Wednesday, January 25
Dreaming Hippie Dreams
Ah, hippie dreams! It's amazing where the impetus of the bike has taken me so far, and where it directs my thoughts, hopes and dreams now.
Oddly, cycling has pushed me more toward a lifestyle where a bike would almost cease to be a necessity. Self-sufficiency. Off-grid. Homestead. Of course I would never cut the bike out of that deal. But it's utility in that context would be much reduced.
My lovely wife emailed me yesterday with a link to a real estate page for a 150+ acre forested property 12 miles from our hometown in Kentucky. It has a water source, lots of southern exposure, a ridgetop, cleared land and some structures. Her message was: "If we were to ever move back and start a hippy commune--"
When her email came I was researching rammed earth construction techniques. It's like we share a brain or something...
In the midst of my fantasizing I mapped a potential bike commute to town from the land. 12.8 miles with only 390 feet of elevation gain (on the trip home). My current commute is between 9 and 11 miles with 600 feet of gain. Of course bike commuting conditions are vastly different there. And it rains A LOT more.
But the possibilities stormed through my head all day. And last night we brainstormed the idea for quite awhile. It's tantalizing.
The major obstacle, as always, is money. After all, I was not born with a bamboo spoon in my mouth. At least one of us would have to somehow be gainfully employed to make the mortgage payment. We'd have to pay property taxes. And we wouldn't leap fully formed from Zeus' head as a sustainable homestead. There would be a transition period, to go from partially self-sufficient to fully self-sufficient. The transition period would be the crux and the make-or-break time.
There would be some costs. To be 100% off grid we'd need at least a modest PV system. We'd need tools. We'd need certain supplies. It would take time. But it would be an amazing life adventure.
I'm still planning and scheming. Fantasizing with better data.
We left Kentucky because I couldn't find gainful employment. But we left during a period when I had skewed goals. I believed I needed to make as much money as possible to get by. I don't believe that anymore, and Mandy shares that belief so long as our basic needs are assured.
I'm not saying we're planning on moving back as of today. Our conversation so far has been an exercise to define the boundaries of what we want, where we want to go and what we want to do. Even if we spend the rest of our lives in Colorado this thinking helps us to pin down some goals and better define our dreams. But who knows which direction this line of thinking will lead?
And then there are possibilities I had not even considered: Carbon offset payments through the Appalachian Carbon Partnership