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  1. #76
    jim anchower jamesdenver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamesdenver
    I

    also speaking of "off the grid", something i've done for the past seven years is own a mailbox at mail boxes etc. it's a $150 a year, but keeps my address stable no matter where i live, and they accept packages for me (i get lots of stuff online). i've moved two times, bought a house, and i keep my mail going there.
    oh and from a privacy advocate point of view what could be better than being car-free?

    keeping your true address from insurance companies, loan companies, and state registrations is a huge pain in the butt.

    bike, bus, subways, cabs, and trains are the preferred method for the james bond subterfuge lifestyle

  2. #77
    Senior Member af895's Avatar
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    James Denver: I don't think you're odd at all. Those are great ideas for managing contact with society while keeping it from intruding.

    Before paying the cards off and cutting them up, I had large amounts of AirMiles/SkyMiles, whatever each of them called their rewards points.

    If I redeemed points for air travel, I still ended up paying sales tax, airport tax, fuel surcharges and any other fee they saw fit to charge. A short, 60 minute flight between here and where my grandmother lives would have cost about $100 in "fees" even with points.

    If I took the TRAIN instead, I'd have a 5 hour trip BUT little or no fees if I used the accumulated reward points. I guess I'm just saying, while these reward programs can be useful, big-money (CC companies, banks, utilities, big-oil etc) will do EVERYTHING in their power to keep taking money from your pocket - such as those "fees" when you want to redeem points.

    To me, frugality means being ruthless with your money when other people want it so you still have some when YOU want to spend it.

    *** *** ***

    Cabana 4 Life: thanks for the info! I'm feeling even more inspired knowing about your location and also hearing about the fellow in Alaska with the straw-bale house living off the grid.
    Last edited by af895; 01-09-06 at 04:39 PM.

  3. #78
    jim anchower jamesdenver's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=af895]

    Before paying the cards off and cutting them up, I had large amounts of AirMiles/SkyMiles, whatever each of them called their rewards points.

    If I redeemed points for air travel, I still ended up paying sales tax, airport tax, fuel surcharges and any other fee they saw fit to charge. A short, 60 minute flight between here and where my grandmother lives would have cost about $100 in "fees" even with points.

    QUOTE]

    very true - i've used them for int'l travel, but fees do at up.

    what kind of aviation consulting do you do? (saw in earlier post). i've had my private pilot's certificate since 2000, (speaking of easy,fun ways to travel). i have my IFR hours done, but i don't fly enought to keep IFR current so didn't proceed further. but i love flying when i CAN afford it, great way to keep your mind sharp, and i'm a map geek to so love looking at approach plates, and the systems and procedures and commication of commercial and general aviation...

  4. #79
    Senior Member smilin buddha's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=cerewa](but then...)

    I never said that the writing on my computer makes as much sense as when its in my head.



    My father always called them the golden chains. Debt, Car payment, to many possesions. I just need to clear the space. I think one of the ways I failed to simplify was buying a house. I have a full house and also storage shed. It amazed me the things that I bought or got secondhand to fill this space. Of course living in the hurricane state. Last year was a great eye opener on what is important. So I need to stock up on water and food for a few days. I never ran the generator like the year before. But the guy across the street was spending 30 dollars a day on gas to run his large tv and all the items in his house. I realized I can be happy with a hot cup of coffee and a warm meal. It was nice to go to the spare room and see so much space. I plan on adding more space and less items.

  5. #80
    The Rock Cycle eofelis's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=smilin buddha]
    Quote Originally Posted by cerewa
    I think one of the ways I failed to simplify was buying a house.
    I wonder about the house-buying thing....

    I've heard the house called "the ultimate possession"

    My parents never owned a house. They rented a very small house in a rural area when I was growing up. I had miles of woods and fields to roam in, and my parents didn't seem unhappy that they didn't own the house. After my dad passed away, my mom wanted to move closer to town. She gave 30 days notice and moved out (I had moved out before then). So it never really occured to me that you had to own a house.

    My BF & I live in a 1 br apt over a 4 car garage. It's pretty nice, not too expensive, close to places we need to go. Sometimes it would be nice to have a house with more room for the 9 bikes. But then we'd have to spend weekends working on the house and yard instead of hiking and biking. If something breaks in the apt, we call the landlord. He's pretty good about getting things fixed right away.

    A good book I like is Work Less & Play More by Steve Catlin.
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  6. #81
    Senior Member smilin buddha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eofelis
    I wonder about the house-buying thing....

    I've heard the house called "the ultimate possession"

    My parents never owned a house. They rented a very small house in a rural area when I was growing up. I had miles of woods and fields to roam in, and my parents didn't seem unhappy that they didn't own the house. After my dad passed away, my mom wanted to move closer to town. She gave 30 days notice and moved out (I had moved out before then). So it never really occured to me that you had to own a house.

    My BF & I live in a 1 br apt over a 4 car garage. It's pretty nice, not too expensive, close to places we need to go. Sometimes it would be nice to have a house with more room for the 9 bikes. But then we'd have to spend weekends working on the house and yard instead of hiking and biking. If something breaks in the apt, we call the landlord. He's pretty good about getting things fixed right away.

    A good book I like is Work Less & Play More by Steve Catlin.
    Thanks for the tip. I ordered the book. And since I work at the library I am not purchasing it. I am sure for some the house is a good idea, but it is limiting now. ANd than with the bigger house came more crap. Than I have a few dogs and that adds more space constraints and also limitations. I would have so much more money and time with a smaller house, but I have to work with what I have now and see how simple I can live with what I got. I know if there is another hurricane season like the last one. I will be leaving the sunshine state. I hate to live weeks without power and the other troubles.

  7. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by af895

    To me, frugality means being ruthless with your money when other people want it so you still have some when YOU want to spend it.
    MWA HAW HAW HAW...more tips please about your "ruthlessnes" to save money... we're quick learners on this forum

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    Let's see:

    No car. I don't own a computer. I don't own a cell phone. I don't own a TV. I have never owned or worn any type of jewelry whatsoever. I have no piercings or tatoos. I have never used any type illegal drug whatsoever, and don't ever intend to. I try to limit emotions and drama to a minimum. I only drink alcohol approx. once a month. I don't own an ipod or any other type portable music player. I am single, and do not have any kids. I don't smoke cigs. I have never possessed a drivers' liscence or permit of any type. I have never driven an automobile in my life. I don't drink coffee or tea. I don't take any prescription drugs or over-the-counter medicines whatsoever.

    I think that's it for now. I'm sure more will come to me.

    Currently my vice is bikes. I have a basement full of bikes, frames, and parts in various states of function. I also own a bit of camping/backpacking equipment.



    My friends, family, parents and everyone I meet thinks I am insane, a social reject, a druggie, a drifter, etc.
    Last edited by goldener; 01-10-06 at 11:53 AM.

  9. #84
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    There but for sentimentality would I be.........

    When I was in my 20's, I was proud that everything I owned fit into the back of a pickup truck. The collection of "stuff" grew with time, but I was able to keep the invading enemy mostly at bay (staying single helped). Then, about 20 years ago, it found a successful tactic: I couldn't part with icons from the people whose lives have touched me, especially family members who have passed away.

    On a bookcase at home sits a Seth Thomas mantel clock from the 1920s. I don't even run it, but it sat atop a piano at the farmhouse of my grandparents, and it generates fond memories of spending summers with them. My mother's paintings really fight dirty; can't imagine getting rid of them now that she's gone. Little art projects my godsons made for me in school. An entire bookshelf of thousands of my slides from travels, kids' birthday parties, vacations, etc. Books my father had. I don't dwell on this stuff, but I appreciate it now in ways I couldn't when in my 20s. So the "stuff" has won on that battlefield, but I've only had to retreat the line of defense from that pickup load to a 1 bedroom apartment- so far.

  10. #85
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    I had a very simple lifestyle for a long time. Greatly influenced by what some might call poverty but to me I never felt poor- short on cash maybe but never poor- but as I look back I was right on the edge of living on the streets for quite a while. I do remember at that time wishing I was rich enough to be as poor as I chose to be. I was resourceful, intelligent and hard working enough to have taken jobs or made educational choices that would have put me in the money making track of many of my peers but I was a free lance artist and felt confident I could eventually make my living with my art. I was seeking a deeper satisfaction than that offered solely by material possession. Fortunately, I was right and my art has paid off.

    However, the journey was not as easy as I'd thought in terms of keeping my life simple. Because I was used to having so little when I finally had the money to purchase more things I did so. I accumulated some worthwhile things and a lot of crap along the way. Because I had lived on my bicycle for long periods of time with only what I could bring on my bike I knew how little I could get by with and often felt ashamed by the accumulation of unnecessary junk. I had to commute a lot from Boston to New York and stopped using public transport and bought a brand new car that I loaded the miles on for the first time in my life. Those commutes translated into more earnings and I bought a condo. Locally I continued to commute by bike and bike race and tour when I had the time but I had a gnawing dissatisfaction.

    Then one day I bought an abandoned house with four acres of land surrounded by 18,000 acres of state forest (for which I paid $20k cash). That shifted my focus. Suddenly I was reminded of how little I needed to be happy. This trashed little house with no windows, no electricity, no running water became my focus. My brand new car is now 11 years old and most extra cash goes into fixing that place up to make it livable. It now has a composting toilet, is hooked up to the grid but I have a combination of solar lights and low wattage lights and applicances and am working towards a combination of solar and wind power for the house.

    I do think that paying rent was a form of perpetual debt worth getting out from under and my condo has doubled in value so that I am now essentially debt free if I want to unload it and put everything into the no longer abandoned house. It's difficult to live in a capitalistic economy without becoming either a pawn of the system or an aggressive, accumulator of wealth at the expense of the less fortunate. It's a balancing act of investing well and watching what you buy and where you buy it.

    Ayn Rand's famous quote from the novel "The Fountainhead": "the best way to help the poor is not to be one of them." could either be a healthy self motivater or an excuse to trample your impoverished neighbors. I think the difference between a certain level of "poverty" and "a simple life style" are sometimes a state of mind but it's a hell of a lot easier to be "poor" with some money in the bank and decent health coverage than when you have neither of those things. I was fine with living day to day but having some cushion against catastrophe can mean the difference between continued independence and living off friends, family or the state. I have some friends who were poor right along with me 25 years ago and still are, despite many opportunities to improve their economic state, and I must admit how resentful I can be when I feel they think nothing of having me help subsidize their "simpler life styles". There's a big difference between being just plain cheap and selfish and being "simple" and this is a line that becomes clearer as a person ages. On the other hand I love that having more allows me to be more generous than I was ever able to be when I had barely enough for myself to get by so I'd rather err on the side of generosity and let go of any resentment when I feel taken advantage of- it ain't worth it. And, as Katrina so powerfully demonstrated, many of us are only one day of bad weather away from living with virtually nothing.

  11. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by eofelis
    I wonder about the house-buying thing....

    I've heard the house called "the ultimate possession"

    My parents never owned a house. They rented a very small house in a rural area when I was growing up. I had miles of woods and fields to roam in, and my parents didn't seem unhappy that they didn't own the house. After my dad passed away, my mom wanted to move closer to town. She gave 30 days notice and moved out (I had moved out before then). So it never really occured to me that you had to own a house.
    I would love to own a house. I've seen so many people buying homes recently with interest rates being low as they are today. It irks me to not have the downpayment to put down on a new home but the thought of borrowing hundreds of thousands and being in debt to my eyeballs scares the heck out of me. The least expensive home around my way are going for 275K and up and you need an income of 70K a year to qualify for the mortgage plus the 10% down payment and closing costs! It's just too much for me.

    I don't know how people are buying all these homes at outragous prices can sleep at night. Home prices continue to go through the roof and I don't know when it's going to end but I'm priced out.

  12. #87
    Senior Member pakole's Avatar
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    You know this thread has made me reconsider the whole house thing as well. I know I do not have enough stuff for a house, and I would like to keep my married and eventually family life simple as well. Hmmm.. this is the first time I have ever given consideration over an houseless ending, but maybe a condo, or smaller. One of the big things of a house is high upkeep time input. Time is one thing I have in small amount..
    ---
    Is morality determine by when no human is watching you or when no being is watching you? For if it is the latter, I can not be a moral person for I know God is with me each and every day.

  13. #88
    Senior Member iBarna's Avatar
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    Another thing I didn't mention before: I can never understand why people (at least people in cities) would ever have their own washer and dryer. They take up so much space, they need their own power circuit, water pipe, etc, you need to repair them, etc. In one word... HASSLE.

    I just go to the laundromat on the block. They have better machines I could ever own. I don't even own my own detergent or softener, I buy those little "1 Load" boxes at the laundromat.


    BTW, there are people in this thread who seem to be very ascetic. If that's what you want, more power to you! But personally I want to enjoy life to the fullest - I just don't want my life be cluttered by stuff.

    I am pretty sure I will never own a house. I could see perhaps owning a condo... but as for now I enjoy the freedom of being able to move frequently!

  14. #89
    Senior Member pakole's Avatar
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    Well, one thing about living simple is that you live for yourself. Some people feel it less of a hassle to have their own washing machine then to have to go out and use the laundromat down the street. I thankfully have one in my own living group, but I have to look for an apartment soon, and I do not think that a washing machine will make or break a deal for me. Anyway, thanks again for starting this thread.
    ---
    Is morality determine by when no human is watching you or when no being is watching you? For if it is the latter, I can not be a moral person for I know God is with me each and every day.

  15. #90
    jim anchower jamesdenver's Avatar
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    i bought a townhouse about 2 years ago and it was well worth it. i've done some heavy cosmetic improvements and have learned some interesting crafts like flooring, tiling, installing a toilet (ugh). and i'm planning on building some built in cabinets and bookcases. the money spent on a house is similar to putting money in a savings account or 401k, it does return a benefit, and i don't think being simple equates living paycheck to paycheck, in fact the opposite - people that are simple CAN make and save much more money tucked away, allowing them to sustain their simple lifestyle well into their future.

    i had a great real estate agent right around the corner from me, and the whole process of looking at places was very enjoyable.

    as noted in my previous posts i think "simplicity" is based more on philisophy, not stuff. i think a house if done right (based on price, resale/neighorhoods) is a great investment and can make a lot of money,

    should they want to travel for a few years they'll more likely to have the resources to do it. (ok that's my goal in 6 years

    buying a house isn't for everyone, but if you are motivated and have a good real estate agent it can be a good experience, and again money spent at home depot for improvements is different than money spent maintaining a car, but don't go in debt on a house either of course

  16. #91
    Senior Member af895's Avatar
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    Here's one for all y'all:

    I got an email this morning from a friend that was CC'd to a bunch of other friends.
    She wants everyone to get together at a restaurant on Thursday.

    My first reactions:
    NO.
    Get real!
    What's the event?
    Why are we spending money?

    ...

    I didn't reply.

    That particular person is kind of notorious for this. They DO have a higher disposable income than I do but not by much. Their lavish spending, dining out once or twice a day at least, means they probably have less in the way of savings than I do.

    I just don't get it. What the heck would be wrong if she invited people to her place and said "bring your own food"? We've all been there - it's not like she wants to keep the location a secret.

    I'm not sure I'm conveying the situation well but there's a mindset difference going on here. I hope she doesn't run herself into bankruptcy before she figures out what frugal living is about.

    Coincidentally, she seems more inclined to spend, plan events like this, just after receiving a student assistance cheque. (Danger Wil Robinson...)

  17. #92
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    With an entire family, we try to do as much for ourselves as possible.

    Genrally, if takes longer to drive/cycle and wait for a service, I do it myself. This works well for haircuts, shampooing carpets etc. Over a year, simple haircuts for the family really adds up to wasted time and money.

    Fixing things ourselves helps us to understand how things are made. Then when shopping for something, it's easier to tell if something is well made--and the land fill doesn't fill up as quickly

    Example: instead of buying 3-5 cheap blinkies/year. I built my own llights + strobes. It took a month to figure it out but they've paid for themselves.

  18. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by af895
    I got an email this morning from a friend that was CC'd to a bunch of other friends.
    She wants everyone to get together at a restaurant on Thursday.
    ...
    What the heck would be wrong if she invited people to her place and said "bring your own food"?
    This is another style of 'simple living'. Throw money at it and the problem instantly goes away. No shopping, cooking, or clean up involved. Usually, I can say, I'm doing 'lunch only', or let's go for coffee or hang at the mall instead.

  19. #94
    Senior Member af895's Avatar
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    Vrkelley: have you posted a walkthrough of how you make those strobes? I'm shopping for lights but making my own seems appealing.

  20. #95
    put our Heads Together cerewa's Avatar
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    I think that the place one lives in is a big part of simple living. I want to live somewhere with enough space and no more, and I need it to be something I can afford. I have a hard time seeing myself living in a freestanding house even if I had kids, because those sorts of places use up lots of land, often involve big utility bills, and if they're within 30 minutes bike ride of a major city business district* they cost a fortune.

    *which is the kind of place I think I want to live
    Some awesome folks who are working to give Haitians the ability to manage their safety and their lives:
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  21. #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody
    ......

    Who are your philosophers of simplicity? I like Buddha because he teaches not to get attached to things. I also like Thoreau because he simplified to the core and because he knew how to live outdoors.
    man is rich in proportion to things he can AFFORD to leave alone.

    This may be an assumption on my part, but I am curious as to how many of the respondees are:
    - not in profession careers where appearance matters (this isn't a dig, but some folks have to wear suits 5 days a week - thankfully not me);
    - married
    - with children (a whole host of 'crap' comes along with the lil ones);
    - business owners;
    - pet owners (larger than 10lbs);
    - caring for parents or elderly family members;
    - property owners
    - business travelers (not always a bus available when you need a 4:30 am red eye flight)
    - coaches for traveling sports
    - dependent on medical devices for basic health maintenance

    None of these are digs by any means though, just aspects that make simple living not so simple. Overall, it may be easiest to live simply when young (18-28 and single, or older (65+ and single). I applaud anyone that can live simply and raise a family: it is a cummulative triumph for them.

  22. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by af895
    Vrkelley: have you posted a walkthrough of how you make those strobes? I'm shopping for lights but making my own seems appealing.
    For home-made lights do a search on Total Geekiness
    My strobes are the Vellman style $9ea. They're very good on pot-hole ridden roads.

  23. #98
    Senior Member smilin buddha's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=jamesdenver]i bought a townhouse about 2 years ago and it was well worth it. i've done some heavy cosmetic improvements and have learned some interesting crafts like flooring, tiling, installing a toilet (ugh). and i'm planning on building some built in cabinets and bookcases. the money spent on a house is similar to putting money in a savings account or 401k, it does return a benefit, and i don't think being simple equates living paycheck to paycheck, in fact the opposite - people that are simple CAN make and save much more money tucked away, allowing them to sustain their simple lifestyle well into their future.
    "Feel like doing tile in the sunshine state. I have 1000 sq ft to do,"

    Also if you are going to buy a hosue or already have one check with the local governemnt. My niece got a no interest loan from the local government to fix up the house. If she stays so many years the money is free and if she leaves early the total amount is reduced by the number of years
    . In the same city my friend went through some budget courses with the city and they helped him with both the interest rate and also a down payment. I am not trying to say that a house is a bad thing but it is debt. The rise in property prices where I live is incredible. My house has doubled in a few years, but i see trouble ahead. When all of these loans with intrest only come due there will be more houses available and more people worse off. If I had my choice I would sell the house make a profit and rent till the whole real estate market in Florida shakes out. There are people paying inflated prices for houses way over the value of the hosue. If they tried to sell they would be in the hole. So they will be upside down in a house payment. Alot worse than if they were just upside down in a car payment. The real truth is the purchase of a house adds to the clutter in your life. Lawn mowers tools and such that you would have no or little use for if you just rented.
    I am thankful that this whole discussion came up. I have learned alot and have much more to learn.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vrkelley
    Example: instead of buying 3-5 cheap blinkies/year. I built my own llights + strobes. It took a month to figure it out but they've paid for themselves.
    I don't know about you, but my blinkies have lasted 8 years now, have never broken, and are stilli on the original set of batteries.

    8 years ago, I bought 3 vistalight clip-on led blinkies [one green, 2 red], and put duracell ultra batteries in all of them.

    I cracked the plastic lenses, but some super glue fixed that.

    Still work to this day. Well, they worked last night.

  25. #100
    jim anchower jamesdenver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by schiavonec
    man is rich in proportion to things he can AFFORD to leave alone.

    This may be an assumption on my part, but I am curious as to how many of the respondees are:
    - not in profession careers where appearance matters (this isn't a dig, but some folks have to wear suits 5 days a week - thankfully not me);
    - married
    - with children (a whole host of 'crap' comes along with the lil ones);
    - business owners;
    - pet owners (larger than 10lbs);
    - caring for parents or elderly family members;
    - property owners
    - business travelers (not always a bus available when you need a 4:30 am red eye flight)
    - coaches for traveling sports
    - dependent on medical devices for basic health maintenance

    None of these are digs by any means though, just aspects that make simple living not so simple. Overall, it may be easiest to live simply when young (18-28 and single, or older (65+ and single). I applaud anyone that can live simply and raise a family: it is a cummulative triumph for them.

    interesting list, all of them are things that require time, (except for coaching, i don't see that as any more than a few months commitment)

    here's mine:

    - married - partnered, own home and live together, same thing,

    - with children - neither of use are interested. i fully support couples who choose not to have kids for whatever reason, and think it should be more respected - rather than assuming something is wrong with them for not wanting children. although i babysit a friends 6 year old, which is a lot of fun.

    - business owners- nope, in fact we both joke about quitting our jobs with benefits and opening a small deli or video store in our neighborhood, and then having to work 15 hour days, no vacations, dealing with employee, and all the good and bad that would come with it, and i'd be in the back room over a calculater with bills in both hands --

    - pet owners - nope

    - caring for parents or elderly family members - not yet. another good thing to having a corp job rather than own business is that if needed i will be able to take time to travel and care should i have too. it's not something i look forward too, but it will be my first priority in life should it arise.

    - property owners -- yes

    - business travelers - rarely, which makes the occasional trip a nice change of pace

    - coaches for traveling sports - no, but i'm taking spanish lessons.

    - dependent on medical devices for basic health maintenance - yes. i'm type 1 diabetic so use insulin, test strips, test machines and syringes. it's not bad, and an easy part of my life (like getting dressed) i'm in perfect health, but this is something i always need to monitor. i have good insurance, and my co-pays are reasonable. but taking a month off to travel requires this consideration, and should i scale back in 7 years to travel more i may take a p/t job (starbucks) a few days a week for the benefits. the difference in medications and access to new techy diabetic gear between a fully insurance person like myself versus a guy going into a free clinic is night and day. i hope this changes someday in our country, but until it does health insurance benefits will be a consideration no matter what i do.

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