Environmental Hedging — Week #33: A Year in Review
So about a year and a half ago, in a bourbon-fueled conversation, Matt and Tim Justice and myself were speculating on my next move after Legacy. I was leaving the road with Matt, Beau, and Trace due to some personal issues; that, and my trading returns were exceeding my income at the time. It had been about three glorious years on the road with them but in early 2017 I really needed time to tend to life and finally felt like I was in the position to live life in the ways I’ve always wanted to. I took a risk, a risk that the Justice brothers supported and even challenged me to take. And as traders do, we even made a bet on it, (well at least Matt and I did).
Giving a bit of context though: At that time I was conjuring up a trading system, (what would eventually be Environmental Hedging), which accommodates the environment, travel, and personal infrastructure — like gardens, solar panels, and electric cars and such. The idea was if we could show people how to get these things for free and have them make money in the process we could overcome politics and the uneven distribution of wealth — because free energy, free food, and free transportation make commonsense, no matter what side of the political spectrum you fall under.
That and renewable or carbon easing products save money in the long run because, well, they have little to no cost in terms of input, (things like gasoline, utility bills, or grocery costs). They just have free and unfettered output for the most part. The only problem to solve, however, is footing the initial cost of the solar panels, gardens, and electric cars. (It was an idea which Matt loved)
But what I had cooked up at the time in terms of stock picks Beau Moody, and even Matt to a small degree didn’t think it would be a consistently profitable system based upon that initial presentation. Well, later down the road on that bourbon-fueled night I brought it back up again and even went so far to say:
“I bet you I could trade this system and Personal Gold and even travel the world for a year on them.”
Thus a one dollar bet was made amongst all of us. Except for Beau. Beau just wanted me to bring him a floral t-shirt, a postcard from somewhere, and do a blog on the whole debacle. I think he wanted to call it “Getting Stuck With Bobby Shannon”, haha!
I myself had my reservations, otherwise, I would have made a much larger gamble and would have told Beau to bite me. I honestly believed I would fall short of the bet that would later start 6 months down the road in Puerto Rico.
Marquise Johnson remembers that first week of EH. I picked him up in San Juan in a 1980s Ford van, and hoofed the poor guy down to an island off the cost of the mainland. After the weekend rum wore off and the markets opened back up we made some nice scratch just sitting on the beach with boat drinks in hand. I was off to a hot start and we spent that week talking trading, life, politics, and what the future holds, (while entertaining a couple cute french Canadians). It was something I could get used to…
Fast forward 12 months and there you have it, folks! One year in the books, traveling the world and funding the adventure from one single account with an amount that any career employed, saving millennial should have. I left with about 16k in change in that “travel” account and came back with about 14k to my name — of which an embarrassing amount is sitting in Christchurch, New Zealand in the form of a camper van waiting to be sold for the right price and at the right time. Once that camper van is sold, however, I roughly will have spent $2000 when it is all said and done.
Now, I didn’t keep receipts or budget, nor did I have much for liabilities back home, but just going off of the amount I left with and the amount I returned with, it was roughly a $2000 adventure and the best year of my life — priceless.
Now, no amount of marked achievements cannot come without their own disclosure statements. I did not stay in the Ritz Carlton, folks; I have lots a friends in many of the places I went; if my trading slowed down I was on the Hummus and Pita bread diet; I did not have bills beyond my phone and insurance bills; I did lose money but fortunately my gains outweighed my losses; and I was scheduling stuff day by day. So, if I ever had to stop the trip to rebuild my account I wouldn’t be in a position to cancel on anyone or anything.
The hardest part was maintaining cell service or internet to trade on and do this blog on. The blog was by far the most difficult and time-consuming aspect of all of this.
So what did I learn on this adventure?
Well, believe it or not, I learned a lot in my travels beyond seeing the sights. Sights are just the icing on the cake. What seemed like a lifetime worth of lessons was neatly compacted into a 1yr time frame, which can make a person go crazy if too much is experienced to fast. Travel is apart of EH because it is an enriching activity but it is also an intensely carbon producing activity.
In fact 10% of global emissions come from tourism and if I can ease or hedge my carbon footprint in the process that’s a win-win for everyone. But most importantly, you have to know what the world, in fact, is if you’re going to commentate on it or orientate yourself to help protect it…
At the least travel is an activity that I believe to my core people need to experience. It brings fulfillment and personal growth and if we can do it without muddying up the place, even better.
As we know in modern times ideology only goes so far. The love of something, however, will always leave impactful change no matter what era we live in — love mother Earth and love the people that occupy it. I consider travel as a reverse Columbian exchange of sorts.
So here we go: The thing about Travel with a capital “T” is that first “all you need to know is that it is possible”. That and “travel makes you modest, you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world”. It first “leaves you speechless, then it turns you into a storyteller”. And as we all know its “better to see something once than to hear about it a thousand times”. It is in that way that travel is “fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness”. It shows you that “we live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm, and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open”.
It also opens yourself up to the world because “what you’ve done becomes the judge of what you’re going to do — especially in other people’s minds. When you’re traveling, you are what you are right there and then. People don’t have your past to hold against you. There are no yesterdays on the road”. Thus you are freed from your ego, and stepping back into daily improvisation, you can find yourself anew every day.
Also “to travel is to live” and that “adventure may hurt you but monotony will kill you”. And the greatest risk we all face as individuals is “the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later”. Life is short and in some instances can be cut shorter than expected. “In the end, you won’t remember the times you spent in the office or mowing your lawn”. Nor will you “discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore”. 9 out of 10 people would choose travel to occupy their time and money if time and money were not an issue, “so go climb that goddamn mountain” and stop pondering the possible, make it a reality.
At the end of the day Travel “is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer”. In a world obsessed with material possessions, experiencing the brevity that life offers is left to the wind. If on my deathbed the only things I have to my name is a Lamborghini and a trophy wife I pray to god I am kept locked in a room, out of sight and out of mind. I’d much rather drive a Toyota Estima and live a life rich in stories and friendship. No questions asked.
So here are some final thoughts, folks… Trading is just a means to an end. And both the means as well as the end matter… If you are investing in companies that do damage to civilization and the planet you are culpable in the broadest sense. But I am also very practical and understand that everyday a westerner wakes up they unknowingly do harm to others. Something as simple as your morning coffee can fulfill my charge. (I use to live and work on a coffee plantation in Guatemala and I can assure you a lot of disproportional, indentured labor goes into that cup of coffee you enjoy every day).
I myself am guilty of such injustices on the regular, who I am I kidding? We all have to put food on the table and provide for ourselves and our own. All I am saying is that there is a way to reduce your subtle impact simply by consuming differently and changing where and to whom your money goes. Thus we can hedge the effects we have on mother nature and the developing world and get paid to do so at the end of the day. It’s not a perfect system, but it is about as good of one I can come up with without becoming the mayor of hippieville and living in the Redwoods.
So instead of giving the net-negative corporations of the world money to expand their business practices when you invest, take that money away from them and give it to better entities, entities that serve our future as a species. And in the process, you will make money and use that money to put yourself in a position to live a more clean, prosperous, self-reliant, and healthier lifestyle.
Next blog I do will, for one, go over the EH trading system as implemented in my travels around the world over this last year — those details, management, and results… If you have been following the blog over the last year you should be familiar with all of the above. If not, a little review won’t hurt.
I also want to show you that anybody can use this system and although account size can have an effect, there are approaches to mitigate such handicaps. The trick is COMPOUNDING, folks. Fortunately, we are graced with Franco’s presence on this one, but, whereas he is growing food and building Rome brick by brick, I am going to show you free energy.