around.


Funny because yeah, we have seen how much of our society is weekend warrior based. The campground we've been at here in Montana is completely empty. But the whole campground filled up on Friday and over the weekend, and emptied on Sunday. In my mind it proves that living for the weekend is not the way to live.




What is your typical stay.   I imagine if varies per location.   Just curious if you shoot for 1 or 2 weeks per location?   


It does vary a little bit. The hardest thing I think right now, is trying not to be in a rush to see everything. We try to stay in a spot 7 days, if we like it usually 2 weeks. A week ago we left after 5 days because we'd apparently camped next to train tracks, that where in constant use. And got tired of the train horns.




I almost diverged when you quoted $2,500 as a monthly budget.  So glad to hear you state that you are substantially less than that.  I would guess you are more around $1,400 not including health insurance.  Depends on the gas usage and heat usage a lot I suppose.


So we set that number before we left for this lifestyle. It's been since April 29th, we haven't re-adjusted yet, but we could. We wanted to set the safest number based on what we've read from others. It seemed the most reasonable and it's actually only 75% of my monthly income.


We're starting to get a nice cushion in the bank account. I will say we started off spending more money at first. We prefer state parks, national parks, BLM land as opposed to say a KOA with full hookups. But the price differences between east and west coast are staggering. State parks on the east cost were costing us 22~25$ per night. Compared with our stay in Wyoming at Devils Tower $7 per night. As we have made our way out west we are finding more and more free places to camp, and the cost is going down. Still, overall even the expensive months on the east coast cost less than the average mortgage or rent.


July we spent 19 days free camping and paid for 12 days at a total cost of $138.


I also am in the camp of spend money on experinces versus stuff. And this lifestyle is starting more and more to lend itself to that.


Any plans to head south to someplace like South Padre or the Mexican Baja for winters?    I think I would enjoy moving with the seasons.   Northern and mountain climes in the summer and southern/south west in the winter. 




I'm sure there is never a dull moment with 2 little ones.   Guessing 3 years and you'll resettle somewhere.  So lots of time to pick the perfect idyllic setting.  Take lots of pictures.   You'll forget the kids were ever that size and they'll remember very little of the experience. 




Yes, def, Arizona, New Mexico and Southern California are all popular spots for the winter I am told. We will probably start making our way south towards the end of the month. We want to hit up Colorado and Utah at the top of our lists.



« Last Edit: August 05, 2015, 10:01:31 AM by Mike Key »