New Place, No Cash: Why I (probably) won’t be attending OHM 2013 or Burning Man

The issues with the neighbours and the landlord have recently come to a head.  I’m not going to go too heavy into details, but we’re moving to a newer, much larger place in the next few days.  While the new place is awesome, the rent is double what I am paying now, so my plans for heading off to OHM 2013 are on hold.

OHM2013 is the next in a series of Dutch Hacker Camps such as What The Hack and Hacking At Random.  HAR2009 is the one that I went to, and I remember camping on a hill next to the GSM tent, mixing Maple Syrup with Club Mate and realizing that this is a bad idea, and haggling with Julian Assange over the cost my white Wikileaks T-Shirt.  OHM2013 is a fun time and is similar to the Chaos Communications Camp and Toorcamp in the US.

The big downside of OHM2013 is that it is located in the Netherlands, which is expensive to go to.  Unlike Toorcamp, where I was able to just hop in my car, drive across the border and take a ferry, OHM is going to require plain, train and probably a strange car to get into, and will require some European Backpacking, which gets expensive very quickly.  Unlike in Germany, where things are relatively inexpensive, the only thing that seems cheap in the Netherlands is the 3G Data Plans (no showing a passport, and only 50 EUR for unilmited!)

I also won’t be going to Burning Man, mostly because it’s too expensive to rent an RV to head to Burning Man, and my lease expires in September, and I need to be back in town for that in case I have to move again.

The good news is that it frees up my vacation time.  So, I have to decide what to do with this vacation time.  It’s pretty clear that the vacation will probably have these constraints:

  • Camping > Hotel – Camping is cheaper and more fun than staying at a hotel.  I stay at hotels enough for work, so staying at a hotel isn’t a huge vacation.  Hotels are also more expensive.
  • No Flying – I have a kid, and she’s not old enough to go through airport security
  • Kid-Friendly – Most trips should be kid-friendly
  • Be somewhere where I won’t go during the weekend – So, anything on Highway 99 is out, because I will probably do weekend camping trips there

This basically limits me to how far I’m willing to drive.  This also were the constraints of my parents when they went on vacation.  The main difference here is that I’m willing to cross the border with my kid in the car.

So, right now the options are as follows:

  • Yukon trip: Go way up north because we can – This trip does have some serious highlights, such as Liard River Hot Springs, but there’s also a few major downsides to this trip as well, such as 8 hours plus in the car to get from campground to campground.  Of course, since this is the summer, there will be more hours of daylight the further north we go, which is a plus.
  • Drumheller: My kid loves Dinosaurs.  The Royal Tyrell Museum was awesome when I was a kid and it’d be interesting to go there.  The downside is that this would mean booking a hotel in Drumheller while we are there.
  • Kootenay trip: Go through the Kootenays and check out various hot springs, waterfalls and other things.  This is the winner so far, since the distance is the shortest, and there’s lots of camping opportunities
  • Yellowstone: Go through the US to Yellowstone Park.  Traditional US Road Trip, similar to the road trip I did on US 101 last year.  Gas is cheaper in the US, so this may be a real contender as well.

I know that I could just stay home, but that would be boring.  Ideally, I’m looking for a family vacation where I can get the biggest bang for my buck, but also go on an adventure.  The big thing about road trips is that nobody really does this anymore, and you get to find some really weird and interesting things on the highway.  Also, not being bound to a conference or an event schedule like with festivals is a nice touch as well.  I’ll have to narrow it down and figure out when to go, but this should be interesting.

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