Saturday, November 30, 2013

Take this and stuff it

Recently I was in Canadian Tire, grabbing a pump for the plant I work in.  I won't lie to you, there is a satisfaction that I get from perusing the isles of so called discount items and end-cap specials found around the store.  It's almost like being in a daze as I imagine the right tool for the right imaginary job.  There was a moment where I realized how unnecessary all this shit is.

Now Canadian Tire if I am not mistaken has been around for a long time, and as the name denotes, was a Tire store, and automotive emporium.  Then why on earth are they selling coffee makers? Why are there no less then a dozen different coffee makers that you can choose from, in a store that originally sold auto parts and tires?  Further more, why is just about every store becoming some form of walmart?  Are we moving toward one mega store that just sells everything? 

The future, Wall-e's world?

Back to the coffee maker.  How is it that society needs dozens of types of one thing that arguably all do pretty much the same thing?  Will the brewer with the metallic red exterior better define me, represent who I am more then the most basic pasty-white machine for $29.99?

We are under a spell, and the spell is called consumerism.  I realize there is nothing new about what I am saying here, and this spell is one that I can be captivated by myself.  All of this "stuff" comes at a price, that being the systematic destruction of the planet, and if you scale that back further and further; ourselves and our souls.  We are the planet, of the planet, born of the matter of earth, its soil, its air its water.  We are killing ourselves by killing it.  Anyone who looks at life in a holistic way, understanding that this precious gift of life comes at the expense at a massively complex interdependent and interconnected system, comes to realize that one truth, we are all leaves on the same tree.  If you poison the roots, you poison the leaves.

I am not a big believer in massively and drastically changing ones life to save the planet, because people tend to revert back to their original nature eventually.  Most diets tend to be this way, a trend or a passing fad.  I am a of the mindset that little changes taken on by many is the key.  Reduce the discomfort by making small, incremental changes, and sticking with them.  That is the the small step on the journey of 10000 miles mentality. 

It's no surprise that one of the fastest growing, guaranteed money making businesses in the western world are storage warehouses.  It seems much of the population has too much stuff on their hands, and instead of shedding the excess junk, they are shedding it.  Pun intended.  People can't seem to let go of their things, thinking that they are Pharaohs readying for the afterlife.  Tyler Durden said it best:


The more stuff we have, the more time it takes to manage, and takes away from the real enjoyment in life; being with the people we love, and doing the things we love.

Where does this equate with a dude living in a camper?  Well, the camper is parked indoors at the plant where I work (thanks to some incredibly benevolent superiors) and there was an empty office space to contend with.  When I arrived on scene the only thing in the upstairs office was an empty space with the rememants of a subway sandwich that had been devoured god knows when.

I set out to make this empty space into a fully functioning bachelor pad.  My mission was to furnish it completely for free.  If you haven't seen the movie Craigslist Joe, definitely check it out.  Craigslist is full of good-hearted individuals who want to get rid of stuff, for free.  Inside of a month I had acquired the following:

  • a nice table (thank you Craig (hahaha not Craig's list)and Leah)
  • a fridge (that was rescued from a reno project of an apartment complex, it was going to the dump)
  • The following was attained from one nice couple I met on craigslist:
  • A 24" TV and stand.
  • 2 lamps
  • 3 paintings
  • 1 wicker chair
  • one sweet ass couch and matching ottoman
  • cushions for the couch
  • a nice large comfy chair
So for $0 I basically furnished an entire 250 sq foot office space.  The company I worked for  also supplied me with a desk, computer, office chairs and printer.

It ain't Ikea, but it was free-ya!
 If we can move away from keeping up with the Jones, we can move towards saving a destitute piece of furniture from its untimely demise decomposing over hundreds of years.

I try to not ever buy anything new.  Packaging is a huge waste, buying used eliminates that waste right away.  Plastic = oil and gas, I work for a company that is involved in the bio fuel industry (renewable energy) so I tend to try and not partake as much as I can.  If you have kids, do what my best friend Kris' wife Kendra does and use cloth diapers (as much as you can!!).  My cousin Casey's wife Heather works in Cache Creek at the dump where all of Vancouver's garbage is laid to rest (4 hours away from Vancouver).  She told me that there are mountains of diapers.  Insane waste.

The bottom line is, there is already so much out there.  The insanity of production of these mostly disposable items can be avoided.  It takes a little creativity and work, but I promise you get a good feeling in your heart when you make a choice that benefits humanity, and no amount of money can buy the feeling of having a lighter soul, and fuller heart.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Prose and Convicts.

So it's pretty small in there.  It's been a month or so. I've moved my camper into the plant where I work in Burnaby.  So I live where I work.  The pros; no commute to work, and in Vancouver that is a huge pro.  The cons: I work for a company that recycles waste vegetable oil, there is an aroma, not a good one.

My smell cell.

I am also out of the rain, and detached from the truck, which means I am not driving around with 2000 plus pounds of extra weight that isn't exactly perfectly balanced.  It's kind of like running and doing corners while you are piggy backing someone.  Now imagine that person is off your back, it feels pretty good.   That's the satisfaction I feel driving around unencumbered, and in Vancouver, that is a huge pro.

Some other pros and cons.

-maximum 2 seconds to anything I need.  Usually at arms lenght.
-cheap rent (none)
-I don't have nearly as much stuff as I would if I had the space.  It's effecient.
-everything is mini
-it's cozy

-sometimes I feel like a convict in a cell
-I bang my head a lot
-there is no where for farts to waft off to
-it gets messy very fast

I get camper-dar.  I always notice other campers, RVs and the like.  It`s pushing into November and I still see people parked at Walmart (which allows overnight parking for any recreational vehicles) so this is a lifestyle for some.  I hope to interview some other people in the coming weeks who live this way indefinitely.

I was on Vancouver Island the last few days and was working with an awesome dude who has been collecting veggie oil on the north island for 10 plus years.  He lived in a camper for 2 years (thus somewhat making my struggle less worthy) and he had no internet, was outside in the winters and was pretty much more hardcore all around.  He is a teacher now in Port Alberni, but wow, talk about dedication.

I am a bit more then a month into this year long social experiment and the luster has worn off.  But I shall soldier onward, and do my best to keep the likes of you informed.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Bigger on the Inside part

So when I titled this blog, I labeled it "bigger on the inside".  What does that even mean really?  Am I going to be eating more, filling myself with helium?  Nope.

If you know me, you'd know that I am a dude that has always loved to explore, and see new things, through my own eyes.  Well, that exploration has been both an outward journey, but also increasingly an inward one.  I always remember an ancient Chinese proverb I once heard:

"big has no outside, small has no inside".

We keep finding more and more stars at the edge of what we once thought was the frontier of space, and the particles that make up stuff seem to just keep breaking down into smaller and smaller parts.  Gotta love the proverbs.

Now I am not saying that I am going to take a look at my atoms, but I am going to work in essence on that which makes up my innerworld.  When I say bigger, I am referring to my essence, my spirit or soul even.  It is MY belief and opinion that this innerspace can be transformed.  Furthermore, I believe that when that inner space is expanded, optimized and nurtured, that it reflects outward into what we can call the material world.

So this innerspace, what is it comprised of?

For most of us its thoughts, and for most of us, these are repetitive thoughts.  For most of us.  Repetitive.  For many, it's feelings and emotions, again, many times triggered by thought.  (Can you see the repetitiveness?).  As I have learned from a great many teachings, we are also in a constant state of craving and aversion, thus many of our actions are based on fear and desire.

Underlying all of this is our own existence; it's the hum of universal vibration, the electricity which powers your circuits, your chi, prana, or lifeforce.  It's the right thought at the right moment that saves you.

You know what I am talking about.

It's that voice, seldom heard but always listening.  This is what I am hoping I can connect with more in the coming months.

There is a lot going on inside of all of us.  And I don't know about all of you, but I feel a little lost.  I feel a little overwhelmed sometimes as I am sure all of you out there do (and even more so if you have the next crop of humans to tend to).  Like you, I come from this planet, it's soil, air, water.  I am a carbon based life form, made up of the elements around me. We are all made of the same stardust.

I hired a dude who lives on Salt Spring Island to help me on my one year inner voyage.  His name is Brad and he is the CEO and founder of Cowabunga Life ( and I've hired him as my life coach.  That's right, I said it, life coach.  So far his influence has had some great impacts.  He has reminded me to breath, and be grateful, and I have to say, after one month - I feel pretty terrific.  I do feel like I am getting bigger on the inside, maybe it's just that I have more air in my lungs...

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

This is what this is about

So a couple of years ago I decided to travel Canada on a budget of 1000 dollars.  I got into my Honda Civic with way more gear then I needed and began to make my way east, as far east as I could go in North America.  When I hit Cape Spear, Newfoundland, I swung around and began to head west.

After 10 weeks and over 15 thousand kilometers, I spent my last $20 getting to Tofino, on Vancouver island.  It was a journey of friendship, kindness, charity and clarity that redeveloped the way I see the world.  The world portrayed in the media and particularly the news, was not the one I had the pleasure of exploring.  People opened their hearts and their homes and even their wallets to make my One Grand Adventure a reality.  To all of you fine humans, I thank you from the bottom of my heart..

you can enjoy the Journey here:

Well, my next endeavor is to explore living in a camper for one entire year.  It's an eight foot camper, that sits on the back of a truck.  I can attach and detach it which means it can be left stationary for brief interludes.  In a world where so many have so much more then they need, it makes perfectly logical sense.  Of course I don't have kids, I am single and am comfortable without a bunch of stuff.  So in essence it's not too hard.

I am hyper aware of the resources I have, and use pretty much everything I own on a regular basis.  I have to outsource for laundry and the odd shower, but the unit has a bathroom and kitchen.  There is an outdoor shower, with hot water heated via propane.  I'll get more into what specs the camper has in my next posts..

Why the hell am I doing this you ask?

I think the trend to living small is catching on as many of us in the western world realize what a waste of our lives it is to own large homes that cost a lot to power, heat and maintain.  Not to mention the time and energy required for cleaning and upkeep.  How many rooms get used fully?  How much space is designated for stuff that no longer has purpose?  Space is a luxury on a planet where entire generations of families in many countries live in one room structures that most of us in the western world wouldn't let our pets live in.

And selfishly this is a creative project to just keep writing, and journeying in my world of written word.  

Does this space cushion bring us more happiness or peace of mind?  Or does it push us further away from each other in a world where it seems we are increasingly facing more isolation because of the impacts of the digital world. Is the Ikea nesting instinct in full effect?  I am going to try and find out.