Boycotting the Power Grid

Our power was shut off today–just like that!  With the flip of a switch (or whatever they do to shut off power) everything went quiet.  Baby was watching Veggietales on VHS (Yes…!  We still watch those.  :  )P  ) and all-of-a-sudden, a quiet click…and silence.  She looked at me, and I just thought for a moment we had overloaded the breaker.  Then I realized, we were only running one little T.V. and the fridge.  That wouldn’t cause a shut down.

Then…I remembered that pink paper that had arrived in the mail about a week or so ago; the one that said we needed to pay our bill by such-and-such date, or ZAP!  –We’d be cut off.  Ooops!  Guess I forgot to note that little ‘pink slip’.  So…I located the oh-so-colorful notice, and…sure-enough, the last day to pay was…(YIKES) yesterday!  ‘Guess that might have had something to do with our lack of power.  :  /

In an instant, I was on the phone with a ‘robot customer service rep’; giving away most of the money we had left.   I was told our power would be back on between “…two hours time and midnight tonight.”  Oh well…!  Those are the breaks when you forget to pay the power piper.

Which brings me back to the instant after our power went off.  Most folks would feel quite defeated, upset, perhaps even come unglued.  Me…?  I felt a calmness, a peaceful feeling of quiet and comfort at the absence of that hum of being on the grid of power.  The feeling I had was akin to having a huge boulder (the burden of bills) being lifted off of my shoulders.  I sighed a relief in that very moment.

Explaining the sudden interruption of cartoons to my little-one took some persuading, but soon…we were outside, playing in the yard…rummaging around in Peniki.  I was wishing we were still living and traveling in our old hippie van.  I love that van…more than I’ve ever loved any material object!  I’m not sure why, other than she has saved us from homelessness several times.  She has hosted many afternoons of laughter, even a few tears, and reading in the quiet comforts of her fold down bed; the dim light powered by Mother Nature, and solar power (off the grid!).

I thought today, after the power shut down, about just how vulnerable we all are!  How we rely so completely on the grid of power, the water department, the gas company…and any others we succumb to on a monthly basis.  It makes me miss our vagabond days in Peniki, that much more.  I know it’s the wave of the future, going solar and such.  For a while now, I’ve felt there would be a paradigm shift towards a freer alternative to working to pay bills…just to work to pay bills…just to work, to pay bills.  It’s an endless cycle.  We all get snared.

Even still, I can’t stop thinking about how I responded to the cutting off of our power today.  It was a reality check, if-you-will.  –An insight into true freedom…and independence from working just to pay for stuff we really weren’t meant to have in the first place.  We’ve all gone soft!  And been forced to rely on something, for the sake of the vicious cycle.

Like the Native Americans, or natives of any land, we weren’t meant to live on the grid, get our pre-packaged food from the stores, pay others to build our homes…caravans…whatever abode we choose.  We, as able-bodied humans, were given all the necessary skills to nurture, so we…ourselves, could rely on we…ourselves. 

Though we are now backed into a corner, most of us.  Not only do we need gasoline to fuel our vehicles, but we also buy so many things that are manmade of artificial ingredients (plastic, instead of paper, driving instead of riding a bike (which is also made of plastics and such), or better-yet, going back to the horse and caravan (buggie) days.  I realize how much I alone, have contributed to the endless cycle of spinning our wheels to go nowhere but to work…to pay bills we were never really meant to have.

So, in a nutshell: I’m thinking even more now than ever before, about getting off the grid.  Instead of paying a monthly electric bill, have solar and wind power…along with sufficient batteries for power.  –Relying on natural burning fuel (propane canisters) for heat, cooking, and hot water.  –Using candles, oil lamps, and battery lighting to light our place after dark.

I know…!  Not quite off the grid, because we’d still be relying on plastics, artificial fuels and such.  Still, I know which way I’d like to go with being independent of utilities companies and bills.  I’m quite sure, in our day and age, it wouldn’t be allowed.  As the Good Book says, Man will dominate man to his own injury (to paraphrase).

As for me, I’ll take the ‘rough road’ any day.  I somehow feel, the path less taken is much more worth the effort and opposition I am likely to face along the way.  And I’ll take the peace and quiet of off-grid living, and the time (which no amount of money can buy back) I will have with my family…instead of working endless hours–a lifetime– to pay for the ‘so called’ easy life.  Nah..!  Not for meAnd I know I’m not alone on this.  The world is coming around.  I see it coming–soon…soon.

 

Hippie Van Travels: Camping on St. George Island

Remembering a wonderful stop along our Hippie Van Road Trip — St. George Island in the Florida panhandle!

Click on Pic for more…

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Ringing in the New Year…on the Sands of Time

Memories of one New Year, spent on the Sands of Time.

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THE BIG MOVE TO G-TOWN– Week 1

Peniki & Uhaul Ready to go

Just a few months ago…we pulled into Galveston with everything we owned in a 17 foot U-Haul truck, and Peniki (our old Hippie van) safely strapped on a car trailer.  We were high on hope and full of dreams; we were.  Arriving at around 3 am, we found an out-of-the-way spot on the seawall, crawled up into our old VW on the car-hauler…and fell in ‘til morning.  We’d be heading over later to unload all of our stuff into our 10×15 storage unit that we’d pre-arranged weeks ahead of our move. 

So there we were, soundly sleeping…exhausted and happy to finally be in Galveston.  For several years we’d been trying to make a move.  For several years we’d been locked in the rent-race and living paycheck to paycheck; never enough money to save or travel.  Finally…we were really newbie transplants to the island—we were finally islanders. 

“Yes…!”  I said to myself as I awoke that morning to the sunrise out over the Gulf of Mexico.  It hadn’t all just been a dream after-all.  Baby was still soundly sleeping beside me.  Nico was next to her, still snoring away.  I knew he was road-weary after pulling such a rig for hundreds of miles.  I let them both sleep while I sat there and watched the sun come up.  It was beautiful!  Just as I’ve always thought the sunrise is astounding, this one seemed even better than I’d ever witnessed.  Perhaps it was because we had actually made the move and were trying to let it sink-in that we were in Galveston to stay and build our lives and a business; raise a child too.  It was a dream…coming to reality.

So, for a while…I just sat there, mesmerized by the moment that was my here-and-now.  I had no clue how it would all play-out: our establishing ourselves as islanders, our business launch, where we’d end up setting roots and living—in my father-in-law’s motorhome, was the initial plan—who we’d meet along the way, would we be met with success or failure.  I had so many questions that would have to go unanswered…for the time-being.  I wondered too if we’d find a way to get our music out there to the local music scene and start establishing ourselves as musicians more thoroughly in G-Town than we ever had in the city.  I was left to wonder so many things.  I would just have to wait and see.

Having enjoyed some quiet time to be alone with my thoughts, it wasn’t long before Nico was awake and back behind the wheel of the U-Haul truck; we had a busy day ahead of us…we knew.  Me and Baby just stayed sleeping inside Peniki while Nico pulled us a little ways down Seawall and around the corner to Taco Cabana; we were starving and needed to carve out a plan for the day.  Coffee…!  That was all I cared about at the time.  I needed some java-juice and I needed it quick!

A little while later, I was enjoying my black coffee…along with some really delicious bean and cheese tacos that tasted much better than I ever remembered them tasting before; even when we’d have them back in the Fort.  We scoped out the goings-on of our first morning as islanders: noticing that for everyone else, it was just another day.  The hustle and bustle—be-it at a slower pace—the tourists arriving or departing the island, the huge dinosaur-of-an-outdated-motorhome sitting a short distance away from us in the Randall’s parking lot.  I wondered about the occupants of that motorhome for some crazy reason: were they new to the island, had they just gotten here or been here for a while?  To this day, I still don’t know why I gave them a second thought. 

Funny…the things I wonder and think about!  I scare myself at times.  And while I couldn’t actually know about what was going on for other folks, I knew for us, it was the start of a different life; one we’d been trying to transition to for quite some time.  We just sat there and enjoyed ourselves and the down-time we knew wouldn’t last once we got to storage.  It was a morning that will forever stand-out in my memory as the day we arrived; when Galveston made islanders of former city folks.  We so-welcomed the change.    

 

Crossing Texas In A VW Campervan

Lunching With My Chitlins at Hollywood and Vine in Glen Rose, Texas.

Lunching With My Chitlins at Hollywood and Vine in Glen Rose, Texas.

I guess when you have no where to be at any given time, you lose all track of the hours, days, weeks…months.  That’s pretty much how we had been until we drove back across the Texas state line.  Even if we did enjoy our drive on the biways of Tejas, we realized with each mile we came closer to home, that our journey would soon be ending and we’d once again be back in the rat-race.

Some years back, I finally realized that me and the rat race…don’t mix.  People are always in a hurry, they cut you off; even flip you off at times, and they really have no good reason to race to the finish line.  We’ll all have our day at the finish line.  I’m in no hurry to get there.  Which is why our old girl Peniki is the perfect mode of transportation for our little family.

I swear, that old VW can get around town just fine, but she has to go at her own speed.  Being a classic Volkswagen Westfalia, I’d like to think our van has earned seniority in mileage.  Either way, she got us back home…safe and sound.

So many miles we had traveled, and by the end of the day…we were pulling into Fort Worth.  I could hardly wait to see my kids, even though I was already missing the travel…and the next destination; knowing we’d no longer be spending our nights in Peniki.  I was sad for that.

It wasn’t long after our return that we settled back into the old routine, but our journey was still fresh on our minds.  We knew we would have to go again, but we didn’t know quite when.

Here we are, almost 2 years later, and the wanderlust is swelling up inside of us both, though we realize we have responsibilities and Baby is now older with a mind of her own.  It was so easy when she was in her playpen.  We could set up camp while she played safely in her space.

Now, she wanders everywhere and is like a little octopus with too many hands in too many things.  But, she comes by that honestly.  Nico and I are both exploring spirits with curious minds as well.  And there is still so much more to explore.

*Live The Life You Love*

Family Road Trip

Walking to Texas

Walking to Texas

 

— Free Camping at Rest Stops —

It’s funny how scenes, places, conversations, and miles-traveled can all turn into one big blur after a full day on the road. Leaving Natchez Trace Parkway and Rocky Springs Campground was the highlight of this particular stretch for home. Booking it as fast as our old VW Van could travel; topping speeds of 60 mph at times, we made it across the Mississippi state line to Louisiana in one jaunt, and many miles and hours later we found ourselves once again on Texas soil…just barely.

After surrendering my former belief that folks just shouldn’t sleep at Travel Stops or Rest Stops, we bunkered down for the night in our camper van; exhausted and glad to be so close to home. Even if we hadn’t wanted to leave the Florida Keys, the one’s we’d left behind back home insured our return. One thing we know, looking back on it all, is that we knew the place to where we were returning…was surely not where we’d stay.

*Let your heart roam, let your spirit be…like the child you used to see*

Camping Along The Natchez Trace Parkway

Mississippi Alabama Stateline

Mississippi Bi-Way

Entrance to Natchez Trace

Natchez Trace Pkwy

Bridge Over Natchez Trace

Native American History

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Building Campfire

Rocky Springs Campground, Miss

Rocky Springs Campground, Miss