When I started researching the Overland Trains book, I thought that I had a pretty good idea of how to accomplish the technical aspects. I have worked in information technology for the past 12 years, working in Linux, networks, and information security. One of the most important aspects of any projects is data. Data is the lifeblood of everything that we do. I realized that I did not want to store my files on any system where privacy would not be paramount. I decided to spin up another virtual server and install a clean version of Nextcloud. Nextcloud is a free and open-source software that provides calendar, contacts, data storage and sync, and a whole other host of services.

My Ubuntu tattoo


I use a Microsoft Surface to house my data and work (pictured underneath my monitor on the left). A large external monitor gives me the screen real estate to open a document side-by-side to my writing document. When I save the document or add files to my Nextcloud Sync, they are automatically saved on my server. As added protection against data loss, I backup all of my files, now a little over 30GB, to a USB3.0 thumb drive. Some of the other electronic gadgets that I use during my writing are a reMarkable 2 (for taking notes during interviews and editing documents), USB drives for data backup, printer, scanner (critical), and a digital camera.

My writing desk

Servers and Services

The Overland Trains website, which you are reading from right now, is a hosted virtual server with WordPress. I use 2-factor authentication for everything, including service providers that I use. I protect my Nextcloud server and this website with a paid instance of Cloudflare. This service processes DNS queries for my sites and protects them from all of the attempted cyber attacks or hacks. First and foremost, I keep things simple. You could easily go crazy and spend a fortune with this or that. Based on the project scale, this is my easy. Your easy may vary.

What does it Cost?

As I have put in another post, the virtual servers hosting data storage and this website cost me a little over $60 a month. Cloudflare cost me $20 a month. I also spend $100-$200 a month of promoting website articles on Facebook. I traveled to Texas for a week for interviews and research, which cost around $2,000. I also purchased Hancom Office, instead of using Microsoft Office or Libre Office. I bought a Surface just to write this book, which was around $800. Lastly, the printer and scanner for this project cost around $400 for both. I also pay for Plausible website analytics, which tells me articles that are more popular, my audience, and overall traffic. If you are writing a non-fiction book, costs may be significantly less. However, this is a deep, deep, deep dive into history. I consider this a research project, which requires the level of certainty and resiliency needed in the paragraphs above.