Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Who Knows?

I am an INFJ. Know what that is? 

When I first took an Myers Briggs test (some 20+ years ago) I could not believe how accurately the results described me. I remember saying that I thought they somehow had talked to my (then) wife and uncovered all my secrets!

I retired early just over a year ago to begin life on the road as a full-time RVer. It has been both a source of anxiety and excitement.  On one hand, I am very close to my three grown (and married) children and it is hard to be away from them (and my new granddaughter) for long periods of time. 

On the other hand, I cannot believe how much I enjoy the peacefulness and solitude of being alone in some of the most beautiful places in America. I have learned to love the adventure of my current life and the craziness of not always knowing what's next! It has had the surprising affect of drawing me closer to God.  

For several years I have thought I would enjoy walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain.  I've thought it might be something cool to do after a few more years of traveling in the MoFo. Lately though I've been thinking that maybe I should do this sooner rather than later.  (And then come back to make a trek in my RV to the tip of South America and visit Machu Picchu along the way.) 

Who knows? Maybe it's time to watch The Way again. And to read a book about the Camino that I've heard great things about: The Field of Stars.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Serenity NOW!

Every morning for the past year and two months has pretty much been the same. I get up, feed #Rudy and then make coffee and breakfast and sit outside and read for an hour or so. 

It is my favorite part of the day. The warmth of the sun, the quiet of the morning, the wind in the trees and definitely SERENITY NOW! 

And yet for some reason I always feel a little guilty; that I'm wasting the day away by getting off to a slow start. 

Or maybe I'm just going at the right pace after all those years of being part of the rat race! Regardless, I don't plan to change it up any time soon. 


Friday, July 15, 2016

June Expenses

Dining Out$200$343-$143
Pet Care$25$64-$39

June expenses came in just a shade over budget for the month.  I'm a little frustrated that I can't keep things more consistent from month to month, but overall I am pleased to be under budget for the year.

Camping: This is my biggest month so far this year but I expected to spend more in summer months because I planned to visit more national parks (Yellowstone, Grand Tetons and Craters of the Moon in June).  Even still, I came in under budget and am averaging just $250 per month / $8 per night. Not bad!

Fuel: I drove more miles in June but gas prices are still a fair amount lower than I budgeted so I only spent about half of what I expected.

Groceries / Dining Out: This continues to be a bigger expense than I budgeted for.  Last month it was groceries that were way over budget.  This month it was dining out. I need to figure this one out!

Utilities: With my new unlimited data plan, this next month should look a lot better but June was huge.  I've cut my Verizon plan down to 4 GB and am planning to eliminate my T-Mobile plan all together.

Those are the highlights. We'll see what July brings . . .

Thursday, July 14, 2016

A Peaceful Stroll

A link to my recent hike along Skyliners Road and National Foreat Road 4610 near Bend, OR. 


Thursday, June 23, 2016

May Expenses

This is the roughest month so far but with good reason!

Utilities: This is the category I have not been able to get under control.  It's made up solely of my monthly cell phone bill and is driven largely by data usage. I have a 20 GB Verizon Plan and 25 GB T-Mobile Plan.  In May I couldn't find much T-Mobile access and ended up increasing my Verizon plan to 30 gigs. BUT I am making a change to reign this in quite a bit.  For $1,295 I have acquired a grandfathered Verizon Unlimited Data Plan that will run me $44.95 a month. This will enable me to reduce or eliminate my other plans. Once everything is set up and in place, I think my monthly expense will be between $150 and $200 a month.  The one time $1,295 is almost exactly the amount I am over budget this month.

Travel:  At $461 this was a little over budget but not as bad as last month. This includes things like maintenance & repairs, propane, insurance and a storage unit I have as well.

Food:  This was a tough category in May and I'm not sure why.  I spent $512 for groceries, which is more than $200 over budget.  That's the most it's ever been.  The good news is that I am not too far over on dining out expense, which I thought might be a tough one for me.

Camping: My highest month so far ($302) but I knew that as summer came I would be spending more time in campgrounds.  However, YTD I've spent only $1,069 which is an average of $213.80 per month or $7.03 per night. This is definitely gonna keep increasing through the summer months as I visit some national parks but I expect to still come in way under my annual budget of $6,300.

Fuel: Gas prices continue to rise bit by bit but are still lower than what I budgeted.  That plus driving fewer miles per month than I expected have kept me under budget.

The basic details are below!

Dining Out$200$220-$20
Pet Care$25$9+$16

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

April Expenses

Another month of being below budget!  

Travel:  At $632 this was $215 over budget this month, primarily due to a couple of big ticket items.  I spent $55 to replace my Millennium Falcon rug, which was looking pretty decrepit.  The biggest expenditure was for a water purifier.  I already use a water filter when filling the fresh water tank but this nice device purifies it as well. It's about the size of a Brita water filter but does even more to make not so good water pretty damn great!

Camping: My lowest month so far - only $125 spent for camping in April.  YTD I've spent $767 which is an average of only $6.34 per night.  (Boondocking is the shit!)  This is definitely gonna increase during the summer months as I plan to visit even more National Parks.

Fuel: Gas prices have risen over the past couple of months but still way lower than the $4.00 per gallon I had projected when I put the budget together.  That plus not driving quite as much as I expected have helped keep this cost down.

Utilities: This is solely my monthly cell phone expense and is driven largely by data usage. I have a 20 GB Verizon Plan and 25 GB T-Mobile Plan.  I spend more than budgeted and could spend even more cuz I'm a total internet junkie.

Pet Care$25$43-$18

Thursday, April 28, 2016

March Expenses

I didn't get around to summarizing my expenses for March until now but it was another great month for staying well below my budget.

I was over in several areas (Food being the biggest culprit because of $328 in meals out!) On the other hand, Camping and Fuel both came in way under budget due to cheaper gas and longer stays in boondocking sites!

Additional details below.  If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask.  My life is an open book.

Pet Care$25$43-$18

Monday, February 29, 2016

February Expenses

Although a short month, February was great for keeping expenses down!  Overall, I only spent about 2/3rds of my budget!  Primarily this is due to having boondocked quite a bit.  Staying free on public land saves a slug on camping expense, plus you tend to prepare meals rather than go out AND you don't move as much so fuel costs are lower.  Here are a few highlights:

I felt like I splurged a couple of times but since I boondocked more than half the month, I only spent $221 of my $525 budget!  In fact, I have averaged only $7.35 per day in camping fees!

I budget $533 for fuel but only spent $156 in February.  This is due to staying put more due to boondocking but also because of low diesel fuel prices.  I think I paid under $2 a gallon all month long.

Even though I dined out a number of times, I ate "at home" a lot more.  Of the $342 I spent on food, $148 was on dining out and the remainder ($194) was on groceries.

My only utilities are my phone/data and it's my only category where I am over budget  Frankly, you can never have enough data!  I have a Verizon plan with 21 gigs and I seem to burn through it all too quickly.  So, after doing some research, I snagged a T-Mobile plan with "unlimited" data. By unlimited they mean roughly 25 gigs of data per month.  There were some overage costs for Verizon this month and some initial costs to set up T-Mobile but going forward I hope to be at about $280 per month.

Pet Care$25$0+$25