Thoughts from Inside the Box

Because home is where the heart is you park it.

Source: I'm sure stock photos seem normal in the parallel universe they're clearly photographed in. I'll let the watermarks explain where this gem came from.

Looking at a list of unanswered questions people have sent me, I couldn't find a single reasonable thread that united any of them, save the fact that they all concern my truckly ways. They're all pretty much orthogonal in the N-dimensional space that truck questions occupy. Let's get to them.

What does your family think of your living situation?

I've kinda been doing my own thing since I was 15 or 16, and my family sort of accepts that I'll probably figure out something that works for me. That said, they naturally thought I was insane (and still likely do) when I told them about my truck idea, well over a year ago at this point. The more I explained it to them, the more I was able to convince them that I had some semblance of an idea what I was doing, for better or worse. So in short: they probably think I'm crazy, but they're impressed I haven't managed to burn the truck to the ground yet and/or get myself Very Arrested™.

What are the worst and best parts of living in your truck?

The best part is knowing that I'm building the future I want for myself. The worst part is probably not being able to cook. Not that I was good at cooking before, but I did definitely enjoy whipping up a meal for myself every once in a while. I hijacked a friend's kitchen (thanks Pragya!) to cook a Thanksgiving turkey, but I'm fairly confident that was the last time I attempted any comprehensive culinary conquest. Oh, and not being able to have any pets is also pretty sad, I'd most definitely have a canine companion if I was living in a more conventional location.

What do you do for ventilation?

As a consequence of having a rear gate that locks from the outside, I've always had to keep the door open a crack to avoid being locked in. That's provided sufficient ventilation thus far, though I also just had the sunroof installed in the back of the truck, both to provide some ambient lighting and have a more appropriate ventilation solution. Ventilation wasn't really a problem before, but the closer the source of ventilation is to where you're actually breathing, the better.

Why do you blur people's faces out in photos?

The first time was because I was (and still am) completely unaware of what the legal climate surrounding truck parties looks like, and I guess I'd also like to protect the privacy of my friends and family if at all possible. Plus, it lets me dust off my (extremely limited) Photoshop skills once in a while.

How's El Nino working out?

Initially, pretty poorly. Between the leak, and the impressively loud symphony of rain drops on a thin metal roof, the fairly frequent rain was less than friendly. But between patching up the hole and judiciously applying marine sealant to any location that looked like it might betray me at the first sign of water, the truck is in much better shape these days. I can relax and enjoy the occasional drizzle outside my office window without worrying I'm going to come home to a truck-cuzzi.

The first result for the search "truck jacuzzi", courtesy of Jalopnik

If I wanted to live in a truck, would you guide me through it, like buying the truck, insurance, and all that legal stuff?

I'd like to think I've covered most of that stuff on here, but definitely shoot me a question or email if you come up with anything I missed. I'm always happy to help people convert to the dark side get setup with a simpler, more efficient lifestyle.

Do you have a plan for when you contract a debilitating case of viral gastroenteritis?

I kinda do. My primary plan is to rely on my good health, nutrition, exercise, and sleep schedule to prevent debilitating cases of viral gastroenteritis in the first place. But if I were to find myself involuntarily returning the contents of my stomach with regular frequency, I'd probably take off work and grab a hotel room for a few days to sleep it off. Luckily, I get sick pretty infrequently and haven't had to resort to the suite life just yet. Fingers crossed.

Source: My new sunroof (flanked by my new insulation)…in all its weird, truckly glory.

Truthfully, I've been doing a pretty awful job at keeping you guys updated with what I'm actually doing, truckwise. The last time I even showed off the interior in all its shanty glory was almost a year ago. In the intervening interval since my last Home Improvement update, I've completed a few fairly large truck projects. By "large", I don't mean anything that requires any real technical competence, but certainly larger than fixing the hole or doing arts and crafts.

Insulation

Hold up, didn't you spend a whole post talking about how you didn't need to insulate the truck? What gives?

Okay okay, you caught me. I know I said it didn't make sense to insulate the truck, because it wouldn't be effective and I can just bundle up when I need to, but curiosity got the better of me after the idea was planted in my head. You might remember that I fixed the hole in the truck after receiving wonderfully detailed instructions by a pseudonymous Nancy (still from PK Safety). Well, as it turns out, Nancy also had some well-formulated ideas on how I could insulate the truck. After a modest amount of research, I decided, "What the hell, let's give it a go," and on nothing more than a whim, I started tearing apart the walls.

The wood slats I pulled off the walls, and some of the screws I had to coerce out to get the slats off.

The next step was to line the walls with insulation — Nancy suggested 3/4" rigid EPS foam sheathing. From there, the process is measure, cut, foam seal around the edges, and tape into place. Given that I had to cut about seven 2' x 7' rectangles for each of the two sides, it should have taken a few hours if I was even remotely competent with this type of stuff. But no, instead of a casual few hours of finagling the new fixtures into place, installing insulation became a four month, on-again-off-again affair that kept my truck looking like a war zone for the duration.

How could this have possibly taken you four months?

Naturally, it wasn't four months of constant work, I was only working on it on weekends for the most part, and even then, some weekends I couldn't convince myself I wanted to work on it for more than half an hour or so. The biggest deterrent/problem I encountered was a lack of space. While I have way more than enough (arguably too much) space for simply living and existing, that ceases to be true when I'm trying to cut 4' by 8' sheets of insulation and move around my bed and dresser to access different parts of the wall. So I had to work in sections, e.g. move everything to the back right corner to work on the front left. It basically felt like a giant game of this:

I spent several months playing a life-size version of Unblock Me.

How much space an individual panel takes up when I lay it down to cut it. You'll notice there isn't a ton of room left to maneuver.

Another hysterical complication (which the borderline-prophetic Nancy had warned me about), is that every time you cut into these foam panels with a switchblade, you leave a trail of little styrofoam beads in its wake. So with each and every slice, all ~46 of them, the truck would essentially become a giant snow globe, and even the gentlest of breezes would spin a snowstorm into existence. Not wanting to litter the outside world with these onslaughts of artificial dandruff, I put a plank of wood across the entrance and swept the tiny nuisances away into a trash bag after every few cuts.

What it felt like being in the truck for those four months. I was basically Homeless Snow White™*.

The Final Result

When all was said and done, it didn't look all that bad. I mean sure, it looks like I live in a hobo's spaceship with the shiny tinfoil coating, but at this point we're all painfully aware of how little I care about aesthetics.

I'm intentionally only showing you the right wall, because I did the left wall first and it looks significantly more shoddy. Also, notice the far more appropriate/less disastrous usage of "Great Stuff" expanding foam this time around.

I haven't actually noticed if the truck retains heat any better (or worse) since adding the insulation, it hasn't been cold (or hot) enough to tell. In any case, it was certainly a learning experience, and a great exercise in what I can do with the truck if I'm feeling particularly bored inspired.

Skylight!

Yeah yeah, I know it's technically called a "sunroof", but this is my home and I'll call it whatever I gosh-darn/damn-well please. Anyway, way back when I first got the truck, I mentioned the possibility of getting a skylight. Cutting gaping holes in the truck is well-outside my truck-modification comfort zone though, so I opted to bring in the professionals over at Happy Vans, who did the wonderful job pictured at the top. I've noticed far better air circulation/ventilation over the past few weeks, and it's nice waking up to a truck-full of sunshine on the weekends. The eventual goal is to cut a door between the cab and the back, so that I can actually lock the rear gate at night instead of keeping it cracked open and "locked" with vice grips. Happy Vans will probably be the ones doing that particular project as well.

The only modification I made was attaching some metal screen door mesh with a few neodymium magnets, to keep pests out.

Bike Rack (Redux)

This post is already long enough, and I've already spoken on what goes into building a truck-bike-rack, so here's a not-so-pretty picture of the reassembled bike rack:

Also pictured: the power drill that I bought after getting tired of driving screws into sheet metal and various other obstinate materials with a screwdriver.

*Or Elsa, if you're more about that Frozen life.

Source: An illustration from The Finance Buff on how a Mega Backdoor Roth IRA works.

This post is less about the "trucks" and more about the "tax-advantaged accounts", which hopefully won't offend too many sensibilities. I just figured it's been a while since I last forayed in my financials, and the several ensuing months have seen some modifications to the plan. The biggest of these modifications is that I added a new tool to my early retirement arsenal: the Mega Backdoor Roth.

The Mega Backdoor what?

The Mega Backdoor Roth. I'm no CPA or CFP, or any other fancy three-letter money-managing acronym for that matter, so check here or the other two links above for a more thorough, accurate explanation. The gist of it is that the IRS overall limit on contributions to retirement accounts is $53,000, meaning you can contribute to more than just a 401k. I've mentioned in the past that I'm putting the maximum $18,000 into my 401k, and I'm being matched an additional $9,000 by my employer. That leaves $53,000 - ($18,000 + $9,000) = $26,000 to contribute to other tax-advantaged accounts. Income limits stop me from contributing directly to a Roth IRA, and even if I could, the max contribution via that regulatory avenue is $5,500. Thus, the process for getting that $26,000 into a Roth IRA is as follows:

  1. You add a paycheck deduction to contribute after-tax money to a 401k.* This doesn't actually sound all the useful, and on its own it really isn't. You're being taxed on the money before you put it in, and since it's a 401k, you'll be taxed on it when you take it out, so it functions like a non-tax-advantaged contribution at this point. The real magic happens in the next step.
  2. Every time a paycheck contribution comes in, you roll the after-tax portion over into an out-of-plan Roth IRA.** At this point, you pay taxes on the capital gains you've earned on the contribution, which should be on the order of zero dollars and zero cents since it's only been sitting in there a day or two and the stock market isn't some magical money-printing machine, at least for a plebeian like me.
  3. Wait for the rollover to go through and clear, then invest it in whatever funds tickle your fancy.

The benefit of doing this is that, because it's a Roth IRA, you don't pay taxes when you take it out. The caveat is that, because this is a Roth IRA, you can't take the money out until you're 59.5 years old, barring a few exceptions like for buying a first home. You can however take out the principal whenever you want, if you find yourself in a pinch. This isn't something I was utilizing last year, partly because my paycheck would have been negative and partly because I had no idea how any of this worked. Luckily, I was clued in by a friend (thanks Mike!), and I've since received a bunch of comments/e-mails with similar tidbits of information. Unfortunately, the backdoor Roth isn't available in everyone's plan (your plan needs to support after-tax 401k contributions, among other things), and Vanguard didn't even support it except over the phone until last year.

Deductions Redux

Grab a glass of water, because this post is about to get even drier, as we dive into the wonderful and exciting world of paycheck deductions. I've made a few tweaks since last time, because now my contributions are spread out over the full year instead of the six months I worked last year. Doing some hardcore basic algebra:

  • 401k - In my infinite wisdom, I forgot to update my 401k contribution from the $1,200/paycheck I was doing last year, and continued to not realize it for a few pay cycles, so my contribution per paycheck is now ($18,000 - $1,200 * 2)/24 = $650/paycheck.
  • HSA - My employer still puts $800 into my HSA each year and an additional $200 when I get my physical, so my contribution there is ($3,350 - ($800 + $200))/26 = $90.38/paycheck.
  • Roth IRA - I didn't pull my act together and figure out the backdoor Roth stuff until after my first few paychecks of the year, so I'm currently contributing $26,000/24 = $1,083/paycheck.

After all is said and done, my take-home pay is ~$2,000 a month. In the Bay Area, that would hardly cover rent and basic livings expenses…if I had them. It's a nice reminder that my lifestyle really is accelerating my ability to build the future I want, at no (or maybe even a negative) cost to my happiness. I truly am fortunate to be in the position I am.

Balancing the Books

Okay, so we've crunched the numbers and know how much money is going into these accounts, but what happens once it gets there? Well it's at the mercy of the stock market, of course. I'm no day-trader, so the daily/seemingly arbitrary fluctuations in stocks and funds don't have any real impact on me. I'm it it for the long haul, and I'd like to think that the intrinsic value of the companies represented by the funds I invest in will increase over the course of the next ten years. So for now, the change in my investments doesn't mean much to me. That said, I've been doing this eight months or so at this point, which has been enough time to see some small gains. My brokerage account, which I was putting more into before I started utilizing the backdoor Roth, currently has unrealized gains (because I haven't cashed out yet) of ~$350. The Roth IRA, which I've only been contributing to this year, has unrealized gains of ~$200. According to Health Equity, my HSA investments have appreciated 4.2%, which is ~$200 of growth. In the same period of time, my student loans (which are paid ahead until 2019 and I've been more or less ignoring), have only accrued about ~$226 in interest, so the investments are indeed worth paying off the loans ever so slightly more slowly.

Aside from having to roll over the after-tax 401k money into the Roth IRA, my finances are pretty much on auto-pilot. All of the aforementioned accounts are set to reinvest the dividends as they come in, so those earnings will keep compounding as I put in more money and time goes on. This is nice because it means that I don't even have to think about investing or worry about too much money accumulating in my checking account and fighting in a losing battle with inflation (not that that's actually something to "worry" about anyway).

Talking to an actual CFP

One lovely feature of my employer's plan is that we can schedule appointments with a Vanguard Certified Financial Planner. This is great because my background in finance consists entirely of a handful of Google searches and I occasionally worry I have no idea what I'm doing. I'd consider this to be a problem because I'm throwing 90% of my money (and thus time) into what might as well be a black hole of legislation and taxation, with the expectation that my sacrificial offerings will magically generate financial independence ten years from now. So on Friday (aka yesterday) at 7:45 am, I spoke with a pleasant chap named Bob, who pored over my finances and listened to my early retirement goals. After some thoughtful consideration, he gave me a few pointers.

The gist of the conversation was that my current strategy (maxing out the 401k, HSA, and Roth IRA) is good, though as my total investment grows, he'd like to see more investments in small/medium cap businesses and some international funds. Once my stock grant vests (and subsequently sells) sometime next month, I'll be grabbing some combination of VTIAX, VTI, and VO. Bob also suggested converting some (10-20%) of my investments to California Intermediate-Term Tax-Exempt Fund Admiral Shares as I near my early retirement date, which seems pretty reasonable to me. After a discussion about my travel plans, he voiced some concern about my ability to get/pay for health insurance while travelling internationally, though after a bit of research it appears I can actually use my HSA to fund that, which is a nice touch. Having some reassurance from a Professional Adult™ that my future plans are feasible and not totally insane definitely upped my confidence regarding this whole ill-defined "growing up" thing.

*On Vanguard's website, you can change your deductions by going to Employer plans > Manage my money > Change my paycheck deduction.

**On Vanguard's website, you can do this by going to Employer plans > Manage my money > Manage my loans and withdrawals > Withdrawal

Source: I really enjoy this stock photo of some dude trying to contain his joy at being totally surrounded by boxes (from WM. F. Horne and Company)

Yeah yeah, I know, the first day of Spring was one two three four days ago, these posts don't write themselves (though with enough imagination, time, and Markov chains, they kinda could).

This probably isn't apparent for those of you in New England at the moment, but today is the first day of Spring. Well…it is in the United States at least, I don't actually know how other countries/hemispheres do seasons. Climatic differences aside, I found myself doing a bit of spring cleaning earlier today, before I even realized that the Vernal equinox was upon us.

But Brandon, what could you possibly have to clean or get rid of? You own like three things.

When I first started out, this was definitely true. The truck had fairly humble beginnings, it was legitimately just a bed, a dresser, and a coat rack dumped into the back of a moving van. But between Home Improvement projects and a few new hobbies, I've actually accumulated a non-negligible amount of stuff. Looking around the truck, I'm currently the owner of about 5% of the products Home Depot sells, plus motorcycling gear to go along with my non-existent motorcycle, bicycling gear to go along with my actually-existent bicycle, about 72 ft2 of insulation left over from a home improvement project I've been working on for 5 months, like 96 ft of lumber that I need to get rid of, and a whole assortment of other random doodads.

To my eyes, refreshed by a relaxing week of visiting friends in Tampa, all of this looked pretty ridiculous. I mean, it's always looked a little ridiculous, but it was looking particularly ridiculous today. Wasn't one of the goals of this whole thing to reduce the amount of random stuff I had? Didn't I value the simplicity of not being inundated with random objects? Shouldn't living in such a small place have forced me to think more carefully about what things I owned? I tried to think back to when I bought each of the things I was now staring at, strewn across the truck floor and haphazardly tossed into heaps and bins.

The majority of the stuff could be traced back to some work I'd been doing on the truck: a drill here, a few rolls of paper towels there, some duck duct tape off to the side, an unopened box or two of sound-dampening foam. Going back to the slowly boiling frog analogy I'm apparently pretty fond of, the slow creep of stuff into my life hadn't really set off any alarms, and I didn't notice until I'd already filled my living space up with it. Just to be clear, we aren't talking about Hoarders-level clutter here, but definitely more than I was comfortable with. So I took a hard look at it all, and there were two major areas of improvement I came up with.

Organization

In this post, I talked about how simply "defragmenting" could do wonders for the amount of available space you had. Too bad I wasn't drinking my own Kool Aid, because a lot of my clutter problems could/can be remedied with a little bit of organization. Between hanging up my motorcycle and bicycle helmets, organizing my tool drawer, and cutting the (now dismantled) wooden railings down to a more reasonable size, there are a lot of small gains I can make here. Even just making things more or less accessible based on how often I use them could be a great exercise in streamlining my life. Really all I need is an uneventful Sunday morning, some nice weather, and a good playlist.

Needs versus "Needs"

Streamlining my life is a great first step, but if my goal truly is simplicity, I won't find it just by shoving extra things into the cracks and crevices of my life. I need to actually get down to the bare essentials. But the more I think about it, the more I realize that figuring out what I genuinely need is kinda hard. Like my tools for example, I definitely wouldn't have been able to rebuild my bike rack without a screwdriver or drill, but does that mean that I need them? Far more often than not, they're just taking up precious space in the back of my truck (and the back of my mind). So it looks like the tools will have to stay in this nebulous gray area of necessity for now. What I really need is a tool library, but it looks like the nearest one is nearly two hours away, in Berkeley.

Fortunately, I did find at least one area of my life ripe for simplifying: my wardrobe. Tell me if this sounds even remotely familiar: somewhere in your house/apartment/truck there is a swath of clothes that don't fit you right, or have fallen out of style, or were gifted to you, or you just don't like all that much for one reason or another, and they've taken up the executive role of "Dust Collector". Unpacking my bag from my Tampa trip, I noticed I wear more or less the same set of ~fifteen (collared/gym/t-) shirts and three pairs of pants every week, making this probably the lowest-hanging fruit in my latest crusade.

So, with no plans on my plate on a drizzly Sunday afternoon, I dug through the depths of my drawers, cleansed my coat rack, and took a quick trip down to Goodwill. In typical fashion, I completely forgot to get a donation receipt, meaning I won't be reminded of my spring cleaning when doing this years tax returns in eleven or so months. Regardless, I still get to benefit from a slightly lighter life.

The Takeaway

More and more often, I've noticed that my posts end with some sort of faux-philosophical epiphany, where I wander upon some not quite revelatory insight about my own life and dress it up as meaningful exposition. I don't think that's happening this time around, for better or for worse. I don't have any sweeping proclamations about simplicity, necessity, and happiness, or how any of the three relate to each other.

Just kidding, I totally do.

In the end, balancing simplicity and necessity is a personal preference. Someone who has fewer needs can, almost by definition, live a simpler life. Whether that equates to happiness, well that's another personal preference and question all together. For me though? I'm a simple man, with simple pleasures. I don't enjoy being busy. I enjoy creating fulfilling work to do, but having too many things going on in my life only dilutes how much of myself I'm able to put into each one. So unless some divine inspiration strikes and tells me otherwise, I'll build my memories without accessories and find felicity in simplicity.

Way back in July of last year, someone gave me the idea to track how much money I was saving by not having to pay rent in the area. I crunched the numbers (in reality, like two numbers) and wrote the code, and the savings clock was born. When I flipped the switch, it showed a fairly disheartening negative $6,000 because I was still half in the hole from purchasing my Ford-fabricated flat. But in the intervening seven or eight months, I've had the pleasure of watching that number dwindle its way to zero (where I hit my break-even point), and as of this writing, work its way up to five digits in our (just as arbitrary as my formula) base 10 number system.

So Brandon, you've successfully saved $10,000, plus another $10,000 or so if you sold the truck. Has it been worth it?

This is a paraphrased version of a question I received recently, and it definitely made me think a bit. First off though, I'm not sure I agree with the phraseology, because this is basically the equivalent of saying: Would you live in a truck for nine months for $20,000? and I don't think that's the right approach. The short answer to both of those questions is unequivocally "Yes.", but I don't think that's really doing it justice. Phrasing it like that makes it sound like a dare, like it's something I'm enduring just for the money. It's not about being worth it or not, it's about finding a lifestyle that fits my needs. It's about figuring out where my priorities lie and what my goals are, and then picking a life that makes them achievable. I've said before that being in the right mindset really is everything. And that applies more generally than just software engineers living in trucks too; going into any situation with an open mind and some goals will do wonders for your perception and overall happiness. I've written pages of posts expounding all the good things the truck lifestyle has done for me, but to put it into perspective, let's take a stroll through the hypothetical life of a much more vanilla Brandon, who chickened out of his crazy truck-centric life plans. We'll call him Normal Brandon™, or NB for short

What would Normal Brandon's life look like?

When NB first moves out to California, he spends two weeks living in his corporate housing, filling up his days with an endless search for long-term housing. After trawling around Craigslist, Zillow, and the "New Engineers" group his company set up, he eventually finds a roommate or two who are interested in living in South Bay, and together they find a place to inhabit. They all agree on the cheapest option they can find, which happens to be a second-floor apartment just outside of Mountain View. For ~$1,500 per person each and every month (plus utilities), they each get roughly 80 ft2 of bedroom space. They also each get a complimentary half-hour commute in the consistently bumper-to-bumper traffic along the 101. In the event there is any amount of water falling from the sky, make that an hour-long commute. Not ideal, but certainly not the worst thing that's ever happened.

NB starts work and quickly settles into a routine. Since the corporate buses don't start running until around 7 am, he ditches the early morning exercise routine he adopted in college, and instead exercises after work, around 5 pm. As it turns out, this is peak gym time, and half of his workout consists of aggressive thumb-twiddling while waiting for a squat rack. To pass the time, NB silently judges everyone around him, criticizing form, or outfits, or any number of other silly things because NB is jaded and cranky over wasting so much time. He starts going to the gym less frequently to save himself the frustration. Back at his apartment, his roommates are thinking of getting some furniture to make the place less spartan-looking. NB agrees and chips in, and the trio pick up some Ikea couches and end tables, and a 46" flat screen TV.

NB spends most of his waking time during the week working. Normally he'll either go out Friday or Saturday, and then spend the other nights hanging out and watching a movie or two and playing some video games. Oh, and he sleeps in until like noon.

This goes on for a decade or so until NB's biological clock kicks in and he finds himself in a serious relationship, at which point he gets married, buys a house in the suburbs, produces 1.9 children, and spends the next 30 years working to pay off his mortgage and finance trips to Disney Land.


You're probably thinking, "You know, NB's life doesn't actually sound all that bad." And I'd have to agree, it sounds like he has everything in order and is living some variation of the American Dream. He certainly doesn't sound unhappy.

He does sound boring though.

And that's what I'm most worried about. He sounds comfortable, he sounds complacent, and he sounds decidedly average. I'm worried he's going to wake up one day and realize he's 65 years old, wondering where the time went, all while he watched his perfectly unextraordinary life pass him by. I'm worried that he'll forget all of his goals and dreams and aspirations and he'll be content simply existing, a passionless lump of aging and dying cells smiling soullessly and nodding along to the tune of yet another water cooler conversation. And then he'll retire, ready to experience his new-found freedom just as his body begins to fail him.I apologize for the grimness, I swear it'll lighten up now

So yes, I've saved $10,000+, but I've also reshaped the path I'm travelling on. Granted, this whole discussion suffers from the straw man fallacy, it's not like I can grab myself from an alternate timeline and see how he turned out. Nonetheless, the relative comfort and ease of the life I didn't choose leave a lot to be desired. For one, I wouldn't be as painfully aware of my work/life balance. I enjoy what I do for work, and it's easy to get lost in it. If I didn't have to think long and hard about how to live so close to work without it becoming my life, it's likely I'd end up like the slowly boiling frog: working ever-longer days just because I didn't know what else to do, until eventually that's all I do or know or am. Without the threat of not showering and becoming a total bum looming over my shoulder, I wouldn't have nearly as much motivation to stay active and exercise, and I wouldn't be as consistent with it. And god forbid I had electricity and a living room, I'd end up buying a whole host of things that do nothing to make me a happier, healthier person.

But if it really came down to it, I could handle working longer, I could handle being less healthy, and I could handle owning things I don't need. What I would have trouble handling is the idea that I could lose my passion for life so easily. Getting into a routine is a double-edged sword. On one hand, everything goes much smoother when you've figured out a schedule that flows from one thing to the next. On the other hand, it's too easy to fall back to a routine just because it's what you're the most comfortable with, even if it isn't the best for you, or even what you want. And while I have all these websites and apps I want to build and posts I want to write and books I want to read and languages I want to learn and places I want to go, I could see all of those things just casually fading into the background noise of my perfectly acceptable normal life. The truck is a ridiculous, obnoxious reminder that I'm not ready to give up on any of that. And that is what makes it "worth it".