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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 11-12-16, 09:46 AM   #1
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Dirtbags!!

I always heard this term, but never really knew what it exactly meant until recently. I guess an example of living the dirtbag life would be living with the bare essentials so we can follow and/or afford our passions in life (i.e. rock climbers who live out of a van so they can be close to their sport). I can't help but wonder if all of us that live a car-free/lite lifestyle (by choice or otherwise) don't have a bit of the "dirtbag" mentality in us??

I know we've had threads over the years on how simply we live, what we could do without, etc. But I think dirtbaggin' it follows the same idea, but possibly has different end goals.

Discuss.
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Old 11-12-16, 10:17 AM   #2
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Old 11-12-16, 10:21 AM   #3
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As am I, my friend!
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Old 11-12-16, 10:37 AM   #4
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I always heard this term, but never really knew what it exactly meant until recently. I guess an example of living the dirtbag life would be living with the bare essentials so we can follow and/or afford our passions in life (i.e. rock climbers who live out of a van so they can be close to their sport). I can't help but wonder if all of us that live a car-free/lite lifestyle (by choice or otherwise) don't have a bit of the "dirtbag" mentality in us??

I know we've had threads over the years on how simply we live, what we could do without, etc. But I think dirtbaggin' it follows the same idea, but possibly has different end goals.

Discuss.
The definition of dirtbag that I am familiar with is (from the Oxford Dictionary): a very unkempt or unpleasant person. The definition you cite of a simple-living rock climber is valid but obscure.
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Dirtbag climbers, climbers living cheaply and supporting themselves through odd jobs in order to maximize the amount of time climbing
I think some subscribers might think that calling those Living Car Free as dirtbags would be offensive (or valid ).


BTW, IMHO ending an OP with the single line, "Discuss." is imperious and arrogant...Just sayin'.

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Old 11-12-16, 10:42 AM   #5
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The definition of dirtbag that I am familiar with is (from the Oxford Dictionary): a very unkempt or unpleasant person. The definition you cite of a simple-living rock climber is valid but obscure. I think some subscribers might think that calling those Living Car Free as dirtbags would be offensive (or valid ).
Oh dear. My intentions was toward the simple living "mentality" aspect of course. I could delete the thread or edit it, but I'm gonna let well enough alone. I apologize for the confusion!
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Old 11-12-16, 06:08 PM   #6
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Don't delete this. It's the first new thread in a while, and doubtless will unravel soon enough, but its not your fault.

In any case you've removed any chance of offense by describing what you mean, so the precise choice of words isn't an issue (but I'm sure some here will try to make it one.

As for the link between car free and living simply, there may be some, but I don't think it's directly related. I'm sure that many living car free by choice aren't living a simple life at all and indulge various hobbies, though of course those LCF by necessity may be living simply for the obvious reason that they can't afford otherwise.

In my case, There are differences between before and LCF, but they're not much, and if I were still in NYC there would be none at all.
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Old 11-12-16, 06:48 PM   #7
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I always heard this term, but never really knew what it exactly meant until recently. I guess an example of living the dirtbag life would be living with the bare essentials so we can follow and/or afford our passions in life (i.e. rock climbers who live out of a van so they can be close to their sport). I can't help but wonder if all of us that live a car-free/lite lifestyle (by choice or otherwise) don't have a bit of the "dirtbag" mentality in us??

I know we've had threads over the years on how simply we live, what we could do without, etc. But I think dirtbaggin' it follows the same idea, but possibly has different end goals.

Discuss.
We probably do, because of the simplicity that it brings. Surfers are probably up there with the principle that you illustrate with the rock-climbers. They have generated their own lifestyle and image that has survived for 60 or 70 years.

What are the end-goals, though? In the end, we all face getting older and having to find a way to support ourselves at that end of our lives. Cycling will probably be an important part of mobility for me, but that will depend on where I am living, too.
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Old 11-12-16, 06:48 PM   #8
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Don't delete this. It's the first new thread in a while, and doubtless will unravel soon enough, but its not your fault.
I haven't been here in LCF for a while. I used to check in every few days. I can see the place needs a little sprucing up. I'll see what I can do.
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Old 11-12-16, 06:52 PM   #9
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We probably do, because of the simplicity that it brings. Surfers are probably up there with the principle that you illustrate with the rock-climbers. They have generated their own lifestyle and image that has survived for 60 or 70 years.
I picked up on that. I am a huge fan of outdoorsy documentaries and I'm watching one this weekend called 180* South. It involves rock climbing, surfing and simply living for the moment. I watched the first half and hope to finish it tonight before bed.
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Old 11-13-16, 01:37 AM   #10
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Thanks, nice idea for a thread. I hope that most will answer with a good spirit.

I have always admired the deliberate lifestyle. I think that Thoreau has probably been the writer with the greatest influence in my life, and he always recommended living intelligently with the realization that material acquisition will not lead to happiness.

Two circumstances can make it difficult to attain this deliberate lifestyle in modern life. One is having children, who inspire you to make enough money to provide them with security and some kind of "normal" life. A second circumstance (mentioned by @Rowan in Post #7) is aging, which seems to require some planning and forethought beyond just living for the moment. Of course, if you live long enough, most will end up with a very simple lifestyle, perhaps a bed in a nursing home almost devoid of personal possessions. And after that, you will be alone in a box buried in the ground, the ultimate in simplicity.

I have always considered being carfree as a wonderful accessory to an overall deliberate or simple lifestyle. The antithesis of simple living would be a huge gaudy vehicle that requires you to slave away at a lousy job to support your gasoline habit.

For those who are interested in this topic, I highly recommend the thread called "How simply do you live." It's been added to for several years now, and there are some extremely interesting and valuable messages there.
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Old 11-13-16, 09:07 AM   #11
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I always heard this term, but never really knew what it exactly meant until recently. I guess an example of living the dirtbag life would be living with the bare essentials so we can follow and/or afford our passions in life (i.e. rock climbers who live out of a van so they can be close to their sport). I can't help but wonder if all of us that live a car-free/lite lifestyle (by choice or otherwise) don't have a bit of the "dirtbag" mentality in us??

I know we've had threads over the years on how simply we live, what we could do without, etc. But I think dirtbaggin' it follows the same idea, but possibly has different end goals.

Discuss.
Although this term (the use of it) offends me, I'm glad the issue was raised for discussion since I now see that the Urban Dictionary has created a more specific definition than the more traditional dictionaries, that just define it in terms of contemptible people (i.e. contemptible for various subjective reasons, i.e. I might consider a person who protests again bike-lanes a 'dirtbag' while he might consider people who favor and use bike lanes as 'dirtbags.')

I can see how there are some activities that sacrifice hygiene for some reason or other, such as the surfing example, or many hikers say that they just stop washing clothes and/or their bodies and get used to stinking while on extended hikes. But I don't have this experience since I am always looking for ways to efficiently and effectively keep clean when hiking/biking/camping. It is harder than just planning laundry-day at home a couple times a week, but I value the idea of being able to travel car-free without being dependent on laundromats.

As for the mention of limiting oneself to the "bare essentials" as being something negative, this just comes across as derogatory P&R trolling to me. Life/economics is about making choices. If you can choose clothing or a mode of transportation or food that saves you money to spend on other things, that is the same as a business that shops around for suppliers to be able to make more profit or invest in other aspects of the business. It's silly to put down this aspect of economic life in general, let alone target car-free living in this way, and ultimately it's a P&R spin on LCF that will get this thread moved to P&R or locked if the discussion goes in this direction.
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Old 11-13-16, 09:22 AM   #12
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I guess its better to live in a van down by the river.... than in your mom's basement.

Just sayin'.
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Old 11-13-16, 09:29 AM   #13
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... it's a P&R spin on LCF that will get this thread moved to P&R or locked if the discussion goes in this direction.

Okay... now I see why this sub-forum has the reputation it does! I made a genuine attempt at an honest-to-goodness thread. And I get this.

Now all the little jokes about LCF make sense. Whatever... I'll roll with it.
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Old 11-13-16, 10:04 AM   #14
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Okay... now I see why this sub-forum has the reputation it does! I made a genuine attempt at an honest-to-goodness thread. And I get this.

Now all the little jokes about LCF make sense. Whatever... I'll roll with it.
Did you realize "dirtbag" is traditionally used as a general insult for anyone you dislike for any reason, like "scumbag?" The meanings you're attributing to it here for discussion imply political/economic issues, beyond the discussion of surfer culture and the like, which was noted in Rowan's post.
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Old 11-13-16, 10:10 AM   #15
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Old 11-13-16, 01:13 PM   #16
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Any person who is lazy and puts very minimal effort into working and being productive and taking responsibility for themselves and lives at other peoples expense is a dirtbag.
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Old 11-13-16, 01:24 PM   #17
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Two of the most famous Dirtbag cyclists are #ultraromance and Nic and Loel at https://gypsybytrade.wordpress.com
They are total dirtbags, carfree and I am sure are not offended by that term.

But I think the term is more appropriate for a lot of Bike racers. They would not be carfree though b/c of the need to get to races but a lot do live the Dirtbag life and are proud of it!

Also most Dirt bags like their vehicles b/c they live in them. Otherwise you are living in a tent. In fact before we sold our car a couple of years ago we were doing a SW trip and in Vegas saw Alex Hannold (the Ultimate Dirtbag) and he looked at our car said it was too small. LOL

As for me now, well I live out of a 30 liter backpack and have bikes on 3 different continents, but right now I am on a 4 one without a bike and am Jonesing to ride...
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Old 11-13-16, 01:29 PM   #18
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As for me now, well I live out of a 30 liter backpack and have bikes on 3 different continents, but right now I am on a 4 one without a bike and am Jonesing to ride...
I declare you winner of this thread!
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Old 11-13-16, 11:10 PM   #19
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I believe there are ever growing numbers that are choosing to live in RVs, campers, vans and cars. This lifestyle is catching on and I'm seeing more threads than ever on Youtube. The cost of living indoors continues to skyrocket forcing more and more people to live in vehicles. Thanks to the internet and Youtube, people finally seeing the light and are sick and tired of the rat race and consumerism.

The whole concept of minimalism is spreading and the carfree movement is part of it.
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Old 11-14-16, 01:33 AM   #20
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I believe there are ever growing numbers that are choosing to live in RVs, campers, vans and cars. This lifestyle is catching on and I'm seeing more threads than ever on Youtube. The cost of living indoors continues to skyrocket forcing more and more people to live in vehicles. Thanks to the internet and Youtube, people finally seeing the light and are sick and tired of the rat race and consumerism.

The whole concept of minimalism is spreading and the carfree movement is part of it.
I can kinda see why this appeals to some people. Personally, I would sell my car and live in a house, rather than sell my house and live in a car,

TEHO.
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Old 11-14-16, 03:33 AM   #21
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Two of the most famous Dirtbag cyclists are #ultraromance and Nic and Loel at https://gypsybytrade.wordpress.com
They are total dirtbags, carfree and I am sure are not offended by that term.

But I think the term is more appropriate for a lot of Bike racers. They would not be carfree though b/c of the need to get to races but a lot do live the Dirtbag life and are proud of it!

Also most Dirt bags like their vehicles b/c they live in them. Otherwise you are living in a tent. In fact before we sold our car a couple of years ago we were doing a SW trip and in Vegas saw Alex Hannold (the Ultimate Dirtbag) and he looked at our car said it was too small. LOL

As for me now, well I live out of a 30 liter backpack and have bikes on 3 different continents, but right now I am on a 4 one without a bike and am Jonesing to ride...
In Australia, the working holiday visa allows people from an extensive list of countries to travel around the country and work at various jobs. Some choose to stay in cities, some choose to work on farms, following the harvest trail. Often they buy cars that are on their fourth or fifth "generation" of backpackers so they can travel between work, and leisure in between. They usually live out of those cars, and share with two or three other mates.

Then there are other backpackers who are car-free and travel between locations by train or bus (or plane if a very long distance). Others still use bicycles. They can camp, stay at backpacker hostels, or in caravan park cabins and reduce the costs by sharing with others.

After 12 months, if they have worked in regional locations for a sufficient period, they can extend their visas for another years. Effectively, they can travel, experience the Australian way of life, and work to pay their bills so they can return home without debt.

The really interesting part about this is that the backpackers on the working holiday visa have become a fundamental part of the agricultural industry here, simply because they are there, ready and happy to work, and generally are excellent workers, based on my experience. They essentially are filling a gap in employment that some Australians aren't willing to fill.

Having said that, there is a core of very skilled, very fast professional Australian pickers who move down the eastern seaboard of Australia harvesting, say, cherries, or apples or other stone fruit. They, too, live the "dirtbag" lifestyle, reducing their living expenses to a minimum, camping where necessary, and living without a motor vehicle when they can or have to.

I should also note that in Australia, there are minimum wages considerably higher than in some other countries, and while pickers are paid a piece rate, that rate is calculated on an expectation for a certain amount of produce to be picked to meet that minimum wage... which currently sits around $AUD22 an hour. For a month to six weeks' work, it is not unusual for skilled pickers to walk away from a property with $4,000 to $5,000 in their pockets.
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Old 11-14-16, 07:54 AM   #22
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That is over $15.60 US...so it would puzzle me if somebody from Australia complained about finances a little.


Perhaps some of those wages should be saved for your friends in New Zealand right now. It's nasty with the earthquakes lately.
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Old 11-14-16, 08:01 AM   #23
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That is over $15.60 US...so it would puzzle me if somebody from Australia complained about finances a little.
The cost of living is a bit different here than in the US.
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Old 11-14-16, 09:30 AM   #24
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Any person who is lazy and puts very minimal effort into working and being productive and taking responsibility for themselves and lives at other peoples expense is a dirtbag.
Any person who is thoughtful about life and puts very minimal effort into working and being productive and so long as they take responsibility for themselves and lives at other peoples expense without harming them is happy.

I tweaked it a bit so it fits my "dirtbag" life better. I'm like a "surf bum" or a "ski bum" - I just don't surf or ski. But I do have a lot of things I like to do outdoors and even indoors. So I keep my expenses low, work as little as possible, and try to squeeze as much fun into my life as I can. The fact that other less thoughtful or aware individuals work hard to raise families and purchase junk is not my problem. They do keep the world turning for me so in this regard I guess I am taking advantage of them in a sense.

The only difference between myself and the other dirtbags in the world is how much we are willing to do without in order to do the things we want to do - or NOT do the things we don't want to do. If you love working and love your job - I envy you. If you hate your job and only do it to accumulate junk, there are a lot worse adjectives to wear around your neck than "dirtbag".

Nice thread BTW!
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Old 11-14-16, 09:43 AM   #25
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Oh dear. My intentions was toward the simple living "mentality" aspect of course. I could delete the thread or edit it, but I'm gonna let well enough alone. I apologize for the confusion!
It seems the term has been repurposed. To anyone my age, calling somebody a dirtbag is a deliberate insult, maning not only dirty, but mean, spiteful, etc. as in "he stole the disabled woman's purse - what a dirtbag". In fact, '[anything]-bag' has tended to be an insult: gasbag, scumbag, d*****bag, etc.

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