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April 30th, 2007 1:33 pm
After Foreclosure: Living in a Car like Anya Peters?
I have to come up with 2 months of rent money plus May’s payment by tomorrow. And there is even talk of pre-paying 2 months in advance if we are to stay here. Even though I don’t think my sister-in-law is going to kick me out, there is always that chance.
The thought of living in a car or a van has crossed my mined a few times. Apparently, I’m not the only one thinking about it. Living in cars after being priced out of housing is a growing trend according to last year’s New York Times article Keeping It Secret as the Family Car Becomes a Home:
The number of “mobile homeless,” as they are often called, tends to climb whenever the cost of housing outpaces wages, Dr. Hopper said. Last year was the first year on record, according to an annual study conducted by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, that a full-time worker at minimum wage could not afford a one-bedroom apartment anywhere in the country at average market rates.
Now if I was to do that, I would definitely not keep it secret. I would blog every detail of it to show you what it’s like. That’s just my style.
In fact, Anya Peters did just that. She blogged her story of being homeless living in a car, developed a following and got written up by BBC and a bunch of other places, including an audio interview by New York Times.
Man, this all sounds familiar. She even has haters, like me! Here is a hater blog on Anya questioning her story: “Is Anya Peters a homeless person using technology to her advantage or just another con artist out to exploit people with her gimmick?”. I feel for her. I sure know what if feels to be questioned, criticized, misunderstood and exposed. (I’m surprised Anya hasn’t also been written up in Wikipedia like me).
I can tell Anya Peters is a true entrepreneur. She didn’t stop with the blog. She leveraged the exposure and got a book deal out of it!
Here is a quote from a BBC News follow up article on Anya Peters:
A few weeks ago, Anya Peters was homeless and living in a car, hanging around the places where she could wash and eat and keep herself looking respectable. Her contact with the outside world was through an online diary.
But this blog, published under the name of Wandering Scribe, was picked up by readers around the world and has provided a remarkable way out of her homelessness. She has written her own escape story.
The story of her homelessness and her previous life is going to be turned into a book, with a publishing deal signed and the hardback scheduled to reach the bookshops next Spring.
In the space of a hectic few days, Anya Peters was taken on by Curtis Brown, one of the biggest literary agencies in London - and the subsequent book proposal sparked a bidding battle between publishers - eventually won by Harper Collins.
Still living in her car, she found herself in the surreal position of being homeless and taking calls offering her book deals, with reports about her blog appearing in papers such as the New York Times and Le Monde.
Amazon says Anya’s book will be available tomorrow (May 1st). The title: Abandoned: The True Story of a Little Girl Who Didn’t Belong. Here is a synopsis from the UK bookstore:
Abandoned’ is the true story of a childhood full of secrets, abuse and a little girl who didn’t belong. This inspirational story is about how one woman finally overcame her traumatic childhood and adult homelessness to find a place she could call home. ‘Abandoned’ tells the heartbreaking story of a little girl’s abusive childhood and her subsequent homelessness as an adult. Born illegitimately to Irish lovers, Anya was given away by her real mother and brought up in England by her loving aunt. However, her childhood with her new family was far from happy — verbally and sexually abused for years, Anya finally cracked. She was only 11 years old. Then, a few weeks after her violent uncle was taken away by the police for questioning, Anya lost her whole family overnight. They didn’t die, although they might as well have done; they just went away, abandoning her. There was no one else to care, so Anya pretended that she didn’t either. She learnt to shut down, and not to let anybody in. She thought that she had worked through it all, overcome it. But then, several years later, through a series of unrelated problems, her life imploded again. Several things ended together: a job, a relationship, money, luck — and she ended up homeless and living in her car in a laneway at the edge of the woods.
Will I live in the car?
If I was single right now I would just go ahead and try living in the car just for the challenge and experience. It would be fun to see how practical it is and how long I can last. Living in my car would be a great way to save on money.
I was even thinking I can sell all my stuff and raise enough money to buy a cheap van and convert it into a camper or buy a ready-to-go camper van. You can pick up a camper van on cragislist for under 5 grand. (It would be sweet to get one of them VW hippie buses. Hehe!). Having a bus instead of a car would make it easier for me to sleep and I can setup my office there.
All I need is my cell phone, my laptop and wireless card for my laptop. I can park at friends and family’s driveways overnight to avoid issues with police. I can maintain a gym membership where I will shower and exercise. My blog, once properly monetized with ads and other services, can produce enough money to survive like this indefinitely. I think I can live on less than $1,000 per month. (Some guy even wrote a book on how to live in a car). In one phrase it would be the ultimate mobile freedom!
But that’s all dreams.
My wife of 3 years would never go for something like that. Yes, I sometimes feel held back by marriage. The thoughts of doing “my own thing” come quite often. But then, after I think about it, I come to my senses.
I promised to God, to my wife and to all the witnesses that I will love her, serve her and take care of her the rest of my days on earth. I need to own up to my commitments and stick to my promises (for once). I need to do the right thing and “take care of my family”. Intellectually, I know that marriage is a blessing and will make me a better person if I just submit to it. But my impulses sometimes tell me otherwise. I need to control my impulses!
So I guess no living in the car for me… (Unless the wife kicks me out or something. I doubt it.)
Facing opportunity… must focus!
What I really need to do is stop all this scatter-brain stuff, get focused, get motivated and start digging out of this mess. My problem has been that I’m NOT used to having so many opportunities coming at me all at once.
My inbox still has about 1000 emails to go through. (It’s like panning for gold. I can see the nuggets but it takes time to sift and refine into something of value). I am looking at several strategic partnerships, potential book deal(s). To complicated things many partnerships and strategies are overlapping and conflicting.
And add financial pressure and lack of stable monthly income on top of all that. It’s so overwhelming that I will sometimes shut down, sleep all day, and avoid the computer and cell phone for a while. (I apologize for those trying to reach me.)
That’s what exposure will do to you. It attracts people, contacts and opportunities. However, managing multiple competing opportunities is the tough part. To succeed I am having to learn a whole new set of skills and a whole new level of focus. By personality, I already have a hard time saying “NO” and sticking to a strategy without being distracted the next “shiny thing”. This exposure and influx is making it worse.
I have plenty of opportunities to solve my cashflow problems, pay off all the debt and become successful. Again, I just need to make a plan and focus! Tomorrow is May 1st - a nice round date to start something new.
Enough talking. Going to go get that glass fixed and after that make a plan of action for the next 4 months. Signup for my personal mailing list and watch for an announcement tomorrow.
Filed under personal / feelings, goals
Last Foreclosure… No Houses, No Money, No Stereo
1. lawnmower man
April 30th, 2007 at 1:44 pm
You no longer have the luxury of wasting time and effort “panning for nuggets” amongst the bottom-feeders clogging your inbox.
You no longer have the luxury of spending hours researching fantasies like “I could make millions living in a camper van”. How much time did you waste writing this post?
You must get stable employment income *now*.
Yulia damn well should kick you out.
April 30th, 2007 at 1:57 pm
No worries Snowflake, you will soon not have any wife to “hold you back” from “doing your own thing” and living in a “VW Hippie van”.
I just love how you are convincing yourself already that this is really what you want and that evn after your wife kicks you to the curb “it’s all good”.
April 30th, 2007 at 1:59 pm
Sleeps all day due to too many opportunities!
What more can anybody say?
April 30th, 2007 at 2:00 pm
First! Murst! Bow down, lemmings!
5. Livin' in a Van down by the River
April 30th, 2007 at 2:03 pm
I see motivational speaking in your future.
Teenage kids. Warning them of the dangers of where looser behavior gets them: LIVING IN A VAN DOWN BY THE RIVER!
6. D. Nile
April 30th, 2007 at 2:05 pm
Kharma is a b**** , isn’t it?
I’m sorry that G is holding you back from living in a car.
7. Karl Marx
April 30th, 2007 at 2:06 pm
Comrade Serin -
Thank you for recognizing the significance of 1 May in your blog. Workers of the World, Unite!
Oh - sorry… I forgot that you don’t do the W2 thing.
8. Voice of Reason in a World Gone Mad
April 30th, 2007 at 2:07 pm
“I have plenty of opportunities to solve my cashflow problems, pay off all the debt and become successful. Again, I just need to make a plan and focus! Tomorrow is May 1st - a nice round date to start something new.”
You haven’t changed ONE BIT.
You are doomed, chump.
April 30th, 2007 at 2:10 pm
“and after that make a plan of action for the next 4 months.”
Oh FFS. You ever seen the show Red Dwarf? There’s a character on there called Rimmer. He has to take an exam, an exam which he has already failed about a dozen times. So he makes himself a revision timetable for the next X months. It’s a work of art with watercolours and neat tiny handwriting. He spends so long making the timetable he then only has a few weeks before the exam. So then he dedicates a few days to creating another revision timetable that will enable him to cram X months worth of revision in to a couple of weeks. And so on. In the end he has time to do hardly any revision and fails the exam.
That’s you and your 4 month plan.
Your plan should be very simple. Get a freakin’ job. real job. Not an opportunity, a job. Somewhere you go to where you do something for X hours per day in exchange for a guaranteed monthly/weekly pay packet. That’s it. Forget chasing opportunities, you’re clearly no good at it. Admit that you’re simply no good being an entrepreneur, you very clearly aren’t, and do yourself, your wife, family and friends a favour and give up on it.
I really hope your sister in law does kick you out. Maybe being made homeless will finally succeed where so many other things have failed and act as the kick in the arse you so desperately need to get yourself sort out.
April 30th, 2007 at 2:14 pm
All I need is my cell phone, my laptop and wireless card for my laptop.
You still haven’t got it, have you?
You cannot afford ANY luxuries in your current situation. And all three of those are spectacular luxuries. Sell them, and sell them now.
If you want to stay online, use a cafe or a library. Drastically cheaper for you, no perceptible difference for us. I believe the phrase is “win-win”.
11. Property Flopper
April 30th, 2007 at 2:15 pm
> I need to do the right thing and “take care of my family”.
Got to put that one right at the top… You’ve been saying this for a long time - lots of references to this in the archives, yet you refuse to get a job or do ANYTHING to provide for your wife. Mooching off her sister does not make you a man.
Do you wonder why you attract “haters”? Less B.S., more action.
> Even though I don’t think my sister-in-law is going to
> kick me out, there is always that chance.
Don’t think it, bet on it. She might not kick her sister out, but I’m thinking the condition for her staying is you leaving.
> Anya Peters is a true entrepreneur. She didn’t stop
> with the blog. She leveraged the exposure and got
> a book deal out of it!
DO NOT think this is your future. There are millions of homeless and only one Anya Peters. Guess which side of that equation you’ll land on? You will not get a book deal, do not plan on it and absolutely do not count on the money from it, you will be disappointed when it does not happen.
This is a fantasy.
> If I was single right now
If you keep thinking this way and avoiding getting a job, you soon will be.
> I would just go ahead and try living in the car just for
> the challenge and experience. It would be fun to see
> how practical it is and how long I can last.
You’d quickly run out of friends / relatives willing to put up with you. I suspect you already are (otherwise why not move in with one of them instead of just parking there?)
You would not enjoy the “challenge” of being homeless and would not last.
April 30th, 2007 at 2:16 pm
Hope you can wake up long enough to moderate my post.
13. Bird Dogger
April 30th, 2007 at 2:17 pm
Your impulses/instincts are telling you not to take care of your family? Please take just 10 seconds and think really hard about that.
Some people are not cut out for marriage. It sounds like you might be one of them. End it before she gets hurt any more.
April 30th, 2007 at 2:19 pm
Dude, seriously — people have been telling you for 8 months now. Get a Job!. Earth to Casey, Earth to Casey… Do you copy that? GET. A. JOB. NOW.
Think of all the financial pressure that will be off your shoulders with a steady paycheck. You’d easily be able to afford rent with sister-in-law. Depending on the type of work, you could even have enough to rent your own place, especially if Galina works too.
Post your godforsaken resume on the appropriate job sites, go to temp agencies, and secure any kind of work. It doesn’t even matter what kind. Just do it. You won’t have to worry about “where the next $100 is going to come from”.
This is how normal people in America live on a day-to-day basis. Can you comprehend that?? Normal People. Get a bloody job now. We can’t say it enough. Kapish???
15. Michael Cooke
April 30th, 2007 at 2:19 pm
Living in a car? Casey, I have always posted positive and encouraging comments on your site since day one but seriously - have you lost your mind?
Please do not even think about doing that. It would be beneath you, or almost anyone else. Not to mention it would be the ultimate symbol of abject failure. It sounds like you are trying to rationalize becoming homeless. This is just beyond un-thinkable.
Your sister in law isn’t going to kick you out but you need to come up with the cash. Try to get at least a month. I would set a deadline for your plans with this website and stick to it. Say - 6 months after it hits #1 on Google.
Casey get a haircut.
16. Lost Cause
April 30th, 2007 at 2:20 pm
Maybe you should go camping with your wife. That way, it is like a vacation, and she might adjust better, before the real homeless thing. I am lucky my wife doesn’t mind camping, as long as I do all the cooking etc. I also watch “Survivorman,” so we already know what to do. You can stay up to 30 days in a campground, but the prices range from $14-28 per night. This is a good time of year to camp–not a lot of crowds. You may even find a free camp ground — they are out there!
April 30th, 2007 at 2:20 pm
How to deal with those 1,000 e-mails in an afternoon.
Go down them systematically. Delete anything that doesn’t relate directly and unambiguously to a proper job with a guaranteed income that will be paid by a specified date.
Those are the only e-mails that matter to you right now - and I’m willing to bet they’re a tiny, tiny percentage of the total. Delete everything else.
Above all, delete anything that makes wild-eyed promises about untold riches. This crap has landed you squarely in your present situation, and the only way you’re going to get out is if you recognize it for what it is.
This should take no more than half a day. Possibly even a couple of hours if you’re as ruthless as you need to be. If you want to be polite, construct a stock cut-and-paste reply saying something like “Thank you for your e-mail. Unfortunately, given my present financial situation I am forced to prioritize messages from those offering direct financial and practical assistance.”
18. Casey is my financial advisor
April 30th, 2007 at 2:23 pm
Good luck casey.
19. All things Good!!
April 30th, 2007 at 2:23 pm
“Mobile Freedom” I love it.
Good thing you got that window fixed first thing Monday morning.
20. Aesop's dog
April 30th, 2007 at 2:24 pm
I know you would love for someone to swoop down and rescue you with a million dollars. But let me tell you, completely unhatefully, but with full conviction (knowing full well that many, many people on this blog have told you this):
GET. A. JOB.
But that’s not enough. You also must:
LEARN. TO. WORK. REALLY. REALLY. HARD.
You will feel so much better than trying to live the existence of a leech.
I know you will never understand what I just wrote because the work ethic chip is completely missing from your genetic makeup, but I had to tell you anyway.
April 30th, 2007 at 2:25 pm
Good luck Casey. Blessings on your marriage and your efforts!
22. Virgin with the ocassional In N Out
April 30th, 2007 at 2:36 pm
Just a word of advice from somebody that has spent many, many months living in a hippie VW bus ( 67′,69′ and 71′) it is ALOT harder than one might imagine.
Alot of comforts disappear and I can’t imagine that the Sacramento heat will be very easy on you…..I was doing it all part of a fun adventure and it still is very difficult after a couple of months.
Take it from this old hippie—get a job. Best of luck to you and Galina……………..
April 30th, 2007 at 2:38 pm
Casey Serin, living in a VAN DOWN BY THE RIVER!
(And he’ll be a motivational speaker too!)
24. Nadia Belemi
April 30th, 2007 at 2:40 pm
From what I read there, she’s still living in her car.
Are you planning to begin thinking about getting a W-2 job in the foreseeable future?
April 30th, 2007 at 2:42 pm
Perhaps instead of selling everything you have and raising enough money to buy a cheap van, you should use that money to pay your rent? Or is that just too obvious?
26. Van Living
April 30th, 2007 at 2:42 pm
“I promised to God, to my wife and to all the witnesses that I will love her, serve her and take care of her the rest of my days on earth. I need to own up to my commitments and stick to my promises (for once). I need to do the right thing and “take care of my family”.”
Yeah, well, from where we’re sitting, you lied to her. If you believed a word of that, you’d GET A JOB. Talk is cheap. If you really loved her you’d stop talking and DO something. And if your wife ISN’T thinking about leaving you, I feel sorry for you both. Someone who would stick by you even with all the crap you pull is exceeding special, but you’re so lost in your ’sweet deal’ dreamland that you can’t see it.
Starting things is hard. Following through is even harder. You gotta ease into this. You haven’t put any effort into anything for so long, you might strain something if you got a job right away! Don’t buy a van, just sleep on the lawn. Not like you need to hurry or anything. With summer just around the corner you’ve got a good 6 months before you need to worry about rain, plenty of time for that ’sweet deal’ to come and save you! California for the win!
27. He's completely deluded
April 30th, 2007 at 2:46 pm
Casey I know of those fantastic opportunities you speak of awaiting you in your inbox. I have the samethings in my own. This one guy is offering me a tremendous discount on Cialis and Viagra. And another man is wanting to purchase my brothers 17 year old car that we sold three years ago for $6k over kbb. Can you believe it.
I have sent you an email with similar offers but I have one of my own. I recently became involved in the gem industry. Heard of it, diamonds and such. Not to be confused with precious metals. I have discovered a way to acquire diamonds whilst eliminating the whole mining, miner, blood diamond saga. Simply find a person with a stressful retentive personality, insert lump of coal into r***** , wait, and voila, a diamond will form. Time yes, it takes some, and casualties are likely, but diamonds baby. I am trusting the readers of this blog with this info, I have not applied for a patent yet, I am just so excited about this I havent had the time. Plus I am a big picture thinker, not small frivolous planner type.
Goodluck, and use match light, it wallops kindsford in the diamond quality department.
April 30th, 2007 at 2:46 pm
“Yes, I sometimes feel held back by marriage. The thoughts of doing “my own thing” come quite often.”
Yeah, go live in your car and try to “trade up”. Let’s see how that works out for you.
Just when you think the train wreck is over, one of the cars bursts into flames. No wonder I can’t stop coming back.
April 30th, 2007 at 2:49 pm
Good luck, Casey, and don’t forget that wherever you go, you’ll need a room for Dr. Pangloss.
Posted by Anonymous to Exurban Nation at 3:34 PM