November 8, 2017

Roughing It In The Woods

Last stop and resting place for this school bus conversion that I found while out for a bike ride in the woods.
It had a wood stove, gas range, counter tops, kitchen sink, two bunk beds, and tables to seat eight.
Landscaping provided by Mother Nature.

One reason I enjoy a stripped down lifestyle is because it is more like roughing it. I like roughing it, and always have. Tenting, living out of a van, cabin or shelter all bring one closer to living harmoniously in, and with, Nature.

There are lessons to be learned here, not all of them comfortable or easy.

Life is not suppose to be perpetually easy and luxurious. Nor is it in our DNA to live in chronic speediness and complexity. Civilization and its marketing branch, consumer culture, makes us soft, dependent, and unprepared to deal with change.

It makes us depressed and dumbed down.

Our bellies, our morals and our minds, all suffer from a morbid slackness, barely held together by thick leather belts of excuses and justifications. Lulled by the easy life, we come to lack intellectual curiosity.

We have been stupefied by stuff. Stifled by silliness. Stultified by the system.

Living simply in a consumer culture is a form of "roughing it". Like other forms of closer-to-nature living, it helps us appreciate what we have, is more physical and healthful, and fosters skills of independence and resilience.

In his book, A Walk In The Woods, author Bill Byrson talks about hiking and camping in a way that describes my experiences roughing it rather well.

"Life takes on a neat simplicity, too. Time ceases to have any meaning. When it is dark, you go to bed, and when it is light again you get up, and everything in between is just in between. It’s quite wonderful, really. 
You have no engagements, commitments, obligations, or duties; no special ambitions and only the smallest, least complicated of wants; you exist in a tranquil tedium, serenely beyond the reach of exasperation, “far removed from the seats of strife,” as the early explorer and botanist William Bartram put it."

I have always enjoyed the feeling I get while hiking, camping, and living on the road. Liked it so much, that it became the model for the rest of my life. I want to feel tranquil and content when I go out into the woods. But I also want to feel that way at home.

I want to feel that sweetness all the time. It is quite wonderful.


  1. Anonymous11/09/2017

    Modern life can quite comfortable, hot water, central heating, take away food, junk food and unlimited entertainment. These things can also cause boredom and a lack of purpose. I finished work late yesterday and went out for run in the rain, nobody was around and it felt peaceful. Upon returning I took a cold shower and just went to bed. It's nice to try new things. It's good to train harder in different ways such as increasing meditation times and more time in nature. I don't think I could just work and consume and then get lost in entertainment at the end of the day. It just makes people numb and depressed.

    1. Alex,

      I think numb and depressed pretty well sums up the effects of a modern consumer lifestyle. We are oppressed since childhood, but don't even know it. Chronic oppression has some very negative consequences, like being rendered numb and depressed. Modern life suppresses all that is good about the human spirit.

      The good news is that we can free ourselves. You, and so many others that gather here in the agora that is NBA , are examples of those of us that are working on emancipating ourselves. We can free our minds. We can choose to throw off the chains oppression and manipulation.

  2. If you were ever to put together a book of blog posts, I'd like to see this one in it. There was a stirring deep inside as I read and re-read it. I like the quote. Something about being "out there" does the same thing to me that you eloquently describe in this prose. Terri

    1. Terri,

      One of the most awful things I have ever heard someone utter was, "I'm just not INTO nature." Imagine if nature wasn't into them. Death. It is like saying, "I'm just not into air." Or water. Or soil. Insects. Natural medicines.

      To me Nature is EVERYTHING, including me. When I am in nature I feel 100% at home. Peace.

  3. I loved this post (as I do all your posts). Posts like this really touch me - I long for a more simple life. I dream of living a life where I can let go of a grueling commute and just live. Someday. Someone who wrote about this kind of life (and the reason this post really caught my eye) was Louise Dickinson Rich in her book "We Took To The Woods". Have you read it? I love it! Bryson's book "A Walk in the Woods" Is another favorite. Cheers!

    1. Karen,

      I think I dreamed of a simple life for the first 40 years of my existence. Then things started to click, and conditions were right to make the big move to a little life. If your dream is strong, it will happen. Oh, yes. It will.

      Thank you for mentioning Rich's book. I am mad for the woods. I will be looking that up. Also plan on reading more Bryson. Good stuff for the upcoming winter season. It is just starting to drop below zero Celsius now. A wood fire, a good friend and a good book. Peace.


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