Dreaming of Veggie Oil, Nomadic Dreams Pt. 2

Runs on free recycled vegetable oil

Runs on free recycled vegetable oil (Photo credit: Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious)

A little over a year ago I got into my first (and hopefully only) car crash.  My little Honda was crushed into precarious maneuverability (wow I can’t believe that’s a word) mode.

I felt immediately before the crash that we’d been driving around too much anyway, and I was eager to get a bike and take a serious decline in automobile usage.  Despite the scariness and overwhelming to-do list after the crash, I was happy to not have a car to drive.  It was doable, though it would’ve been much better with a bike(my bike was stolen twice) to live a car-free lifestyle.  I really couldn’t complain.

That doesn’t work everywhere, however.  The town I live in now isn’t as walker-friendly.  I don’t live in a part of town where I can walk to the things I need.  The city isn’t even biker-friendly and the public transportation isn’t worth mentioning.

On with my dream of being a family on the road, I am future-tripping on motorhomes I can use eco-style.  I’m very much uninterested in gas stations.  I really want to live somewhere where I can walk at times, and ride a bike, preferably a cargo bike, and then when I need to leave that town, I’d like to go in my converted bus or van, or truck with camper and travel trailer.

Here’s some information on alternative fuels:



Too Much Of A Minimalist?

Recreational Vehicle

Image by *Grant* via Flickr

I’ve lived an adventurous life. I’ve never been outside of the U.S. But I’ve traveled around the country, lived with lots of different people, challenged myself and learned about lots of counter-cultural topics.

I’ve always had two philosophies that stuck with me and defined the choices and experiences I sought.

  • To really appreciate the things I have.
  • To challenge myself to know and respect the world around me.

To appreciate what I have, I have to use it, know what it is, know where it is.  I placed a lot of value in the things I had, especially things I acquired myself and I did not indulge in buying junk.  I’m definitely an over-packer and I hold onto a lot of papers and mementos, but I use those things.  (it is my intention to digitalize as much as I can, however)

To challenge myself in my environment, I have to lose it… my attachment, that is.  My attachment to what I have, where I am, who I am, even.  This has led me to lots of different living situations.  I’ve lived on organic farms, wwoofing and more informal communal housing situations, as well as living in my tent in several backyards and in forests and BLM land. Leaving lots of things behind, living on nearly nothing and placing a distinct level of value on the things I allow to co-inhabit with me.

In some lots of cases, I’ve lived without things people consider necessities and I really loved it.  I thought it was great to not have a shower, toilet, sink, kitchen, bed, bedroom, socks, underwear! (I’m literally just getting the hang of wearing them again, tmi?)

I think maybe the first minimizing I did was in college when I stopped using products on my hair, stopped straightening my hair and allowed it to grow out naturally.  That saved me from a lot of hassle, allowed me to be more flexible and spontaneous and saved me money.  I definitely loved having wild-child hair, but I upped that bravery by eventually letting it lock up!  Now I don’t even comb my hair!

In terms of householding, my life has been very simple at times.  There were times I never had to wash dishes because I didn’t use dishes(and I wasn’t trashing up the earth either!).  I accomplished complete elimination communication with (potty trained) my first daughter before she was 2 by letting her go outside while we were camping for several months.  I helped the environment by not using diapers.  I still used cloth diapers occasionally, but I didn’t have to wash them very much.

When you’re living in tune with nature, minimalism works really well.  I think when people go out of their way to make camping seem like they’re at a state-of-the-art resort, they miss out on some powerful opportunities to allow nature to provide, and their intuition to merge with its intended purpose, to keep us aware and safe.  We forget that our modern conveniences are technology and we can easily thrive without them.  We can overcome many of our barriers by doing without these things for periods of time.  I can attest to that.

But what happens when you decide to come back to civilization? (Okay, I never left civilization, I just gave up my keys and camped in the woods of the civilized world.)  How do you juxtapose the ideals of minimalism, knowing you could live with practically nothing, without setting yourself up for failure and locking yourself out of your hybridized life?

I’ve put my keys on a neon green spiral plastic “chain”, and I’m trying to keep up with them, as I dream of a balance between too little and too much.  Most of me has integrated the lessons I learned in my wild life in the wilderness(and wild city streets), but there is a part of me wondering if I need a baking pan, a table, a desk, or some stools, or if I should just eat outside and pretend my gawking neighbors are trees waiting for my fruit compost.

Help me navigate this tricky manual shift RV through the highways of stationary, consumerist householding…if you dare!