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Collin Ferry

The True Cost of Ownership

whiteness

Minimalism has taken many forms these days. It’s even become a pop-culture trend. I suspect it is partly related to the economic downturn, a newish need to make more from less. For me, minimalism can be broken down into several parts. Maybe some of this will resonate with you. Some write off minimalism as hippy-foo-foo bullshit. Well, let me appeal to minimalism with reason.

By deciding to bring some new thing into your life, you have to calculate whether the gain will offset the cost. This mental process sounds like a pain in the ass, but most of you already do this when making a purchase. That’s how you decide whether the new pair of pants or coffee table or samurai sword is worth the advertised price.

The problem is that, usually, the only cost in this mental exercise that is weighed against the reward is a monetary one. The cost of owning a physical item does not end at the checkout. It echoes forward in time for the entire duration that it’s in your possession.

Here are some examples of forgotten costs accrued when making a purchase:

For instance, say you buy or rent a living space. You go a little bigger than you really need because you get a good price on it.… Read More

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How We Killed the Universe


One summer a few years ago I found myself on a Colorado bluff
with an elevation of about 11,000 feet. As blue skies turned to gold, my companions and I built a fire, cooked ramen noodles, and pulled the cork from a bottle of red wine. We passed the bottle around as the Earth turned its back on the Sun, pulling us into shadows.

One can face east at sunset and watch darkness rise. The darkness climbed higher and soon specks of light began popping out for us from across the oceans of time. The Milky Way hung above us and we became very, very small. Our pasts and our futures seemed to shrink before us and vanish with a wink.

It is a powerful tool to be able to zoom out so far that one’s entire life simply vanishes. If any one experience can be said to put life in perspective, it is most certainly gazing at the starscape above us. I have come to realize the unfortunate truth that many of us are not often afforded this lens. The advent of electricity brought light pollution and in the span of a few generations we have mortally wounded the night sky and with it our window to the universe.… Read More

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Would You Invest in the Netflix for Toys?

Jobs Act

Imagine your otherwise batshit crazy neighbor comes up with a big idea. Really big. The type of idea that could become the next Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or maybe just the next Coffee Joulies – how much would choose to invest? Let’s say you’re feeling restless and want to invest $1,000. Your neighbor thinks his idea is worth $50k. He’s willing to give you 2% equity in his idea/company if you put your $1,000 toward getting it started. He wants to go online and find 49 other investors. Today, as far as I can tell, there is no legal framework in the United States that allows this. You save $1,000 and you neighbor goes back to drinking bourbon and spying on lawn gnomes.

President Obama, in the interest of gnome privacy, is preparing to sign the JOBS Act into law on Thursday (April 5, 2012). Once this happens, startups will be able to raise up to $1 million in funding from non-accredited investors (read: regular people). This appears to accomplish two big things:

  • It increases the total amount of money available to startups (theoretically should increase the number of startups that…start)
  • It gives the common citizen the ability to invest a small amount in an early-stage company

There are a few clear problems that come with this Act.… Read More

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Everything’s Bigger in Texas – SXSW 2012

South by Southwest is an annual film/music/interactive festival that overtakes the beautiful city of Austin, Texas every March. I’ve attended for two years now because it’s an incredibly cost-effective vacation that provides two things I need on a regular basis:

  • A smooth blend of relaxation and chaos
  • Interesting and intelligent people to meet

It’s essentially a few thousand sponsored parties, shows, and events all designed to make you have a good time (and usually remember a brand or an artist). For the common man it means enjoying free food, open bars, live music, and creative people for twelve days.

When combined with CouchSurfing/staying with friends and airline miles it gets even more affordable. Just don’t buy an official badge. You don’t need it.

A few things I did at SXSW 2012:

  1. Ate heaps of burgers sourced from local, grass-fed beef
  2. Drank loads of Tito’s vodka, Lone Star, and Dos Equis
  3. Learned about truffles and truffle oil (and truffle fries)
  4. Watched at least 30 live music performances
  5. Saw a fight at a local grocery store
  6. Became jealous of Austin’s Car2Go service
  7. Watched the Austin Music Awards from the third-tier VIP section and saw Bruce Springsteen’s surprise performance
  8. Met dozens of incredible personalities from Austin, New York, Mexico City, and Toronto
  9. Consumed massive amounts of free BBQ and tacos
  10. Saw a concert in a church at midnight
  11. Personally returned a lost wallet
  12. Won a Sphero at a tech party
  13. Saw a mobile Occupy SXSW street movement and the police response
  14. Watched Jeff Who Lives at Home at an Alamo Draft House – my new favorite theater (you can silently order food/drink with little slips of paper during the film)
I highly recommend checking out Firehorse – the live performance gave me goosebumps.… Read More
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Bridging the Chasm

And then a year went by.

Travel:

I stayed in the United States for the entirety of 2011 but I did manage to spend six full weeks on highly visceral activities in other places. These included SXSW, Bonnaroo, ten days on Anna Maria Island with good friends, and a glorious week in the Black Rock Desert at Burning Man. Not bad.

Blog:

I redesigned my personal site and moved all the old Wanderlust content here. I did this because it looks fancier and I want to write about other topics in addition to travel. Sorry for those of you that got a random email update a couple weeks back. I hope you like my new home.

Work:

I was offered a job and accepted it. I’m still employed so that’s all I will say about that for now.

I’ve also launched a one man web building company. I taught myself all about domains, hosting, and WordPress. When I built this site I realized I could build awesome websites for other people too. If you need a site for your business, blog, or portfolio consider having it Built by Collin.

Education:

In addition to teaching myself the above mentioned skills I am learning JavaScript for free using Code Academy.

Read More

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The End Is the Beginning Is the End

Current Location: Louisville, KY, United States of America
Current  Weather: 32°F (feels like 24°F)
Days Gone: 201
Days Remaining: Zero
Home provides its own type of chaos. Perhaps the chaos and uncertainty craved by the traveler is really just a craving for simplicity. Unknown means no planning. It means your time is yours and yours alone. For me, unknown is easy. With too many variables, calculation becomes impossible. You can’t suffer from analysis paralysis if you can’t analyze the situation. I’ve said before that the present is all we have. Well, it turns out that while traveling the present is the only thing worth considering. Even for someone like me, a person who considers every option and almost subconsciously plans for every consequence, travel makes careful planning impossible. With an unwieldy trip such as this, the possible futures which cascade outward from every event are so multitudinous and varied that I can actually allow myself to not think about them. Mental peace.

But home is where I am now. I’ve been breathing cold Louisville, KY air since early December. My trip was cut short suddenly when I received an email that my grandfather was in the hospital for what would be the last time.… Read More

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Terror, Power, and Tandoori Chicken

Current Location: Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia
Current  Weather: 77°F (feels like 86°F)
Days Gone: 199
Days Remaining: 17
 
With less than three weeks until my return the world is beginning to spin faster. It is as if the planet itself is trying to gain enough momentum to launch me back into a society that moves at a different speed. Two days ago I was clutching to the back of a motorbike while it flew through heavy traffic, passing with only inches to spare between bigger vehicles, running red lights, and generally spending as much time in the wrong lane as possible. My driver and cohort was oblivious to my terror. I decided, as I felt the heat of another car’s brake lights on my knee as we swerved around it, that if I survived this journey I would write about it. Thus, you have the above. For I did survive, and in doing so I’ve discovered that I much prefer being the operator of fast and deadly vehicles, not the helpless passenger.

Despite said dangers, our unfaithful steed bore us to Penang National Park, where we trekked into the dense monkey-infested jungle and arrived, at great length and covered in sweat, on a fairly private beach pocked with massive crab holes.… Read More

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Same Same, But Different

Current Location: Pulau Langkawi, Malaysia
Current  Weather: 90°F (feels like 107°F)
Days Gone: 161
Days Remaining: 55

First off we have a tiny bit of business to attend to. If anyone has clicked the Donate link to the right, they have seen that donations are not intended to go to me, but instead to the Wanderlust Lending Team at Kiva.org. For Kiva’s 5-Year Anniversary they are offering a $25 loan credit to anyone who invites five people. If you’ve considered lending before, now is the best time because you can your $25 donation would actually contribute $30! You can read more about Kiva at their website or on the Donate page here. If you are interested in participating, send a quick email to twocents.wanderlust@gmail.com with the subject line “Kiva.” I’ll send you an invite within 24 hours. Just keep in mind that the offer expires at the end of October. You can still join after that time, of course, but Kiva will no longer be offering additional loan credit. Now on to the travel stuff.

I escaped Cambodia the very same day my visa expired, which seems to be a bad habit I’ve formed. But last minute escapes are cinematic, no?… Read More

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Slow Migrations

Current Location: Siem Reap, Cambodia
Current  Weather: 86°F (feels like 94°F)
Days Gone: 143
Days Remaining: 73

I move a lot. Since landing in Bangkok all those months ago, I have spent my nights in over 50 different places, including buses, trains, boats, and even a cargo ship. Due to its small size, spending a month in Cambodia has given me a sort of reprieve. This isn’t to say that Cambodia doesn’t offer many destinations, I just don’t really need another French-inspired river town at the moment. I’m good on jungles and I’ve got more islands in my near future. So I spent a solid ten days recharging my batteries in Sihanoukville, often by having food delivered to me poolside and enjoying a $10 per day lifestyle. Now I am loitering in Siem Reap, probably until my visa expires, and spending even less. Here I have discovered a new and unique type of lifestyle: routine. Back home, I always did my best to avoid routine – it’s bland, conventional, and boring. It’s the rut we’re all stuck in. But I have discovered a valuable exception to this rule.

A routine is only unfulfilling when someone else is writing the schedule.… Read More

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To Hold the Bones of the Dead

Current Location: Sihanoukville. Cambodia
Current  Weather: 88°F (feels like 95°F)
Days Gone: 124
Days Remaining:92

I really hate to gloss over the scuba diving in Nha Trang, the sand dunes of Mue Ne, and the electric chaos of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), but such is the way of blogging. I had an illness, anyway, in HCMC, which closely resembled a cold but that I’m sure was the result of bad quail eggs found in a few street-vendor steamed buns. Also, spending half a night sleeping on a wooden bench while waiting for the bus did not help my situation. At the end of this series of events I found myself crouch running the length of an American football field through the Cu Chi Tunnels with a stuffed up nose. My quadriceps still have not totally forgiven me for this sin. On the upside, I did manage to divert two separate but very organized attempts to rob me. After a bit of research, I have discovered these attempts were made by members of the Filipino Mafia. So that’s exciting.

I have since crossed my third land border into my fourth country: Cambodia. I spent a few nights in Phnom Penh, the capital, in a cheap room which undoubtedly used to be a kitchen.… Read More

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