A Money Coach in Canada

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The Eco and Green-living crowd up here is pretty amazing. Backyard chickens don’t cut it; my LEED-house neighbours have goats. Free-range meat? Pshaw. Folks fish and hunt. How’s *that* for free range.

And then there are my nearly-self-sufficient friends who live on a lake, grow their own vegetables and quinoa, compost their toilet (ewwww, but it works), chop down trees (don’t judge; it’s likely cleaner than your heat source) to heat their home (bear in mind our weather drops to -40C for days on end) and the latest? Bake their bread in this solar-energy contraption. The bread was fabulous, by the way.

I don’t really dare refer to myself as frugal in comparison.

THE SOLAR ENERGY OVEN
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THE GREEN HOUSE (they also have an extensive outdoor garden)
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WHAT SURELY MUST BE THE ONLY LOCALLY GROWN CANTALOUPE
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HAND CUT AND CHOPPED. WHO NEEDS THE GYM?
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EVERY CORNER OF THE HOUSE HAS A RAIN BARREL.
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NOT SURE IF THIS IS USED. OBVIOUSLY NOT DURING MIDNIGHT SUN SEASON.
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INDEED, IT IS!
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Hello my name is Taylor Moore and I am a filmmaker, photographer and game developer.
I am a Digital Nomad.
When I turned 50, I wanted everything to be different. I wanted to radically simplify my life, and get rid of all of the crap that I was dragging around. I wanted to travel, and pursue work that was global and to live the life of a lifestyle entrepreneur.

In the Beginning
So to start things off, I got my personal belongings down to 50 things(excluding my professional gear). It actually was much easier than I thought it would be. Doing this purge has been one of the most liberating things I have ever done. It is comforting to know where everything is, and not to worry about “stuff” anymore. It has made me very conscious of what I will bring into my life next. I don’t know if I will always conform to this lifestyle but it has been a great personal experiment and experience.

Office Away
The next thing was to be anywhere but in an office. In the last year I have worked out of coffee shops, book stores, libraries and beaches. This has been a tremendous boon to my creativity and approach to work and projects.

Bye Bye TV
One of the greatest events has been getting rid of the TV. Now I only watch what I really want, when I want. So many people live there augmented life through TV. With the relatively short time we have here, to spend it being spoon fed information is not my idea of living life.

Regrets, I have some

  • This is not an easy path at times, and I depend on Skype and email to retain my close friendships.
  • Having a romantic relationship in this type of lifestyle is very hard, but the new friendships forged makes it all worthwhile.
  • Loneliness is not something that visits me very often, but it can be lonely. Getting out and exploring my surrounding breaks it.

What can I not live without

  • Digital Camera with which I shoot stills, HD video and time lapse
  • Macbook Pro with which I edit my stills and video with.
  • iphone Keeps me connected to friends, family and twitter.
  • 2 TB backup Drive (Shit happen’s be ready for it)
  • Swimming trunks…ya never know when you will find a good place to swim!

Benefits

  • Having the freedom to pursue projects I believe in – such as being asked to film a Strawbale House-Raising for a family in Tennessee who lost everything in a Tornado.
  • Learning and speaking another language, which makes me think differently and grow.
  • Helping build a school in Mexico and what that does for the children, community and my karma.
  • Realizing that no matter where we are people want to help. And that gives me hope and faith in humanity.

Money tips I’ve learned

  • Always travel with two bank cards
  • Find out which local bank is closest to you (some places are pretty remote.  I once had to travel 20 miles to the nearest bank!)
  • Find out which day is payday for the local folks because the line-ups can be around the block on those days
  • Get used to military men with machine guns standing in front of the banks
  • Withdrawing cash internationally has fees attached.  Use a bank ATM though;  white-label machines have even higher fees
  • Paypal is your friend.  I typically get paid in the local currency via paypal which then converts to Canadian and is deposited in my Canadian bank account.

Taylor Moore is a filmmaker, photographer and game developer. In 2011 he has lived in Chacala Mexico, Guanajuato Mexico, Summerland BC, Tonasket, WA and Yellowknife, NWT. He can be reached at www.pixelbuz.com or on twitter @pixeltrek

Mentors:

Everett Bogue
The guy who made me look at all of the things I don’t need.
Ashley Ambirge
One of the greatest new writers, and my secret agent muse.
Seth Godin
One of the greatest marketing writers ever. Linchpin has been a personal best read for me.
Tim Ferris
Four Hour Work Week Author and Fitness Guru.
Karol Gajda
He’s the guy who got me started on this path…damn you Karol. Walks the talk.
Tyler Tervooren
He is the master of Riskology. No messing with his success.

Yeah, that sounds kinda nuts.

But here’s where I’m coming from.   In 2009 I saw the film Food Inc., and have never really been the same since.  I went without pork for a year, and bought only free-range meat when I could.  I even valiantly tried to learn to fish and fillet them. Thankfully, a group of Yellowknifers went together to buy organic beef, pork and chickens from a pretty cool farm in Alberta, so bacon’s on the table once again.

This is all very good, but I have been aware of how utterly disconnected I  remain from my food (which has possibly prevented psychosis).

This summer was different.  In the UK, animals and farms are extraordinarily visible.  Again and again I was within yards of sheep, cows, pigs, goats and chickens.  They were how I like to think of livestock:  ranging freely, in lovely green pastures and rolling hills. If only that were the norm in North America!   I was even able to pet some of the cows and sheep!  While I’m still confounded about taking their lives eventually, at least knowing they had reasonably natural and peaceful grazing lives eases my discomfort.

When is the last time you drove by your future food?

And as ridiculous as it seems, this was my first time that I can recall that I ever saw cows chewing their cud! (ignore the talking in the clip).

Any pet lovers amongst you, readers? This post will resonate! The author is the illustrious writer and editor Rebecca Leaman who also helps rescue dogs and teaches people really cool stuff (like how to create newspaper nails — who knew?) on her personal blog.

HOW MY DOGS GOT ME OFF THE CONSUMPTION TRAIN

It’s a bit ironic. These days, I shell out more on dog food, vet
bills, and peanut-butter-stuffed marrow bones than I do on clothing or
technology tools — yet it was my dogs who taught me how to get off
the Consumption Train, to make wiser and more conscious choices about
how I spend my money.

Once upon a time, I was a mindless shopper.

Every weekday lunch hour, I’d fill the after-sandwich time by browsing
the shops and scurry back to the office, almost late, with package in
hand. Usually clothes or accessories, seldom an item I really needed
but always a “bargain” I couldn’t pass up. Every Saturday afternoon,
if no better entertainment was on offer,  I’d crawl the malls — and
never go home empty-handed.  My closet was stuffed full with
unsuitable, seldom-used items that made me feel guilty just to look at
them.  My bank account was hurting. But I just couldn’t seem to stop
the mad spending spree.

Oh yes,  I was riding that ol’ Consumption Train with the best of them.

But then I adopted a dog… and another… and…

Now, I know what you’re thinking:   Dogs need to be played with, fed,
trained, groomed, and walked a couple times a day. Anyone with more
than one dog (it’s three right now, but who’s counting?) just doesn’t
have time to go shopping very often. Problem solved! True, but that’s
only a very small part of the turnaround story.  My dogs have taught
me, by example, how to live  lightly and  joyfully, without a whole
lot of “stuff.”

Here’s what I’ve learned:

BOREDOM  LEADS TO SHOES

When a dog is bored, he chews up our new shoes. When we’re bored, we
go buy some.

Nine times out of ten, when our dogs misbehaves it’s the direct result
of boredom, or stress, or  frustration — an excess of mental and/or
physical energy with no constructive outlet.  And just as a dog with
not enough to engage him will go wandering around and “get into
things,”  we too often find ourselves wandering in search of
something, anything, that holds out the promise of making our lives
more purposeful, meaningful, satisfying, and fulfilling.

Well, guess what? Those shoes won’t do it for a bored dog — not for
more than five minutes, anyway — and they won’t do it for us, either,
in the long run.

NOTHING IS NEW ENOUGH

Look at the lucky dog, with a box full of squeaky toys, stuffies, rope
toys and balls and anything else the pet industry can come up with to
soothe the conscience of a guilt-ridden too-busy dog owner. He greets
a new toy with bouncing glee, and we think “This is it, finally,
something he really really loves!” — but two days later, that toy
lies forgotten beneath the couch and the dog is bored again.

Turns out, dogs have a craving for novelty, just like we humans do.
Since we’re humans, with opposable thumbs and credit cards, we can go
out and buy new toys when that craving kicks in. Oh, the new thing
entertain us for a brief time, but in turn each wonderful new
acquisition will lose its charm when the novelty wears off.

And that way, my friend, lies an endless cycle of fruitless consumption.

“TO DO” BEATS “TO HAVE”

We could go buy a lovely quilt in the most gorgeous colours and
patterns imaginable,  but it would only ever be a Thing.  Go sit at
Grandmother’s knee and learn to piece together a quilt of our own,
sharing stories and laughter, gaining a sense of accomplishment and a
new skill?  You can’t buy that.

See, when your dog  tears up your lawn, for him it’s all about the
digging, not the hole.  If you doubt it, go out and dig a hole  and
show it to your dog. Odds are he’ll look at it, sniff around, then go
dig a new hole of his own, three feet away.  Why? Because it’s the
creative act of digging that a dog finds satisfying, not the passive
ownership of a hole in the ground.  And it’s not  that much different
with people — except maybe there’s a little less mud on our faces, at
the end of a really good day.

“To do” beats “to have,” as I’ve finally learned.
(Thanks, pups.)

cinder-mud

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When I was a kid, some parents made their young teenagers smoke several cigarettes in a row til they got absolutely sick and utterly turned off of smoking.

If we’re not convinced yet that we need to radically rethink our consumption here are some visuals that might do the trick. I know these made me want to opt out. We’re not even talking “for the planet” or “for the good of others”. We’re just talking, “let’s stop being disgusting!”

1. This used to be a working canal (photo credit: JP )
Plastic Floats

2. A clip from the TV series Hoarders. (we have a TV series about hoarders? Yes. Yes, we do).

3. Or then we could all end up like this.

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