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.
I remember sitting in the living room of my apartment in San Diego in the summer of 2012. My friend Greg had just gotten rid of his smart phone and traded it in for an old school flip phone. It looked so inconvenient to use. Texting looked like a burden, as did having to call in to listen to voicemails. It did not have access to the Internet. It made me nervous just to think about trying to use that thing to get my work done and keep in touch with friends. I thought I couldn’t live my life without a smart phone.
Earlier this year I was feeling disappointed with the community that I live in. I felt that there was a good level of consciousness here, but very little action to back it up. Every day I was walking past trash cans filled to the top and beaches littered with trash. I heard people talking about being good to the earth, but it seemed to be all talk and little action.
It was around that time that I walked past a new store called Blue Dot Refill. I stepped inside to check it out and my faith in my community was restored by the time I walked out.
This business creates almost no trash and is helping the world do it too!
In one month I create less trash than the average American creates in one day! This video shows how I manage to fit a months worth of my trash into a one-gallon zip lock bag!
Not that long ago I had an entire cabinet full of products to put on my body. Shampoo, conditioner, body wash, deodorant, lotion, cologne, soap, face wash, astringent, toothpaste, mouth wash, and chapstick are a few of the things I can remember but there were more I’m sure. I thought I needed it to look good, smell good, feel good, and be healthy. I also thought since well-known companies made it, that it must all be safe. I assumed I couldn’t really go wrong with an American brand sold in an American store. Everything changed when I started doing a little research. I learned that I’d been persuaded to buy stuff I didn’t really need and had been lied to about the true effects of their products.
Many of you may be wondering what my financial situation is. I get that question often which makes sense since most of us feel that we need enough money to be able to really pursue our passions. I’ve poured my heart into this response.
My net worth is a little under $15,000. This includes all the money I have and every possession that I own. I have $3,200 cash right now and some of my more valuable possessions include my house ($950), bicycle ($2,000), camera ($2,000), computer ($1,000), and clothing ($1,800). I have no debt and not a credit card to my name. Some would say I’m in poverty and strictly in financial terms they’d be right. However, I’m far from living a life of poverty.
In the fall of 2010, I packed most of my belongings into my car and left Wisconsin in search of a warmer climate and new sites. I was also in need of distance from the girl I loved but really I had wanted to get out of the state anyways. I was 24 at the time and my car was a good companion, providing me with the freedom to go wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I made my way down to Florida exploring many of the great states in between and after just a month down there I drove across the country to San Diego, where I still live today.
In the last decade, I have gone from a drunk dude to a dude making a difference. I was wasting away much of my life partying, chasing girls, and being hungover. Don’t get me wrong–I was having a hell of a time, and I was pretty good at it, too. But I decided I really wanted to live a life that was good for the Earth, good for the people and animals I share Earth with, and good for myself. I didn’t know exactly where to start but I knew that the Internet was definitely my friend. I believe that I am largely what I surround myself with. So I aimed to surround myself with positive influences, both online and offline. These are some of the Facebook pages that had a positive influence on me and helped me to live with more happiness, health, and freedom than ever before.
Just a little over two years ago I called my first news station and told them about my adventure, Off the Grid Across the USA. I wanted them to come report and help me spread the word. Sure enough, they showed up. Since then I have cycled across the United States (twice) on a bamboo bicycle, went a year without showering, and dove into over a thousand dumpsters across the United States, all to inspire positive social and environmental change. Dozens of news stations all over the country have helped me to inspire more people than I will ever know. Now I live off the grid in a fifty-square-foot tiny home in San Diego, and they’re covering that too!
It all started with a few ideas. If I can do it, so can you.