Month: November 2016

Dumpster to Dinner Table

Dumpster to Dinner Table

November 21st 2016

Some people have asked how I have managed to stretch this little experiment out so long without having to work full-time “You must be eating rubbish!” Well, in short… Yes. I have been… Quite literally. This post is an homage to dumpster diving.

To clarify, things aren’t as bleak as they may seem from that opener. A big part of keeping my options open has been the lowered expenses due to our caravan living situation. Luck in finding work has helped and right now, I am lucky enough to be parked up at my sister’s whose hospitality is much appreciated. But a large part has been economical food choices and food salvaging (aka Dumpster Diving or scavenging from rubbish bins). Yup. Not joking.

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Some unknown person allegedly harvesting food from an undisclosed dumpster 😉

Let me elaborate. The first image that springs to mind (to the uninitiated is of Oscar the Grouch or a hobo moving from bin to bin looking for a passable sandwich or something. Sitting here, trying to decide how to paint it in a different light, I’m struggling. It really is as simple as finding a rubbish skip and jumping in to see what it holds. But, it is what it might hold that may surprise you.

I would be lying if I said it wasn’t sometimes pretty rank in there, but the key is to find a good dumpster. The amount of perfectly good food that is thrown away (especially by large chain supermarkets) is ASTOUNDING. Here is a picture of my share (one third) of one haul. It comprises: two dozen eggs (unbroken and within their ‘use by’), a whole sack of potatoes (one of which was going green), two six-packs of yoghurt and a pot of cottage cheese  (one day past the ‘best before’, but no sign of spoiling at all), some meaty bone off-cuts (for the dogs), a bunch of asparagus (one spear was a little haggard), and an unopened box of 100 Ma Higgins’ cookies… within the best before by a few days (individually wrapped and inside 5 inner boxes of 20). There were three unopened boxes of cookies in that bin that night and lots of stuff we left behind because we didn’t have space.

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The origin of my never-ending supply of cookies

This was a good haul, but not uncharacteristic of the sort of things you’ll find. All that stuff in the bakery, baked that day, which gets heavily reduced at the end of the night… that’s in the bin after close. The overstocks that aren’t selling as well as they’d hoped… in the bin. A deleted line… surplus stock goes in the bin. Anything that nears or reaches the best before… in the bin. Pre-packaged produce that has one item that looks subpar… they don’t pull the bad one out. It ALL goes in the bin. The product whose outer packaging was ripped, leaving a perfectly sealed inner package… in the bin. Common items include: breads, pastries, muesli, snack bars and potato chips, magazines, pasta, dairy goods (yoghurt, flavoured milk, cream, cheese…), bunches of bananas, bags of mandarins, nicked melons and capsicums, wilted herb plants (which you could easily plant and revive for an ongoing supply at home), deli meats/specialty sausages, pizzas, quiches… The list goes on. And don’t forget, most of what you wouldn’t want to eat would make good compost matter or worm food to nourish your garden or feed for your cat, dog, chooks, or pig.

Tonight, I cooked up a heap of dumpster fare. In fact, I thought I would itemise it to give you an idea of how it looks. I made three dishes. I made three mostly because that was the best way I worked out to use up the various bits I had plus using the things I picked up today.

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Three dishes that will serve me for eight meals for under $6 (including the cost of cooking gas)

1) Salad (2 servings)
– Salvaged: broccoli, cabbage, fresh coriander, avocado (FREE)
– Reduced (for quick sale): kale, spinach (both half price- total cost $4 and lasted me several days before today as well)
– Full Price (including sale items): red onion, capsicum, mandarin (because it was getting a bit dated), olive oil + white vinegar (dressing) (total cost $1-$2)

2) Mushroom, Broccoli and Coriander Soup (3 servings)
– Salvaged: pumpkin, 15-20 large white mushrooms, broccoli, fresh coriander, ghee (fermented butter made from salvaged cream (which was fine at the time of salvage)) (FREE)
– Reduced (for quick sale): n/a
– Full Price (including sale items): cooking gas, powdered milk, salt, pepper (total cost maybe $1)

3) Pasta Sauce (3 servings)
– Salvaged: coriander, tomato paste, carrot, broccoli, mushroom (FREE)
– Reduced (for quick sale): n/a
-Full Price (including sale items): cooking gas, tinned diced tomatoes, capsicum, red onion, salt, pepper, basil, parsley (total cost $2-$3)

Now, you may be thinking “I could just buy pre-made. It would be cheaper… and not eating out of the rubbish”. Or you could choose to think “That’s 8 meals for less than $6! Less packaging or food waste. Less processed ingredients and a more nourishing product than those that would be cheaper. Everything thoroughly checked and washed, so who cares that it was in the trash?!” Believe it or not, you do actually have an inbuilt intuition to recognise food you shouldn’t eat… just like every other living creature. And it’s never failed me yet in the dumpsters. Not once. I’m a bit spoilt at the moment because I have access to refrigeration, which hasn’t been the case for several months. So these were portioned off and frozen for future lunches/dinners which may see them added to or spiced.

One salad was dinner, the other will be lunch tomorrow. Later, I ate the last of the potatoes (fashioned into fries) from the haul pictured above. Along with one of the cookies from the same haul. I still have a few left and they still taste pretty good to me, if a little hard.

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A wee writing snack

Do you HAVE to eat out of dumpsters to regain some time? No. Of course not. This is part of the path I chose to start questioning core assumptions (such as basic needs and beliefs about status/ego/self). The truth is I kind of enjoy it. It often means I try things I wouldn’t ordinarily buy and there is a little thrill of anticipation of what might be on offer today every time I go diving.

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Freedom is… Making Room to Fly

I am joined today by Sue from Dog Almighty. Sue was my employer at my most recent job as a group dog walker. She has been very successful in setting up a business, doing a rewarding and enjoyable job. It was however her ability to implement systems that allow a very active and explorative life outside of work that inspired the interview.

Listen in to find out more about Sue and her high-flying lifestyle.

Contact Sue at http://www.nelsondogtrainingandbehaviour.co.nz/
You can also follow her advntures on her “life.of.sue” Instagram account

What in the World is THAT?!

The build has come a long way and I can now see the beginnings of my new home for the next year. I give you, ‘The Rig’ for The Longest Walk.

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This is beginning to look a lot like the eccentric idea that it is…

Still quite a lot to do internally and in terms of the handle bars/brakes. But you can now see what it is I am making. I’d love to hear what you think. Here are a few photos of the construction effort since last time.

When Work is Not Work

Tuesday, 15th November

The last few months have been a real privilege to experience. It’s been encouraging to know that I have everything in the caravan set up to live comfortably with no input other than a regular injection of food and drinking water. Collecting rain water for laundry and washing as well as harnessing solar power quite effectively has freed me up to work on several projects while working far fewer hours than ‘usual’ in order to pay the bills. Even then, work was pretty awesome as far as jobs go (well… most of the time). I posted a link to a highlights reel showing the ‘work’ I was doing in Motueka. Check it out on the Dare To Seek Freedom Facebook Page.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FDareToSeekFreedom%2Fposts%2F334570183581962&width=500

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Video Source: Sue Walsh of Dog Almighty

But it is on to bigger things now. I am fully committed to giving The Longest Walk (also see Exciting News) a crack. I have several sponsors on-board (including Kathmandu), a marketing consultant, engineering advisors and I’ve moved to Southland to make final preparations to kick off in Invercargill.

Hi Gore. I’m wearing your TEX… mostly because it has rained almost the whole time ;0) Alas, that has given me time to get into the garage and start assembling the bits of the rig and I should have a few photos of a finished-looking thing very soon. From there, it will be: fitting out the interior, testing and planning, contacting the first few stops and then getting out on the road for a bit of field testing.

This is what Daring to Seek Freedom looks like… moving on from comfortable and embracing the unknown.

Lucky to be Alive

November 11th 2016

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Source: Unsplash.com (Corina Ardeleanu)

This blog is about freedom: defining it, seeking it, moulding it. Making it more of a reality every day through exercising it. If you have the luxury of choice, the option to read this blog, you (as do I, writing it) enjoy freedoms beyond the imagination of many in this world. On this day, Remembrance Day, it seems right to take a moment to acknowledge those who used their freedom, to protect ours.

Remembrance Day celebrates the lives of those who laid them down for war. War: the manifestation of all that is evil in man. This is the one day in three hundred and sixty-five/six every year that we deem it fair to cast our attention to the unthinkable horrors which countless souls endured in the name of our freedom. Lambs led to the slaughter under the command of vainglorious old boys and aristocrats throwing away lives in a human chess match. Players in a parody that would have us believe death and violence to become freedom when it is only through love and empathy that we may ever achieve this goal.

The fact that war ever existed on such a scale as that to which history has been witness is testament to the fact that we are missing the point of life. I say this with no disrespect to those who have fought them. On the contrary, I have the utmost respect for the intentions of the vast majority of those who have gone to war. Having done so under the unscrupulous and psychopathic manipulation of those who would brain-wash us to follow. War is a symptom of a sickness that runs deep within the world’s societal systems designed for the few to control the many.

This year and a couple either side, mark the centennial commemorations of World War 1: The ‘Great’ War. In New Zealand, this means a focus on the major commitments of ANZAC forces during that period. Foremost among them is the campaign at Gallipoli. I feel lucky to be alive now. With the marriage of technology and freedom that we enjoy, there have been some incredible exhibits put together to reveal the truth of what Gallipoli was to those soldiers who found themselves on the beaches, ridges and plains of Turkey during such a damned time. I ashamedly confess to my wilful ignorance on the subject until very recently.

Making up for lost time in some meagre way, I’ve made it my business to take advantage of the unique opportunities to educate myself. Stand-out resources have been The Great War Exhibition at Wellington’s National War Memorial and Bryce Courtenay’s “Solomon’s Song”. I am impressed by the artistically-minded who can capture our imaginations and emotions through factual exhibits. But my hat goes off to those who can blend the historically accurate with the lucid realism of well-presented fictional characters. The latter allowing an exploration into the depth of experience that war’s true victims must endure. It would be presumptuous in the extreme to claim understanding of their plight but I am thankful for those gifted enough to guide us in our well-intentioned attempts to empathise.

They let those fortunate enough to be ignorant, imagine what it is to be a soldier, commander, carer or one of those left behind. They give us the gift of imagining why we must never allow it to happen again.

This blog post takes a break from the insignificant whinging and idle ponderings of a middle-aged, middle-class, white man: a person with every opportunity available thanks to those who, thorough their sacrifice, helped mould this free society we enjoy. This post is entirely in recognition of those willing to put common good before their own lives. It is in commemoration of those who needlessly lost their lives in service of those who couldn’t give a damn.

To those who fought for their loved ones and their mates. Thank you for our freedom.

Lest we forget.

Building Shelter. Building Hope.

I’ve been building my camper/shelter for the last couple of weeks. Progress has been a little slow as I wait for a few materials to come in and having decided to rebuild part of the trailer base to create better joints. But through the process, something somewhat unexpected has happened.

I’d hoped for it, but never held to much faith in the idea. I’d hoped that I would start seeing the best in people. That is exactly what is happening. Everywhere I turn, it seems impossible to find resistance. Quite the opposite. People are bending over backward, donating their time, materials and expertise to helping create a journey of a lifetime. It’s been a humbling experience that is a privilege to be part of.

Unfortunately I can’t portray my shifting self in pictures. But I can show you a little of the progress towards The Longest Walk NZ. The website is a bit more developed now, so you could pop over there if you are interested. Below I have also included a few pictures of the build so far. I have a floor platform, wheels are set to be mounted when I get further south and the materials for the shell have arrived. So the task at the moment is trying to sculpt out a kitset to be assembled down in Gore.

Lots of pieces are coming together right now and I’m feeling very grateful for all the support which I really wasn’t feeling when I first started down this route. Sponsors are getting on-board and everything is seeming more and more achievable.

Freedom Is… Trusting in Life

Shay is a pretty different sort of character, whose current goals include building a hobbit home for himself. His freedom lies in nothing but his outlook on life and his ability to be content with the basics. He trusts in life in a way that is foreign to many of us.

Today, we are sitting under the stars, by a campfire. We are enjoying a simple life and chatting about our experience of it.

I like to surround myself who exude an energy of possibility and opportunity. Shay is one of these. An openness to different solutions and acceptance of change make him willing to try different lifestyle options. Comparing my own experience with Shay’s I am reminded of something Henry David Thoreau is credited with saying:

“It’s not what you look at that matters. It’s what you see”