Sal and I got a lot of woods cred from our friends and a few readers this summer. “You guys are the real deal, all woodsy, chainsaws, off-the-grid and all!”
And we say, “Aw shucks, t’aint nuthin’. Not really. Jus’ doin’ what needs to be done to survive, if ya know waddah mean?”
But we are just pretending.
The truth is we are softies. Spoiled. We eat and live like royalty. We can’t even find our abs! Seriously. We have all the mod cons and, with a microwave (maybe – the jury is still out), we will be up to speed with the hip and the gridded. Even got a smarter-than-me smartphone. Only difference really is that we aren’t as connected to the systems as we used to be. We don’t pay BC Hydro. Or Pizza Hut. Or Starbucks.
We don’t take mass transit either but, then again, we never did.
But let us not pretend about anything. You need to know the truth. We are still very much ‘gridded’. Hell, we drive a car! We get our food from the store still. Probably 75%….maybe more. We can and do get food from the ‘land’, the ‘sea’ and the ‘forest’ like real west coast-cum-mountain folks but not very much. Usually summer bounty – like berries and fish and stuff. It is more a comfort and/or a treat than a source. We know it’s there. We know we can. We sometimes do. But most of the time we enjoy a nice store-bought steak BBQ, assorted 100-mile vegetables followed with a nice Argentinian Malbec. Tonight Sal makes a great Fijian curry. This ain’t a hard life.
OK, building from scratch was pretty tough. I’ll admit that. But it was tough mostly because we didn’t know what we were doing. Took us basically three years and more than a few pints of blood to be able to ‘live’ like normal people. But a guy up the way is a builder and has been for 30 years and he and his wife put up a house in one summer!
A large part of our challenge was simply having to learn while on the job. Being old. Being unskilled. And that has little to do with the wilderness. More to do with a soft previous lifestyle. Living off the grid is a lot of things but, with a little research and cutting into slovenly habits, it can be done fairly easily. OK, a little sweat is required.
“Oh, not for me or my wife. She likes to shop. I have a bad back. And, anyway, our family is all here.”
I am not trying to talk anyone into it. Not really. OK, maybe a little. It is just that nobody is really ‘born to shop’ and family will come to you when you live on the water – whether you want them to or not. And, if you have a house in the city you can sell it for enough to have one built for you in the country and you don’t have to lift a thing but the pen for the cheque. Living off the grid is not like leaving the planet.
Sometimes I wish it was.
Let me put all this another way: Sal and I sometimes wonder if we got away far enough. That has to tell you something.