I’ve set up a Donations page on the blog, which describes all the different ways you can contribute. You can now setup a PayPal subscription, for instance, which will automatically charge periodically, starting with $5/month on the low end. I also have a list of some physical things I could use, if you’d rather donate stuff instead of money. And I’ve listed a few ways you could help for FREE as well…

I’ll be honest, money is tight. I returned hundreds of dollars worth of chimney for a refund, and sold a couple of guns I don’t need. Combined, that raised enough cash to get me through the month. Next month, I’m planning on taking out an early disbursement from my 401k account. Obviously, that’s not ideal, but I’d rather do that than go back to the cubicle farm. But once that’s gone, and I haven’t come up with a better plan, the cubicle farm it’ll have to be.

I want to keep doing what I’m doing. I want to keep living off the beaten path. And I want to keep blogging, to share my story and the lessons I’m learning. Obviously, I haven’t figured everything out. But life’s short, and I’m not going to waste my days doing something I don’t care about.

If you can, please help.

18 thoughts on “Donations

  1. Boots are important, and until you can get new ones you might consider covering your socks with a plastic bag before putting your feet into your boots. I did this trick last year with tennis shoes, and it worked fine to keep my feet warm and dry even in five feet of snow/slush.

      • Oh I like these games! Do you mind if I play along?

        What’s his point? Let me see here….
        Perhaps his point is that not very long ago you stated that you actually had enough money to pay off all of your debts but you didn’t want to.

        Perhaps his point was that he would rather donate his money to someone who has already shown that they’ve committed themselves to something but were having trouble making payments because they simply didn’t have any money.

        Or, perhaps his point was that if you can spend money on things like burning man, then why should he hand over his hard earned money simply because you don’t want to reach into your savings and pay your own debts.

        Oh gosh, this was exciting!

        My point was that we like you, and we like what you are doing, and we like that we can share the experience along with you, but we don’t like that you want us to pay for it when you are perfectly capable of paying your own debts.

        Are ya sure that you are not a Democrat? LOL

        • I understand where you’re coming from, and that’s why it took me so long to put up a donations page. But, some readers wanted to contribute and kept asking me how to do so, and I’m not beyond turning away help if offered. If you don’t want to donate, then don’t donate. But posting snarky comments criticizing my personal decisions is uncalled for. I find it rude, offensive, and intrusive.

          • Thank you. I found that rude also. I wouldn’t have gone to Burning Man either, but everyone needs to have some fun. I don’t give out money to anyone(except for a few charities) but I would gladly buy you a beer, or a coffee or a pizza if I ever saw you in Redding, thats a fact. I enjoy your blog very much and I hope it can continue, if not, oh well. You’ll still be living a life that most of us reading your blog would like to be doing. Keep it up mate!!

  2. So this question comes a little late, but why didn’t you just buy a used RV and park it up there? You can get a running, working RV for $3000 that has a heater, hot water shower, refrigerator, bed, table and seating, crapper, and storage space. It would be ready to live in immediately; you can move it or reposition it any time you want to; you can use it to fetch materials like lumber and plywood when you want to build something else – almost as good as a pickup truck; and you will never violate building codes with an RV. (Eventually, some inspector IS going to come around and make you tear down those huts – you do know that, don’t you?)

    At some point you could build a ventilated underground earth-sheltered garage and almost totally eliminate the need for heating or cooling. And done right, an earth-sheltered garage could also hide the RV from vandals and post-apocalyptic marauders.

    Well, that’s the way I would do it.

    • It’s a valid option. I didn’t go that route because 1) my preferred build site is at the end of a dirt road that is too narrow and windy for anything bigger than a pickup truck, so I would’ve had to pay for the road to be expanded, or have the RV delivered by a helicopter, 2) I simply enjoy the process of designing and building my own cabin.

  3. Finding meaningful work is one of the biggest challenges in life. Even if one has a humanitarian job with a socially beneficent cause, there is almost always bureaucracy, waste, mediocrity and corruption that goes along with it. But being able to survive on writing a blog about a Thoreau-like existence is a real long-shot. Perhaps a compromise could be made: get a cubicle-like job that you can do from your tiny house, earn as much as possible, and use the extra income to pursue activities you find fulfilling. For me, poverty is boring and confining. Money allows freedom to choose what you do. Don’t freeze and suffer when you have the talent not only to be warm and comfortable but also to earn a surplus that could be used to help others.

    • Thanks for your thoughts. Yes, it’s a difficult balance to strike, and I’m still exploring. There may come a time when I have no choice but to go back to a well paying –if dull– desk job, but I want to spend some time looking for alternatives.

  4. For example, $800 for an RV. Sure, you need to replace the fuel pump and the roof probably leaks but so what? You can either repair the roof or drape it in a tarp the way the current owner did. In the meantime, you would have lots of comforts and conveniences that you don’t have now. Wouldn’t you like to have a stove and oven and a hot water shower and a toilet and a place to hang your clothes and to sit down and write and eat and whatnot? And, as a side benefit, IT WOULD BE LEGAL!

  5. Hi Ryo,

    I think what you’re doing is cool. My husband and I might not have a lot of money to donate, but I have a pair of Timberland boots, size 9, that I think have been worn once, maybe twice. And I’d be willing to send up a care package with them.

    Just let me know where to send, what kind of homebaked goods you like (I’m a baker) and what genre of books you like. We have lots of those to spare. I know they aren’t building materials, but creature comforts will help keep you going.

    My husband is a carpenter studying Construction Management and is very interested in green construction, and sustainable living if you have any questions. I’m sure he has a book on the subject, whatever the question is . . .

    We also have blankets if you need more.

    I’ll add your post to my FB page and to my web page. Hope you get some good donations!

    Take care,


  6. Hey Ryo,

    I think what your doing is great and wish you the best of luck.

    Just a few comments:

    Someone once said, “The easiest way to double your income is to cut your expenses by 50%.”

    Have you ever read John Wells’ website: The Field Lab at ? John is a another great guy with a great blog. I thought about your income needs when I saw his postcards for sale.

  7. chdrake2002,

    Whoever said that was fuzzy on the meaning of the word “income”. Certainly the only way to double your income is to double your income. Cutting expenses does not add one cent to your income. In fact if you are in business, the surest way to increase your income is to INCREASE your expenses – e.g. with advertising, marketing, R&D. But I know what you mean: cutting expenses reduces your NEED for more income, at least in the short term.

    Ryo, I strongly suggest using your skill set and education to pump more money into your coffers. Work winters in the valley, maybe as a contractor. It’s prostitution — of course it is! But it is what we do to get by. Damn near every mother’s son out there is a whore. You aren’t any better than the rest of us. But you do what you have to do and then take the rest of the year (or a few years) to live the life style you prefer before you have to earn some more. I did this for 40 years, working only when I needed money and traveling and loafing and working as a volunteer in non-profits the rest of the time. I worked at most 25% of the time but that 25% was enough to fund a mostly carefree life and to put enough into a 401K that I could retire permanently at age 60. So quit begging and get your ass to work!

  8. Ryo, I just finished reading “Twelve by Twelve” and was extremely disappointed in the book because it wasn’t about living in a small cabin, but rather one man’s temporary stay in someone else’s small cabin. May I suggest you supplement your income by turning your blog into a book about your new home’s planning and construction? There is a lot of interest in what you are doing.

  9. Ryo- I’m unemployed, so unable to help you financially (why else do you think I’m reading blogs in the middle of the morning?) but if you’re serious about retiring early, and it seems that you are, a book that might help you is Early Retirement Extreme, by Jacob Lund Fisker.

    He basically advocates living extremely simply and living off a quarter of your income, investing the remaining three quarters, and living off the interest. He lives on around $10K a year somewhere in California, so it’s not like he’s living in some cheap place like out in the sticks in some mid-western or deep southern state. To the best of my knowledge, all of California is expensive- I lived the first thirty years of my life there and my family is still there, but in order to be able to buy my own house, I moved out of state. Anyway, the construction of his ideas and the way that he presents them, makes for interesting reading, if nothing else.

    The point is, I think the book may help you truly achieve independence financially. Check it out.

  10. Love what you’re doing, I just spent the last year and a half traveling around the country in my 21ft RV pissing away my 401k and i’m tight with money as well.

    I would have suggested an RV as well, truck camper slid into the back of your pickup. heat, running hot water, electric, it’s dry, refrigerator. need money, drive back to civilization stay in the camper work a short contract, or stay at the cabin and work a contract, get satellite internet if no cell service. No way with Google Engineer on your resume you can’t find remote work.

    Buy a chain saw and a maul, sell wrapped firewood to local convenience stores.

    Check this:

    Figure out what you need to finish the cabin and a financial cushion. give away tshirts for $30 donation use cafepress, sell your cabin plans $50 donation, weekend stays $100 donation, week long stays $500 donation, help someone build at their site for 5 days $1000, give someone a multi-year lease on the other side of the property to do the same thing as you’re doing $5000 donation.

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