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VW Vagabonds - Open Knowledge — LiveJournal

Jul. 12th, 2003

04:07 am - VW Vagabonds

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This is so cool....

http://www.vwvagabonds.com/index.html

Nearly three years ago Rich and Amanda Ligato began their overland adventure around the world in a 1978 Volkswagen Westfalia campervan. Their route has taken them from San Diego, California to Amanda´s homeland of Mexico and into Central America. Bypassing the roadless Darien Gap, they shipped the van from Colon, Panama, through the canal to Guayaquil, Ecuador and South America.
The forces of bureaucracy were put to the test once again as they shiped the van from Valparaiso, Chile to Durban, South Africa, beginning a journey through Africa. After more than a year in deepest, darkest Africa the adventure continues. They picked up the van from the port of Newark, New Jersey beginning a trip to the four corners of North America. Having been away from their home country for almost three years they expect massive culture shock. Hop on and join them as the wild ride continues...



So you want to know how two regular schmoes in the middle of their careers could gather together enough change to avoid the rather blasé pastime of work for an extended period of time. The answer is either exceedingly simple or overwhelmingly complex. Come to think of it, it’s not much different than loosing weight. Short answer, to loose weight exercise as much as possible and eat fewer calories than you burn. To save money, earn as much as possible and spend fewer pennies than you earn. But like all things, the devil is in the details

Fact is, it’s easy to be a dreamer. The poorest fool can lie in bed staring at the ceiling and dream of exotic places. Worse yet, that same poor fool can bend the ear of anyone who will listen about how she’s going to someday, right after she gets her bank-roll
together, reinvent to push-up bra or sail around the world. Problem is, she never seems to get the cash rolled together.

So here, in a nutshell, is how two everyday normal people can get motivated enough to save the cash to buy themselves freedom.

Not long after setting our goal we decided to live entirely off of Rich’s salary and save every penny Amanda earned. We had to squash our spending to fit into this newer, smaller budget. We asked for receipts and wrote down every last cent that left our pockets. At the end of the month we looked at where the money went and asked ourselves if each item was worth the cost. There were some big surprises.

Trimming the fat was a pleasure as we watched, cha-ching, the bank balance grow. We competed with one another, not in how much we could spend like most of our friends, but in how much we could save. On our way out the door to a party we would tally the price we paid for our thrift-shop clothing and mock one another for a pair of hoity-toity $3 shoes or a frivolously colorful 99 cent blouse. We would scan the Thursday newspaper for free events over the weekend and load up on the complimentary Champaign and Beluga at an exhibition opening on Friday night then go to a book reading on Saturday. Momentum built naturally and we were drawn from paying full price for movies, to attending less expensive matinees, to renting videos, and finally to borrowing videos from the free library on Saturday night.

We discovered that our local grocery store would offer several items for free as a loss leader to those persistent customers who combined the double coupon savings with a special in store discount. So Rich began taking an evening stroll and plucked the coupons from the Sunday newspapers in the recycle bin at our apartment complex. One week we would stock up on a year's supply of free toothpaste, the next week it was olive oil or frozen soy burgers or deodorant. Every so often a sly cashier would secretly admitted to doing the same.

The recycle bins were kept in an area with the trash dumpsters and frequently other goodies would pop up. Once there was a box of books that we traded at a used bookstore for three travel guidebooks. Another time an oriental carpet netted us $100 at a consignment shop. Our best find was a perfectly new short -wave radio that sat right on top just waiting for us to come and take it.

As things began to snowball we became ever-more extreme in our spending habits but we did not ignore the other end of the earning-spending equation. Every few months we would jot down notes on the big projects we completed at work and present them to our boss at the end of the year with a request for a raise. This positive reminder of how valuable an employee we’d been often jolted our bosses into opening up their purse just a little wider and in the last few years before leaving we saved a good chunk of Rich’s salary in addition to all of Amanda’s.

Extremism became fun and we continued with our frugal habits after leaving our jobs, selling most of our worldly possessions and beginning to travel. We continued to ask one another the key question, do we need it or want it? Rather than eating out at expensive restaurants while traveling we cornered an old lady in the municipal market and asked her recipe for the local delicacy, then went back to the van and tried to reproduce it. Rather than buying expensive, cheesy souvenirs we bought small trinket that we could use in our everyday traveling lives, like a small carpet, a fruit basket or an intricately woven pillow. Rather than spending the nights drinking with fellow travelers at the local bar we rose early and went for morning runs through the sleepy eyed, blossoming towns. Even while traveling we continued to find ways to live inexpensively and spent an average of only $46 per dayl. Not $46 per person. Not $46 plus insurance or plus entertainment. Forty-six dollars per day was the total amount we spent. If you add it up it’s a little less than the cost of a new four-wheel drive vehicle.










If you’ve gotten this far and still remain perplexed about how we could have saved enough to buy our freedom then please click the link below. It will zoom you to the web page of the New Road Map Foundation, a non-profit, 100% volunteer organization that is dedicated to helping people do exactly what we did, buy themselves freedom. The organization is based on the book, “Your Money or Your Life” by a former Wall Streeter who set down common-sense principles on how to save in the modern world, then did a remarkable things, donated all the profits to charity. Check out the book at your local library.
Buying Freedom
So you want to know how two regular schmoes in the middle of their careers could gather together enough change to avoid the rather blasé pastime of work for an extended period of time. The answer is either exceedingly simple or overwhelmingly complex. Come to think of it, it’s not much different than loosing weight. Short answer, to loose weight exercise as much as possible and eat fewer calories than you burn. To save money, earn as much as possible and spend fewer pennies than you earn. But like all things, the devil is in the details

Fact is, it’s easy to be a dreamer. The poorest fool can lie in bed staring at the ceiling and dream of exotic places. Worse yet, that same poor fool can bend the ear of anyone who will listen about how she’s going to someday, right after she gets her bank-roll
Amanda in her $15 North Face down
(Thrift Shop) Sleaping Bag
Shortwave Radio

Comments:

[User Picture]
From:jayfo
Date:July 12th, 2003 06:12 am (UTC)
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wow. i just read the whole website. thanks.

Now if I could only find a chick that would do that...
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From:s3nsational
Date:July 13th, 2003 12:31 am (UTC)

Future Vagabond-ette

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Hi!

I'm a chick and I would love to do something like this. What an amazing journey! What a way to see the world!
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[User Picture]
From:jayfo
Date:July 13th, 2003 08:08 am (UTC)

Re: Future Vagabond-ette

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WOW! And she's an Objectivist, too!

Welcome to my world, Jessica.
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From:s3nsational
Date:July 19th, 2003 12:45 am (UTC)

Re: Future Vagabond-ette

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Nice to meetcha! :)
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[User Picture]
From:ehintz
Date:July 12th, 2003 04:35 pm (UTC)
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While not nearly in the same league, we took a 7.5 week round trip in our '70 bus from Austin, TX to Inuvik, NWT (about 60 mi. from the Arctic Ocean-the remaining route is ice roads and thus impassable by vehicle in summer unless you've got that Lotus James Bond has that turns into a submarine). After the first week or so you settle into the casual lifestyle and it's really quite relaxing and enjoyable for the most part. Though if I do such a thing again I'd prefer to keep individual legs below 250 miles per day; the 400+ stretches get to be a grind, no longer like a vacation or adventure, just a teeth-grinding-caffeine-rush from A to B.
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From:crasch
Date:July 13th, 2003 03:53 pm (UTC)
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Cool! How did you handle being in such close quarters? How did you wash your clothes?
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[User Picture]
From:ehintz
Date:July 14th, 2003 10:12 am (UTC)
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It really wasn't all that bad-as long as you keep the legs down to about 250mi/day, you're only looking at 4-5hrs drive time, the rest of it you're out and about the campsite, with lots of space to play with. Clothes were a laundromat thing. Some campsites (the RV types) had 'em on site, but if that wasn't an option there was usually a laundromat somewhere in town we could use. Showers were also a campsite thing, we only had a couple of motels the entire trip but most campgrounds have showers.

It was a fun trip, but if I go to Inuvik again I want to do it in a GA plane. 1500 miles of trees (Vancouver to Whitehorse) at 60mph gets a bit boring. That's one of the neat things about NZ; the scenery changes much quicker so the driving is significantly more enjoyable.
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