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Spent more, produced less
Posted by: HoboSylvain | 2012-12-18 13:46:43 | Lachine, Quebec, Canada
Keywords: budget, finances, money, preparation, this blog site
Planning and programming are a bit slow, because of tiredness and the seasonal blues. However, the savings are still piling up, despite some frenzy shopping. After months and months of control and denial of purchasing stuff, I decided to indulge myself a bit.

On the productive planning side, things have been a bit slow especially in the last two weeks or so.  I haven't been able to really be productive on my preparation for departure.  But i have to say that December isn't my part of the year.  Unless I could work on Xmas, I usually tend to hibernate as much as possible between Dec. 23rd to January 3rd or so.  It might also be the fact that I have been without a job for 6 months now.  I don't miss the job itself, but it did have some side-benefits in terms of stimulus and social encounters.

I'm still working on my pictures site.  I've done the architecture and some of the back-end.  Now it's the most boring part for me... uploading the pictures into the database.  I sometimes have to work a bit on the pictures to improve them before processing them into the system... then I have to describe them, associate keywords, etc.  I've designed a very handy tool to do this semi-automatically, but it still requires time for each photo... and that's not the most exciting part of the project.  Once on the road when I have to process 20 to 50 shots a time, it will be fun and it will go like a breeze... but now I have thousands of pictures to process.

Because of this, I've decided to take a break until the end of the month, and just spend time exploring other aspects of that Web site or of other Web sites I have in mind, to let my brain breath some fresh air a bit.  That will delay a bit the delivery of my photos site... but I'm not on any close deadline for it.  The reason I'm changing my life around is to be able to fully enjoy myself and right now, I'm not having fun.  I know it's temporary and probably related to the Holidays... so I'll just let the storm pass and resume later.  But even in my walking planning, I already have planned some "vacation" weeks every 2 or 3 months to rest a bit.

I've been put in contact with a guy in New Zealand who's also preparing to leave and roam the world.  It's nice to be able to exchange tips with
someone who's virtually in the same situation as I am.  We have different goals and skills, we approach things differently, and we have a slightly different timeline too.  But overall, we're in the same boat and we often have common ideas - even though we live so far apart.  One of those common ideas was to have our country flag tattooed onto our skin.  Why?  For the same security reason: not to be confused for Americans while we roam the world.  Even though we both bear Commonwealth passports, a flag tattoo is easier and safer to show.  He just recently got the New Zealand flag tattooed onto his arm.   This guy is Alastair Galpin and he's a world record chaser... he's got many records under his belt, and you'll find his Web site at www.WorldRecordChase.com.

I'll get two flags: Canada and Quebec.  Not sure yet if they'll both be on the same side or if I'll have one per arm.  I'll have the tatooes done in March... close to my birthday.  That will allow me to give blood two more times before that.

<H3>On the financial side...</H3>

I've spent a lot in the last few weeks to get techno goodies for my trip.  My most recent purchases are a new iPod Touch (5th Gen, 32 GB) and a wi-fi external hard drive. 

I've bought the iPod because I wanted to have a replacement for my old one (3rd gen, 64 GB), wanted a back-up camera (never have enough of these) and another GPS recording device.  It's also another small device on which show my pictures without unloading the laptop, etc... plus it will act as a minimalist back-up for my laptop. The GPS device part of it is important because I want to be able to be able to record up to 10 days of GPS trace along my route.  I'll carry power banks but I also need a few GPS recording devices so I can be more autonomous and have back-ups if one dies or is lost.  I'll probably keep both of my iPod, to store all my apps and split my music... placing for example my French music on one and the English songs on the other.

I've bought a wi-fi external hard drive (the Seagate Satellite GoFlex, 500 GB).  But it was an impulsive buy, something I had been able to control so far.  It's a nice device and normally I would be thrilled with it.  However, because it was an impulsive buy and I was seduced by it, I didn't take the time to fully research it, especially since it's from a company a trust.  If I had taken the time to read the manual before hand or go in store to manipulate it, I would have identified the problem I have hitting the road with it.  It uses non-standard cables. It connects to the computer using a non-standard USB cable, and it charges using another non-standard cable too.  So if lose or break those cables, I cannot use the drive anymore.  Worst, I couldn't find any spare cables for it online.  I don't think I'll leave with it as it is.  I will either sell it to someone as it is, or I will open it and extract the hard drive then place it in another casing to use as a regular external hard drive.

I haven't sold my Nikon D90 camera yet.  In fact, I just listed it a few days ago on classifieds.  I was waiting to be able to see if the GPS port is still functional or not.  It isn't.  So, I placed it on the classifieds site a few days ago, hoping it would sell quick on this pre-Xmas frenzy.  I also put for sale my compact waterproof Pentax W60 camera.  I'm thinking on replacing it by the Nikon AW100, which is also a rugged camera... but with GPS features.  But I will probably wait for that a bit... now having the new iPod and also my Android phone that can be used as minimal compact cameras, and for which I could get a waterproof bag for cheap.  I'm not decided yet.  I'm monitoring the prices on a few sites, just in case.

I also decided to sell the MacBook laptop I bought in July.  Why?  Because I couldn't get used to the Mac environment (I admit I didn't commit myself enough to it though) but mostly because I abandoned the idea of having mobile applications as a revenue stream.  It's too much work for the potential revenues I could get.  So, I prefer to concentrate on Web sites where the return is greater.  I'll check the Boxing Day sales and will probably get a cheap laptop (and I will replace the DVD drive by a second hard drive).  Something common that would be easier to repair on the road and attract less attention than a shinny MacBook with the desirable Apple logo.

Despite all these purchases and unsold major items, and the fact I haven't sold much on eBay either... I did manage to get about $200 more in the savings department.  I have for over $2 000 of items listed for sale on classifieds... so that should impact nicely my bottom line next month.

Exactly a year ago, I decided to turn my life around financially and began thinking about ways to get rid of my debts.  If back then you would have told me I could totally overturn it in a year and be in the position I'm now, I would have had a hard time believing you.    Next month, I'll reveal you the results of my first year of financial preparation.

Meanwhile, happpy Holidays to everyone!

Related posts:
Itinerary and finances
First year of savings
Prepping goes along
Blog away...
Totally debt free!

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