Month: January 2017

A Virtuous Circle

A Virtuous Circle

January 17th

This blog is not about money. In an ideal world, it (and I) would exist outside the practicalities of money. However, we live in the world that is… however we may perceive our portion of it. In it, there are very few parts left (if any) that exist outside money’s influence.

Cultures have a fascinating way of assimilating the practicalities of the systems that form them. By that, I mean that people take the practicalities of the world they know to be truths: “Money makes the world go around.”; “Everyone’s gotta work. That’s just how it is.”; “Money doesn’t grow on trees”… There’s no denying it’s true. And yet, for some, it isn’t. Not everyone goes to work a forty hour work week. Some people never work a day in their lives. Others pretty much live free from money and instead live off food they’ve grown or traded.

Still the cultural truth persists. We can see the alternatives and then still believe an incongruent, yet ‘incontrovertible’ truth. Such is the way of human psychology. And such is the way of one of the most doggedly stubborn beliefs I try to shake in order to truly be free.

In The Longest Walk NZ, I have managed to create a strange (to me) economic micro-environment: I get to do exactly what I want to do and money is no longer an issue. It’s not that I have a heap of money, so I don’t have to think about it. It’s that I have created a way to live with very few expenses and a phenomenon which people want to support. Not something they feel they MUST support, but something they happily and willingly CHOOSE to support. The act of doing so actually adds to their positive experience of life. So strong is this effect that people sometimes feel disappointed if they are not able to contribute in the way they had hoped.

Still, beliefs of my culture persist and hinder my ability to accept this. There is a feeling of guilt or hesitation to accept what is offered. A feeling that since I have chosen this path and not been forced onto it, that it is wrong to accept the charity offered. The reality is that my savings probably would stretch the whole way if I live frugally but the charity of others will mean I might have something left to start over once it’s all done.

Should it feel wrong? Or is it a cultural vestige due to be shed? There is no doubt that aside from the physical work of walking there is a lot of work to do creating, maintaining and further developing the campaign. It is, in a very real sense, a job. Without someone doing that job, the campaign would no longer function and the walking would be no real use to anyone.

I try to see the sponsorships and other offers of charity as a kind of wage. While it is awesome that so many are also giving to the cause which I serve, I find it humbling that some also choose to support me and my expenses. It is an alternative business model which I can hopefully replace with online income streams in time. For now though, I am a ‘Hobo for Hounds’. Begging bowl in hand. Struggling to redefine what money, poverty and charity really are.

I am proud to have created a virtuous circle in which everyone wins. Through simultaneously giving and receiving, donors, the welfare charities and I all benefit. Once I can make peace with that in myself, I feel that this life I live is true freedom. It may not be a permanent solution, but I intend to enjoy it while it lasts.

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Wave Power and How Country Folk Prove Einstein Right

Wave Power and How Country Folk Prove Einstein Right

January 9th

A couple of days in to The Longest Walk (read an update here) and I have noticed a few things while on the road. With nothing to do but walk, one has a lot of time to observe and think… and physics is getting a beating by my brain. To follow: Proof of Einstein’s theory of relativity and why waves have the power to change the world.

The first thing I notice is actually nothing to do with physics: people throw way too much stuff out their car windows on New Zealand roads man. Not cool. Chief among them are beverage containers. And it alarms me what a high percentage of those are beer bottles. Are there that many people drinking and driving? Seriously?! Other than the other general wrapper type of thing, which I’m not really surprised by, CDs rate pretty highly too. Why? In fairness, they have all been pretty rubbish CDs that I have seen. But are they all just too scratched? Passengers throwing perfectly good CDs out the windows out of disgust at the driver’s disgraceful taste in music? And then Christmas decorations! I mean, I know Christmas has just finished but what is wrong with storing it ‘til next year? Moral of the story: don’t be so lazy and disrespectful, people. If you must throw it out, there are perfectly good bins not too far away. Or if there’s not, take it home.

Second: Gale force winds can come from all directions at the same time. Someone please explain how this is so… or stop it.

Third on my observational list is proof of what Einstein said about space and time only being true in relative terms. You know the spiel: E=mc2 and how time is not absolute but relative to the observer. There’s obviously a bit more to it than that but in the country, you see all too clearly that it is true beyond a doubt. I’m gonna dub it ‘rural relativity’. It is the phenomenon of how everything in the country seems to be 5km down the road and/or 10 minutes away (by car). If you ask the local rural folk anyway. It makes not a lick of difference if the map and the speedo say 50km, nor if the clock suggests that it takes twice that. So the only logical explanation is that these guys are modifying tractors to go really fast. Like fast enough to warp the passage of time… Q.E.D.

Fourth is the power of a wave. Now you probably thought I meant an energy wave or something. Maybe an electromagnetic thing or even a wave in the sea. But no. Sadly I have deliberately misled you. The wave of which I speak is the humble greeting expressed with a jolly flutter of the phalanges. All along the route so far, I’ve made a point of waving to passers-by. It makes me happy. You know what? It makes the recipient happy too sometimes. Whatever happened to people just greeting everyone? Not for any specific reason. Just because. I don’t think it’s too far of a stretch to say that if we each made a point of just waving and maybe slipping in a sly little smile, the world would be a much happier place. Give it a whirl if you think I’m wrong. Prove me wrong.

This post is hardly going to stretch the ol’ brain pan, but I hope it was entertaining to someone 🙂 I hope you enjoy noticing stuff during your own day today.

A Leap of Faith

A Leap of Faith

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Source: Denny Luan (unsplash.com)

Saturday, Jan 7th, 2017

Today marks exactly a year of self-exploration and learning since I returned to New Zealand from Australia. I was determined to find or create a better model of living. The end goal of making my way into a permaculture space remains, but an intemediate goal pulled so strongly at me that I decided to follow that first.

Living from altered assumptions has done nothing but pay off. People really do want to help and will do so if you let them. Since New Year’s Day, I have gratefully received donations of cash, goods and services in encouragement of my charity project.

The Longest Walk NZ is what transpired and today was the first (official) day. Although contruction, planning and training have been going on for months, today is the day when we visited the first animal welfare organisation: SPCA Southland.

You can read about Day 1 here on the blog for The Longest Walk NZ