Data Diet

The good old USA is mostly a land of no limits.  We pretty much have all the electric, gas, water, phone, texting and internet we can use.  Sure, we get a bill at the end of the month for our water, electric and gas but, if you are like me, unless it is drastically different than last month’s bill we don’t really pay attention to how many gallons of water, kilowatt hours of electricity or cubic feet of natural gas we’ve used.  Even if we do, we really have no idea what or who is using it and when.  Can you imagine what would happen if there was an app that alerted you with the dollar amount you just used when you flushed the toilet, took that really long shower, dried that load of wet towels, watered your lawn, stared in the open door of your fridge or adjusted your AC/furnace down/up a couple degrees?  Well, its no app, but living in a self contained rolling house is definitely a step in that direction.  With a limited amount of waste water and garbage holding capacity and finite supply of water, electricity, propane and internet you become keenly aware of your usage.  And, the cool part?  You become keenly aware of how little you actually need to be comfortable!!  It has definitely piqued my interest in off-grid living.  But in this post I will just focus on the data diet we adopted while on the road.

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Working from the road

Awhile back in our life on the move series I promised that I’d give some more details on some of the logistics of doing work from the road, in particular how we’ve stayed digitally connected.  This was something that I worried about quite a bit before we left because I rely heavily on an internet connection for work and I had absolutely no concept of how much data I used on a regular basis or the reliability of 4g data.  The good news is that the solution for me turned out to be pretty simple and the price, while a little high, was definitely doable.

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We value experiences and relationships more than we do stuff.  But stuff still has a way of keeping you tied down. So part of the idea of this adventure, at least in my mind, was to force ourselves away from our stuff and replace it with those things we value more.  When you live in tight quarters there is not much room for physical stuff.  Even if we had the space, we are filling our days with exploring the outdoors, nature, history and science that we don’t have time to futz with physical stuff.  Yet somehow we still have too much stuff and so something’s got to go.
Ditching the dead fridge

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Rig remodel

Ok, maybe its not quite remodeling.  But I had my power tools out and was making some changes to our house while we had some down time in Manatee Hammock.  There are several small and trivial things that we have to do on moving day….twice (once when we pack up and once when we unpack).  But several small and trivial things add up to a bigger thing.  So we tried to see if there were some quick solutions.  Quick being the operative word.  This trip is too short to spend too much time on home improvement.

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Nocycling and showers.

Another in the life on the move series…this one is about trash/recycle and showers.

I studied with the Maharishi for many years, and really didn’t learn that much. But one thing that he taught me, I’ll never forget: ‘ALWAYS…’ no, wait– ‘NEVER…’ no, wait, it was ‘ALWAYS carry a litter bag in your car. It doesn’t take up much room, and if it gets full, you can toss it out the window.’ — Steve Martin

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Another observation for the life on the move series

  • Shade tree mechanic.  I learned awhile ago that I don’t really like tinkering on things.  Especially vehicles.  I know how to do all my own work on my bike but it’s not my favorite past time.  I’ve never done any of my own work on vehicles because (a) I have no interest and (b) I’ve never really needed anything major done on my cars despite the fact that  I’ve always bought used (even salvaged) or gotten them as hand me downs…they’ve always been relatively trouble free.  But I now know way more about my truck than I really ever cared to.  I can change a headlight bulb (its not as trivial on this truck as you might think).  I understand the exotic exhaust system, the unique “regen” process and the bad downpipe joint that causes smoke.  I know where the HVAC blower motor and the “resistor” is and how to wack the motor to get it to run.  And now I know where the fuel filter and WIF (water in fuel) sensor is…and I think I may be able to change it myself next time.  Oh, I also know where the odd numbered glow plugs are and the AC condensation outlet are.