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Nov 1 11 11:29 AM

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As always George Buehler, the well-known NW boat designer, is ahead of the curve and still a sort of iconoclastic working class hero. ( Disclaimer: I built one of his sailboat designs in the 90s.)  I know Jay and others have issues with his "backyard boat-builder" designs, which though utilitarian and somewhat slow, can be quite sea-worthy and effective as "motor-sailors" with a proper little diesel, and can even  sail OK with a large enough rig.  In any case it seems he is dead on with his latest suggestions for wanderers on a budget.  I know a few folks out there doing it..

I call it "Land Yachting" because it is JUST like cruising in boats used to be until maybe the early 1970s. Until then, people in boats could cruise pretty much anywhere they wanted, and few of them were rich. There weren't to many doing it, and those who were, found they were welcome anywhere. Guest docks were common, and inexpensive. You could anchor practically anywhere you pleased. And everybody was friendly.

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#1 [url]

Nov 1 11 12:08 PM

The following information alone was worth the read.  Why didn't I think of this!?
"Anyhow, be it guns or jewelry for that matter, when traveling to an area you don't want to have it aboard, the cheapest and safest way to store it is in a local pawn shop! We learned about this from a friend who owns one. A pawn shop holds your item for 90 days for a high interest fee. If you don't reclaim the thing then, they own it and will sell it. Or, if you won't be back in 90 days you can call them and give them a credit card number to charge the interest you owe, and start the period over. While the average pawnshop client is a person who needs quick cash, you can pawn a valuable item for a minimum. My Smith pistol was worth maybe $300, pawnable for probably $100, but I pawned it for $20. The "vig" (interest) on $20 was $8.25 for the three month period. For that, the gun is kept in a fully insured, dry, safe, heated storage area. My friend has a client who pawns his Harley every winter for 50 bucks. The monthly interest is less than any storage place!"

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#2 [url]

Nov 1 11 4:53 PM

 "Anyhow, be it guns or jewelry for that matter, when traveling to an area you don't want to have it aboard, the cheapest and safest way to store it is in a local pawn shop! 


Cute story, however I would make very sure all bases are covered before trying this...

1. Be very clear what the actual terms are where you are. Typically on the BI the pawn period is 30 days, and the interest MUST be paid by day 30 in order to get an extension. If you are a day late, sorry, you don't own the pledge any more. Ditto day 60 if you extend. And past day 90 you typically forfeit unclaimed goods. THAT's why pawnshops suggest this. It's a cheap bet for them with a big upside. Hey, sure, I'll keep your $500 gun safe and dry here for 90 days for only $8.25, because if you miss a lick anywhere along the line, it's mine!

Ever notice that many pawnshop owners wear a lot of expensive jewelry? Guess why.

2. Think through what your exit strategy will be if something goes amiss... your trip is delayed, say, or you fall ill and can't travel, something unexpected. Stuff happens, what then? You might have to get a document to a trusted friend granting them the right to pick up the pledged item on your behalf, and then have them actually accomplish that before the deadline, even if you've already paid the due moneys with your credit card. (voice of experience talking) 

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#3 [url]

Nov 1 11 7:09 PM

True enough.  I have a friend who lost a very nice 70s Les Paul by missing his deadline one day.  On the other hand, I understand some pawn shops will take a credit card number for scheduled interest payments.  And yes - have a back up plan in case you are delayed, and keep your paper work.  In any case, never pawn an item you truly could never part with.  (Like a 70s Les Paul!)  Rifles, pistols, and shotguns are easily replaceable and not transportable through most countries, so seem to be low risk for the pawn shop storage solution.  

The point I really was trying to make here (somewhat obliquely) by mentioning the Buehler site, is that for many people traveling this way might be an option.  Most folks can't afford and don't want the discomfort and learning curve of traveling in a private yacht - be it a modest "classic plastic" 28 footer or something more expensive and elaborate.  As a besotted sailor myself I simply cannot recommend it for the masses except as a passing activity one should do at least once before dying. It's simply not a very practical way of exploring the world for 99.9999% of the population.   Those of us who sail simply sail and love it and make no apologies, very much like those poor mis-guided souls who ski or snow board.   

On the other hand staying in motels is even more expensive, and at the other end of the scale, not everyone wants to ride the rails or hitch-hike with only one change of clothes on their back.  The option of literally tens of thousands of used motorhomes, campers, and 5th wheels points the way to a more working-class method of exploring our world.  As usual, Buehler is on to something here, though his budget is still more than some can afford.  Many would be happy with far more decrepit camper rigs than his.  

Regardless of sustainability issues there will always be those with a wanderlust, and though community and local issues are of prime importance let's not forget the contributions of travelers, traders, and explorers.  Who wants a future without adventure?

"Towards more sustainable traveling strategies"  might be another relevant topic for this forum. 

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#4 [url]

Nov 3 11 7:16 PM

Towards more sustainable traveling strategies.  
I see no one biting on this, yet it is, if not the elephant in the room that say coal burning in China and India is, at least another huge contributor to Greenhouse gases.  Obviously automobiles, planes, trains, and boats.  
Yet it is more vitally important now than ever that at least some percentage of us travel, and the internet and TV just don't amount to the same thing when it comes to really getting an education about different cultures and societies, and some sort of perspective on the world we live in.
So what are your strategies?
Do you couch surf?  Travel on foot or by bicycle? Hump it on a camel or hoof it on a horse?
Which would use less energy and resources ultimately in inter-island travel - jets or ferries?  
Which ultimately harms the environment less - traveling by private yacht or camper?
Should gas-guzzling vehicles be heavily taxed such as in some European countries?

I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this!

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#5 [url]

Nov 3 11 7:52 PM

I suppose that I take issue with "it is more vitally important now than ever that at least some percentage of us travel" -- in that, while it does often seem that my piling into a mainland-bound plane -- like 3 times a year -- or piling into the car into town -- friggen' 5 times a week on average -- It does appear "vitally important". And yet, our transit -- particularly that which serves to edify and nurture our lives could, nay, should, happen in way smaller circles. My 100,000s of airline miles to gather Japanese yen, or countless other reasons we've all gone on this transport/energy orgy -- is obviously the mofo-elephant in the room; Well, certainly one of them. Anyway, I'd suppose that my child's transit, for example, could happen in considerably smaller geography -- and the educational and wellness factor could/would be not the least compromised. (I always trip out that Rembrandt, if I recall, never went beyond 30km of where he was born.) This is certainly not to say that my kid's transit will follow the obvious ideal of lower-technology transit, but it would seem that recognizing our arrogance in shaping our lives to fit the level of consumption that modern transport is -- would be a clear-as-any mirror with which to get our societal shit together more.

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#6 [url]

Nov 3 11 10:12 PM

is any in our group here actually DONE traveling? - i've definitely eliminated the day to day commuting, as i work from home and also within biking distance - i do the flight to hawaii in order to establish my future residence, i refuse to travel for weddings, bow out of about 80% of family/holiday travel, won't take jobs that require travel, and no longer travel anywhere for leisure - once permanently in Hawaii I'm not planning on leaving the island except to maybe go to O'ahu if necessary. I was offered a job in O'ahu recently that I could commute to from the Big Island. But no way. It's not so much that I'm concerned about resources or costs as it is I don't want to participate/be subscribed to such unnatural, complex, convoluted, unnecessary systems and behaviors. Sea ducks have it made. 

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#7 [url]

Nov 3 11 10:13 PM

Well, we are about 2,500 miles from most any mainland, give or take 500 miles or so.  Other than airplanes, there aren't that many viable options to get to other places.  Sailing to the mainland is all upwind and a nasty beat, I don't see that as something one would want to do, especially as it would take longer than most folks' vacations.  It would be nice if the passenger ships like the Lurline were back in service.  If it were "just" a three or four day trip instead of a three week trip to take a boat ride to the mainland more folks might do it.

On our last trip to the mainland, once we got there we used public transportation and took buses, light rail, ferries, ships and trains.  It was a lovely vacation.  

Other than vacation travel we have also curtailed day to day travel by a huge amount.  We've moved into a small town and now have an electric bicycle so the car gets very little use anymore.  I don't know if it is enough to offset our once every two years flights to the mainland, though.

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#8 [url]

Nov 4 11 9:15 AM

We all  know that when it comes to everyday transit bicycles, motorcycles, car pooling, and mass transit are all better alternatives than the one-person-one car option.  As several of us have pointed out that will more or less solve itself in many locations when gas gets up around $10 to $15 a gallon and the freeway commute becomes even more clotted.  I suspect our large cities will then have more the look of say Bombay in the 1960s, with many more bicycles, small motorcycles, pedicabs, and pedestrians than at present.  We might even see rickshaws on the freeways in our lifetimes!  And of course in most cases the transition  won't be pretty.  It will be the wealthy (with their cars and Humvees) versus the poor, and the less affluent will be the ones getting run down - literally.

The other thing that will probably occur will be the construction of more paid turnpikes and autobahn type freeways where the wealthy can drive their Mercedes at 100 mph while the underclasses trundle along as best they can on less direct routes.  Large corporations, for example, might build or buy a special throughway for their employees to drive to work on. 

I am still wondering whether anyone has ever figured out whether planes or ferries would be more carbon friendly for Hawaiian inter-island transport and commuting.  I suspect properly designed ferries would have less of an impact in the long run.

I'm very interested in the small percentage of people who actually travel because they must - are driven to it if you will, not the every day commuters that most of us are.  And frankly, I don't give a goddamn about anyone's opinion on whether they should or not, or if they are being irresponsible, insensitive to the environment, etc.   The human urge to travel and explore for some is much like the sex drive of teenagers - morality or ethics will have little say in the matter.  The fact is some will always be driven to travel, migrate, live like Gypsies or Nomads or whatever, and I firmly believe that it is in the interests of all intelligent young people to take to the road at some point, even if only just over the state line.  I am more sedentary myself, but I find such groups and individuals to be among the most fascinating folks I know, and have learned much from the wanderers I have encountered.  

Perhaps not the elephant, but at least an ox or bull in the room is a huge population of retirement minded folks with a bottled up urge to do some traveling.  I think economics will sort out how they do it, and Buehler is getting to the nuts and bolts of it.  It might be interesting to compute whether they use more or less fossil fuels by shutting down the family home and going on the road, and whether this life-style will have more or less impact than staying at home, and as this is a group that numbers in the millions, it is of question of some moment.

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#9 [url]

Nov 4 11 10:53 AM

I met a fellow who lived on cruise ships.  He scheduled cruises so he'd either stay on the same ship for several cruises or switch ships at port.  Occasionally, he would stay at a hotel or B & B between cruises while he waited for the next ship to come in, but basically, he lived on cruise ships.  His "rent" was probably running about $3K a month but that included housekeeping, really good food, entertainment and travel.  He didn't have a companion with him, though, and most of his interactions would be very superficial since everyone he met on board would be gone in a week.  Cruise ship crew don't interact with the passengers very much.

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#10 [url]

Nov 4 11 11:11 AM

You know, as one who's done a lot of walking/trekking years ago. . .(10000 miles? maybe.)-- and who would certainly suggest that if one's health is up to it it's pretty impossible to find a more satisfying form of travel-- one finds that the "hospitality" industry has largely been taken over by strict business interests with all that goes along with that. In more traditional and less commercial cultures a large portion of the "hospitality towards travelers" comes from individuals who open their homes, sometimes for a small fee, sometimes for the vicarious pleasure of meeting someone from "dammit, someplace else than here!" While that's alive here in Hawaii to some degree, it would be nice to see that sort of thing expanded. It's not too tough to knock of 20 miles in a day if lightly encumbered in good weather. Here in Hawaii a week and a half of walking would knock off a lot of country. . .

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#11 [url]

Nov 4 11 12:43 PM

Jay, you're comment speaks very well to what I perhaps hadn't conveyed very well. In other words, the obscene energy-entitlement that modern transportation industry is, has instilled this idea that we have a right to fly to wherever we think we must -- perhaps not unlike the industrially generated value that convinces us that we have a right to any level of technology we can purchase. If this isn't part of the crux of the form of capitalist industrial production that is backfiring big-time, I don't know what is. Again, I'm trying to say that "travel" should happen in much more local/appropriate technology ways -- if we're gonna address our culpability in this. 

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#12 [url]

Nov 4 11 1:30 PM

Totally. I'm consciously saying 'no' to a lot of travel and try to think creatively about what can be accomplished in the least distance. This includes making friends with neighbors and business owners that I use to drive right by in order to get to a job that afforded me 2 weeks out of the year to travel even further just to enjoy the sun somewhere nice. It's a solar economy. The sun has been handing out currency since it began. Storing it along the way. We rob it's bank daily as it's fresh currency mostly scatters in the wind. Largely to afford us the ability to travel to job centers that keep us indoors during daylight hours and hidden from the fresh currency that's given away daily, FREELY. My personal creative challenge is to minimize the steps/systems/processes it takes to access that daily free currency.

"The Solar Economy" - Herman Scheer

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