Off Grid

In more ways than one.

It has been a while since my last post. Mostly due to my lazy at home routine. I’ve decided to accept the person I really am since writing my last blog post “Lists Work”. I am a bit of a sloth at home. Procrastination (within reason) or  last minute tidying is not of any risk to my personal health or safety soo trying to fit a square peg of mass productivity into a round hole of extremely relaxed home life (deeply entrenched in escapism) is not worth the stress and anxiety being busy induces.

I have been examining my relaxed home life routine. And I’ve found that roughly every two ta three years there seems to be a natural plateau in my levels of productivity. The remedy historically has been change. Extreme change; relocation typically. Starting over is a very familiar and satisfying feeling. I love to purge myself of forgotten junk.

With that said, there is a point I’m getting to here… I don’t like living on grid. I feel like it is primitive and harbors a feeling of imprisonment. My creature comforts generate a dependency. Before I know it, the world and it’s routine become familiar. It bores me to death. It is time to shake things up again. Note, only in my home life this time. My job and employer are amazing. You would have to chain me up and drag me out of the shop lol.

I have decided to leave tradition behind and make a move towards independent living OFF GRID. This will been one of the most life changing decisions I have ever made. And; It will begin with a purge.

Lucky for me I’ve been living in a very small apartment for the last two years. My present living space measures about 147 Square Feet (this figure excludes the washroom & kitchen). I love my current arrangement but affordability & location (far from work) have forced me to reevaluate my long term sustenance plan.

Living off grid and being self sufficient really fits my personality type. I really don’t like asking people for help. In a perfect world I’d rely on no one. Nothing is ever perfect though. Really I don’t mind asking someone for help as long as they allow me to fairly compensate them for services rendered. But handouts; I’ve ridden on the coattails of society much longer than I ever intended. It is time to stand alone.

With that said I understand that it is not reasonable to just abandon the traditional lifestyle of having immediate access to electricity and running water. There is a plan in action here. I’m not just flying in the wind… Step one is to bank a healthy purse and acquire a van to serve as a temporary dwelling/transport. To achieve this I’ll be employing a technique self dubbed “grid surfing”. Its kinda like couch surfing but no couch. It does still require the goodwill of others but it is closer to a barter system. I’ve managed to nail down a favorable situation and likely this temporary bout of transient life will prompt more blogging.

End Game; I have my mind body and soul set on converting a shipping container into a permanent/mobile dwelling. This is a photo of the desired container for conversion.

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Check, check and check!

Lists Work. Mostly

Last night me, myself and I had a little talk about how lazy I am getting. My body and I agree that something must be done. And so I made a list of things to do. And I have ACHIEVED great things today. Let’s take a look; Here is my list…

  • Well, I’m gonna start by topping off my run jar for distances already ran.
  • My ass doesn’t like the morning. Solution: pack at night.
  • Tomorrow I am going to ride to work.
  • I am not going to eat garbage take out for breakfast.
  • I’m going to try and consume 355 Milliliters of water or more.
  • I am going to ride home. (Or to my managers meeting if there is one.)
  • I am not going to eat garbage take out for dinner.
  • I am going to check in with my blog, and let you know how I did.

Starting from the top. Ahh ok, so topping off the run jar. I didn’t actually do that lol. That is more of a day off thing. Starting seeecond from the top. I did pack everything the night before. Holy crap did this help. I woke up, washed my face and brushed my teeth. Put my clothes on without thinking or worrying that something was forgotten. It was pure organizational bliss!

I did actually ride to work. It was really beautiful out this morning. Sun shine, a little cool but once ya get going you don’t really notice. Ya know the funny thing is. I often sleep in. Like to the last minute sleep in. But I went to bed at midnight and set my alarm for 7:00 Am; I woke up at 6:41 this morning. That hasn’t happened to me for years. It’s like the planning put my body into a mode of preparedness. I really like how the morning came together.

Breakfast, I did eat out. But! I went to a much nicer place where I could sit down and read the paper. I could check out the news. Listen to the morning hum of the city. I had French Toast but with fresh fruit and the owner gave me two more tangerines free for the road.

Water consumption, this one always gets me. But I drank half my flask today and it’s about a litre in volume. I also had some G2, I did a lot of heavy lifting today and lost a lot of fluids. I know G2 is not the best thing to use for replenishing electrolytes but it’s what I got for now.  I also had a black tea. Not sure where that lands on the healthy scale?

Dinner, I am having salad. Its got kale and berries, some walnuts in it.

And lastly, check in here. Done, done and done.

Day 1. Success!

Rinse and Repeat.

 

Motivational Tools,

Plus One.

img_20160508_202359.jpgTurns out a traditional Bucket List doesn’t work for me. I’ve had a handful of near death experiences, mostly drunken dare devil stunts or people trying to kill me. All due to my award winning personality of course lol.

Over the last couple years, bacterial infections or viral paired with severe psychosis and depression there have been moments I’ve nearly done myself in. All that and you would think I’d be chomping at the bit to get out there and have some fun.

Truth is, I am boring as fuck. Hah. I really love my job, so I work a lot. It keeps me grounded and out of trouble. But it also makes me a little boring, or Ok. A lot boring.

Other than working a lot, I have a lover. She is my world. And she likes to get shit done. Or at the very least make sure I get shit done lol. We met a long time ago it seems. Spent some time apart and still do spend time apart. It’s an over distance relationship and in a way always has been short, far and everything in between. Big story small, she puts the DO in “get shit DOne”. And I like that. She pushes me to get with the program and ya know what, sometimes I need that. A swift kick in the ass and a sweet reminder to not just talk about doing something but also doing it for reals. And so the pic you see above is a motivational tool she uses and has recommended I use. It is a coin counting jar incase you didn’t catch that. You run. And as a reward, you put coins in it equal to the distance ran.

My girl is a runner. I’m a cyclist. I wanna be a runner though. I also want to hike, and kayak. I have to admit honestly, I have a problem actually doing all those things regularly. I have a problem doing any of these things at all.

My thing. And I got this thing where I like to go big or go home. But I have turned into such a lazy blop when it comes to my physical fitness level I do a lot of just staying home. I consider my ride to work, progress. And this is a real ego crusher. There was a time that I could hop on my bike and solo ride 180 Km in a few hrs easily. Not anymore my friend.

The question now is what am I going to do about it?

  • Well, I’m gonna start by topping off my run jar for distances already ran.
  • My ass doesn’t like the morning. Solution: pack at night.
  • Tomorrow I am going to ride to work.
  • I am not going to eat garbage take out for breakfast.
  • I’m going to try and consume 355 Milliliters of water or more.
  • I am going to ride home. (Or to my managers meeting if there is one.)
  • I am not going to eat garbage take out for dinner.
  • I am going to check in with my blog, and let you know how I did.

Here’s to progress, and if anyone else out there is in depressed lazy blop mode. Feel free to get with the program and run with me. I use Strava to track all my fitness and my handle is Ross W. Look for the Ghost Riders flaming skull. That is my Strava calling card. Although I am consider a lovey rolly Panda until I get back into go mode lol.

 

 

When my Life & the Stars collide (Pt. 46)

horoscope-aries-tattoo-designSource: Halifax Metro, It’s All In The Stars by Francis Drake

This afternoon is an excellent time for business and commerce. Trust your moneymaking ideas. Business-related travel is likely. Enjoy!”

Today (my day off) started off all business and I kinda like it that way. I put a lot of hours in but I also love my job and I love our customers. For readers that are not familiar with what I do. I am the Manager of a bike shop. As in bicycles. And I spent this afternoon caring for one of our customers. Making sure our customers get what they need and what they want is my specialty. And today I had the pleasure of delivering satisfaction out of a situation that could have otherwise been very disappointing. And we saved the customer some money, plus a little upgrade on the side.

Business Travel is very likely, all travel these days is for business lol. I did a fair bit of walking today and it felt great. The sun is coming out and it’s warming up here. I’ve been running a little on the side and I’m feeling the itch to get back on my bike. That’s not the kinda travel I’m dreaming of though 🙂

My Employer and Specialized Bicycles will be sending me to California in July to visit the Headquarters of all things “Specialized” … This is literally a lifelong dream of mine, to visit the North American hub of cycling. California is home to some of the largest bike & accessory designers/suppliers in the world. Literally candy land for a gearhead and brand addict like me.

Francis Drake, you were bang on today 😉

Clinically Acclaimed!

recovery Day X; depression strikes

mq1Step 1. Tell Someone;

Depression is no stranger to me. I know what it looks like, how it changes my attitude and behaviour. And I know that when it strikes to suffer in silence is a common response. Depression crushes my drive to socialize. It crushes my desire to care for my home, to care for myself. It sucks the joy out of the things I love the most. Its a bummer, like a flat tire during the worst snowstorm of your life. And you don’t have a spare.

Well… A flat in the middle of the worst snowstorm of your life and no spare tire. You call someone. I know its hard. I know its embarrassing. I know it can strip you of pride. Rob a person of their ability to feel independent. Left unchecked long enough it can start to tear your life down. It can affect your job performance. Maybe even lead to job loss. Bills pile up; And the hole gets deeper and deeper.

Last Monday I was diagnosed with moderate to severe depression by my Doctor @ Connections. He diagnosed me because I told him something was wrong. And I was given two choices; Take more medication OR Initiate the use of my most powerful and effective tools, one being Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

For those of you not familiar with CBT, its basically a self or assisted launch of a learned tool. CBT helps a person evaluate situations negatively impacting their mental & physical health. Upon evaluation identify negative behaviours and implement a simple, attainable plan of action to help improve or correct the situation.

My Doctor & Connections are amazing. A worker was notified of my situation, it is not an emergency in my case because I have a strong history of self guided recovery. I set in motion a plan that day to right my course:

  1. Ride my bike! Healthy body, healthy mind. Exercise reduces stress.
  2. Eat Right. Drop the comfort foods, eat green & healthy proteins.
  3. Take out the trash, mentally & physically.
  4. Work Smart, be productive & creative. Feel Accomplished!
  5. Rinse and Repeat, but don’t overdo it. Start Small.

Soo far, since Monday I’ve executed steps 1 through 4 and I’m getting ready for the “Rinse/Repeat” part. I see improvements already. Its small, but ya gotta start somewhere.

Who knows, maybe my medication will increase? Is that bad? Meh, I don’t think so. But I can sure as hell tell anyone reading this;

I’mma fight. I’m gonna use my learned tools & fight!

Knowledge is power.

 

a powerful enemy

Creature Comforts

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Above; This is how I used to live. I slept on the floor and rummaged through a handful of bags whenever I needed anything. Occasionally I’d rummage through a plastic container. A person may look at this and think it doesn’t look soo comfortable. Don’t get me wrong, I know that there are people out there with less and sleep on the street etc. etc. The point is compared to how I live now… This was a rough and minimalist existence.

This photo represents a significant reset. When I was younger, in my late teens and early twenties I literally lived in an apartment on the floor, outta a box. I had a box, in the box was clothing and bedding. Also a dollarama clock. A few keepsakes. That was the way till I got married (which didn’t last long) and on into my first place on my own.

I then had a bed, that was a big step up. Most of my furniture was folding or packable. I lasted on my own for about a year and then RESET. This time in Toronto. I arrived in Toronto off the train with nothing but a rucksack full of clothes and my bike.

Entering Toronto & a new relationship I really didn’t start to accumulate things like I predicted. My partner at the time had lots of life stuff, ya know like knives & forks. Her and I were similar in the sense that we didn’t really latch onto material things. If we could afford it, we had it but we didn’t lose sleep over not having the biggest TV. The biggest investment she made was a real bed. Before that it was just a box spring & mattress on the floor. The biggest investment I made… I bought a new bike. Making that bike three in my stable. Oh and a new desk! I still have it. Nice BIG work surface, that I don’t do any work on lol.

And then RESET… We broke up (I still kinda regret it). I moved outta the bedroom and into the living room where I was permitted to stay until a new place for me and my box of things could be secured; I found a place and surprisingly quick! I had a friend help me relocate. When I found that all my belongings fit into a single car load (less the bikes, cause they are awkward to fit in any vehicle cept for a truck or bike rack) there was a wave of relief & freedom that swept over me. Even my tiny new place felt like a castle.

And then RESET… I got sick; Long story short, I went a little bonkers. I couldn’t return to work and so the packing began. Again, all my belongings fit into one Toyota Corolla. Boarding a plane back to the East Coast, Halifax I began the process of starting over.

I bounced around a bit couch surfing with family, I roomed for a bit in a house full of university students (felt a little out of place as I was nearing thirty). Then I got lucky and found a kind soul handing me the keys to independence. I was destine to RESET at least one more time before discovering my arch enemy was the very thing that I was seeking feverishly. The idea and the fruition of being “comfortable”.

I have been in my current location now for over one year. I now have a bed, a desk, bookcase and nightstand with a vase. I have artwork hanging on the walls, art I picked out on my own. Some of the art I made myself. I have lamps, beautiful paper shaded lamps. I have room to work. I have room to stable my collection of bikes (which has grown to four bikes now). I have soo much stuff! More than I have ever had AND…

My comfort makes me LAZY AS FUCK! I mean sure, I leave the house every day for work and my heart really is in my work. But when I come home; I put on my favorite hoodie, turn the heat up and eat takeout in front of a movie. Usually sleep follows. I’ll sleep a couple hours and then check facebook, go back to bed. I hate checking my email, which is something I never used to let go unchecked. Waking in the morning is a drag, I don’t want to leave my warm cubby comfort for the frigid cold. I used to be hearty, fuck the cold and I’d walk, ride, ski ect. everyday! But now I take the bus. I walk fast from the door to the stop and bitch about how long it takes. I’m turning soft.

I’d ride out every night after work in Toronto to be social, drink and eat;

I was in peak adventure mode pre-treatment for my mental health. I felt like shit to such a point it was torture to sit still. I painted, joined & attended groups, fundraisers, public speaking events. I left the house every single day and never stopped from 8 Am to 8 Pm and sometimes later. But now, I’m a blop. I feel like a blop. Something needs to…

RESET.