On Tuesday I eagerly loaded all of my packed boxes into my van and I cast off into the unknown.  My first stop was Los Angeles where I spent most of my time in California.  I just used this as a good opportunity to see familiar friends and also say goodbye, at least for now.  They are who have made my life so great out here.  Outside of bonfires and waking up to the sound of rain on your metal roof at 5:30 (hoping for no leaks), its a time for integration into such a small space.  That means organizing and throwing everything out that I don’t need..

Essentialism and Van Dwelling

Long-term van travel forces you to get rid of the things you don’t really need, but were attached to before.  If you downsized from an apartment you already spent a lot of time downsizing and you kept what you thought you would absolutely need.  Maybe it was a bad idea to keep the full set of pots and pans…

I figure it would take about 3 good rounds of throwing things out and moving things around till I am settled and happy.  I threw out my old air mattress and opted for the Ikea foam mattress which ran about $90.  The simplest solution is probably the best one and if you are going to be living in a van, splurge on a comfortable mattress, its really ok.  Im now at a semi-comfortable space where I think I can function until I do the rest of the conversion in Florida.

Van Dwelling in Los Angeles.

If you have ever been to LA you know that there is never a shortage of homeless people.  So people sleeping in their vehicles is pretty common and you really won’t get too bothered if you don’t park your creeper van in neighborhoods like Beverly Hills…  I was planning on staying for a week but I get too antsy if I stay in one place for too long, when I have already seen everything before.  Now that goodbye’s were said its time for the first real leg of the trip…

 

Next Destination: Slab City

I have been out here a few times for their annual talent show, which actually starts in about 3 weeks.  Im not going to try and get there in one trip, but maybe stretch it out and see the sights more along the way.  Desert camping is something I came to appreciate out here, I just never saw the appeal of the desert until you experience it first hand.
My main mission in Slab City is to hunker down, away from the internet and the phone and just focus on my first curriculum block that I have setup.  This is a set of 3 courses that I have chosen as part of a self-learning curriculum.  I dropped out of college because I wanted to prove that I could teach myself engineering faster and easier than the college could.  Now Im actually getting to doing that.  This curriculum focuses on three areas: electrical engineering, social psychology and Machine Learning.
I made a Trello board for for the curriculum where each card is a class from Coursera or eDX.  Each course has notes which are stored  in Google Drive as well as a todo list where I can track my progress using Toggl.  Since I would not have internet access I would need to have the course videos and notes already downloaded to a portable hard drive.  Its a problem to have to download hundreds of videos and I hate this type of monotonous work.  I found a solution in Borg which allows you to login to various platforms such as Coursera, eDX, Udacity, Youtube and more, although the Udacity courses are not always complete.  Its a bit of a buggy program but I was about to get it to work and it saved me a whole day of clicking ‘download’.