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The begining of the rest of my life.
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David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: on being a philosopher ... on 02/17/2013 12:08:42 MST Print View

What we said in the College of Chemistry at Berkeley was,

The Chemical Engineers just want to be Chemists. The Chemists just want to be Physicists. The Physicists just want to be Mathematicians. The Mathematicians just want to be Philosophers. The Philosophers just want to be God.

Unfortunately, however, the pay scale goes the other way.

But give the guy a break. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, "The 20-year-old who doesn't want to be a philosopher has no heart. The 40-year-old who doesn't want a cuben pack has no brain."

Bill Law
(williamlaw) - M

Locale: SF Bay Area
Re: The begining of the rest of my life. on 02/17/2013 12:43:12 MST Print View

There are a lot of folks living along the creeks and under bridges. Some likely got there on purpose, thinking they were setting out to be "nomads." And how exactly is picking leftovers out of a restaurant dumpster not "living with the land?"

Perhaps one person's philosopher is another person's homeless bum? Is it not possible to be a philosopher while still living in a nice house, being gainfully employed, and enjoying a high speed Wifi connection?

I can't help but think that I should be getting "ideas, thoughts, comments, advice, or criticism" from an aspiring philosopher versus providing those things to them. Let me go live the nomadic life for a few months and then I'll get back to you on that.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: The begining of the rest of my life. on 02/17/2013 12:50:13 MST Print View

Daniel Suelo

living without money

Edited by annapurna on 02/17/2013 12:57:16 MST.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: Re: Modern times. on 02/17/2013 13:28:15 MST Print View

Interesting about Krakauer's theory about the sweet pea being poisonous and the doctor's analysis disproving it but maybe it was mold...

Whatever caused his death, he was quite successful for quite a while, in Alaska and previously.

Two lessons - you can live in the wild, but there's risk

Hk Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
... actual modern nomads on 02/17/2013 13:45:30 MST Print View

Not really a philosopher myself, but think we need to start with definitions. Are you thinking of being a thru-hiker or a nomad living off the land? Having worked with parts of a Central Asian nomadic system, actual nomads constantly deal with settled communities over pastures (sometimes resolved over AK-47's). Why? It's tough getting enough calories to eat, even via livestock. Calories will be an issue unless you have money, without relying on others significantly.

With sustenance hunting for meat, there may be game warden problems unless you have a license. Backpacker mag had an article several years back on a lady who subsisted on poaching mostly small game (snare's, net's, etc..) with run-in's with the law, so even a diet of squirrel and assorted rodentia may bring unwanted attention. Probably depends on the state - heck, some graduate assistants at my college would cook road kill. Two sides to that, I guess, but local law needs to be looked at.

So maybe a seasonal job (mostly winter in the northern Hemisphere), or a full-time job while moonlighting a second or even third one (had 1 fulltime plus 2 part-time moonlighting jobs myself at one time). Live off your part-time gig and bank the rest (after taxes) for adventure. Kind of like thru-hiker Francis Tarpon wrote -- save money and watch expenses. Maybe learning and eventually teaching survival skills if you are interested in primitive skills? Just generating some more options.

Add: Taking a look at most thru-hikers, the vast majority work and save money by skimping in other areas, .... or find a way to make money writing about their travels, .... or computer work for traveler type backpackers, etc... There's exceptions like the CEO of Whole Foods, sponsored athletes, "trustefarians", etc..


Edited by hknewman on 02/17/2013 15:51:16 MST.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Hope it was a typo on 02/17/2013 15:33:31 MST Print View

If you are really heading south on the AT in March your life long journey will come to a quick end. I would do a bit more homework on the trail and a bit less on the philosophy.

Peter Evans
nature vs urban life. on 02/17/2013 16:08:07 MST Print View

" And how exactly is picking leftovers out of a restaurant dumpster not "living with the land?" "

Well, here you would be living off the waste of modern society, not living off the land as the aboriginals did.

In my opinion, living off the land means getting all your resources from natural and local materials (in the wilderness).

If you really want to stretch your definition then I am "living off the land" here in my living room...
be right back, gone to "forage" in the fridge.

Raquel Rascal

Locale: Rocky Mtn. West
nice on 02/17/2013 16:16:17 MST Print View

I think it's an admirable goal. I find this video about a nomad piano tuner in England inspiring. I like the model of developing a needed skill and living around a city while saving money.

Let us know how it goes?

Hk Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Wegge : Travel the world by trading up on 02/17/2013 16:48:02 MST Print View

Looking at your current bio, here's a guy who worked while trading up to travel the world with no money ... why reinvent the wheel?

Add in your interest in native practices (the technical term is ethnobotany) and who knows? Just make sure you keep a journal for that eventual book.

Edited by hknewman on 02/17/2013 20:55:30 MST.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: on being a philosopher ... on 02/18/2013 17:50:35 MST Print View

"The Chemical Engineers just want to be Chemists. The Chemists just want to be Physicists. The Physicists just want to be Mathematicians. The Mathematicians just want to be Philosophers. The Philosophers just want to be God."

Gosh, I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up.

Paul Magnanti
(PaulMags) - MLife

Locale: People's Republic of Boulder
From XKCD... on 02/18/2013 19:45:49 MST Print View

On a more serious note, you may want to start FROM the south and head north if doing the AT.

Gonna be a hard to trail to live off the land on the heavily populated East Coast, however.

Perhaps it is better to live simply and take it from there.

Edited by PaulMags on 02/18/2013 19:51:27 MST.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: on being a philosopher ... on 02/18/2013 20:38:51 MST Print View

Gosh, I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up.

WHAT? Growing up isn't optional??? Say it ain't so!

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: on being a philosopher ... on 02/18/2013 20:58:40 MST Print View

"WHAT? Growing up isn't optional??? Say it ain't so!"

One of the other directors at my agency says I never acquired any ego or superego, that i'm pure id. What, exactly, does he mean by that? Is it bad?

Dondo .

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: The begining of the rest of my life. on 02/18/2013 22:03:27 MST Print View

Living on the road my friend,
Was gonna keep you free and clean.
Now you wear your skin like iron,
Your breath's as hard as kerosene.

Townes Van Zandt

Thaddeus, as someone who has traveled a similar path and eventually embraced the full catastrophe, I wish you all the best.

More inspiration:

Matthew 6:25-26

25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

Just remember to take care of your teeth.

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Re: Re: The begining of the rest of my life. on 02/19/2013 07:06:27 MST Print View

It sounds like you are going to be a bum to me. Hiking the AT is hardly living off the land, it is a hiker highway where most hikers resupply every few days in town.

If you want to live off the land you need to go west to wide remote places like Alaska or the Yukon. Of course it is odd to ask for advice about this on an internet forum. Before you try this just realize everything you will be giving up, everything you are used to. You will be hungry, cold, hot, wet, stinky. People 100 years ago had hard lives and short life expectancies. You will have it much harder too as most property is private and you are probably not supposed to "live" on public land either so things will be vastly different than the way they were 100 years ago.

Also, if you want to live off the land, good luck to you, but don't be a bum and collect unemployment, welfare, etc (not saying you are) when you have no intention of being a productive member of society. I have no problems with these programs when people are actively looking for employment and trying to help themselves, but they are not intended to finace your own "into the wild" adventure.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: The begining of the rest of my life. on 02/19/2013 07:42:24 MST Print View

"but don't be a bum and collect unemployment, welfare, etc"

unemployment is for a limited time, when you're laid off, limited amount, you have to be looking for a job (but you don't have to try very hard)

welfare "as we know it" has ended. To start, you have to have children.

there aren't a lot of programs you can abuse any more

. .
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: (...)
... on 02/19/2013 17:45:39 MST Print View


Edited by RogerDodger on 07/08/2015 22:18:30 MDT.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: The begining of the rest of my life. on 02/19/2013 17:46:59 MST Print View

"Just remember to take care of your teeth."

+1 The heavenly Father can't be everywhere.

"Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose"

Me and Bobbie McGee by Kris Kristofferson

obx hiker
(obxcola) - MLife

Locale: Outer Banks of North Carolina
"The beginning of the rest of my life." on 02/20/2013 08:00:42 MST Print View

3 things:

1. Eugenius: Your avatar is genius.

2. teeth: My oral hygienist asserts that if you're not going to floss you may as well not brush. I.E. a thorough flossing is key. Several dentist friends concur. Floss is VERY lightweight and also multi-function.... a key attribute amongst this ultralight crowd

3. Granny Gatewood:

Maybe she could be your muse, patron saint or guardian angel. A neighbor who lived for a long time just off the AT near Rockfish Gap in VA used to be regularly visited by Granny and thought her engaging personality might have proven a reliable inspiration to the kindness of strangers enabling her to travel lightly assisted by a regular network of friendly acquaintances living along the trail. I would add though that the "society" of travelers moving up and down the trail any current season tends to become acquainted with each other directly or indirectly and of necessity has limits to its tolerance. I'd imagine the PCT is similar in this regard.

Edited by obxcola on 02/20/2013 08:46:57 MST.

Hk Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Specifics about studying nature.. on 02/20/2013 09:32:59 MST Print View

Great sources all.

In addition to the Foxfire books, learn to identify the plants of an area. Start with some colored pencils and index cards (or "Cambridge notes"), though a weatherproof mini-plant guide of a thousand pages or so is also recommended*.. Basically specialize in a certain area (say the southern Appalachians), get a plant guide, and see if you can id the species in the spring and summer. Having been on a few federal environmental contracts out west, we spent months studying and then quizzing each other on dried specimens. Technically, most "keys" identify primarily by flower but in reality, you can't wait until a plant flowers. Being able to identify a plant in various stages of wilt without a flower is a definite plus (leaf shape, sometimes the stem).

Is the fruit edible? Is the fruit only edible at certain stages but contains tannins at other stages? What did the natives use the plants for historically? Are there any other uses for the plant (fiber, medicinal, etc..)? Is it or any portion of it, toxic or could give an allergic reaction? Any funny history associated with it? Once you say you are a nature lover, expect quizzing (goes with the territory and can minimize potential poisonings).

I say the South since there's more biodiversity starting midway through Texas (the Edwards Plateau) and going east. The more southern states have less cold days, so there will be more plants to start identifying, cooking, etc.. (I made the mistake of going west for a college plant identification class, and ended up hauling azz east to grab some specimens before the first freeze ... ended up choosing the mountains and deserts of the west over the rich biodiversity of the east, so haven't regretted pursuing that dream).

*ed:add that's Petersen's Guides

Edited by hknewman on 02/20/2013 11:45:08 MST.