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Showing posts from January, 2010

Gone... In 40,826 Seconds Flat

Craigslist never fails to amaze me.  Early this morning, at 1:11:34 AM to be precise, I posted a listing for my Toyota Tacoma for sale.  By 7:47 AM I had my first email indicating interest in the truck.  I wasn't awake at that time, but when I checked my email in the morning, I already had three responses.  Normally, I take the first person in line, but in this case, a gentlemen by the name of Fred (who had already sent me three emails on his own) was offering $200 more than the price that I had listed.  This is the second time that I have ever listed a vehicle on CL and this is the second time that I have received an offer over the list price.  Maybe I need to price my trucks a bit higher... I called Fred at 9:01 AM to arrange a meeting time.  We decided that he could have a look at the truck at noon, during my lunchtime.  I drove home from work and Fred was waiting for me.  After a quick look at the vehicle, a drive around the block and a few questions, we had a deal.  Sold f

The Doctor Is In - We Hope!

Health Insurance. That is the last, big, semi-stressful question mark looming over our heads. What do we do about health insurance? We are tentatively planning to get monthly US carrier coverage for our trans-American road trip and then getting "travel insurance" or overseas insurance or something right before we leave the continent. But which insurance carrier? And which plan? And which travel insurance? Help us! Have you ever bought insurance on the open market (rather than through your employer)? If so, what carrier did you use? How did you find them? Was your experience positive or negative (or neutral)? If you have traveled overseas for any extended period of time, what insurance did you use? Did you use insurance at all? Did you need to see a doctor or go to a hospital while you were there? If so, did your insurance (or lack of insurance) come into play? There's a lot of confusing information out there. Your input is valuable to us! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

First Look at our New Ride!

I know everyone has been dying to know how we are planning on traveling across the country. Well, we officially purchased our new conversion van today! Check this baby out: Your eyes are not deceiving you. That is leather. And woodgrain. I know. You're totally jealous. Customization and associated photos to come!

Potentially Damaging Content

At work yesterday, I tried to stop in to this blog to make a few changes.  However, I was met with the warning posted below.  Great job, Websense.  You nailed it.  This is, indeed, potentially damaging content! What if people realized that a mortgage contract was a financial and not a moral obligation? What if people started working for themselves instead of selling themselves slightly short for the profit of a corporation? What if people started visiting parts of the world that have been demonized by our news media and started realizing that there are fellow human beings living there? What if people realized that unending material consumption is not a sustainable answer? What if people realized that they can sometimes rely on each other instead of one-size-fits-all safety nets? And most importantly, what if employers treated their employees as reasonably intelligent people and gave them the freedom to occasionally take a break at work to visit the website of their choosing

So Much Stuff

One of the major tasks we need to complete before we begin our journey is jettisoning most of the stuff that has been weighing us down. We have packed up some of our must-keep stuff to bring to Colorado to leave with Ellen's parents. We have already taken several truckloads of stuff to Goodwill. We are giving away some stuff to friends. And we are selling even more stuff on Craigslist. The amount of stuff we have collected over three-plus decades of life is quite astounding. In honor of all that stuff, here is a bit from George Carlin that never fails to amuse me. (Earmuffs, impressionable children.)

Details of Short Sale Financial Analysis

After our recent post about our experience short selling our house, Rich and Simone asked about the specifics of our home value "best case scenario". Something that has helped us while planning for our trip has been other blogs that practice full transparency, especially with finances. Jonathan and I decided awhile ago that we would provide the same openness to our friends and readers. So, without further ado, we are now debuting our first Helpful Detailed Financial Picture Post TM . Home Value Best Case Scenario Assumptions: 1. Our home value will not drop below the current value. 2. Our home value will start to appreciate immediately at 4% per year. 3. Closing costs will be 10% of the sales price. Projected Home Value Over Time Click to embiggen Amortization Schedule Click to embiggen Conclusion: We will break even in 2016. Home Value Worst Case Scenario 1 Assumptions: 1. Our home value will stay flat for the indefinite future. 2. Closing costs will be 10% of the sales pri

Wise Words from Paulo Coelho

Declaration of Principles by Paulo Coelho 1] All men are different. And should do everything possible to continue to be so.   2] Each human being has been granted two courses of action: that of deed and that of contemplation. Both lead to the same place. 3] Each human being has been granted two qualities: power and gift. Power drives man to meet his destiny, his gift obliges him to share with others that which is good in him. A man must know when to use his power, and when to use his gift. 4] Each human being has been granted a virtue: the capacity to choose. For he who does not use this virtue, it becomes a curse – and others will always choose for him. 5] Each human being has the right to two blessings, which are: the blessing to do right, and the blessing to err. In the latter case, there is always a path of learning leading to the right way. 6] Each human being has his own sexual profile, and should exercise it without guilt – provided he does not oblige others to exe

Fear and Loathing in Mortgageville

I caught part of Talk of the Nation yesterday where the topic was Walking Away From Your Mortgage . One of the guests was Brent White , a law professor from the University of Arizona whose recent paper, Underwater and Not Walking Away , has the financial world in a tizzy. The response to his article, which encourages homeowners to look at their situation as a business decision and walk away from underwater mortgages, has been fascinating. The intensity and content of the reaction indicates that a taboo has been breached. The main counter-argument is that a mortgage contract is indeed a moral contract. Where does this idea come from? Why doesn't it apply to lenders? Besides, I thought that the collateral for a mortgage loan was the house, not your quality of life or the respect of your friends and neighbors. White's assertions are gratifying to us considering that we used the same logic back in September when we decided to short sell our house instead of delaying our dreams b

Why Are We Here?

There are three ways to answer this question: Why are we here? (What are you two up to?) For the past few years we have been watching our budget closely, paying off our debt, and saving as much as we can. This has given us the freedom to pursue a dream. What dream, you ask? A random one! While we do not have a definite goal or specific plan, we have developed some guiding principles: Let life rule instead of work. Explore the country and the world. Trade "stuff" for genuine experiences. Create rather than consume. Develop a spirit of volunteerism. Take odd jobs in unfamiliar disciplines to see if there is something we love, but don't yet know we love. Live in the moment. Work for ourselves as much as possible. Dance outside our comfort zones in order to grow. Find a way to stretch the money we have saved for as long as possible. Identify properties of cities that we like should we choose to "settle down" again. ("You kids back there bet


Ever, the undiscouraged, resolute struggling       soul of man; Have former armies failed? Then we send fresh       armies—and fresh again Ever the grappled mystery of all earth's ages       old or new; Ever the eager eyes, hurrahs, the welcome-clap-       ping hands, the loud applause; Ever the soul dissatisfied, curious, unconvinced       at last; Struggling to-day the same—battling the same. WALT WHITMAN.