Take A Drive Off The Grid and Hide in Plain Sight.
My Historic Mantle and Lodgepoles
Leaving "the Grind" behind.
Hiding in Plain Sight; Off The Grid In Any Urban Area
There comes a time in everyone’s life when they just need to get away from it all. Either have had too much time on their hands, get in too much trouble with “the man”, they don’t have the energy to deal with the day-to-day grind anymore and quite frankly - they just can’t handle eating a shit sandwich and pretending they like the taste anymore. More often than not, unfortunately there’s no place for them to go and they end up languishing or wallowing in their own sorrow in some apartment or overpriced, oversized home in the suburbs...quietly waiting for Death or Social Security...or both.
Thankfully, for free spirit freaks like some, including me whose suffered from wanderlust for decades, there are options. At one point in my life shortly after September 11th, I loaded up all of my possessions into a 30 foot trailer, took my two kids, a dog and spouse and off we headed to them Mountains of Maine. And, we lived quite comfortably in a town of 1300 people nestled in the valley. Not much of nothing was ever going on, and it was a wonderful thing. Paradise. Indeed. We would boil fiddleheads, make dandelion wine, kill and eat deer, bear, moose, raccoon, rabbit and ducks. Grow our own vegetables and live a relatively subsistence lifestyle; with runs to the hour away supermarket only occurring every 3 to 4 weeks for essentials. In honest retrospect, my children, now eighteen and fifteen, are much better off for the life that they lived for those seven or eight years. They went to a one room (actually three rooms, but still) schoolhouse, we knew their teachers personally and professionally and literally everyone in town knew everyone in town...that too was a very wonderful thing. Neighbors helping Neighbors...imagine that. It must be pointed out that it takes a somewhat brave, moderately insane and absolutely hardy person to pack up the whole family and all their belongings and just leave the life they’ve always known for the unknown and is just that -- completely unknown. A bit of advice: Everyone will think your completely nuts...and so be it. Failure or survival is in your own hands when you put yourself in a situation like that. And I’d have it no other way.
Now some 10 years later I’ve come to another crossroads in my life. In my many years, without question or hesitation throughout my entire existence I’ve always taken the road less traveled never ever wavered, never thought about the well-traveled road...always wanted to go down the one no one else did...or even better, make my own road. Subsequently this presented itself with an entire plethora of separate and honestly complicated issues. I don’t like people, crowds, events or stores. I don’t like traffic, I don’t like highways, I don’t even like mass transit. I don’t like feeling boxed in, closed in or smooshed in...so what then do you ask does one do when they live in an urban area like Boston or an immediate close suburb and they NEED to fall off the grid for a while; if for nothing else than a little peace of mind and to allow their soul to breathe. Well, here’s where you find one way.
Thankfully, maybe fatefully, I was able to find a 20 x 20 historical cabin owned by a young gentleman. He had purchased it unknowingly as part of a 30 acre parcel wherein stood his own home. He liked the investment potential, and being a young urban professional the 30 acres of protected woodlands were a buffer in his mind. Located in the immediate suburbs a teeny bit South of Boston, it’s not a heavily wooded area,with some exceptions...this being one of them. Surrounded by some 25 odd acres of coniferous Northeastern forest and a few acres of ponds, the owner lives in a house at the halfway point of of a very long, curving driveway about a mile long. There were two other homes tucked back in there; one gentleman works overnights the other woman is a teacher, but their parcels are only 3 acre building lots with nice non-traditional Cape/Gambrel type houses. And they are indeed lovely people. There’s a small pond on the entrance road to property; in fact it’s within 120 paces from my front door and another few ponds dot the parcel here and there. The surrounding forest is abundant with wildlife. Every bird, mammal, marsupial, critter and creeping crawly thing that lives in this region of our planet resides in my woods. The cabin is sparse, again 20’ x 20’ at best , The only heat source is from an old Wagner woodstove, that will have you in shorts and tank top whereas I use a combination of wood and anthracite coal The coal being the commodity because there’s plenty of wood to be found, cut, split and stacked; but the coal to be purchased up here in the Northeast and although not expensive, it’s large and cumbersome in its 40lb bags. A bit dirty initially, when handling it, but wow does it burn hot & clean. No creosote, no soot, almost no smoke out of the stack all the while throwing about 65,000 BTU’s by itself with its vibrant, intense blue flame. When mixed with hardwood rounding up to approximately 122,000 BTU’s it really makes those very cold days and nights not only tolerable but actually quite comfortable. Indeed. Carbon based fuels are amazing things, especially when your very life depends on it. Let’s face it, hypothermia and frostbite are total bummers and freezing to death just sucks completely.
So what does one do when they don’t want to live amongst people but remain in “Society”? Well, not being brazen enough (or conceited I guess) to provide instructions to give you a “How to...” or “Do it yourself...”, but I AM going to tell you how I’ve done it, am doing it and how it’s worked out quite well thus far.
First I found the cabin. It was through a mutual friend that I happened upon it. And lo and behold after some research and contacting a few Historical Societies, it was found that the original structure was built in 1727 by a very prominent whaling boat captain that worked out of Boston Harbor, and then in later years Commanded a fleet of ships out of South Shore Harbors of Massachusetts. Turns out he was quite the man of his time, and as was typical he needed to build the structure while his actual home for his wife and six children back in England was being built. Ultimately he moved into the Victorian mansion with his family awhile later and the cabin stood. Unscathed and untouched for some 100 years pursuant to the written records. It is pretty nifty to be totally honest, because it’s all lodgepole pine, oak logs and spruce boards. Roof/Ceiling trusses are made from trees right out of the local woods, with rough sawn lumber, spruce boards tongued together, single pane “sand” glass and a heavy four inch thick Oak Dutch door, that is perfectly balanced with the hardware of the time. The latches, hinges and components all show forge marks and hammer strikes from the original Blacksmith that fabricated the pieces...very cool stuff. The interior is a long rectangle with a giant River Rock fireplace taking up about a third of the sidewall. Shutters, shelf trim, hand made cabinets/counter and inlayed flooring over a handmade stone foundation with matching stairs. It’s truly something to behold, very very cool Indeed. It’s old, very old...and feels as such, but it's a good rustic old feeling that conjures up warm feelings of mulled cider, musket balls and freedom. There have been very few upgrades to the Old Place, built in early 1700’s, found and fixed up in late 1800’s, used briefly throughout the 50’s and again in the 70’s for hunting/fishing by the then landowner, and ultimately around 1987 it was found again, some minor updates & repairs made which it then sat untouched, uninhabited by humans until I moved in on October 1st of this year.
So, there is the matter of freshwater. The cabin has no running water whatsoever. It had a hand dug, granite stone walled well about 20ft down, of which remnants remain, but it collapsed in the late 1800’s when the Cabin was rediscovered, so subsequently I travel to a local state park with has an underground aquifer they piped into, complete with a “Water House” having five or so spigots and I’m able to go there once a week or so, use that to fill up six 1 gallon jugs and then a five gallon travel container that has its own built-in spigot (and is BPA free) and that is what I use for dishes, washing up, cleaning days, shaving and without waterlines its actually the drinking water as well. Because it is pure, literally, it is somewhat liberating to get it myself with nominal effort, instead of paying $1.59 for a 12oz bottle of water of less or similar quality so some fat cat corporate types can get even wealthier off an earth borne commodity such as water. Its ludicrous. As far as toilet use goes, apparently the outhouse blew away in the Blizzard of ‘78, so I purchased a composting toilet off the Internet for around $45 and it has a 5 gallon receptacle with a 3 gallon flush chamber. Its a fully sealed, self-contained unit that looks, feels and flushes just like a regular toilet, just a little different, It needs to be emptied once a week via an underground duct installed in it that runs out of the cabin, underground and at an adequate distance so that it composts far away from the living quarters but is mixed with other composting materials. As part of the 1987 upgrades, there is electricity that was run to the cabin, apparently when there were some minor renovations done they figured what the heck and installed 100 amp service. The electricity affords the use of two lights and a very small refrigerator for perishables. To date, I’ve gone ahead and framed out an area about 14’x4’ in which is a small closet where I hang up my heavy duty clothes, and I have a steamer type leather trunk for my daily wearing garments, more so to keep any critters from bedding down for the Winter. Then there is a dry storage pantry area which looks more like a lumber stack than anything, the shelves being rough sawn lumber with the bark remaining, stacked five high and mitered at 90degree angles six feet on either side of the corner. Also, its noteworthy that the other half of the closet has become the “bathroom”, complete with shelf installed for necessity. There is a sleigh type futon bed, that is laid out in a corner, of the double bed size. It’s very comfy almost too much, along with two comforters and sleeping bag for warmth paired up with four or five pillows. I have a small coffee sized dining table with tow turn-of-the-century, hand made, rustic barrel chairs in red leather with brass fittings and hardware. It’s been decorated it up a little bit....I have placed my favorite Deer mount, a bunch of old turn-of-the-century tools, some draw knives, ball peens, whaling harpoon, dairy bottles, a boatload of candles, quite a few maps....trying to keep the rustic charm the best I can with little to no expense.
As for window dressings, they are key components to Bad Weather survival. I was able to procure some heavy duty fleece fabric that were”seconds” at a craft place. A few patterns on there such as pinecones, dear, birds, salt grass and pine trees on a grayish blue background -- but more importantly it’s fleece. So, I took some old pallets and I framed out the four swing open picture windows, secured them shut prior, just like you would a normal window. Then with trim installed, I hung lengths of parachord, strung them through the fleece like a cross stitch so that would be taught without drooping, and not only do they look nice, but can can be tied back with a few brass cup hooks, AND they offer protection against the external elements which in the Northeast can be pretty extreme, specifically wind and cold temperatures. Worked like a charm.
But, somewhat in a partial summary, to fall off the grid in an urban area you need to find some type of wooded suburb....with a natural “buffer zone” to prevent the encroachment of “the man” in its various forms. Then, a very gracious landowner with some type of antique barn, cabin or shed and hopefully they don’t think your completely out of your mind when you ask to live in their dilapidated old structure. I can assure you, it never ever hurts to ask. And you MUST possess the desire to do a lot of hard work yourself (requiring hours alone to make it livable), so the labor stuff isn’t such a big deal. Quite frankly I find it to be much like meditation...working, alone with my thoughts, creativity cranking and because I’m creating something from nothing and then I’m benefiting from it, its just quite liberating. Second after you find your “residence”, you need to furnish it. Decide whether or not your going to stay rustic, go bare bones (milk crates and plywood type stuff), personally the more rustic utilitarian route I took was easy and its somewhat period correct for the Cabin. Only have what I need and nothing more. Then hit barn sales, flea markets, rummage sales, church sales, Goodwill, etc and before you know it, for some very short money, your moved in.
Then you need to find that water source, its an imperative, otherwise your somewhat screwed because the rest is basically common sense - the goal being to be almost totally self-sufficient. Next we go to the wants and desires component...Like dealing with the public. Usually, without exception, shop only at night or as close to closing time as humanly possible at any local grocery store or big box store (I’m not a fan of big box stores, actually despise them and what they stand for, but for the sake of savings, convenience and variety I utilize them but under a personal condition of seeking, finding and purchasing only American Made products). Get a list made of whatever it is that's need, i.e.: candles, granola, lamp oil, the weeks newspapers, instant coffee, powdered creamer, meats, cereal etc. & so forth. Get in and get out and you’ll typically only be dealing with maybe three other usually pleasant human beings. Then if needed, go get fuel for vehicle use (if you possess one), Chainsaw gas mix, bar oil, files,, sharpening stones...you get the point. I have learned to repurpose things such as hardware off of old doors & windows, full doors themselves, old lumber from scrap piles (you’d be shocked to see what some construction sites have to offer, seriously...), and one of the biggest commodities that I’ve found that can be repurposed into essentially anything and that are just blatant throughout society are pallets - they’re everywhere. Some of my best construction in my Old Cabin has been through the use of pallets because they are specifically made of hardwoods: Oaks, Maples, Spruce. But the lengths are not such that you can’t work with them. They are easy to work with and they typically have already shrunk and expanded over and over to the point where they’re not going to shrink indoors or expand anymore outdoors. Thus making it an ideal source for not only structural but also decorative lumber.
Bridges over Water.
Hard work, survival and and helping yourself.
Unfortunately in the Commonwealth that I live in, deer hunting in this County is illegal under a ridiculous 12 year moratorium - unless it’s for one week only, by $150 lottery ticket only, with bow & arrow only...so unless I plan on winning that lottery (just like the regular lottery) I'm screwed for fresh meat, therefore I’m going to make do with what I can get locally at the farmers markets, butchers shops and grocers. So we’re on the same page, I’m not referring to becoming a recluse... make sure you do venture out on occasion to interact with folks at the library and get to know the folks at the local general store, if for nothing else then those spur of the moment necessities or in my case, if I’m going to treat myself to something like a nice sweet cigar. It would behoove me not to suggest that if you were, are or contemplating going to do something like I have done, that you bring along a dog or cat. I have a cat and without that fabulous furry feline friend, I probably would’ve went nuts along time ago (at least more so than I already am). The cat offers companionship but also activity through care taking and quite frankly some fun. Especially with some organic catnip.
Working hard is a large part of the quest. Typically spend approximately 40 to 50% of my time toiling every day. Cutting wood, chopping kindling, tending the woodstove, cleaning house, keeping water fresh & on hand, maintaining the premises (structurally), maintaining interior temperature and cooking...so if you are afraid, leery or incapable of hard labor or if you don’t want to be independent to the point where you don’t need anyone else’s help, then this isn’t for you. If you can handle heavy workload almost every day and I’m talking you’re up at 5:30-6 AM and depending upon 15 to 20 minute interval breaks you’re working till at least noon or 1 o’clock. or if your motivated you can play catch up and earn yourself a day off, something I try to do at least every three or four days. Either by sheer will, tenacity and keeping your energy up through diet and sleep, whereas you level off and get into a routine - I can promise you, if you can handle it, it’s very very rewarding. Exceptionally Indeed. One of the primary things that I depend on is that I am actually a survivalist, amateur not professional, and have been for sometime. I can go out into any conditions: jungle, Arctic, desert and with proper preparation and gear, survive alone for two probably two weeks easily. The longest that I’ve been out in the wilderness is 12 days completely solo and it worked out well. Can't lie, it was rough as hell, yet I’m here and a better person for it (in case you didn’t read my last hub, my life’s philosophy is “Gan Aifaela”, or translated: try & live without regrets; learning lessons along the way).
One of the most important things I have found, is that in this setting where is your living in society but on the fringes, (myself inside this 30 acre rectangle of heavy forest in a cabin a couple hundred years old) is that if you get injured you need to know how to help yourself. I carry a standard emergency medical kit with me and so can you. You can get one at most survival stores, sporting good stores, online, etc...mine is a simple surplus military paramedic kit and it contains sutures, gauze, Steri-Strips, DermaGlue, sponges, some maxi pads and tampons for puncture wounds, Band-Aids antiseptic ointment, triple antibiotic, povidine iodine, medical tape and saline solution. And the reason I mention this so detailed and emphatically is recently, again I’m alone with a cat, it’s approximately five in the afternoon, Suns gone down (it’s just started getting darker earlier here in the Northeast) and I am chopping kindling with a very sharp hatchet. Well low and behold, a very gentle swing hits a knot in the split log, the hatchet shoots out to the left (I am a righty as a dominant hand) and doesn’t it come up and catches me right above the thumb knuckle. Darn thing damn near cut my thump almost clean off, leaving about an eighth of an inch of flesh and some fingernail. Obviously, instinctively, instant shock sets in....wow, what did I just do & what am I going to do...a million things running through your mind. Then once my heart started racing, blood began to seep and squirt so then I kind of went into autopilot. Grabbed my med bag, cleaned up the wound, performed a saline levage, literally attempting to replace my thumb top by just wrapping gauze and applying some pressure to get the bleeding to subside a bit. Finally got it to the point where I could maintain the thumb in position, kept the area clear of saturated blood and sterile as possible; in an immobilized position and only then was I able to call for help. Ultimately taken to the emergency room where I received actually 12 stitches in and out of the thumb. It’s almost 85 to 90% healed now, I’ve done almost all the after care myself including suture removal at home in the Cabin; but the point of the matter is if you are not prepared to deal with lacerations, accidents, typical woodland boo-boos, burns, fevers, stomachaches, etc...then this isn’t the lifestyle for you. Because even though your hurt, the day to day grind goes on. Be prepared for anything, like the old rule says, “hope for the best prepare for the worst and you can’t go wrong.”
Then there comes what some people would call the loneliness. I find that I only get lonely when it’s nice out as odd as that may sound. When it’s raining, the rain on the roof is solace. We had snow recently and it was wonderful. During the nice days the mind tends to wander and wonder what every one else is doing, but they are just quick pangs of loneliness; otherwise I am perfectly content with myself. So... therefore yet another momentous type reminder here, you must be comfortable in your own skin and you must be able to spend exceptionally long periods of time alone cut off from essentially anyone. And the strange part in my case is I did it on purpose instead of going mainstream with an apartment or house...and this is my third fourth or maybe fifth time; but mentally you do need to be okay otherwise there’s really no point in taking a spiritual journey such as this, in all seriousness, because that's what it is, a Spiritual Journey. I have actually afforded myself a few luxuries this time around too. I have brought my favorite books. I have brought a large wardrobe (by that I mean multiple pairs of jeans, flannels, tshirts, as opposed to a rotating two day cycle of clothing to lessen any weight) than normal because this is going to be probably a six plus month affair. And I have afforded myself use of an iPhone, a laptop and my kindhearted landlord apparently is fond of me and kind enough to provide me with Wi-Fi, so I am not disconnected from the world (obviously, because I’m posting here and elsewhere and I write everyday), but I tend to keep my human conversations verbally on the phone to an absolute minimum opting to email and/or text instead, except when it comes to my kids. Again both being teens/young adults, so I do speak to them frequently but otherwise I tend to keep to myself, in my world.
Would like to take a moment to discuss firewood. I have found that if you utilize lanterns like I do, the paraffin wax liquid lantern fuel (which mind you, you can get a half gallon for a dollar). Then soak the kindling in the liquid, in the large size Ziploc baggie’s. They will catch a flame quite nicely, even soaking wet, with a little bit of crumpled newspaper and then once the kindling is burning real good, I just go on using hardwood. Tend to keep my split logs between 10 and 14 inches because it is a woodstove and then I will supplement that with the anthracite coal mentioned earlier. I use “Stove” size coal but I’m about to change over to nugget or nut size just to see if I get a better BTU rating (i.e.: more heat, less work). But, at the end of the day your choice of wood is key. I don’t use any pine, in fact its avoided like the plague. Do love to use pine logs for timbers but that’s it, do not burn pine it’s bad for your flue therefore it’s bad for you. I stick with my hardwoods and I love to burn oak. Just before bed I will pack five or six logs in the stove, all oak maybe one Maple, few pieces of paraffin soaked kindling and 10-12 chunks of good sized lump coal and close the dampers three quarters of the way and that way I will wake up at five or 6AM (after going to bed at 10 or 11 PM) with the cabin interior temperature at about 60 to 65, mind you the exterior temperature between 18 and 30 degrees fahrenheit. That’s with a combination of the fleece window dressings and the woodstove.
The Big Pond
Great Cabins Are Everywhere
Lessons Learned, Luxuries and Loneliness
As I mentioned earlier, I as a luxury, brought along all of my favorite personally owned books all by my favorite authors. I’m rereading some and reading a few for the first time. I’m even listening to some audiobooks as I work around the cabin. I have not been able to frequent the local library yet, but in doing so I am still able to be a viable “member of society.” I’ve voted, participate in current affairs, can discuss with effect almost anything going in the world today - locally, nationally and worldwide but I have simply done away with the hustle and bustle, rat race insanity that permeates virtually every persons life. It feels great.
As for food I tend to make a menu on a Sunday and that will be my food Sunday through Saturday and I will stick to it. A breakfast, lunch and a dinner Sunday, Monday, Tuesday etc. and I stick to my routine. Utilize cast iron griddle’s and pans and wash dishes with water boiled on the woodstove, so not only are the dishes washed but they’re also sanitized. Again water is a commodity, even a luxury, when living off the grid, but in plain sight of society its taken for granted. Turn a faucet and there ya go. Pretty nifty yet goes unappreciated.
Also, I do not recommend nor condone this life style for criminals, those hiding from the law, anyone hiding from ex-wives/ex-husbands, those hiding from any of life’s events with which you are personally held responsible for....BUT, I DO recommend this lifestyle for those of us in society that dance to our own drum, to use a term to describe myself, “freaks.” In my last hub, I asked a question and have yet to get an answer, just a simple little poll at the bottom; “Is the Freak Power Movement still alive”? Quite obviously, I truly believe it’s alive and kicking mostly because I’ve yet to be proven otherwise, but see, I am a nonconformist and I’m proud of it, I don’t hide from it and as such I can only spend so many years (sometimes only months) in the toils of every day “normal” life. The 9-to-5 grind, sit in traffic for two hours there two hours back, grab an ice coffee on the way in a hot coffee on the way out, just eat your lunch on the go...its all horseshit. You don’t get afforded the opportunity to just literally stop and see the world around you and honestly... It’s a damn shame.
As a favor to my goodhearted landlord I offered and was able to commence cutting a hiking trail through his acreage that goes out across one of the ponds, along a little ravine, opens up over a ridge - that actually has a pretty decent view of Boston Harbor, inner Islands and the surrounding seacoast. I have found an amazing array of birds, more than I ever knew existed locally, critters abound.... squirrels, chipmunks (of which I have two dozen or more that have “befriended” me, raccoons, foxes, coyotes, owls and I have a small bachelor group of deer and three or four does with their skippers that make the rounds from Ridge to Ridge every day or so. I have seen an abundance of flora and fauna here; flowers, trees, bushes, berries Things that really put me personally at ease in all of the world. Sunny day or maybe you have a cloudy sky, etched with blue in the clouds and with the deer over there, raccoon over here...somethings always going on in the coniferous forest. The Whitebirch, the babbling brook it’s something to behold...it is visceral, it is spiritual, as a person, it makes you feel truly and absolutely alive. ALIVE!! In fact, when I lived in Maine, as stated we lived in a very small town on the side of a mountain, 6,000 or so feet above sea level, would go to weeks without seeing any vehicles on our road, had ice storms and blizzards. We were “flatlanders” that weren’t from up there( “Ayah, youse theyah flatlandahs are from away aintcha”? It was a very common question for about 2 years...), I had to learn my way around how to do strange things, like you can make home heating oil from kerosene and you learn how to supplement your woodstove with whatever was available during the ice storm and we couldn’t get anywhere in bad weather, so go out and fight for your food. literally. You know, it would be you and a pack of coyotes going for the same deer, without another viable meat option available, you did what you had to do. I do not have that strife here in My Cabin, but the experience is no less intense. It touches you deep inside, like in your soul. If you ever look at a painting of a cabin on a knoll, smoke billowing out of the chimney, inside the lights on from the lanterns or candles and wondered who could do that or you want to that....well, I’m here to tell you that I don’t know if your willing, capable or think I’m crazy...but if your able to put in the time and the effort, and you even have a nominal skill set, you too can do very well living a simple life. As stated prior, I am a survivalist - but I do like creature comforts like Posturepedic beds, full bathrooms with showers and toilets, Running water is something I have come to appreciate more than most things in life, cooking on an actual stove, television a little bit and electricity. It’s convenient and obviously works mostly appliances with only 100 amp service, but when the sun goes down, all I’m utilizing in the day-to-day life here is basics, so I light up 12 or so candles and a couple lanterns. And, in fact, as my landlord informed me recently, my electric bill was only $13.77 imagine that, and that was for a month. I can tell you again without hesitation that it does get lonely so that is a mindset that you must be prepared to partake in, in all seriousness.
Now I’d like to take a moment to discuss personal hygiene because I toil and work quite hard, quite often and showers are something that are a necessity. I have been able to keep myself very hygienic only utilizing simple camping supplies bought at a big box store, a sporting good store and a dollar store. First, get wet wipes, preferably the antiseptic type like antibacterial that contain Benzalkonium Chloride etc. so forth. Those are the go to cleansing tool besides washing up with soap & water. I like to shower daily myself, but three times a week now, I make the journey to a friends house who are quite kind and they allow me to shave and bathe, utilizing the shower and the restroom. You don’t get to do all the things that most normal people do usually every morning and sometimes every night and I can tell you, Yet again, it’s really amazing how much you learn to appreciate it.
The visions of My Cabin, sitting in the woods, surrounded by trees and bushes, and flowers, berries, and the wildlife....its all about living and I am supremely confident that no matter what urban setting you live in...Chicago, Boston, New York, Atlanta, LA, San Francisco, Dallas St. Louis or Cleveland...you can find a place to hide in plain sight just as I have and I can tell you folks - it is without doubt probably one of the most inspiring spiritual things you will ever do to lean on and learn about yourself. It is indeed a VisionQuest. It is a spiritual journey. Am I looking to “find myself?” No. I know who I am. I’m looking to continue to appreciate what so many people take for granted and to be honest I’m glad I did. I wouldn’t want it any other way at the moment and I do plan on sticking out for as many more more months as possible. I am a journalist and as such my job is to go around and write about this or that. Whether it be through photography, the written word, in print or on HubPages or any other venue that I write with and for....it will be done from here, eventually I’ll wander back out “there” but for the time being I’m going to focus my writings in my simple cabin. For only the first or second time in my life working on things that I WANT to write about. I urge you to give any thoughts of packing the car and heading out, seeking solace and solitude in the wilderness, or on the outskirts of town, to give it some long deliberate thought first...because it’s one of those things that once you start you can’t necessarily stop; you must see it through to to the end or it won’t justify the means. You’ll reap no benefit.
What A View. And Sunrise.
Feeling ALIVE is Priceless
Actually going to attach hereto some photographs of the world around me and I hope that you find a little enjoyment, probably not as much enjoyment out of it as I have, but hopefully crack a smile. One of the funny things I found about HubPages...it actually gave me the opportunity to write in my own voice as opposed to writing under on topics, adhering to “the rules”, APA guidelines etc and so forth, and not under any just insane deadline; simply just self-created ones. And I indeed do a lot of freelance work, all that do have some Moderate deadlines but I’m finding that I enjoy it and appreciate it so much more, again...finally.
Would like to end this piece with the expense because let’s be honest we all must live. I was able to cut a great deal. Got lucky ,right place right time. And I am able to quite sufficiently provide for myself and my cat through hard work and gathering my own supplies, firewood, as much food as I can store on my own, keeping to my budget and adhering to my grocery list, with all the prior planning and a shitton of discipline and self obedience, I’m living off (in this Commonwealth) just about $640 a month, not including child support. With that being said that’s allowing me to save about $2400 a month from freelance earnings and ancillary endeavors...so hindsight being 20/20 if you ever want to really save some cash for a big expense, this is actually an opportunity as well as a Vision Quest. Please don’t forget this is not for the faint of heart, that will be hard days, bad days, lousy weather, loneliness, there will be hard times, there will be injuries (hopefully minor), there will be burns from an inadvertent touch of the woodstove, they’ll be suppers that were ruined, there will be days the weather simply will not cooperate and you’ll be trudging through mud and muck dragging logs or water jugs or whatever....But I assure you if you have any Freak Power in you at all, you will appreciate life a lot more than when you started...just as I am, have and do.
One last thing, I’m not a young man nor am I old I guess, but this current experience, since I left the grid & grind - hiding in plain sight mind you - whereas I am exactly 1.7 miles from a main road through these woods - I have found since October 1, 2013 that I am not only a better person but have more internal strengths, abilities and capabilities that I ever would’ve recalled and I yet again feel so alive; the Freak Power in me is pumping....it’s palpable....I can taste it...I can feel it...and I hope one read, even just one, does something similar for just someone else. I’m not talking about doomsday prepping, I’m not talking about living off the grid with solar power and windmills and burning glucose wood pellets and eating macrobiotic bean curd with dehydrated dandelions; I’m talking about packing up and in plain sight amongst society, you live off the grid and ALIVE. It is remarkably rewarding, it is special, it is spiritual and trust me, it is an intense feeling of accomplishment to challenge yourself and actually do it. But....please let me tell you something folks, most important of all.....it is an absolutely kick ass ride through a short span of a relatively short life. Well worth even a modest attempt to simply find some inner peace. Indeed!
Yours very humbly & respectfully, TF