Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Simple Living

Several years ago, I thought up what I called the "caveman" diet. I figured we had evolved to eat certain things, in certain quantities, and that's what I should be eating. My basic idea was that if I couldn't picture a human being eating it 20,000 years ago, I shouldn't be eating it today. No processed foods, no cheetos, no sodas, no other manufactured stuff. Just raw fruits and vegetables, chunks of meat, stuff like that. I thought about it a lot, but didn't ever follow through on it, partly because that kind of food is expensive and I didn't have the money, and partly because I had bad eating habits that I didn't put enough effort towards breaking.

Cut to present day. I found a website about a technique called "The Primal Blueprint." This is basically my diet idea, but blown up to a full-on lifestyle, and of course written better and more thoroughly than I could have ever hoped to do. I don't think I'll endorse too many other blogs with this blog, but this one deserves special attention I think.

So what does this have to do with my homestead? Well, the blog post title says it all. Permaculture (in its most pure form at least), and my permaculture homestead in particular, are part of a movement towards simplicity. Most of the ten blueprint guidelines listed in The Primal Blueprint are things I will HAVE to do on my homestead. I won't list all of the guidelines in my blog, because I think the people at marksdailyapple.com would rather you visit their site, and I can't fault them for that, but all the guidelines definitely fit into the permaculture lifestyle, and with the simple living lifestyle as well. I recommend this blog for anyone trying to simplify their lives, investigate their diet, or just plain lose weight (like me). I'll keep you posted if I read anything else interesting from them.

Finally, this post serves as sort of an introductory post to my thoughts on simple living. That concept is also something behind my homestead idea, though I haven't voiced it very much so far. I will give a brief run-down of my thoughts on it here, and expand later.

I went on a weeklong backpack trip to the Grand Canyon in the middle of October last year. When I came back and had to work my way back into the hustle and bustle of modern life, I was a little overwhelmed. Work was too fast for me, driving was too fast for me, and dealing with all the stuff my students threw at me was way too much for me. Life in general seemed like too much, and it took me at least another week to adjust back. I started to discuss this with some of my friends and colleagues, in particular the art teacher at my high school, Porter. Porter had attended a primitive technology conference, and experienced many of the same feelings I had experienced upon returning to "civilization." I came to realize that I felt happiest when I'm out on a backpacking trip, working hard, carrying a heavy pack, and generally being physically miserable. And that coming back to air-conditioning, comfortable chairs, fast people, faster food, fast life in general, I was less comfortable than when I was giving all of that stuff up. There has to be something to it. Backpacking has come to be my symbol for the simple, primitive lifestyle. And I kind of think about the internship I want, and my homestead in general, as a long-term, or possibly life-long, backpacking trip. I hope I can find the joy in simplicity on my homestead that I find when I'm out in the wilderness on a backpack.

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