I read an article for How To Train For Long Distance Cycle Touring and it blew my mind how much the ideologies of Bikepacking overlapped with Homesteading. In Tom’s delightfully witty and rather brilliant article he made numerous points that I want to share in terms of homesteading. (Read his article to understand the parallels of bike tourism as I could not possibly be as eloquent as him.)
1. Start hanging out with other bicycle travelers
Indeed as I put a name to my actions and began to really flourish in my homesteading journey I wanted to find a tribe that not only supported my lifestyle but also enhanced it. I have always known I did not fit into modern society and what better way to celibate being a black sheep than spinning my own wool to crochet a dark colored toque. *Mischievously grins*
2. Reduce your intake of social media
I got rid of my cellphone ages ago and I could not be happier. I was always bothered by its incessant dings and chirps and rings; what does IT want anyways? I never got the hang of rudely checking it when out with friends. I usually forgot it at home. I will admit Facebook has been my guilty pleasure and I have fine-tuned it to show me a plethora of articles and photos from sites pertaining to all the topics that interest me. My news feed is filled with vegan recipes, made from scratch cheeses, bikepacking adventures, tiny houses, how to make great compost and uses for plantain weed. I would miss being bombarded with DIY articles and the instantaneous prattle from friends in cyberspace. I do enjoy unplugging. I think I shall contemplate limiting my time online (not that I spend THAT much time logged in, but maybe less would be more fulfilling). I got a REAL letter today and I ran my fingertips over the lettering and tears filled my eyes in a way that an email just can’t.
3. Disconnect from the twisted world of mainstream media
I rarely watch television at all. Tonight I watched a spectacular movie and found it utterly enthralling as I don’t make time for the boob tube. TV devours time and I have so little to spare, I certainly do not want to waste my precious minutes on comedic reruns and infomercials. I also try to limit my exposure to News. I purposely try to remain ignorant to the goings on in the News. I have always felt manipulated by the people broadcasting the stories so I never really feel informed but rather exposed to an opinion piece designed to make me think and react a certain way. Now now, I am not pulling out my tinfoil hat, just yet, but I am not sure that my life is enriched by knowing the atrocities that are happening. I am doing my best to better my corner of the universe, and really that is all I can do.
4. Re-wallpaper your home
I may not be surrounded by real maps but my life is filled with articles and photos and objects that inspire me. Each time I bike I map my journey and then create new plotted destination points to let my imagination ride away to.
5. Cook one-pot meals
Good golly I have been doing this for YEARS. I mean I actually try to create mouthwatering meals using as few cooking utensils as possible. One pot wonders rock my world. Less dishes, less washing, less water used!
6. Sell your fridge
Lacto-fermentation and dehydrating are two homesteading skills that will be useful on the road or at the homestead. This addresses our cultural need to hoard food as Tom puts it, and truthfully, trying to make food “last” longer usually ends up with us wasting MORE food. I feel a zero-waste lesson being learned right now. Ohh Ahh Light bulb moment for me.
7. Turn out your wardrobe
Haven’t I been talking about purging my closet that is bursting at the seams?! I really don’t want to be ruthless, I want to be thoughtful about the purge. I get rid of a few bags of clothes here and there and if I am not wearing items that remain, I take another gander in there and get rid of a few more. Soon I might actually have room for skeletons in there.
8. Move out of most of your house
When I moved into my huge house, I spent a lot of time hiding in the closet, sitting in the stairwell and vegetating at the kitchen table. I really did not know what to do with all this space. I used to like in a 650 square feet condo and I have lived in a converted garage as well two rented rooms. I mean as a teenager I fit my whole life into one room (other than needing to make runs to the shared bathroom). I am a pocket sized girl and I feel comfortable in small spaces. I would not be so obsessed with tiny houses and alternative homes if I wasn’t.
9. Quit electricity
I do have electricity. I do use electricity, but not like a lot of people. Right now I am sitting in a room typing by the glow of the computer screen. I have an electric clock which i want to replace with a wind up one. I have the computer and fridge and stove and teapot which I truly do appreciate in all their plug in glory. I am in love with my electric hand blender and some recipes are far better with the dinky little food processor but a mortar and pestle work fine. I have a washer and dryer but I am learning to wash clothes by hand and hang them. Did I mention I am not a fan of TV? Yeah, I can do with less electricity. Even in 100 degree heat I only broke out a fan. Usually I would camp outside in the back yard rather than use electricity to cool off but that is another story and now we are onto camping.
I love camping but I will admit I am scared to camp alone. I am not bothered by the wilds as a female alone but it is (un)civilization that causes me concern. This is something I will need to get over or around. The moonlight calls me.
11. Become an observer
I used to love photography. Not digital but real film and the smell of developer and the magic of photos appearing in baths of chemicals. I love foraging and feeling like I am apart of the environment and in tune with the rhythms of nature. I am enjoying farm fresh eggs and eating in season and biking and homesteading observe and revere this equally.
12. Do nothing more
There is a meditative quality to pedaling and gardening, to kneading bread and riding swiftly down a hill. There is something that calms the spirit and frees the mind. I am addicted to the sensation.
13. Talk to strangers
I once found an older gentleman in my driveway admiring my garden. There is something about alternative lifestyles that intrigue and inspire people to want to talk to to me about what I am doing and why I am doing it.
14. Repack your life into four panniers and a bar-bag
Simplify and downsize! Clutter clutters up all aspects of my life from the physical realm to the emotional one. What could I do with less stuff? I am sure I would feel more free!
15. Practice the art of non-verbal communication
This one had more to do with foreign travel but I am going to go out on a limb and just say a smile goes a long way.
Self sufficiency has a way of freeing people. Yeah, it is easy to say I am doing things the hard way by making things from scratch or even biking as a way of travel but the truth is there is an art to the actions, and the effort is such a fulfilling expression of myself I cannot imagine two life styles more complimentary or satisfying.