The Florida Plan
Dale Swanson 12-08-2004
You've probably heard about The Florida Plan. If not I shall explain. It all started in 12th grade. I was having an argument with a teacher over bums. Really just for the sake of arguing, didn't really care. But I was saying how I don't feel sorry for bums because they are the reason their lives are screwed up. I said if they really wanted to they could save up money and take a bus down to Florida and live a pretty sweet life. He asked me if I would want to live with no money in Florida, I said he was obviously missing the point, they would live better in Florida then they would in cold ass Philly.
But then I started to think about it. Living in Florida for free without a care in the world wouldn't be that bad. It might be better than my life. So I told him if he paid for my round trip bus ticket to there and back I'd go down there during senior trip week and live with no money, just what I begged for. He thought the idea was interesting, and was ok with paying for it. However he asked the assistant principle, who hates me for a reason that you should know, and of coarse he didn't approve. So then it died.
But the dream lived on in my heart. I did some research (by research I mean asking random people and just thinking about it), and I think it's a pretty solid idea. The Florida Project is the idea of testing it, the first experiment will consist of going down there for one week and coming back. I will use my normal real world finances to pay for the trip, and will bring almost nothing with me. The goal will be simply to survive (I think this will be plenty of a goal). The Florida Plan is the idea of doing it for life. Maybe as a bum, or maybe just leaving your regular life to do it.
The Florida Project
The Project will have to consist of a number of experiments to test the plan out. I'd like to have the first experiment be a normal vacation trip to the state of Florida, but we can't always get what we want. I've never been to Florida, and I'm pretty much basing my entire concept of it as a warmer Jersey Shore. This idea is probably quite wrong, and will probably result in my death one day, but oh well we all got to die some time, and this would be a pretty good story about how I died. The first experiment is the one week stay.
- As for clothes I would bring a dark colored T-shirt, some sort of shorts (non jeans, something you'd wear in water), white normal socks, normal inexpensive sneakers. The main goal would be to not bring anything of much value, yet not make me look like a total bum.
- I would bring one round trip bus ticket, purchased 7 days in advance it would cost me about $120. I figure a half used bus ticket to Jersey would be less desirable to steal then if I brought 60 bucks cash.
- A watch. The watch I got at the end of Boot Camp, and that has survived MCT would do fine. Some would argue against this, but it will be nice so I don't miss my bus back, plus it will help me learn the best times for begging.
- I would bring $20 cash, and a phone card, not to be used except in the case of an emergency.
- A plastic zip lock bag, for storing my "valuables", maybe two, the one with my ticket and cash would probably go in my shoe, although maybe I would find a way to securely stitch it to the inside of my shorts, so I could go in the water without my shoes but with the bag.
- A notebook, although this may be annoying, I think it would be worth it, both to pass the time, and to record my findings. I would try to find a kind of small one yet not something I'm going to fill up fast. I'm thinking maybe 20 or so full size notebook filler pages folded up and put in a plastic bag, that I will keep in my pocket.
- I guess I would bring a disposable camera. I don't really like the idea of this as it would be kind of bulky and I really like that I could just go around with zero stuff, but it would probably be worth it. I'd try to find a small one that was also waterproof, also keep it in a bag, in my pocket.
As of now this is the biggest mystery, and this is also going to be the biggest factor really on how this turns out. Having never been to Florida I have no idea of what a good choice would be. I'd like a place that isn't pure family, yet isn't a crime ridden cess pool. The generic place I say is Daytona Beach.
- Beg for money. This is going to be my only way to live, I will need to get on this pretty much right away. With no begging experience I may have a tough time at first. If I can bring in 50 cents an hour I will get 4 dollars for eight hours worth of work. Since I will have nothing better I can probably work longer, and I feel I should be able to get more than 50 cents an hour.
- Buy food. Obviously I will need food to live. You need water, fat, carbohydrates, protein, and micronutrients to live. Water will be easy, get it from public sinks and what not. Fat shouldn't be that hard as the next two will probably provide it as well. Carbohydrates could be provided by just bread, if need be. Protein could be the hardest to get, protein is basically meat, and meat is most expensive, and pretty much needs to be cooked. If I'm lucky I may find some source of protein that is cheaper (maybe nuts) or maybe I could get prepared food. It really comes down to what my income is. If I'm bringing in the big bucks say $10 a day, buying one prepared meal a day will be doable. Then I could just buy something like loafs of bread to fill me for the rest of the day. Micronutrients are just stuff like vitamin C, B12, etc. I could do without them for a week, but the point of this experiment is to see if I'd be able to do this long term. My best bet here may just be to buy a multivitamin, although it would cost a lot at first one bottle would last me quite awhile.
- Buy "luxuries". Stuff that would make my life a lot better, yet I would be able to live without I will deem luxuries. If I have a nice surplus of money I will buy them. Some of the things I would like would be suntan lotion (highest spf they have, not trying to get a tan here, trying to not be in ungodly burning pain), razors (more of a long term thing), soap (again more of a long term, can probably use stuff out of public bathrooms), maybe some delicious corn based grain alcohol to help pass the time.
- Sleep during the day on the beach. I figure sleeping on the beach during the day wouldn't seem strange.
- Do something at night. Basically just avoid being arrested/raped. If I was doing this long term I'd try to find some overnight job that was willing to pay be in cash without caring that I had no SSN, address, etc.
As I said above the only main goal would be to survive, without having to resort to the emergency money, or calling card. However I have some side goals I'd like to get done.
- Do nothing. This is supposed to be a vacation of sorts. I really like the idea that for a week I will have nothing to do. I'm sure you've had "nothing" to do for a week before, but this will be truely nothing. I will know noone, and have no where to go. For example I could get off the bus and just sit down on a bench and stare aimlessly for 12 hours, then just get up and move on. I won't miss anything, and won't be behind any sort of schedule.
- Profit. I'd like my begging to bring in enough money where I could live well. If I could get a quarter every 15 minutes for 8 hours a day I could eat Burger King once a day, plus have a few bucks left over for savings.
The Florida Plan
The Plan is the long term part. Basically if The Project turns out well, and I do a few more tests and they work well this would be the ultimate goal.
- Everything I brought for The Project, except no camera/notebook.
- More money. I would probably bring a lot more money, at this point I should feel safe about what ever city I've picked so being mugged will be less of a worry.
- Maybe a change of clothes. Maybe not.
Unlike The Project, The Plan has set goals. Although I could just want to live if I choose to. At this point my begging skills should be pretty high, plus I should have a good idea of where to get my needs for cheap. This will give me a surplus of money, and a pretty nice life. I could leave it there, or I could try to find a job that would be willing to pay me well to work say 12 hours overnight. Ideally a job where I could get free food, fast food comes to mind. If I did this I could eat great, and buy all kinds of luxuries. Not having any bills or any real attachments means I would be spending every dime I make right back on me.
The thing is The Project is a long ways off. Testing is needed to see how this idea will pan out. Maybe I'll find getting a job without address and such to be impossible, yet I am able to bring in a good amount in begging, and have found cheap or free sources of food. The testing will really decide what the long term goals are for this. Also I'm tired of writing this.