Announcement Some personal updates along with my future plans for StP

Matt Derrick

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#1
Personal Updates

Hey everyone, I've been kinda quiet lately due to real life shit going on and working behind the scenes getting all the different parts of the website back in place after the major upgrade we had a while back. I figured it's about time I posted what's been going on with me and my plans for StP over the next year or two just to keep everyone in the loop.

i've been back at my parent's house here in washington state since january. i had some pretty major dental bills come up (about 4,000 bucks and counting) that seriously wrecked any plans i had for immediate travels, as my parent's ponied up the money out of their savings to save my mouth. so in order to pay them back, i started looking for the first 'real job' i'd ever have in my life, with full benefits and whatnot... like a 'real adult' i guess.

after months of searching and almost losing hope entirely, i got a job as an IT guy at a big hotel in walla walla, washington. could be much worse, i'm making about $16/hr and i have dental benefits (which will help tremendously in fixing the rest of my teeth) and the town itself is actually much, much nicer than most of the one-horse towns around the PNW i've been putting job applications into.

i signed my first lease in nearly a decade on an apartment only 6 blocks away from my work. it's a nice little place at $600/mo and it's actually the first time i'll be living by myself (not counting periods of time i was camping in the woods in austin), which I'm kinda looking forward to. i start the job on the 30th, so assuming all goes well, I'll finally be making baby steps towards reaching some of my life goals which I'll touch on here in a moment...

currently, my plan is to stick it out here in walla walla for the next two years. i've decided that this is the maximum amount of time i am willing to sacrifice in order to save up the money i need to achieve my future goals. there's a possibility i will leave after one year, but only if things go really well monetarily, and if i am just absolutely fed up with the place and can't take it anymore; we'll see what happens.

Plans for StP

what does this mean for StP? well, I am going to be working on the website as always; bringing new features and improvements, and most features from before the upgrade will be returning here in the next 2-4 weeks. my current to-do list looks like so:
  • finish re-writing the help area
  • bring back the featured threads page with all previously featured threads
  • bringing back the StP podcast
  • starting weekly video/voice hangouts in the StP discord channel
  • fix the user interface and design of the library area
  • minor tweaks to the gallery area
  • getting the wiki pages back in working order
the last item might take longer than a month, since i need to outsource the project to a programmer and finance it. with this new job though this shouldn't be too much of an issue.

Also, I have some long term goals for StP that include:
  • fleshing out the stp projects forum area so we can discuss below projects in detail
  • creating the StP tour bus project
  • possibly creating a patreon for the stp podcast and/or website
  • officially turning stp into a non-profit organization
  • creating a StP home base / HQ / Hostel and/or RV park
The StP tour bus project is the #1 reason I am getting a 'real job' and rejoining society for the next two years. I'm unwilling to give up my need/desire for travel, but I also recognize that I'm getting a little old to be living under bridges and whatnot, so I figure this is the best compromise. The short version is that I will be saving up to buy another school bus (i had an awesome one for 2 years that i regret giving up in 2011) and building it out to be a pirate punk themed RV capable of sleeping 8+ people and touring around north america. this project will also be an extention of the StP podcast since I plan on doing videos and interviewing anarchist/radical and other alternative projects as we make our way around (and stopping at epic destinations in between). As I've said before, full details will be in the projects area, but i've got some really exciting ideas that i think a lot of you will be into.

The StP podcast is definitely the project that I am most passionate about making happen right now, I'm just trying to get all this real life shit out of the way first (moving, new job, etc) and once I get settled in I will be getting this rolling. It's important to me personally because I feel like it will be my best way of maintaining a connection to the traveler community while I'm stuck sitting in one place; but I also feel like it will add a new level of much needed interactivity between the staff of StP, the community, and the travelers currently out on the road right now (there will be a component of the show where we regularly check in on a few different sets of travelers while they are on the road). I also feel like the podcast will be a good fit for both the StP audience at home thinking about traveling, and those out on the road doing it (since podcasts are fairly easy to download and listen to at your convenience while traveling).

while this will likely be much farther in the future, I'd like to look into the idea of creating a patreon account to help finance the StP website and it's associated projects. the StP website is a lot of work in itself, and things are only going to take up more of my time as we get the podcast rolling, and then further down the line, the StP bus tour, and other projects... so if it's feasible to the community, i would like to eventually replace our donation system with the patreon service. although there are definitely options for one-time donations/payments, the real advantage of switching to patreon would be the ability for folks to donate monthly (even if it's only $1, every bit helps) while also giving me a way to give donators extra perks. i haven't been able to explore all the possibilities yet, but i'd like it if there were multiple tiers of donations, and especially for monthly supporters I'd like to give out special rewards each month like free patches, pins, book giveaways, donator-only video hangouts, and anything else i can think of that would give donators back something for their financial help.

of course, i only think this would be a good idea if users are getting a lot of value out of StP. i know a lot of folks really appreciate the value the forums provide already, and i really appreciate that, but i really want to bring you a lot more content, information, and interactivity before I feel comfortable moving to a system like patreon. this means i'll definitely be waiting to try this out until after the podcast gets rolling and possibly some other features. either way, the website will always be free, and i have no interest in ever changing that.

lastly, now that i'm out of employment limbo and know what my finances will be, I'm definitely going to come down to Slab City for the jamboree, so i really hope you'll come out and party with us there this november!

that's all i can think of for now, although i'd encourage you to keep checking on the projects area of StP to see what we're planning and give us your input!

https://squattheplanet.com/projects/
 
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#2
Congrats on the new job! Glad you're using this as an opportunity to further your goals and get things done, good luck and I hope the prospect of what's to come keeps you motivated and away from getting down and out.
 
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#3
Great ideas Matt! and btw congrats on employment. Me? I want to give up working and travel by bicycle, oh I'll be working here and there for temp jobs for money or turn in cans at a scrap yard for money.

The bus tour sounds great! Keep us updated!
 
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#4
I would loooove to help getting an STP homebase up and running once a place is decided upon and the concept is more fleshed out
 

creature

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#5
Matt,
You'll probably find that even though you're locked down for a bit, the cash will certainly bring a bit of satisfaction.
Make sure you maintain the discipline to save.
Also, since you have a w2, you might want to opt to change your withholdings to '0'. The feds will take more, but you'll get it back after you file, and it's like an enforced savings account (albeit at 05 interest).. you never see it, except as it's taken out.
if you have any educational debt, see if that affects anything, but i use the 0 & always get a chunk back that i wouldn't have had, otherwise.

if you owe you folks money, i bet it you'd be surprised how much you can knock off, just from that alone.

I suspect you'll get a raise before too long, too, but it takes discipline to save up beyond what you need to live on. At $16, figure 2 weeks of work each month, just to stay alive & pay bills.

the rest is gravy, but don't drink too much of it.

Getting a place near where you work is about as wise as it gets.
If you don't have a vehicle, that's a *fuck* of a lot of overhead you don't have to deal with.
Hopefully you'll be able to bear it well enough (if not actually enjoy it) that if there's some OT, you'll get some more gribbles..

I wouldn't be surprised if they eventually cut you loose, a bit..
*we* all know you're creative and have the energy to address whatever duties, problems and resource issues arise, but after a while i bet they'll appreciate your competence, too.
plus.. hands on in a work environment with some other wonks will probably be accompanied by a lot of shop talk & learning..

Anyways..
look at the bright side, keep the bus in your brain & you'll be out of the orange jump suit before you can yell "all aboard!!"...

I'm glad you found something..

go get 'em : )
 

Snorting Nitrons

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#6
I would loooove to help getting an STP homebase up and running once a place is decided upon and the concept is more fleshed out
Im also down with that. I kind of just started one, basically. Im down toake this space more officially recognized.
Since im in PNW, maybe it'd make more sense to have an array of networked HQs.
 
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Matt Derrick

Matt Derrick

StP Founder, Admin, and travel addict
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#8
Maybe we can start a new thread with that specific intention
yes, sorry for the delay, im still working on moving into my new place and starting my new job this weekend. i will be starting official discussion threads for these topics as soon as i have time (hopefully in the next few days).
 

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