One day we’re barefoot in the grass and basking in the sunshine. The next day there’s a foot of snow.
Several weeks ago we had an awesome visit from some familiar BodesWell characters.
We first met Simon and M.C. on the road back in Argentina, then proceeded to travel as a VW bus and motorcycle gang to Ushuia and most of the way back up to Buenos Aires. Ah, good times. Seems like a long time ago. It also seems like yesterday.
They came down from Quebec to ride in some sunshine. Colorado delivered.
We caught up, we snowboarded, we soaked in hot springs, we learned dirty words in French, we snow-biked, we threw some pigs, we cooked, we attempted to have Bode teach us the most difficult game ever created, and just generally hung out and had a good time.
The ball’s in our court now: Quebec is on the destination map.
I think we’ve found our weakness. Two of them anyway.
Our month of no spending was going pretty well until Friday. We had spent a total of zero dollars on anything up to that point. Voluntary hardship that has quickly produced some interesting and unintended results (more on this later.)
We had plenty of opportunities to spend money all week and just said no to all of them. On Friday, Bode asked for $1.50 for a bag of skittles from a vending machine before ski team. I just wanted to say “yes.” Buck fifty in the hole.
On Saturday, our buddies Scott and Elden came up from Boulder to ride the mountain and hang out. Since this little experiment is ours only – and not an attempt to leech off our friends – we splurged and bought some beer and wine. $60 at the “old 7-11″ liquor store.
So, we’ve failed at a zero-spend month.
We’re not quitting, though. We intend to follow the spirit of the frugality challenge for the entire month. But, we see more spending ahead. We want to go to Denver to explore the city over the upcoming holiday weekend and that will require at least gasoline and museum fees. The reality of spending zero dollars a month is pretty damn hard if you actually want to do stuff.
It’s a thing. That’s because we just invented it*.
Here’s how it works: in February, you can’t buy any stuff. That’s it.
You can make your own rules, but below is our version. It is a little extreme, and we’re pretty sure we’ll fail. But it’s an experiment worth trying.
We’ll have to eat – so buying groceries is acceptable. Paying our electric bill, phone bill or current debts is necessary. We just can’t buy any stuff. We’re already pretty lean on acquired stuff, so this is just taking it up a notch.
Alcohol is stuff. Gasoline is stuff. Anything at Starbucks is stuff. Even though it’s food, we’re eliminating restaurants – services count as stuff. All stuff is stuff. It’s an experiment. It’s a challenge. It’s supposed to be hard.
We picked the shortest month, so that’s a bonus. You don’t have to grow a mustache or dump a bucket of water on your head. You just have to dig down to find your minimalist most frugalist self. Maybe you’ll discover something important. Maybe you can live without something you thought you couldn’t live without. Maybe you’ll save enough money to do something really fun. Maybe you’ll reach budgetary nirvana and figure out how to retire early. Besides, the best things in life are free – right?
Zero is probably impossible, but we’re going to try. At the end of the month, we’ll post our results.
*after posting this I did a quick search to see if anyone else had ever thought of this. Of course, someone did. Ours is different, though. Frebruary. Totally different.
We’ve taken a little break from the blog, but we’re still here. Winter Park for the ski season – exactly the same place we were at this time last year.
The only recent bus adventures have been to the store and back. I don’t think we’ve bought a tank of gas since November. The free town shuttle has been our main ride. Bode is on ski team two days a week and we’re all trying to get out on the mountain as much as we can. I’ve been busy with two different work projects and might be adding a third. I can work in my pajamas, so I shouldn’t complain – but I still do. Angela is on top of the home-schooling (can’t call it road-schooling for now, I guess) and trying to avoid going stir-crazy. Our place is pretty small, but still quite a bit bigger than the bus. Indoor plumbing has been nice.
So, we’re going to take it easy for the next few months and ‘get stuff done’ before heading out somewhere in the spring. The old ‘one year trip’ has essentially become our indefinite lifestyle and we’re feeling pretty comfortable slowing things down and thinking about the long game. Everything we’re ever discussed is still on the table, but now we’re adding more options. Wandering around Quebec and trying to re-learn high-school French could be interesting. We could drive to Newfoundland. Overlanders never seem to go that way – it’s the opposite of the Alaska trek. Europe and Africa continue to be big projects on the list. Hiking the John Muir trail has been mentioned. I even caught myself shopping Craigslist for sailboats in Florida. I wanna go see that uninhabited island with the swimming pigs.
Oh well, we’ll figure it out.
Check this out – we’re in the latest issue of Volkswagen Magasin!
Nickname: The Centennial State
State bird: Lark bunting
State flower: Aquilegia caerulea
Motto: Nil sine numine
State tree: Blue spruce
Population: 5.268 million (2013)
“I’ve been from Tucson to Tucumcari
Tehachapi to Tonapah…”