Money Money Money

August 11th-19th 2016

A couple of posts ago, I mentioned that tax money is due back soon from Australia. With it, the realisation that now is a better time than most to start really committing to the tiny house build. A few things happened as a result: 1) Using the plans I have, it was possible to start pricing it out; 2) the magnitude of what was about to be done became clear; 3) second-guessing my ability to build a house with no help or supervision; 4) realising that starting on this now would forgo the other unique opportunity to head further south for any sort of extended period to spend time with my younger sister and get to know her kids.

1) It is easy to let the costs get away if you’re not careful; 2) and 3) perhaps I should learn a little more first; 4) maybe this is the time to get down there. In short, I started looking for excuses to put the build off for now, but still work towards it. The emerging plan is to head south with the intention of finding some work as a builder’s labourer. A bit more hands-on building work and the know-how of people who build properly instead of just rigging stuff ad hoc, as I do now. If I’m still lacking by the end of the year, it might even pay to enrol in a zero fees’ course in construction run by the Southern Institute of Technology.

But that’s a year… in a fairly grim, cold part of the country. It would mean moving in to an actual house and likely using a fair chunk of the money I had earmarked for building, so I’m not overjoyed about that possibility. In essence, it would mean putting my plans on hold.

So there is a missing part here. How would I best be able to invest and grow money while creating the best chance to improve skills for the house build and a sustainable life? The last thing I need is to sink into student debt once more (‘zero fees’ still isn’t free- materials for a building course are significant- nor are living costs) and time available to work will be limited by study.

The ol’ noggin is in creative overdrive at the moment, as it gets free reign to play with ideas. If you had a reasonable chunk of cash but no real savings stream, how would you proceed? That is deliberately vague, as a ‘reasonable chunk’ for me is undoubtedly a pittance to any real money maker. Still… ideas are wonderful things because they spur on the development of more ideas. Feel free to comment or email your thoughts.

BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE

Even over the course of writing this blog, plans have been made, unmade, edited and reviewed. They’ve been re-formed in a number of permutations, wending through the winding pathways of a muddled mind. Partly because I postponed posting it, mind you. It didn’t feel right finishing at the paragraph previous to this one. Something felt amiss. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m putting a lot of stock in those gut feelings this year. It’s been a gradual release of an illusion of control, which has not been easy to undergo. It’s exhausting!

Between that paragraph and now, a few things have happened: 1) a portable housing block up for sale around the corner came to my attention; 2) bought a cheap four-wheel drive truck; 3) a major sponsor called to short-list my idea for The Longest Walk in their sponsorship program; 4) I received the first draft of the first illustration for my first book.

How did these things affect plans? Well, they rocked the boat. That’s for sure. The housing block was listed on TradeMe.co.nz. So, while I also checked out the block itself in person (it was alright, but not the one for me), it led me to check out other portable building options. The concept of taking an existing structure, making it mobile (or taking a mobile structure) and modifying its interior came to the forefront of my mind. This seemed less likely to be disastrous if it was less than perfect. Furthermore, prices and types of cabins available, make it likely that one could get a custom trailer-based foundation made, put a portable office/sleep-out on it, make modifications to include ablutions and/or kitchen facilities and still come in pretty reasonably-priced with a portable house… that my 4×4 could tow. All of a sudden, a year-long construction course seemed excessive. Although it would still provide extra skills to bring into a community.

The call from the sponsor and seeing the illustration though, were reminders of the passion I feel for The Longest Walk and made me wonder how that might look from a different start point… with a potential income from the book. What if everything comes together just in time? What if I really CAN manage to do it all at the same time? Granted, the tiny house ends up on the back-burner for a while, but so too does my exploration get to continue.

In fact they all flagged the fact that I am myself at the mercy of far too many external influences. I’m allowing that. They reminded me that freedom is about choosing one’s own path regardless of other factors. Recent events helped turn to logic as well as consult my intuitive compass.

Logic says I really can’t know where The Longest Walk might head, despite reasonable predictions. Logic says if it doesn’t happen before something anchors me down (as with heading south to spend quality time with my sibling and her spawn), it may not happen at all. Logic says that the tiny house is more a matter of practicality than a driving passion, while The Longest Walk is coming from deep inside. Logic says one extreme, while eco-focussed and sustainably grounded, is quite ego-centric. The other extreme is bigger than me and focusses on a greater good. But logic also says (as does the very wise Mr Michael Stone Esq.) that going with the flow can only take us so far. We eventually have to commit to a course and follow it.

All-in-all, while there are still a couple of months and plenty of room for movement, a plan seems to be forming me rather than the other way around.

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