The Bold Approach to Self Sustainability

I talk all the time on here about the different ways to minimise your life, simplify your life, relax and be simple. I talk a lot about self sustainability because in truth it is really important, there is so many aspects to it that are important to know, however even more important to practice. However sometimes self sustainable lifestyles can be new, hard to start and costly to begin. There are no doubts of the long term benefits, it is simply just taking that first step. For example solar power, we realise it should be a part of the future and we accept it’s benefits however the startup cost is audacious and no one wants to take that leap.

 

I have the same problem in my life, see I live in a rental apartment, and i have for a while now, meaning I can’t change much, I can’t take the same steps I’d like to be taking. There are things like gardening, composting, sustainable energy and downsizing that just are not possible in a rental property. With today’s economy it is not a feasible option to buy a house or buy my own property, the costs are too high and I am a single working person. Even still though, I’d love to stop paying rent, stop paying outrageous bills and start saving for a better future. I’m not alone in this, many young people of my generation realise all the great benefits of a sustainable lifestyle however we are not in a financial standpoint to do so.

 

The title lists, a bold approach, that is what is necessary for someone my age to take a sustainable approach to life. I’ve looked into numerous options and most of them require having land, which for me is currently not a possibility. So instead I have to look at mobile living options, I’m not talking trailers or campers because personally I find this “trashy” and not exactly the way I would like to be living. So how bold exactly are we talking? Well the kind of bold that involves sacrificing everything I currently have to create a brand new lifestyle in a short, quick and brand new way. I would in part say that I am doing this out of desperation and part because I want to change and I want to change now. I am young and allowed to make mistakes so why not try these big ventures now and see where they take me? That is the beauty of a young age, we are allowed to mess up and it is simply considered natural and actually good learning experience. So I’m going to take the bold step, completely drop every luxury I currently have and buy a bus. Yes that is it I am buying an old school bus to turn into my home on the go.

 

So yes, a school bus, the same long yellow school bus that takes countless children to school, well as it turns out they can only run for so long then they are put up for sale. They are cheap, not pocket change but cheap with all things considered. Now I just mentioned above that I was giving up all luxuries for this leap, what exactly do I mean by luxury? Well running water is a luxury, so is heat and gas, having an at home internet connection, having a full washroom and having a proper living space. None of those things will be in the bus when I first start, it is an empty vessel for whatever I decide to put inside. So depending on finances, because I’m doing this using savings, we can see how much can get done and how quickly with the finances I have but to do this I am ready to sacrifice all of those things in order to achieve my goal. This isn’t to say that it is forever, I plan to add in a full washroom, add in a full kitchen and add most of the regular utilities and luxuries everyone else just takes for granted daily.

 

Why though? Why would anyone want to suddenly put himself into this situation? Well as I said it is a bold step to self sustainability. The hope is that everything that can be made on my own should be. I should rely on a separate company for my electricity, I don’t need gas to heat my space, I don’t need a massive apartment where I am paying far more than needed. All of this can be solved on my own and it just requires a bold step. You can read more about the full plan for the bus in another article but here I’d like to highlight the important features. So there will be on board water storage for the sink and the shower, it will be very precise amounts designed to fill certain amounts of time. The toilet is not your usual toilet, there is no water and it is completely composting, a simple and seemingly primitive solution. There is one sink in the entire house, there is no oven, just stove burners. The entire bus is powered using 3 or 4 solar panels and a battery bank. There is almost no need for lights as everything is naturally lit by windows surrounding 360 degrees. Everything is natural wood, no harsh finishing, no chemicals and no need for weak materials, and the entire thing is inside of a moving vehicle combining two of the largest costs in life into one place. The bus is still designed to run on diesel but we will see about changing that with time. Overall the bus is a self sustaining vehicle and does all of the necessary functions on it’s own. This eliminates utility costs, rent cost, and other things like that. My main costs will become gas and food. Leaving a lot of money to save or spend as desired.

 

If my journey interests you please continue to check back here as we will be posting some updates and eventually we will start a new blog dedicated to the project. If you are interested in my full walkthrough of the project then feel free to find the article describing the full planning of the bus on this same blog.

 

Thanks for reading and I hope this journey is something that intrigues and interests many.

Have a wonderful day and thanks for stopping by!

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Inconvenience or Simpler?

I really want to cover on the fact that we are living some so called american dream, where instead we are actually living in an american excess. The truth about this society we live in, is that instead of being happy with our very wealthy society and enjoying the fact that we have access to everything. Then the moment we are without something minor like hot water we freak out and feel extremely inconvenienced, that’s what it really is, the feeling of convenience is what our society cherishes so much. Why? It’s simple because everything about our society is convenient, food is close, water is close, roofs are above our head, travel is possible and there are so many other possibilities. The entire American dream was based around the idea of convenience. Food became time consuming to make, so we brought in fast food. Laundry was time consuming, we created washing machines to do it for us and so forth.

So on the whole concept of simplicity and simplifying your life we should talk about the things that are convenient and maybe work on those. Because having a couple inconveniences is not a problem, it builds character. Imagine that you went without a formal laundry machine, that would be tough, that would be inconvenient. So well what would we do instead? Well like the rest of the world you would have to do your laundry by hand, which is possible. Time consuming but possible. Washing the laundry by hand is time consuming, it is also relaxing and a bit of a workout.

By doing things the inconvenient way we are opening up the opportunity to grow as a person, learn a new skill and unwind through dedicated tasks. I went a couple weeks of doing my laundry by hand and I found it very relaxing, a little bit of a workout but just some time to sit and do one task can be nice. When it comes down to it our lives aren’t nearly as busy as we make them seem. We add things like scheduled tv shows, and other excessive activities. If we remove the unproductive things we find there is so much more time. I rarely watch any tv, I cut down on internet time, I don’t go party or out drinking, and surprisingly I have plenty of spare time for more relaxing activities. To sit down for an hour or so and wash laundry by hand is not a huge deal. It isn’t that bad at all. To cook a whole meal from scratch is not that big of a deal because you start cooking and cook properly on medium temperatures and while it cooks you have time to multi task. The result becomes healthier food, but also you get work that you are proud of because it is yours and you don’t mind it because you immediately see the product of your work.

Immediate gratification is another problem our society has, which ties in perfectly with convenience. We no longer worry about immediate gratification because we can have anything we want, when we want for a cost. You want a new shirt? You can travel to the store and buy one, the longest wait we have to endure is ordering online, and even that people treat like it is a huge deal to wait so long. We need to shift the immediate gratification and I’d like to say get rid of it altogether but that is something that won’t be happening any time soon. Instead we should focus the efforts of our immediate gratification into our own lives, our own very personal lives. As I mentioned above when cooking your own meal, yeah it can be work, it can be hot but in the end you and whomever you are with gets to enjoy the food. You get to see the work, see the production and then eat the results. That is a healthy sense of gratification. It is work, fulfills a need and allows you to be doing something.

Another thing to realize is that convenience is something that we also take for granted, it is exactly as stated, a convenience. Meaning not everyone has it and not everyone gets to experience it, so by removing a convenience from our life we aren’t actually creating any problems we are simply just doing things differently. So what is convenient for us as North Americans doesn’t exist everywhere in the world. Fast food isn’t everywhere, laundry machines, elevators, escalators, cars, planes and so on don’t exist or are not commonly used everywhere. So what are you losing by removing a couple conveniences from your life? Well to be honest you are not losing anything, you are joining the majority of the population by doing things a more traditional, simpler way.

Something I am trying to implement recently is removing small everyday conveniences. The major one is hot showers, as someone who is environmentally conscious, financially conscious and just generally looking for ways to simplify this step makes perfect sense. The average shower takes upwards of 40 gallons of water, on top of that we heat the water using gas and then pump that, and none of this perfectly potable water is every reused. On top of that we all take long showers and have somehow determined that a shower needs to be upwards of 20 minutes, I understand relaxation but that is excessive. So by cutting out the hot water altogether and just having a cold shower what are we doing? Well we are removing the convenience of hot water, the cold water is better at waking you up as it is more of a shock to your system and you will be using less water since it is cold. It is not a pleasant to take cold showers which is not as convenient, which in theory would mean less time spent in the shower and more water saved. Also this means that when you travel or go anywhere without hot water it really won’t be all that different to you and the convenience factor disappears.

I moved into a house and was without gas for a good period of time in the late winter months. I wasn’t going to travel to a friends house for hot water everyday so I began to use the cold water and get used to that, it wasn’t so bad I mean the result of a shower is to awake, relax and essentially be clean. So that was still being done without much of a difference. It is definitely a shock to the system but it isn’t all that bad.

Point being that small inconveniences can lead to a simpler life and sometimes taking a bit to just focus on one task instead of being on the go is a nice change of pace. Your mind is open to different things and one of the benefits to simpler things like cold showers, home cooked meals, hand washed laundry is overall it is so much cheaper. For the people who are worried about finances simplicity can be beautiful. Just cutting away the convenient things can be good for anyone, it doesn’t matter really if you are rich or poor, it can be done by anyone. You will find an appreciation for your work and you will find that there is a great relaxing feeling of doing these things the simpler way.

As always have a great day, I hope you find some knowledge or inspiration in the things I write. Remember that a complex over the top lifestyle isn’t always the best lifestyle and although it is different from the general of North American society that does not mean it is wrong.
Thanks for reading!