I have always been in love with the desert. The solitude is actually awe inspiring when you are looking for it. You can leave the “city” and be out in the middle of nowhere in minutes. When artificial light is out of the picture, the moon is a great source of light.That is one of the things that people who go out into the desert notice. For most of the month, you can see good enough to get things done outside. Of course the most likely thing you get done is opening a beer, passing a bowl, and talking with friends.
On August 12 we were all excited about the Persied Meteor Shower. We had the bus sitting in the driveway and decided to head out to it and spend the night watching the show. Nothing had really been “converted” on the bus so spending the night on it consisted of taking out a couple of blankets and staring out the windows at the sky. We didn’t know it at the time, but that was the end of living in the house for us.
Living out in the middle of the desert it is hard not to become a sky gazer. Some people might get the impression that we spend a lot of time “staring at the sun”, and we have actually done our fair share of that. We had a front row seat to the eclipse earlier in the year. Saw the transition of Venus. And a couple of UFO’s. By the time Persied came along we were all pretty excited. The decision to move onto the bus had already been made, but we didn’t have a timetable for it. As with most other things it was going to be a “get around too it” kind of thing. That night the time came.
What hadn’t come yet was the money to get it done. And by the looks of things, it was never going to come. Every penny that came in went straight to the business of paying the bills and raising the kids. Three growing boys like to eat. All the time. So if we were going to get it done, and get on the road, we were going to have to be creative. Luckily living below the poverty level for most of our lives had prepared us for being creative at being poor. We started dragging home pallets. We took apart an old dog house. We took apart the raised beds in the gardens, which were also made from materials we had previously scavenged. One day we got lucky and found an old beat up RV from 1959 that one of the neighbors was using for a storage shed. They didn’t need the stuff in it, they just wanted the box. Apparently, things made in 1959 were pretty well built. Definitely not the cheap, throw away crap made for a disposable consumer society.
We did make some financial sacrifices out of the ordinary though. Our plan is to be able to camp without being hooked into the grid, as much as possible. That was our plan for when we lived in the box too. We wanted to go solar. To use a hand pump for water and make it be gravity fed. Permaculture was going to be our life. We wanted to build an Earthship. And everyday that we thought about it, the costs just keep going up and up and up. Solar power might be the cure for the destruction being wrought on the Earth by non-sustainable energy sources, but it sure as hell isn’t cheap. Permaculture probably can cure the need for feeding ourselves outside of the capitalist system, but it isn’t something you can do in a rented trailer house with a landlord that doesn’t want you to mess up their junk piles. And Earthships definitely can elevate us by becoming a living vessel that helps us meet our very basic needs, but the amount of work and time, not to mention owning the property to build one on, seem perpetually out of our reach. But we didn’t want to abandon our beliefs, so we “splurged” and went with a solar charging system for the bus. The materials in the bus are reclaimed/recycled. But it still wasn’t enough. We tried selling our car to raise some of the money, but after trying to get rid of it for a couple of months and not being able to get anything for it, we gave up trying to sell it. We did a title loan on it though. Not really going to miss it when it’s gone.
But even with all of that, I kept dragging my feet. Fear played a role, still plays a role. But I like to lie to myself and say that I am going to miss the wide open skies. That the reason I didn’t just jump into the great unknown was because I love to watch the falling stars. But there is an old saying. A saying I think would make the world a better place if only we could all adopt it. “Nothing changes if nothing changes.” Come hell or high water, we were going to make changes.
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