When I write a blog entry, I am basically just trying to tell the ‘everyday’ story of our living remote and off-the-grid. It is not supposed to be an adventure story. It is supposed to be a daily journal. Like a mini, personal daily news report.
Of course, I want readers to like it and so I endeavour to write it with a bit of interest or a bit of humour or even a bit of real news now and then. If anything happens. And sometimes it does. Adventure happens. But it is all done on an ‘As-It-Happens’ almost-daily basis really, and some of ‘what happens’ is just inside my head……like today’s post, actually. Just thinkin’.
The main idea is not to convey a story in any one blog but, over time perhaps, a story might evolve from the aggregate. You know? A story about two older folks moving off the grid? That was the plan, anyway.
But, of course, I am very, very closely involved in the story. This blog is subjective in the extreme. I write it and it is about me. I mention others now and then but it is still a mention of others from my perspective. It’s me (and Sal, the editor). And my view is pretty narrow. I know that.
I am definitely ‘in the off-the-grid box’ right now perspective-wise and it is hard to step outside of it to look back in. We usually rely on visitors to give us some perspective on what we are doing. “You guys are nuts!” But they, too, come from a narrow perspective and so it is not always so illuminating. “When are coming to your senses and moving back to the city?”
That’s why the Shelter Homes Publishing company’s recent book on Tiny Homes – Simple Shelter by Lloyd Kahn – was so interesting. By looking at that book, we managed to glean some ‘outside’ perspective on our own endeavours and, to be frank, I liked what I saw. Seems we are not alone in this housing/living experiment. You know? The one we didn’t know we were a part of?
Of course, we are not alone living off-the-grid. Quite a few books are starting to show up on that. But Tiny Homes is a bit more than just off-the-grid living. It is about ‘out-of-the-ordinary’ living as well. Mr Kahn writes about different lifestyles from off-the-grid homes (professionally built and home-built) to houseboats to treehouses to earth-and-mud, cob, etc. Suburban homes to homes-on-wheels, sailboats and even kits are also included. Often the featured home is not so extraordinary except, perhaps, in it’s remote location or even who built it or under what circumstances. Difference shows up all over the place.
The company has put out more than this book and I am sure they have included even crazier ideas in other editions like converting shipping containers and the like. This latest edition even features homes built from pallets.
It is all very interesting.
What I liked especially was that Sal and I had experienced many of the alternative lifestyles featured. We have lived on three boats. We have ‘motorhomed’ all over the place. And, of course, we have built our own cabin off-the-grid. Add that to living in the cul-de-sac, staying in apartments and occupying Shaugnessy mansions and we, all of a sudden, had a larger context for us and for the current iteration about what our home is.
It may not be about the house, after all!
We seem to be lifestyle experimenters as much as anything. If this house and this way of living is to be taken in the larger context of our lives to date, we may just be in a phase. Kinda. Like the chapters of the book. This may just be temporary. We may move on in a few years!?
Who knows? Certainly not me! One thing, tho, is undeniable: I have lived in over thirty different places in my life and that doesn’t include ‘temporary’ vacation places or living for months at a time in ‘modes of travel’. Sal has been my partner for over half of them. There is a gypsy streak showing up here.
So, the aggregate story may not be the one I expected (older couple exits urban centre for rural outback and discovers a different life living on a remote island off-the-grid). It may be about something else.
I dunno yet.
On the other hand, none of the other places (possible exception: the last two sailboats) felt so comfortable that I would not have contemplated moving on until circumstances prompted it. I liked living aboard. It was good.
This place, however, feels like the largest exception to that seemingly habitual ‘change’ streak in our characters. Of all the places we have lived – including the boats – this one feels most like home. This one may be it.