- Hello Trybe, Let Me Introduce Myself
There is nothing more satisfying than being able to provide for yourself. It doesn’t matter if that means building your own structure, growing your own food, raising and bonding with your animal’s or doing your own mechanical work. Being able to do what you want on a whim is a great feeling. This is how I live and being the change I want to see, I’ve been able to divest myself from the system and am fully self-reliant.
(Nietzsche and I at Indian Cave in Nebraska. There are over 20 miles of trails there and we had a blast. It was early in the season, so we had the whole place to ourselves. All images are property of the author)
Growing up in Michigan, weekends in the National forest or by the lake at my grandparent’s cottage were the norm. There’s water and forests everywhere and nearly everyone camp’s, hunts and are in some form or another into a water sport. My mother enrolled me in Water Babies at nine months old, so I have always been comfortable in all of the elements. I don’t remember ever not knowing how to swim.
(The banner shows my tiny home and was taken during my experience learning to build with Cob. This was during the summer of 2015 in Coal Creek Canyon, Colorado.)
After 9/11 the economy in Michigan was one of the first to collapse and residents were leaving in droves. I was one of the many casualties along with my best friend Brian. Michigan had the second highest unemployment rate in the country.
Both I and Brian decided to leave Michigan permanently after having trouble finding work. Myself after nine months of looking for employment to no avail and Brian a couple years later. Before this I had only lived outside of the state once for 16 months as a teenager and vacationed outside of it one time, so this was a huge decision for me and a bit scary.
I left for New Mexico after extensive research, winging it with no actual destination, my dog and what would fit in my Bonneville. New Mexico was not a good place to find employment and the climate wasn’t to my liking, so Nebraska was my second destination and where I made my new home.
Brian was supposed to come with me, but couldn’t get his business settled in a time period, which would work for me so I took off without him. A couple years later he was finally ready to make a new life outside of Michigan and he moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming.
After he did so, I decided to visit him in Wyoming and it changed my life. There are no mountains in Michigan, just rolling hills and dunes, so this was the one element I hadn’t experienced.
Brian was a lover of the road and went on spontaneous road trips often. I wouldn’t have experienced as much of Michigan as I had if not for him. On one of his road trips into Northern Colorado on the scenic HWY 287 he found the first mountain that beckened him to climb and invited me for a visit to accompany him on a three day backpacking trip in 2013. (Ironically his life was cut short in a collision with a Semi on this very same road the following year.)
We had all the necessary gear, since we were both avid campers, but only out of our car, not a backpack. Our bags weighed 60 pounds a piece 😂 and the mountain kicked our asses. Regardless, I fell in love with the activity and vowed to lighten my load in the future.
(This is a photo of Brian from the hike referenced)
I began to research and buy equipment, test it, buy more equipment, do more research, got sidetracked into Survival and Bushcraft, back to Ultralight Backpacking and finally putting it all together with a goal to live independently, naturally and off-grid.
(Nietzsche and I hiking the Eldorado Canyon Trail in Eldorado Springs, Colorado. Nietzsche is a Dobermen/Small Terrier mix.)
A Brief Summary of my Journey
I am your basic male commitmentophobe, so I traveled America, mostly renting rooms from Craigslist and camping primitively through New Mexico, Arizona, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri and finally settling back in Omaha, Nebraska where I have adopted an elderly couple as my family.
(I call this the Goblin and shot this after going off trail in Vedauwoo, Wyoming. This is not on the beaten path, so you are one of a select few to see this natural formation.)
My Early Life
I had a very unstable childhood and am the oldest of three boys raised by a single mom on welfare. My middle brother shared a father with me, whom we didn’t meet until I was 13 years old. My youngest brother is half Hispanic and didn’t meet his father until he was 18 years old.
The situation influenced me to rebel at the age of 12, along with my middle brother. We did what we wanted, when we wanted and however we wanted to do it. We lived on the streets off and on until the State stepped in and took us from our mother.
My youngest brother would soon follow suit and we were all separated throughout our teenage years. So of course, this part of our lives toughened us up and ensured we’d be survivor’s, but caused us to grow apart, as well.
I was in five different security levels while a Ward of the State, because I escaped from from the previous four and lived on the streets for extended periods of time.
This obviously had a huge influence on my life and explains why I just can’t seem to settle and fully call a place home. I only truly feel free when I am on the road, enjoying the journey with no set destination. My experiences have also caused me to have bit of a different perspective than most on just about any topic.
Because of my strong need for independence, I have had many tough experiences, lived life at nearly every economic level and have acquired many skills, mostly in the trades. I am a Jack of All Trades, but not quite the Master of any. If I haven’t done it, I’ll figure it out. I have been fortunate to have found a way to live by my rules and have lived the last seven years trading my skills for a place to park my Tiny Home and board.
My Current Path
This allows me to live and travel quite cheaply, so many of my trips are working vacations, rather than luxurious get-a-ways and I prefer it this way. I love to help people, learn new things and have found a few great communities like HelpX and Workaway, which connects people looking for a hand and volunteers wanting to lend a hand.
(The Cob Cottage and community that I spent the summer of 2015 working in and with.)
This is how my love of Natural Building was born and I was fortunate to be able to spend the summer in Coal Creek Canyon, Colorado learning how to build a Cob Cottage.
This is where I met quite a few great individuals and gained a tonne of knowledge to help make the hard work of living a self-sustainable life much easier through Permaculture and learning about the need for a strong community.
Each year since this experience, I have travelled every summer to help fellow homesteaders and have built chicken coups, greenhouses, outdoor bathhouses, repaired horse barns, built rolling gates from scratch, installed solar systems, built solar hot water heaters, installed solar run pump systems to bring running water from a stream to the house and much more. All were created from recycling scavenged materials and I consider myself a Professional Scavenger.
(Out in the elements in the middle of nowhere is the only time I truly feel free. This shot was taken from my Heart Lake Trail hike near Nederland, Colorado.)
I most closely Identify with a Primitive Voluntarist Free Market ideology and have no want to participate in the current Corporatocracy, which governs the world. I have mostly been able to achieved this.
I hope you enjoyed reading this portion of my journey through life and if you subscribe, there will much more and I hope to build new friendships through Trybe and meet more Homesteaders/Urbansteaders, which will be happy to host me while we trade knowledge, have fun and build strong community.
What I’ll be sharing with you.
Look for upcoming blogs of my adventures, reviews of the many products I have actually used, the many projects I have going on at my current residence, the many photo’s I’ll be sharing in albums through blogs, the identification of edible and medicinal plants I bring to you through my hikes, tips and tricks for basic survival and learn along with me, while I build new things and try new methods.
This up coming Spring I’ll be turning a portion of my yard into a hugelkulture garden and sharing the experience.
I hope life unfolds on your terms and remember to get outside and bond with your environment.