Archive for Mobile Lifestyle

Road Trip 2.0 Brings the Christmas Cheer

The rules of Road Trip 2.0, the third leg; balls of holly.

  1. When in the van, Santa hats must be worn.
  2. The only kind of music to be played in the van: Christmas music.
  3. Once a song starts, you can’t stop it or skip it.
  4. When the van is on, the Christmas lights must be on.
  5. Alexi gets the odd advent calendar days. Ben gets the evens.
  6. Whoever cracks first, loses.

Merry. Freakin. Christmas.

Popularity: 97% [?]

Staying up Late in a Van

Normally when I can’t sleep it’s no problem to stay up & surf around Wikipedia or the BBC. Now, it’s a blessing.

We’re currently taking advantage of the cheapest way to live in LA: park your camper on the side of the street. It seems that we’re not the only ones either, there’s tons of RVs & vans all over the place, more than anywhere else. There’s also a lot of $1M houses and I suspect a correlation. But I digress.

Living in a van is a truly unique experience. For one, when people walk through a parking lot back to their car, they probably don’t expect anyone to be having dinner near by. Little do they know of the society of folks who are cooking pasta just a thin sheet of aluminum away!

Similarly, an oft overlooked necessity of life is… how can I put it gently… relieving ones self? Not having a toilet on hand dictates that you either consume & locate yourself strategically or get creative with containers. Let me say that crawling out of the van, groggy and hungover, at 7:00am in an otherwise peaceful & orderly neighborhood, looking for a bathroom, makes you question your life choices.

So, what I’m saying here, is that there’s a lot more to consider than not having a lot of closet space. Living in a van requires that you develop new abilities to transcended comfort and societal norms, and it’s not for the faint of heart. But it will help you realize what you need and what you can live without.

Lately we’ve had to question the “luxuries” of trying to: get online, go to the bathroom, get a shower, exercise, eat well (or at least decently), and get a good’s night sleep. Hopefully you’re not taking all these things for granted.

;-)

Popularity: 39% [?]

Web 2.0/3.0/X.X??? This One’s for the Marketers

Expert online marketer Andy Beal was not only kind enough to sit down with me for an interview, but was also kind enough to mention Road Trip 2.0 on his much-acclaimed website, Marketing Pilgrim. For those of you who may have ended up here from the Marketing Pilgrim post, welcome!

Imagine this:

You’re driving around Boston on Lifecation. You’re looking for the best Irish pub in town, and have no idea where to start or who to ask. You prefer a bit of a dive bar with sports playing on multiple TVs and a late 20s/early 30s crowd. You are looking for a hotel in a specific price range, and would like for it to be near the bar…you don’t know how late of a night it’s going to be, since the Red Sox are in the World Series, after all.

As you drive into the city, your GPS/Cell/WiMAX Phone displays a comparative list of bars and hotels within 5 miles of each other. Each bar/hotel combination also displays the level of matching criteria based on your previously-input requirements. A dive bar with sports on multiple TVs, but with a college crowd, might display as matching 67%. It may be paired with a hotel two miles away that meets your price range, amenities, and availability at 90%.

A couple of blocks later, you happen upon a bar and hotel combination that are both 90%+ matching your criteria and within a mile of each other. You set it to book your room, park at the hotel, check in, and head straight to the pub just in time for the opening pitch.

Andy mentioned the fact that so many people are trying to define Web 3.0 as Web 2.0 becomes more settled into our marketing psyches.

In my opinion, Web 3.0 is in the works and it’s a combination of three key things that are happening:

  • Microformats
  • GPS/Geographic Location
  • Open Wireless Networks

What Are Microformats?

Read the rest of this entry »

Popularity: 39% [?]

Van Cooking 101

To stick with the food theme, we decided to show you guys what it’s like to cook in the van kitchen. I’m no Julia Childs but you should get the idea. Notice that we’re not only being constrained by space, but also our $100/wk. (umm.. attempted) budget.

Note: The content of this video may cause more sensitive viewers to lose their appetite.

Popularity: 27% [?]

How to Destroy Your Cell Phone…and Why You Should Do It

If you’re anything like me, you keep constant tabs on your cell phone. It’s your leash. Your connection to others who are so very important to you. Regardless of how often you actually answer it, etc, and like with checking your email, you’re obsessive compulsive about seeing if anyone called.

I’ve been looking at this trip to push a lot of my boundaries…something to use in order to force myself to redefine various realms, definitions, and characteristics of comfort.

On this trip, one of those ways is through my personal connectivity. I want to know what it’s like to free my mental time and space for things other than checking my cell phone or worrying about if I’m connected or not.

Now, I don’t have a choice. It’s not convenient for me or others, but I won’t know how truly valuable that convenience is until I remove it from the equation.

By destroying my cell phone, I’ve made myself virtually unreachable and unable to reach others when I may need to do so. I have backups, such as using Skype through my cellular internet card, but it’s far from convenient or luxurious.

By trashing my cell phone and getting a Skype phone, not only do I reduce my personal and business operating costs from over $80/month to $6 per month. This $6 gets me unlimited call time to any land line in the United States. I can call any other Skype user in the world for free. For an additional $3 per month, I can place unlimited calls to land lines in an additional 28 countries.

I can do all of this…so long as I’m within range of an accessible WiFi network.

From many perspectives, this makes sense.

From many other perspectives, it doesn’t.

And that’s what I’m about to find out.

Popularity: 48% [?]

Andy Beal Video Interview: Online Reputation Monitoring, His Upcoming Book, and Traveling with Geekery.

Before we left Raleigh/Durham, Andy was kind enough to join me for a video interview. He’s making great progress in the realm of online reputation monitoring and management, and is quite possibly the top expert in the field, earning him the ability to co-author the upcoming book, Radically Transparent: Monitoring and Managing Reputations Online.

He and I worked together for several years and he has since gone on his own and now runs MarketingPilgrim.com, an online marketing blog with over 7,000 subscribers. I could go on and on and on with his credentials of speaking engagements, consulting, and groundbreaking blogging efforts. But, what I love most about Andy is his unshakable integrity and great conversations.

To see some of the great things that he’s contributed to the marketing community, check out these links here:

Without further ado, the first in our video interview series:

Popularity: 45% [?]

Lifecation: An Intro Course

Trying to explain this road trip idea to people has forced me to do what a lot of people that struggle to justify their actions do: make up new words. My word is “lifecation,” add it to your spell check because it’s going to be hot.

So what is a lifecation? As you probably surmised it’s a combination of normal life and a vacation, although the formal definition hasn’t been officially penned yet. What I can tell you is that a lifecation is a lifestyle in which you aren’t tied to locations. You get to go where you want, when you want, to see the people and places that usually are too inconvenient for a sedentary lifestyle. It sounds all fancy-free, like a vacation, but you don’t get to escape your responsibilities as those would allow. You still have to take your calls, get your mail, and produce an income because lifecations are a full-time lifestyle and need to be sustainable.

You don’t need to live in a van or drive around the US, you just need to give up a set of assumed constraints on your lifestyle. What those are, and how you can successfully keep your life in order while lifecationing, will be explored as we continue our very own!

Popularity: 19% [?]

Washington DC, Day 2

Day two was spent getting some needed supplies and hanging out with Alexi’s family friends Paul and Barbara.  They were amazing hosts who took us out for a fantastic Greek dinner and amazing breakfast.  In addition, we got a great night’s sleep and a shower in real beds.

It’s an interesting head trip to throw yourself into a minimal working life, then spend time in the presence of someone who has already done very well for themselves who loves what they do and work very hard at it.  It certainly brings more of an experience-based input into the combination of ambitions being lived out on this trip.

One of the things that we’re trying to learn is how to best manage our time in order to keep up the blog timeline, create interesting blog posts, client work, and business operations.  It’s a lot to juggle, especially considering the logistics of travel, the resources provided by the destinations, the sights needing to be seen, etc.

For example, on the way from DC to Baltimore this morning, I recorded 45 minutes of video interviews to my hard drive which I had tried to fit in yesterday morning.  On the drive to Philadelphia tonight, I’ll likely edit those videos as much as possible, then upload them tonight.  From your perspective as the reader, you’re probably not interested in investing 30-45 minutes watching several videos, so we then have to spread out when we publish those videos.  These are the kinds of things we’re still learning how to best address and work through, and there are about a 5-10 of these kinds of decisions a day.

Hopefully, we’ll have a good framework of considerations for mobile lifestyles so that we can articulate them for your benefit.

Popularity: 20% [?]

On the Road in Washington DC

Well, we made it on the road!  It turned out that what we thought was a starter or alternator was actually a faulty ground wire.  It was a very easy $180 fix…which we really enjoyed paying.

We got into Washington DC last night and hung out with my good friend, Michael.  We were lucky enough to get a good interview with him about how to brew beer, which I’ll be posting in the next couple of days.

After enjoying the first road part of our road trip, some great homemade Belgians and conversation, we turned in for the night.

Today was spent going to all of the expected Washington DC sights, including the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, Capitol Building, White House, Korean War Memorial, Vietnam War Memorial, and World War II Memorial - which was just finished a couple of years ago.  We finished the sight-seeing with a touring of the Air and Space Museum at the Smithsonian which was definitely rad.  Michael took us to all of the sights in record time and a comfortable pace.

After stopping back by Michael’s, we decided to try staying the night in a Wal-Mart parking lot…something we had heard you can do, but never tried.  When we got here, we saw two other, larger campers and knew we were golden.  A free night of sleep is definitely going to fit well with our budget and look forward to many more nights in these parking lots.

We also discovered that the propane stove works like a charm by cooking up some pasta, chicken and tomato sauce.  It was just as good as anything I’d cook at home and cost less than $1.25 for each of us to eat.  Bonus.

Tomorrow morning, we’ve lined up a free wi-fi hot spot at a coffee shop to get some work done and upload pictures and video, so be on the lookout for those around lunch time.

Now, it’s time to pass out.

Popularity: 19% [?]

Look, it’s Magic!

I’m driving to Baltimore right now.

This post is coming to you through thee magic of the internet, cellular technology, laptops, power inverters, and unsafe driving practices.

Ben

Popularity: 14% [?]