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I’ve moved

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Photo by: ktylerconk

I’ve decided to start a new blog. It’s not becuase I didn’t love this one, but because I almost feel like I’ve outgrown it. I started this blog when I had just started on the journey to simplifying my life. I was mostly interested in frugality, voluntary simplicity and a little bit of green. Boy how things change. Since last November I have learned so much that my mind spins. I wanted to share, but somehow it seemed like such a departure from what this blog was about that I was reluctant to write about it here. Hence why posting here has been so sporadic. I just didn’t know where to start, so I didn’t. A new blog seems a good way to start afresh with my new outlook. And while this blog has remained anonymous from friends and family, I will be sharing the new blog with people I know.

On the new blog I’ll probably talk about things like the environment, energy, food, money, travel, work and maybe even the economy. Everything I’ve spent the last year cramming into my head will probably make it onto the blog at some point.  

So without further ado, I’d like to invite you to come and visit me at A Good Human. I hope to see you there.

 1876711558_74d4c6bd29Photo by: random letters

It had been many years since I last went camping, but in the last few months I have been aching for more time in the mountains surrounded by trees. Living on the coast in Southern California makes it difficult to get my dose of green, so I’ve been pestering hubby for weeks to take me camping. Finally we made the time to go the other weekend. We packed up all our stuff, put the dog in the back and headed off to the mountains for a couple of days hiking. Even though I knew I wanted to love camping, I wasn’t really sure how I was going to like it. Thankfully I loved every minute of it and I think there were a couple of important lessons that could be integrated back into my everyday life:

  • Making do with what we we have. While camping, we only have limited amounts of food and water. Being happy eating from our limited stores is a good mental skill to have.
  • Enjoying the simple things. Building a fire, practicing on the slackline or making a coffee over the camp stove can all be lessons in living in the moment and enjoying the simple things.
  • Remaining flexible. On our first day of hiking, our dog was not well. After one and a half hour hours of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail she simply stopped and would not get up again. Hubby had to put her over his shoulders (all 62 pounds or 28kg) and carried her out. Thankfully we weren’t too far from a road, so I sat with her in the shade while hubby went back for the car. Our day of hiking was somewhat ruined, but conducting a medical evacuation for our dog was a good lesson in remaining flexible to changing conditions.

Since getting back to our everyday life, I’ve been dreaming of heading back to the mountains. Unfortunately we don’t have any weekends free at the moment, but later this month we plan to spend a week in Colorado, South Dakota and Wyoming…camping all the way. I can’t wait.

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Photo by: Onkel Wart

The last few months have been a whirlpool. I have watched countless documentaries and read so many books and websites that my mind was spinning (it still is in many ways). I’ve had a fundamental eye opening to the world of which I’m a part and I simply couldn’t post much about it until I felt I’d managed to comprehend at least some of it. Unfortunately my blogging fell by the wayside while I digested all this new information, but now I feel like I’m ready to come back, to share what I’ve learned and to continue upon my path.

To be honest I had put off my return to blogging, thinking I needed to make some grandiose statement about where I’ve been and what I’ve learned, but it was too daunting. Instead, I’ve opted to just start again, and let the grandiose statements take care of themselves another day.

I’m back

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Photo by: Stuck in Customs

I’ve been off gallivanting around the country for the last month and now I’m finally home. I spent a wonderful week in Alaska visiting a good friend with my Husband and my Sister-in-Law. Afterwards, my friend and I spent a long weekend in New York City and then I was off to Washington, DC and Cape Canaveral, Florida for two week-long work conferences.

Something has intrinsically changed in me. I no longer get the huge thrill that travelling used to instill in me. Sure, it was great seeing new places and catching up with various friends that I haven’t seen for some time, but the whole time I felt like I was no longer being true to the new me. All those miles travelling via air, consuming convenient food and being exposed to all the waste that modern industrial  society produces really bugged me. In fact, I was beyond being bugged by it. I physically cringed.

At some point in the last three months I’ve reached a tipping point. I had gone from someone who was casually downshifting their life to someone whose fundamental value system has taken a massive leap. Now I’m at a point where values I’ve held for much of my life are conflicting with new, strongly held beliefs. To be honest, it feels good. Scary, but good.

I’ve been a little quiet on the blog for this reason. I was having a hard enough time working through things in my head, let alone putting it coherently on the screen. I was reading so much, thinking so much and all at a frenetic pace. A month away let me digest some of it, and hopefully I can now begin writing down what I’m feeling and where to from here.

Alaska

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Yes….I’ve been in Alaska for the week. I’ve been without internet access until now so I wasn’t able to add any words to the picture I already had pre-posted. That will serve me right for assuming I could get easy access to internet anywhere.

I must say Alaska has been truly stunning. We’ve been hiking in snow, cross-country ski-ing and dog-sledding. We’ve seen an amazing array of wildlife which is a huge plus for me. We watched the start of the great Iditarod race and an ice-hockey game. We’ve also spent a good amount of time indoors catching up with my friend who lives up here.

Tomorrow, she and I head to New York City for a few days.

Photo by: Image Editor

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I’ve been very quiet in the blogging world this week. Instead I have been doing lots of reading and lots of planning. I’ve devoured countless documentaries, articles and a whole book this week as I was searching for more information on peak oil. The Crash Course I watched last weekend set something off in me. I had been downshifting to a simpler life, but somehow after all this reading it all seems all the more important that we prepare for a life with less fossil fuels. It suddenly became very clear that the next 20 years are going to be completely unlike the last 20 years, and I want to prepare myself for that. I’m sure I’ll expand more on what I’m thinking, but here’s a quick list of what I’ve been doing this week.

  • I made the very big decision to sell the remainder of my shares. I’ve sold them for quite a loss and I’ll leave the reasoning to a separate post.
  • I’ve prepared a shopping list for a stockpile of food and equipment in the case of disaster. After seeing those terrible fires rip through the southern parts of Australia while the north dealt with cyclones (hurricanes) and mass flooding I thought I really should get myself prepared to deal with a similar situation. I live in Southern California where huge fires or an earthquake are not impossibilities. I rather be self sufficient and perhaps have enough for friends if the power goes out or the shelves run bare.
  • We have our garden cleared and tilled ready for the heirloom vegetable seeds I ordered last week. I can’t wait to get started.
  • I shared my thoughts and plans with my best friend. I was expecting her to call me crazy, but she is completely on the same page. I’m so thankful I now have someone else in my real life to talk to about such things. I’ve also been planting the seeds for more in-depth conversations with both my parents. My sister is a lost cause for the moment.
  • We’ve been doing more by hand. I’m more vigilant about not using the dryer so I went without certain clothes during the recent rains. We’ve also been hand-washing the dishes for the last week. They are small steps, but I feel like I’m setting myself on the path of increased resilience if I had to do without certain luxuries like a dishwasher.
  • We’ve been making meals completely from scratch. No jars, no canned foods. Just dried staples such as flour, oats, sugar, legumes and fresh produce which comes from the farmers market as much as possible. We’ve actually enjoyed the challenge of preparing a meal with what we have at hand rather than rushing off to the grocery store for specific ingredients.
  • We’ve spent next to nothing in the last few weeks. I ride my bike to work and the car has not needed gas, our diet of making do has reduced the cost of groceries, and our entertainment has consisted of free activities like hikes in nature, book clubs, free matinee movies and a home-cooked dinner party with friends.
  • We are also starting to go to local events in our community regarding renewable energy, water conservation, gardening and composting. Just meeting like minded people has been such a boost.

Photo by: h.koppdelaney

The Crash Course

2085541144_b925053054_mThis weekend I have been completely engrossed in watching The Crash Course, which is Chris Martensen’s best attempt to explain exactly how we got into this economic crisis. 

While The Crash Course is divided into small video sections of 3-18 minutes each, the whole thing runs just over 3 hours. We had it on DVD and watched the whole thing from beginning to end. While I already knew many of the themes in this presentation (Economic slump, Peak Oil, Environmental Problems, Baby Boomer Retirement, World Overpopulation), I found The Crash Course  an excellent way of summarizing it all and showing how they all relate.  

I’ve been dedicated to downshifting during the last few months, but somehow becoming aware of all this information has made the task more imperative and urgent for me. As I digest all of this more fully, I’m sure I’ll share my thoughts over the coming weeks and months.

If any of you have already seen this presentation, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Photo by: azrainman

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