….a walk in the past, so to speak, and that was NOT quite what was asked for. Forgive me. I waxed a bit over nostalgic recently. The original question was something about ‘how hard was it?’ or ‘what were the difficulties’ and the implied question was, ‘were you too old and stupid or just old and stupid enough?’ I answered adequately, I think, but to put it succinctly: It was very hard and, had we known HOW hard it was gonna be, we would have not thought it possible’. We were definitely outside of our comfort zone for the entire time.
So that, at least, answers the ‘stupid’ part.
The age thing is harder to answer. There is no question in my mind that I could not do what we did again at 75 but I kind of concluded that same thing as soon as we were largely done the house part four years into it. At 60 I thought, “I cannot do that again!” Having said that, we had the continuing ‘stupid part’ making it harder than it had to be and now we know a bit more. It could have been easier. Also, having said that, we finally knew enough that, at 60, I could have done another one but I would have made it simpler, employed more people and certainly built the workshop first! At 75, too late smart, I now just know who to hire and how to spend the money.
Put another way: building is a function of age and money. The younger you are, the less money you need. The older you are, the opposite is true.
Still, I recommend this way of life unreservedly. But it is challenging. And, to be blunt, I could not have done it without a great partner and they do not come any better than Sal. And, do not forget, building (altho never finished) is NOT what this OTG thing is all about. Not really. Only in the beginning is construction the all-consuming focus. It is eventually and primarily about being in nature, living healthier, de-stressing, consuming less, and having much more freedom and independence. It is about personal growth in some ways, isolation and removal in others. It is about changing one’s life views by well, changing your life.
Oh, I am still obnoxious, of course (can’t you tell from the blogs?). Still opinionated. (support me on this, Trev!) I am still the basic ‘me’….I have not grown all that much (Sal is pretty adamant about that). But I am physically healthier, a bit more handy and, surprisingly for me, happier and more satisfied with my life right now. I even stop now and then to smell the flowers and play with the dogs. Seriously….I am almost a simple, happy hick (‘cept for obsessively following world events).
Sal has grown, too. She is way more capable and competent in everything and able to deal with engines that will not start and flat tires and climbing mountain trails with her dogs. She gardens. She quilts. She runs small boats in big seas. She has her own chainsaw! She works at the Post office and runs the home care team. She even still socializes. Sally can do stuff. And I say this because so many of her urban and even some of her rural sisters cannot. They need Starbucks. They need BCAA. They need help to carry a log up a cliff or fight a bear with only a pocket knife (Sally carries a Swiss Army knife wherever she goes).
To answer the question yet another way: the adventure was undertaken for the excitement of an adventure, NOT the hardship. It was done for the learning and the experience even if bleeding and screwing up played a prominent role in all that. We went and stayed feral because real freedom and independence had more allure than we knew when we started. That kinda thing grows on ya. So did being in a natural setting. We stumbled into this good fortune and maybe cracked a rib or got bruised a bit in the process but it was well and truly worth it. Still is.
Hard? Yes. Too hard? No. Were we a bit old? Yes. Too old? Not at all. Would I do it all again? Yes – in a heartbeat – but only with Sally.
However…..and this may be a bit contradictory….I am always scratching an itch. It’s in my nature. I still want to do things and have an adventure of learning and experience about new stuff. This OTG thing is the best gig I have ever experienced but, if at all possible, I would like to add to it in some way. Lately, I have been promoting OTG a bit more than usual but that is not scratching the itch, really. That’s just sharing. I’ve considered adding some huntin’ and fishin’ to the ‘handy’ parts but well, that doesn’t SEEM to be the itch either. I’ve gone rural not primal.
So, I am still lookin’..wondering about what’s next…
Well, we might have questioned you a bit too much on the hardship. And indeed you have said many times that it is really about living a better life in all its aspects.
And reading your blogs and books it really seems a wonderful life, you know I envy you 🙂
I have the same itch, but still scratching as hell
Maybe some day I will find the peace of mind and rest (hopefully before I die)
I understand that you need a super partner in this kind of adventure, and you seem to have find the perfect wing(wo)man
Like News, we tend to focus on the hardships and disasters and so it is normal, human behaviour to query the bad stuff, I think. The idea is, “If I know the worst part going in, the rest will be OK or even good!” And I get that. I am like that, too. But, really, unless you are truly stupid, clumsy and unlucky and all by yourself, the odds are you’ll do just fine. Yes, you’ll cut yourself, fall down, crack a rib, maybe. There will be blood, sweat, groaning and sore muscles….but, really…..that can happen playing soccer or slipping in the snow. The difference is where you end up after it all. Instead of ending up in traffic going to the mall, you end up in a small boat heading off into the wilderness. Instead of seeing police, trucks and stoplights, you see whales and eagles and sea lions. Instead of worrying about your money, you experience Nature in all it’s majesty. And nobody is telling you what to do.
Correction, while David is indeed blessed with Sallie presence, having a partner is not required to succeed out here. There are at least 8 bachelor’s and 4+ bachelorets(women) that I’m aware of happily thriving out here. There is only one obstacle, THAT FIRST STEP. Do it and all the rest just follows naturally.
I’m in my early 60’s and I still think I have it in me to build, etc.
I spent all day today, on my knees, working outside on a steel deck fixing crap.
Not fun and my hands are getting stiff after 8 hours of that but…..
C’est la vie.
Some can. Most can’t. And your skill set gives you an extra decade. But mostly it is attitude and wallet. You have all three. Now get started!
More like a walk in the park. I have always spouted “closer to nature closer to God” assuming there is one. Even in the urban surroundings I live in, 4 hours of any kind of work is enough. I am the same age as David.