Thursday, September 5, 2019

Quitting the City to Live With Nature


Post by Sharon
We weren't just the hippie-era. Baby boomers grew up in an ecologically-conscious time. 



We also grew up an era that wanted to define itself against the "establishment" and the "ideals" that our elders insisted we should want.


So, it's no surprise that as we get older and wiser, we begin to question the house-car-wife-kids-9-to-5-suburban-sprawl myth. 




Think about it, children of the baby boomer generation were a new breed - they didn't grow up in cities and countryside so much as they grew up in tract housing set up for the newly returned from WWII young adults who wanted to start families. We grew up with sidewalks, dry cleaners, and bicycles and public pools. 

If we rebel, there are only two ways to go - move to the city or move to the country. The city involves high cost of living, crowding, and more concrete. 

If you peruse YouTube, you are likely running across videos of subjects like "yurts," "minimalism," "off-grid," "homesteading," and "skoolies/van conversions." 

Some of the most interesting finds are people who gave up all the trimmings of the life they were told they must fit into and made a life that fit into them.

Jake and Nicole moved to British Columbia to live off-grid, vegan, and live in a yurt. It sounds really exciting and it looks very exhausting, but it would not have been possible except for Patreon followers who like their vids and are willing to gift them with $ to help make it happen.  LIVING OFF GRID WITH JAKE AND NICOLE



It's interesting to see how they prioritize what's next. I just hope they make it to winter in one piece. Looks like they have a nice load of wood, a wood-burning stove, but indoor bathroom facilities might make it a bit more bearable when you consider Canadian winters. 

The commitment to live this way involves a strong back, a strong will, and a never-give-up attitude. It's not all tree-hugging, popsicles and rainbows either. There are real dangers and more work than any 9-to-5 ever asked for. 

It also means becoming an expert on how to heat a home without carbon monixide poisoning, how to get clean water, how to grow foods, what you can eat from the forest, how to set up solar, and so much more!

They do get to wander the woods and lakes, but most of the waking time is devoted to surviving. There isn't a lot of sitting back and watching TV or ordering UberEats.  And, in Canada, the summer is fleeting. 

There are sacrifices to live with nature. There is also an enormous sense of confidence. We often wonder if we can survive rent hikes, cars accidents on the road, the mountain credit card debt, the next cable bill, but out there if you make it, you can truly pat yourself on the back.



Homesteading is a huge movement that can include everything from growing your own foods, canning foods, raising chickens, goats, cows, putting up solar and wind sources of power, utilizing candles and well water. 

How rustic can you take it? 

Hauling your own water, composting toilets, outhouses, eating only veggies, no internet, no TV.... Every person has a limit. 

The rule of thumb for most of these people is to leave the heavy burden of debt and working until you die to actually LIVE.



Here's some levels of obtaining this life without giving up everything -

Consider staying put, but growing your own food and composting to recycle scraps. This is great for increasing your activity level, eating healthier, and being more aware of the cycles of nature. 




Consider putting up solar (if your HOA allows it). It's some cost up front, but then you reduce or eliminate your power bills. This is a good step in both increasing the value of your home and giving the middle finger to power companies. 



Relocate to the countryside or woods. Get more time outside hiking, being with nature and enjoying the seasons. Less concrete. Less traffic. Less headaches.

Downsize into a smaller home or a mobile one.  Reducing the burden of expense and upkeep, most baby boomers are downsizing, sometimes significantly. You don't have to move into a Yurt, but you might consider a converted school bus or building a tiny house in your yard and renting out the main house to family members. 

Commune with nature seasonally. Consider chasing the autumn colors from north to south in the fall or two weeks a year go to an ecovillage or tropical permaculture camp and harvest. 



Your city might have abandoned homes, or you find one while riding around the countryside and find out if it can be bought. Some can be bought for one dollar! If you sold your existing home and used some of that equity to renovate, it could be a labor of love to take an old place and make it new, especially the ones in the countryside that might have been lost to an elderly relative's death and the home sits unattended. 

Sometimes, just thoughtful living is enough. Recycle. Repurpose. Buy from Goodwill and other thrift stores instead of brand new. Conserve water. Compost. Learn to can foods. Learn about healing properties in nature's bounty. Make your own balms, candles, teas, house cleaners. 



Should you decide that nothing will do but absolute off-grid homesteading out in nature, I'd suggest these steps first:

Try your hand at gardening. See if you take to it or am exhausted by it.  Consider the physical burden of carting water, tending a composting toilet, canning foods for off season....

Go onto Facebook and find homesteading and off-grid and yurt-living and survivalist/preppers sites. Begin a dialogue with people who can tell you what it's really like.

Watch YouTube videos where you see the in's and out's of such living. 

Start studying ideal locations and be sure your partner is on-board too and if you're doing it alone, you have the help to get it done because the start-up is immense.

There are degrees of going to the countryside and simplifying. sometimes an acoustic guitar, a rocking chair on the porch, and a hammock in the backyard can satisfy.



It's a dialogue that you and your partner or family should discuss. Get a chance to go stay with a friend who is living such a life or try out something like a rental night at The Phoenix in New Mexico, an earth ship that rents rooms. 

Visit a place like Arcosanti in Arizona where the people living in a communal way and growing much of their own food can show you how it's like to live simply. 

I've weighed the options for me as I'm in my latter 50s. I don't see me wanting to do heavy work to live completely off grid, but perhaps having a tiny house and the ability to travel, hit the road, chase the seasons, see new places, go to remote ranger's retired cabins that are for rent or perhaps forest towers for rent, lighthouses for rent, unusual places.... 


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