Hey folks ... I'm really excited to finally be able to share this: Issue #1 of & Ranch, a literary comic about a writer going off the grid, is about to happen!
& Ranch is the story of Yuri Realman, a writer who abandons his life in the city, roams the country for a while and starts to figure out who he really is: A hermit.
Structurally, & Ranch is a comic book about Yuri's story, interspersed with his writing and photography. In content, the focus is on moving away from consumerism, connecting with nature and embracing alternative ways of living a fulfilling life.
While there are many parallels between myself and Yuri (along with a striking physical resemblance), & Ranch is a work of fiction. But, it is well-researched fiction.
Really, Yuri's story could be any of ours.
I've always been a fan of people willing to take risks and create lives outside the norm. From modern nomads to tiny homes, off-grid setups to the #vanlife movement, a lot of amazing stuff can happen at the fringes. But while there's plenty of how-tos and encouraging social media accounts, there isn't (yet) much literature focused on those ideas. I'd like to help change that.
Check out the video, and if it looks like something you'd be interested in then I would be honored if you'd support and share it. The first issue is on its way to the printer now, and I expect to ship in mid-December. Thank you!
The World is Too Big (and getting bigger)
There are a whole bunch of ideas tied up in this one basic sentence, but in and of itself it doesn't seem particularly controversial: Not all growth is good.
I'm not talking mold or cancer or debt, but economic and societal growth. Essentially the proposition that things can continue to get better forever. That the economic output of the United States can continue to grow, the World can continue to grow, while at the same time caring for its citizens.
But that's hogwash. It's nonsense that doesn't survive back-of-envelope math or the smell test, unless you're a fan of rotten eggs. The world's resources are finite.
Hobgoblins & Radio: On Changing Your Mind
I have--so far at least--enjoyed getting older. I think it's mostly due to an increased sense of agency and presence and self-awareness. Practically speaking: You get to do more fun things. And the toys are better.
One of the little joys I appreciate about the whole thing is being able to change my mind.
I used to hate olives, and now I don't. That's one of those little things that sounds so unimportant but then, I can think back and truly remember hating olives.
I also used to hate pictures of flowers, and I celebrated capitalism. Who the hell was that guy? The ability to change is awesome... [continues]
And a review of the Coleman stovetop-oven
I used to bake bread often, but then again I used to have an oven.
For a while, that was one of the biggest things "missing" in living off the grid. I experimented with building a brick oven, but never really took to using it. I experimented with flat breads, but it just wasn't the same. And so for the past couple of years I largely stopped baking. ... [continues]
On Happiness (hypothetically) ...
I've been thinking a lot lately about life and what it means to be happy and find peace. ... it seems to me that in order to move through this world in any sane kind of way, you must be able to accept contradictory ideas.
This world is not real. It is an illusion. You and I and everyone and everything are the same energy and there is nothing to do or be done, that's just the way it is. We are all the same.
We also live in this world, where gravity means things fall and there is suffering and joy and many of us slog through days and struggle and are forced to deal with tragedy.
The fact that all of this is unreal, does not change the fact that we are here and this is happening and the pain and joy is real. ... [continues]
Making Something Useful
I've been working on "correspondence rolls"--basically, a little kit for your pencils and postcards and a notebook, for when you're out traveling or people watching. A lot of what I make and sell, I assume it gets read and then discarded. In some ways, it makes me more focused on how it will be received. Will they like it?!?
But with something like this, it has a purpose as well as an aesthetic. I really enjoyed making this. I used a hammer and nail to score the leather and canvas [continues] ...
(... or buy it here.)
This whole trek towards minimalism and tiny home, off-grid-living began years ago when I left D.C. and traveled around the United States. I spent almost a year months living out of a van, ultimately reconnecting with the outdoors and realizing I didn't need a whole lot of stuff to actually be happy.
These are some of the photos from that amazing 15,000-mile adventure.