Living in the elements out of doors a lot can wear on you.
Last May, I went to the very Land’s End tip of Baja and lived there until August, outside almost 24/7, even for sleeping (bugs an issue, too). Hot and humid. 90/90.
Came back to San Jose, immediately adopted another off-grid living situation, and had regular heat waves into the 100s through September.
October brought cold and by November, some of the coldest Bay-Area CA has seen in a while. Outside all day long in the 30s and 40s.
Then the El Niño rain. And rain, soggy ground, and trench foot if you’re outside all the time (got some rubberized shoes with thin soles). Being outside and adapted is essential; otherwise, you’ll just hunker up in a small RV space and be annoyed by four dogs wanting in and out a million times per day.
You confront trade-offs you never considered before. You calculate based on levels of relative misery.
This is not a cuddly safe space. Those are for top universities rich parents pay for coddled children to attend, in hopes they won’t embarrass them.
Columbia University will thus maintain its position as the most expensive Ivy League college for undergraduate students. Dartmouth tuition stands at $55,365 for next year, Cornell at $54,645, Penn at $53,976, Brown at $53,136, Yale at $52,700, Harvard at $52,650, and Princeton at $49,069.
Hey, if you had the money, is upwards of a half million over four years—including room, board, suitably appropriate labeled clothing, ski trips, spring trips, bail, payoffs, etc.—too much to pay in hopes of not being embarrassed too badly? Although, there is still that “safe space” deal. Of course, the real reason rich people shell out that kind of money for college is way more complicated. It’s in part buying them a ticket to loot, another part placing them in a situation of unearned status, and another part making them beholden to entrenched status quo privilege. I could go on.
There, I’ve gone and digressed.
…Living at the extremes of what’s doable with a few thousand dollars worth of things I bought—including all the solar off-grid stuff—and then toughing it out is an experience I just wouldn’t trade for anything. Bonus that it was serendipitous. One thing just led to another and I never over-thought, analyzed, or calculated any option, any move. This is important. Most people I know are completely paralyzed as human beings. They are so afraid something won’t work out (so what?) that they never make a single big move in their entire lives.
A human life ought to be dominated by big moves. Those moves should be well spiced with uncertainty and risk.
Soon, we’ll be in the immaculate cabin in the Sierras, at least through August. As far as the plan goes. There may be a Europe trip for a week or so in July.
Summers are crazy fine there, and I have improvement plans. Half of the basement is still unfinished dirt, and on a slope. I’ll have to dig out under and shore the foundation a section at a time so that I can lay down level flooring.
I’m going to build me a workshop. Wood; maybe even metal and glass.
Just another barefoot step in my own jungle of self-direction. I’m unsure as to whether it won’t make a difference, be a bust, or a bounty. There is no way to know. Those who eschew new things over uncertainty are simply hiding from fear, faking thoughtfulness.
There is no thoughtfulness in acting on the fear of uncertainty in ordinary life. Security is an illusion attributable more to luck and status than to anyone’s calculations.