Many of you may be wondering what my financial situation is. I get asked about my relationship with money a lot, which makes sense since most of us feel that we need enough money to be able to really pursue our passions. I believe that I am living proof that that is just not true.
After 3 years in the making, I’m so excited to finally bring to you my Sustainable Living Series. The series documents my off the grid bike ride across America on a bamboo bicycle where I practiced sustainable living to the extreme. In 4,700 miles of cycling, I used just 160 gallons of water, burned less than one gallon of gas, never turned on a light switch and created only 2 pounds of trash. That is 80x less water, 200x less trash, 600x less fossil fuels, and 1,000 times less electricity than the average American! Plus I ate nearly 300 pounds of food from grocery store dumpsters to prove just how much perfectly good food we’re wasting in the USA.
The things I did were extreme but in this series you’ll learn how your daily actions affect the world around you both near and far. The episodes are food, waste, water, transportation, and energy and each episode informs you in an inspirational and fun way. By the end of the series, you will know the basics behind sustainable living and what you can do to live more sustainably without going nearly to the extremes that I did on my journey. Each episode ends with what you can do to be the change you wish to see.
At the age of 29, I now own fewer possessions than I’ve ever owned in my entire life. After years of downsizing I have achieved one of my long-sought-after goals of being able to fit everything I own into a backpack that fits comfortably on my back. It has been a long road of transition making continual progress little by little.
I’m auctioning my tiny home and 100% of the proceeds will be donated to build tiny homes for the homeless.
January 29th is my one year anniversary of living off the grid in this tiny home. It has been an incredible experience but in my quest to live simply giving away my home is the next step. I will now travel my country and the world, lending my hands to bring strength and courage to those in need (more on this here). I will not have a physical home for the time being but by embracing the earth as my home, I believe that I will never be homeless. Lately I’ve become more aware of the vast wealth gap, where a small percentage of people hold so much money while others have so little. I am not rich in financial wealth but there are many people with less than I, living on the streets of the USA, and I know that they could use the comforts and security of a home much more than I.
In 2011 a personal revolution started in my mind. Many people who’ve under gone serious personal transformation speak of a moment of clarity or a drastic event that woke them up, I have personally gone through a serious transformation from Drunk Dude to Dude Making a Difference however I had no moment of clarity and no specific event that woke me up. Rather my shift came from an accrual of knowledge that is available to us. Some of that came from moving to San Diego in January of 2011 and surrounding myself with open-minded people. Some of it came naturally by finding better things to do with my time then drink alcohol and smoke weed. But I give the most credit to the information I gained through films, books, and Internet articles.
Not that long ago, my main priorities included binge drinking every weekend, looking good, and macking on pretty much every good looking girl I saw. I also wanted to be rich and to own lots of really impressive things. I was pretty tuned into that life and didn’t really think too much about how my actions affected the environment, people around the world, and the animals that we share the earth with. I was pretty selfish and if I did think about my actions I certainly didn’t do much about it. I did recycle, shut off the lights and water, and eat healthier than the average person I knew and I thought that was doing pretty good. But the list of negative environmental impacts was far greater than my positive impacts (which was nearly nonexistent). I owned two cars, shopped at Walmart for my food and my cheap crap, drank the cheapest beer I could find, took home my share of plastic bags, wasted plenty of water, ate too much meat, needed the newest gadgets always, and the list could go on and on. Not that any of these things are inherently bad but they definitely were not deeply serving myself or the earth.
You may have already heard a few appalling facts about food waste but just in case you haven’t, here are a few tidbits of information to catch you up on the issue.
-We throw away 165 billion dollars worth of food per year in America. That’s more than the budgets for America’s national parks, public libraries, federal prisons, veteran’s health care, the FBI, and the FDA combined.
-About 50 million of our 317 million Americans are food insecure yet we produce enough food to feed over 500 million Americans.
-To create just the amount of food that ends up in the landfills we waste enough water to meet the domestic water needs of every American citizen.
Even with these mind-blowing statistics you probably still need to see it to believe it. That is where I come in.
This weekend I arrived in New York City from my second bike ride across America living on food from grocery store dumpsters. On my first ride dumpster diving across America, about 70% of my diet came from dumpsters, totaling up to about 280 pounds of food over 4,700 miles of cycling.
As I write this I am traveling America without a penny in my pocket. I left my home in San Diego on June 2nd with $2,000 cash and on August 12th I took a leap of faith in humanity and gave the last $421 I had with me to a non-profit. I made the goal that day of finishing my ride to New York City moneyless just to prove to myself and others that it is possible. Today I arrived in New York City on my bicycle, still without a penny in my pocket. People have tried to give me money but I have easily refused it.
This experience is about much more than just not spending money. It’s about showing that you and I can be contributing members to society whether we have money or not. It’s about showing that there are much more rewarding ways to live than just throwing money at every situation. It’s about living a life that is truly beneficial to the earth, my community, and myself. It’s about being more involved in our communities and treating each other with respect. And it’s also about teaching you how to live with less money so that you can follow your dreams and live independently of corrupted systems that don’t serve your best interests.