What Shit Really Costs: Gas and The Power of Data


After a long wait since my first installation of this series on the real cost of car ownership, I am here to add this to the mix.  I guess you could see it as supplemental to that post, since fuel economy and car ownership are inextricably linked.

Now, you may be wondering why I think that you give any hoots about what my gas mileage is when you’re vehicle is not the same?  Well, although I will get funky with a little bit of basic arithmetic and algebra, like most of my posts the point is the message – the mindset – rather than the details.  For me, gathering some data on something – some real, hard, data that I myself went and got on my own –  that has a monumental impact on my ability to incorporate real change into my life around that thing around which I am gathering data.

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Freedom Notes: Zen and the Art of Creative Curries



Zen is a fascinating notion.  Often seen as some sort of illusive state, rather than what it really is, a practice.  Much like happiness and bitterness, Zen is a choice.  A choice to live your life and to view events in a certain way that will maximize the amount of inner peace you experience.  There is no magic involved.  Theteachings of the stoics are much the same: make the choice to make a practice of viewing life and all that happens with a certain lens and, eventually, that shall be the lens through which you happen to find yourself experiencing life.  It is to your benefit to choose a positive lens, and to train yourself to scrupulously distinguish between that within your control and that outside of your control.

As I have noted in the past, one of the main motivations behind this blog is to continue to remind myself of my goals and the things I’ve learned that I believe will help me.  And now seems like a timely occasion to remind myself of some of the simple and foundational pieces of a life well lived.  A life of Zen.

It really comes down to the small and simple things that we do consistently.

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The Resolution: May 2018

Well, folks. The tracking continues. May has passed us by and I continue to chase my elusive goal of spending just $1,250 CAD per month for an entire year. As we come up on the half-way mark of the year, I still haven’t managed to meet my goal once. And, despite hopes coming into the month that May would be different, I fell short once again, although not from far.

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What Will You Do? A Reframing of the Question

Don’t just do something, stand there! -White Rabbit

The world is a dichotomous place.  For every action there is a reaction.  For every instruction there is an alternative approach.  And so it becomes difficult to tease apart what is real and what is finely-crafted rhetoric.  Perhaps rhetoric is all this piece is.  But if it comes from a place of truth does that not make it real?  And if it comes from a place that is meant to disguise one’s true intentions is it not then rhetoric? It may not even matter, as it is only that we can’t expect what works for one to work for all.

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You Have to Just Do It

Most of us have two lives. The life we live and the unlived life within us.  Between the two stands resistance. -Steven Pressfield

You have to just do it, or it will never be done.

We spend a lot of time just thinking of what will be when we get to where we’re going.  And so we often lose track of the route completely.  We also try to think ourselves into taking action, into doing something, into making change and into becoming somebody.  But sometimes it’s difficult to convince ourselves that those things are possible, so we don’t take any action.  We rely on motivation and inspiration, but these things are fleeting.  Amazing when present, no doubt, but they are not easily sustained in most of us.  Not always, anyway.

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Jane Eyre: A Portrait of Monetary Boundaries




More than a century and a half ago, in 1847, the novel – once believed auto-biography – Jane Eyre was first released.  As we know now, it is a fictional story in which the title character, Jane, is loosely based on the experiences of the books eventually unveiled author, Charlotte Bronte. In its time, the novel challenged many Victorian values and brought rise to numerous questions as to what was proper and improper conduct within society.  With its release began a landslide of discussion and opinions, from peasant to princess, about the books’ many controversial issues.  One of the most pressing of these issues put forth by Bronte was the injustice in labeling a person based on the amount of wealth of which they are born into.  It is clear that Bronte recognizes the existence of this type of discrimination and takes a stand against it in her story of the endearing Jane Eyre.  In Bronte’s tale, Jane is an ideal example of how a person’s economical situation, in Victorian times as well most other points in history, can be the defining limit of their potential instead of – as it should be – their ability of body and mind.

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T-Minus 12 Months Until Financial Independence


Today is May 9th.  33 years ago today, my journey to early retirement began inside the Vancouver General Hospital.  It just took me 31 years to figure that out.  The premise of this blog, of course, is that I will be retired before I turn 34, which means that I have less than 12 months left of being a working stiff.  That’s pretty !@#$ing exciting actually!

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The Teachings of Juasco the Mexican Housecat

As the twig is bent, so grows the tree. -Alexander Pope 1734


Following his ambush of the Search Bloc, Escobar emerged from the fiery wreckage in the streets of Medellin, gun drawn, cronies at his sides, and Carrillo wounded and helpless on the ground before him.  “Come mierda”, he says before executing him, leaving viewers like me with that sense that there is no particular reason that good should ultimately prevail in the world after all. 


Or something dramatically meaningful like that.

The desert breeze – normally dry – is very humid in the autumn months.  It sweeps across me as I lay there stunned at the semi-fictional events that have just unfolded before me on my small laptop screen.  It was September 2016 at my friends home in Mexico and I was smack dab in the middle of Narcos Season 1.  The same day, ground had broken on what would soon be my new home and ‘retirement plan’ just down the road towards the beach.  I didn’t know exactly what to expect, but I know that life was going to be a little different here in the desert.

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The Resolution: April 2018


A surfer making the most of an amazing sunrise over the Sea of Cortez near my home in Mexico. Taken while brewing coffee and gearing up to surf during a weekend camping trip in April.  Cost of trip: Gas + Beer + Tortillas + Fresh Fish + Fresh Produce = No Mucho.

Another month, another Resolution post.  A third of the year has past us by now.  We’re going on the half-way point for our goals!  I hope your Resolution resolve lives on and that you’re learning and improving every month, week, day and moment that passes.  I also hope that the rest of the year holds a lot of exciting new adventures and opportunities to learn new things.

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30 Places I Could Retire Within a Year


I almost always roll my eyes when I see an article title that starts with a number.  For example, “28 Ways to Read This Blog”.  Yuck.

So that is why I was excited to use a number in the title today.  A ridiculously high number could only be seen as complete mockery of the system, no?  I do hope so.  Maybe it is also great clickbait, which must be the ONLY reason others do it (I am learning that is the only reason a lot of things on the internet happen).

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