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.
There was a time when I wore shoes. I had all kinds, too: hiking shoes, winter boots, business shoes, running shoes, flip flops, slip-ons, slippers, Velcro shoes, skateboard shoes, water shoes, athletic sandals… and the list could go on and on. I think it’s safe to say that I liked shoes. I probably owned around a dozen pairs at any one point in my early adulthood.
But as I grew a bit older (I’m still very young) I decided to start pushing my limits. I decided to break free of my preconceived notions of what was possible. I wanted to push the boundaries of my body. And ultimately, I wanted to live simply, free of many of the modern luxuries and conveniences that so many of us consider necessities.I had an idea that our feet could function just fine without shoes. I had an idea that our bodies had evolved over hundreds of thousands of years WITHOUT shoes on our feet, and that today, our feet could probably still do just as well without them. In fact, I had an inkling that my feet might even be better off without shoes.
I had an idea that our feet could function just fine without shoes. I had an idea that our bodies had evolved over hundreds of thousands of years WITHOUT shoes on our feet and that today, our feet could probably still do just as well without them. In fact, I had an inkling that my feet might even be better off without shoes.
So I started to give it a try. Growing up I had done a fair share of being barefoot at the beach, playing in the fields, swimming, etc. But I’d never really tested the boundaries of these bad boys.
It’s been 4 months since I moved into my tiny house and life is splendid! It has come along a bit slower than planned because of travels and other projects but today I felt it was finally time to share my life, off the grid, in the city! I am living a very low impact lifestyle- harvesting rainwater, eating local, harnessing the energy of the sun, composting, and riding my bamboo bike around town.
This is the least amount of stuff I’ve owned, quite possibly since the beginning of my owning of stuff.
For years and years I wanted stuff and I wanted a lot of it. I grew up thinking that a big house behind a big fence was what I wanted when I was older. I dreamed of having a really shiny car. I wanted boats and jet skis. I wanted to really impress people with my stuff.
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.
I wrote this for myself, but thought I might as well make it public because I could see it being helpful for some people. This is how I live when I am functioning at peak happiness, health, and freedom. These are the basic elements to way of living. It could seem rigorous but most of it is simply my way of being so it takes little perceived work. I write it down though to keep a constant reminder of how I want my days, weeks, and months to look. I find that when things are on paper and physically in front of me, they are much more real. It’s not an all inclusive list though, as some things that come completely natural to me are not included such as an abundance of adventure and travel.
As I write this I am traveling the USA 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.
It’s been a huge week in raising awareness about food waste. I created a little media frenzy and my activism was picked up in La Crosse, Madison ran with it, and it blew up in Milwaukee. 14 stories were done between news, newspapers, and radio, and their stories were syndicated by other news outlets around the Midwest as well. There is no doubt that a big impact was made in the Wisconsin region with this campaign.