Sunday, December 21, 2014


I'M TIRED OF WRITING ABOUT MYSELF---so I'll relate a few more highlights and tell you what I think this all means.  Really, I have been trying to make a point.

1. I lived briefly on a desert Island (Ballast key) about 10 miles out from Key West, Fla.
I sailed my Shark Catamaran out there with my girlfriend (the lady who ran off to mexico) and settled in for a week or so.  It was fascinating at first and then it got tedious.  Finally we ran out of water and hurried back.

2. I sailed down the Mississippi River from Memphis to New Orleans on that same boat (sails only--no motor) --(different girlfriend)--a distance of about 600 miles---took 10 days---we slept at night on sandbars.  This was one of those fantasies that was as thrilling as I'd hoped it would be.
One exciting moment was sailing past the Delta Queen paddle wheel steamboat with all the people waving to us.  We drifted along in splendid silence--sometimes only a few feet off shore sometimes startling deer.
I went on to have many boating experiences--not least was "losing myself" in the canyons of Lake Powell.

3 I've not had a job in about 40 years.  I found a way to avoid rent---and that has made all the difference.  The income from the houses I've owned was just enough to let me live comfortably unemployed--let me spend my time doing what I enjoyed.

4. Had 15 minutes of fame---with my "Believe and Be Damned" speech.  Got a standing ovation from a packed house in Ft Lauderdale.  Did a radio talk show circuit discussing it-- Gave it about a hundred times in Unitarian churches across the country.  (Truthfully, it amounts to nothing---made no serious money---people forget what you said) Just gave me a short "high"--(not a bad thing)
And Oh yes: I won 1st prize in the Beaux Arts Ball in New Orleans in a self made costume.

5.Miscellaneous stuff:  Had a nose Job--to remove a bump injury--Traveled above the Arctic circle with my Friend Arnold--to the town of Inuvick.  Memorized a hundred classic poems which I can still recite.  Wrote a hundred or so of my own.  Was nearly bit by a sidewinder rattlesnake. Have a low tolerance for Alcohol and therefore have never been drunk.  I have boondocked more than 7000 nights all over Canada, the USA and Mexico.

CONCLUSION:  By now you've got the flavor of my life.  In some ways it was indeed thrown away because I have few material things to show for it.  I have traded a career for experiences.  I DON'T REGRET IT.  Thoreau said it best:  "Time is the stream I go fishing in".  I believe with Ayn Rand in the virtue of selfishness.  That if you live your life for yourself--doing the things that make you happy, you are more likely to contribute to a better world than if you give your self away--let yourself be used by others.


Rob said...

It's you life to do what you want with.
If you want to label what you have done so far as "A Thrown Away Life" go for it!
It's your life & your choice... just as it is for everyone.

Rob said...

I enjoyed the series! Thank you!!

Nancy1340 said...

The world needs people like you. Either to shake their head and and tisk, tisk at or inspire to dream.

Anonymous said...

I've only been boondocking some 4000 nights but will never go back to a stationary home if I can help it. Having mostly perfect weather all year around and a change of scenery every few weeks is the Best Life On Earth!

I can't understand why more people don't live this way.

Al Christensen said...

Once upon a time I thought it would be cool to take a raft or canoe the entire length of the Mississippi. Too bad I didn't. I had too much childhood training/indoctrination about being sensible. And too many of my father's unadventurous genes.

G said...

Thrown away life? Not a chance! You have already lived several life times of memories that most of us won't even touch.
Most of us have been caught up in the materialistic. Thats why I have indulged myself with your blog and others like you as I slowly liquidate worthless material wealth in order to be free one day to explore and collect memories!

Bob said...

Enjoyed reading these stories, my life so far has been pretty boring, hope to change that.

Kevin said...

Randy, It sounds like you've already lived a fantastic life. One that many are envious of. And you're not even done yet! I've read your blog from beginning to end and have found it absolutely fascinating! I look forward to many more posts.

Ed Helvey - The Professional Nomad said...

Amen and Amen! Life is meant to be lived freely and in freedom as you have done. Most, as Thoreau state, "Live lives of quiet desperation." The worst is the paradoxes of life. I've always been in charge of my own life, always worked for myself, but for some strange reason (societal indoctrination, I guess) created my own prisons. Thankfully, six years ago I finally saw the light. You can call your life wasted, Randy, but I call it an inspiration for those with a free spirit. Loved the series. Thanks for the trip.

Anonymous said...

I think you mean high tolerance for alcohol? That means you can drink alot and not get drunk.
Low tolerance (unfortunately) is there I am at, doesn't take much to make this old gal tipsy!

Randy said...

Anonymous: No, I meant a low tolerance for alcohol---meaning that one beer is all I ever care to drink---a tiny buzz is all I've ever felt. I'm satisfied with my limitation---has saved me lots of money and trouble.

Anj said...

Mr. Vining, I just watched you in the Without Bound documentary. You really stood out and I loved your positive attitude and your poem. I'll be hitting the road at the end of 2015. I'm carefully planning it all and I cannot wait. Hope to run into you!

Randy said...

Thank you Anj. Enjoy the whole process---and when--like the Monarch butterfly--you lift into the wind and begin your journey---rest assured--you will be welcomed by us million--who have preceeded you--both in passing and in companionship.
I hope you have also been inspired by those "Homers" of the road I call friends who also blog: Glenn and Glen and Bob and Wayne

Kelly Florence said...

Randy, I see you were at Marshall South's homestead Nov. 30..
We spent some time up their very early Christmas morning. Noticed your note in the can....

Anonymous said...

Greetings Randy,
Your recent posts against a thrown away life have provided extensive and powerful arguements, yet, "He doth protest too much, methinks."

I admire your spirit in choosing a lifestyle of freedom. Few of us have the courage to seize opportunity the way you do. However, freedom always comes at a cost. In your arguements I sense loneliness and, ironically, a longing to belong. Perhaps an admission of the human costs you have paid for your lifestyle would actually add credibility to your arguments.

When we shared a picnic table and discussion/debate for a few hours, the question came up on the meaning of life. For me personally, the answer was clear: Life is about the people I love.

A thrown away life? Of course not. An incomplete journey? Absolutely! Just maybe your reflections on a thrown away life will be a road map to your future and the people you love, just as those reflections have inspired me to greater freedom.

With care and admiration,
Steve from Canada

Randy said...

Ahhh Steve: Great to hear from you. Our discussion was one of the great ones---a beautiful way to philosophize an afternoon away. And yeah--I do experience the full range of feelings--loneliness sometimes---yearning for community. All in all the ups far outweigh the downs--I'll take it. Drive carefully on that racing bike.

Anonymous said...

it is interesting that people who were paying for their homes, by paying you rent, funded your house-free life of freedom.

i'd like to hear more about not having a job for 40 years.

do you use a property manager and still make enough to live on? or somehow do it yourself even while traveling?

it seems you have 'avoided paying rent' far longer than you have been traveling? did you find other ways besides boondocking?

ideas on how to fund a minimal income might be a popular blog idea.

i enjoyed your past profiles of folks living on shoestring budgets.


Anj said...

I hope you have also been inspired by those "Homers" of the road I call friends who also blog: Glenn and Glen and Bob and Wayne

I already read cheaprvliving, but thank you for the others. I will be sure to check them out. thank you for the blogs and your kind words.

Randy said...

Anonymous: Yes I found other ways to avoid (or minimize) rent--I lived communally for 17 years---cuts the cost waaay down. Boondocking is the cheapest of all--I've paid no rent at all the past year. The trick is to see money as freedom and you will treat your stash with great respect. The conventional housing game is the biggest enslaver of all---just not worth the cost. I'm camped now in Yuma with 75 friends on BLM land (holiday gathering) and none of us are paying rent--it's free. We will eventually move to Quartzsite and camp there free also. The important point is to be doing with your time what you choose to do and not what you must do.

kingmanite ken said...


Anonymous said...

randy, thanks for the reply. i have long viewed money as freedom which has so far given me 5 years of jobless joy.

after reading your blog and others, i even spent the summer (6 months) traveling/living in my tiny car. it was fun but now i am in kingman looking to buy a small, super cheap base camp; an old mobile home probably. i think this can be as cheap, but more suitable for my taste, than full time rv'ing.


Richard W said...

I seen your you tube documentary where you mentioned you had made 300 arrests. Did you have a job in law enfocement?

Randy said...

Richard: Yes, I was a probation officer for 5 years in New Orleans.

ILDan said...

I also love Ayn Rand. Just a thought...what if what you selfishly want is the happiness of another? I've sold my prized Mustang to pay for a new roof. I get up early on sub-zero days to start my wife's car and try to have a hot bubble bath waiting for her when she gets home. I've gladly sacrificed so my son can prosper via food, clothes, education...

Howard Roark built structures. I've built a family. We each refused to compromise toward our goals/purpose; giving our all. The sacrifices of my self-wants and the results thereof make me most proud and smile. I've seen every sacrifice of my own selfish wants as an opportunity and also felt fulfillment.

I've always found Rand a bit cold and sad in this area.

Randy said...

Dan: I agree with you and I think that Ayn Rand would too. I love doing for others on occasion. In fact Werner Erhard resolves this paradox nicely and succinctly: "ALL YOU EVER WANTED TO DO WAS CONTRIBUTE."