Sustainability of Permanent Travel!
My main goal as a permanent traveller is to sustain my travel time for as long as possible, whilst spending the least amount of time on things I dislike (i.e. service level jobs) wherever possible.
This inevitably means that I have to be frugal with outgoings because I don’t want to spend all my time working – I want to spend my time living.
Since the beginning of my travels in 2012, I have found myself becoming more and more frugal with the way I spend money and the way I value things.
The value of goods and services start to become measured in comparison with hostel days, fuel costs, travel time, bus tickets and wifi access.
You start to evaluate your basic human needs and understand which ones can be met through craftiness and which ones you inevitably have to earn money to pay for.
If you can keep a balanced mind that is equanimous and content with the things in your present moment, then you really start to appreciate living and the regulation of greed and splurges becomes insightful and rewarding.
Here’s an example of myself:
The things I currently pay for:
Rent, Prepaid Sim card, Petrol, Transport Card, Food, Coffee, Cigarettes.
From the above I don’t really need coffee and cigarettes to survive but coffee makes me more productive and I have one ritual cigarette before I go to sleep at night so they have a place on my list.
Methods of craftiness that help me keep the cost of permanent travel low:
I have to say that New Zealand has taken these behaviours to a new level and I would not feel comfortable doing this in any non-western country / the US..
Grazing – This usually involves eating grapes or drinking coconut water whilst walking around a supermarket, either whilst shopping or pretending to shop.
Self-service-scanning (scamming) – This is probably the biggest cost saver for most travellers. Basically the most expensive items of your shopping ($10 dollar chicken / big bag of mixed nuts) get scanned through as the lowest cost grocery items such as onions, bananas or carrots. This offers considerable savings but you have to either do it whilst the checkout attendant isn’t looking or by overwhelming (4 people doing it at once) or by getting your mate to ask a stupid question like “is there wifi around here?” causing a distraction.
Strategic Coffee Purchase – On my days off I still purchase at least 2 coffees in order to be at my most computer productive. I have found that to keep costs down the cheapest place by far to get barista made coffee is McDonalds. You pay $4.50 in NZ for a large soy flat white and you get one free after purchasing 5, which brings the cost down even further.
Conceal your meal! – If you love coffee and cake like me, then you might want to save a bit of money on this near daily habit. Get the Coffee from Maccas, but get your cake from the supermarket and put it in a brown paper bread bag and scan it through as a 60 cents bread roll. No one will ever open up your paper bag to check whats in it (Well they probably would in England lolz). This also works with chicken breast being double bagged and put in a bag with onions which can then be scanned through as onions..
Corporate Value – this ties into the above. When I am waiting for my coffee at Macca’s I also make sure that everyday I take a huge wad of napkins and loads of sugar sachets. This provides me with 2 extra items for free that I don’t have to buy in my weekly shop.
Stretching the Cash Cow – I work as a barista / bartender when I am not doing web projects because I enjoy the social aspect and it saves me money. I have as much free coffee and coconut water when I am working, I take staffies / knock-offs home that accumulate for the weekend and I get tips and get to socialise with hot females all whilst getting paid. Free lemons, free soy milk, free access to things I might need.
Take stuff home – In the last 4 cities I have lived in – I have found most of the furniture in my room and a lot of it has been made from milk crates and wooden beer crates. There is no shame in this – it is fit for purpose and can look quite stylish with a nice material draped over it (the girls love it).
Kmart Advantage – Guess what? Stealing is ok if you do it from a big faceless corporation like Kmart (Just don’t get caught).
People who live frugally in modern day society have been vilified since the beginning of modern day pop culture and for very good reason. Chief Economists want us to be consuming as much crap as possible to keep our economies ticking over so that they can remain in control of those economies – it’s that simple. Ask yourself what a tramp is? What is a tramp? It brings up visions of mentally unstable, scary people living on the fringes of society eating out of dumpsters and having bad health and hygiene. This character has been created to provoke an emotional response from what other might think about you’re methods of cost cutting, self-sustainability and living frugally.
The fear of what other might think is probably the single most damaging fear that is output in our society today. it causes structural violence and leaves people with a deluded perceptions of self-worth, self-entitlement and self-ability.
We live in an age of logic and reason and what is more logical than repairing an item rather than throwing it away?
In school I did not learn about essential maintenance and repair, I learned a curriculum of facts based on peoples opinions of History and the importance of tradition.
We live in the technological age of the iPhone and Macbook, yet my shoes only last 3 months before they need to be replaced. Does anybody remember tough footwear like an old pair of Doc Martens? it is no longer commercially viable to make shoes long-lasting and hard-wearing – why? because not shifting units is not profitable.
Planned and perceived obsolescence of material items it an economic strategy….
Things I hate most about consumerism – the erosion of society and community cohesion and the raping of the world, it’s inhabitants and it’s natural resources – we sell the very sand we stand on.
Things I love most about consumerism – it pushes forward technology advancement and provides conveniences (Buying sushi at 4am from a 24-hour supermarket).
So travel the world and reject the bad parts of consumerism and embrace the parts you like and bend the system to you’re own will and testament. Make the most of life and don’t take it too seriously.
(The images in this post are leftovers from the previous Auckland post and are just random shots of things I like in the Auckland area)