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  1. #201
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    Quote Originally Posted by schiavonec
    man is rich in proportion to things he can AFFORD to leave alone.

    This may be an assumption on my part, but I am curious as to how many of the respondees are:
    - not in profession careers where appearance matters (this isn't a dig, but some folks have to wear suits 5 days a week - thankfully not me);
    - married
    - with children (a whole host of 'crap' comes along with the lil ones);
    - business owners;
    - pet owners (larger than 10lbs);
    - caring for parents or elderly family members;
    - property owners
    - business travelers (not always a bus available when you need a 4:30 am red eye flight)
    - coaches for traveling sports
    - dependent on medical devices for basic health maintenance

    None of these are digs by any means though, just aspects that make simple living not so simple. Overall, it may be easiest to live simply when young (18-28 and single, or older (65+ and single). I applaud anyone that can live simply and raise a family: it is a cummulative triumph for them.
    I've long been a lurker on the Living Car Free forum even though I currently own a car. I bike and walk as much as I can in the summer but living in a harsh winter climate makes that more difficult. However, my father cycled or walked 2 miles to work for over 30 years so I know it can be done. I live a reasonably simple life (besides the car), rarely shop for anything, and could care less about the Joneses. Most of my recent purchases are related to my bike: a new rear tire after riding on the original for nearly ten years, some fenders for commuting in inclement weather, rain gear, a better light, etc. I own some books, CDs, and clothes but will attempt to purge some of that as I will be moving shortly.

    My question relates to the post quoted above. I'm not single but will likely be falling into the "renter/home owner, married with children, and possibly pets" category soon. The idea of a simple life is very appealing to me as I think one of the most precious things in life is time and the ability to spend it how we choose. I'd rather own less things so that I can work less and subsequently have more free time. My girlfriend on the other hand is more career driven and more materialistic, but not nearly as bad as most people. I want to live a simple life but it looks increasingly less likely to happen if I stay on the current course. Has anybody tried to pursuade a significant other of the benefits of the simple life or is it a lost cause? I think James alluded to the fact that simple living is not necessarily about the number of possessions but about your attitude. I might be able to convince her that some "needs" are actually "wants", but regarding her attitude towards life, I'm not so sure...

    One confused Canadian

  2. #202
    tired donnamb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SmithW6079
    My girlfriend on the other hand is more career driven and more materialistic, but not nearly as bad as most people. I want to live a simple life but it looks increasingly less likely to happen if I stay on the current course. Has anybody tried to pursuade a significant other of the benefits of the simple life or is it a lost cause? I think James alluded to the fact that simple living is not necessarily about the number of possessions but about your attitude. I might be able to convince her that some "needs" are actually "wants", but regarding her attitude towards life, I'm not so sure...
    I have seen several relationships end amongst my peers because of this very issue. Person wants to live simply but partner isn't interested in that. Even if person tries not to push the issue, they begin to feel some resentment because they cannot live in a way that is important to them. Partner begins to be defensive and indignant about it, and often swings further in the opposite direction just because they feel pushed. This causes the little issues and resentments to be magnified in both of their minds and break up occurs. It can happen over months or decades. I've seen it happen to all kinds of people because of a great many issues such as meat eating, religion, *** ownership, sexual practices, interest in types of sports or travel, and even hobbies that can be life changing. If the couple is lucky, they break it off before children or pets enter the equation.

    I hate to sound super negative, but when someone has a strong belief in something that is totally life changing but their partner isn't interested, that someone either has to shelve it, drastically modify it (which is a lot like shelving it), or end the relationship. I have never seen anyone successfully convince anyone else to adopt lifestyle changes this drastic for the purpose of maintaining a relationship. (I make a distinction between these big issues and the "little things" that one always has to negotiate and compromise in a relationship.)

  3. #203
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    Here's a thread that seems worth posting to...

    My driver's license expired in 1999, which brings me to this forum in the first place. It wasn't long after that that I started living with the woman I'm now married to, who owns a car, so I can't be said to be car free, just a passenger extraordinary who has organized his life so all daily needs can be met by bicycle or public transportation.

    I believe in the Way, and following it has lead me to an appreciation of the natural. Nature is simple, but never simply simple; she takes as many forms as needed and none other. A natural food such as an apple is vastly more complex than a heavily processed one such as an oreo cookie, which is simpler in composition despite having more 'ingredients'. I strive to eat food which are full of nutrients and closest to their unrefined state as possible; in preparing a curry I might use twenty ingredients not counting spices.

    I think I own more stuff than most people my age. In our last move a lot of dead weight was shed, but we still have a lot of stuff. It's carefully chosen stuff. The bulk of it by weight is books. I grew up in a household with a captivating and large library of books, which is a legacy I hope to pass to our childen. Words are my special gift in life and as a literary person it is a privilege to maintain a library, which I use as a foil for my creativity and as solace in the dead of winter.

    I am also a lover of tools, and use them, so I have many. What I don't have is huge boxes that are meant to provide every conceivable tool for any job; my tools are typically acquired one at a time, for needed work; it's just that as my interests in making and repairing are wide-ranging, I have many of these tools. It would not simplify my life to be rid of them, it would merely simplify my moving process. Many of these are kitchen tools; we are notably lacking a microwave, which we consider unhealthy for food, and a dishwasher, which didn't come with the apartment and is unneccessary.

    I consider my life simple. Our flat has an open floor plan, with one large wall that separates a bedroom and bath from the other room, which has the kitchen, half bath, an elevated area, and a large open gallery. I wake, make tea, maybe eat, stretch some, and begin working, which I do from my computer station. I have a desk for art, with a chair, and two other chairs for older folk or those accustomed to it to sit upon, and a couple futons on our platform for floor sitting. A piece of melamine-covered plywood on top of two sterilites provides a table and storage and is put away for cleaning and other uses of the space. Drums and circus equipment is along another wall, with fittings in the ceiling for trapeze and all that. The bikes take up more room than they should, and soon will be hanging from the ceiling also. The open gallery is for yoga and dance, and sees a lot of both.

    The space is fit to our needs. Everything supports us in some aspect of our lifestyle. We own a CRT tv, which is hauled up maybe 6 times a year from the basement storage and laboriously set up for movies; someday with some more money, we'll get a projector, which is simpler by virtue of disappearing when not used even though it's more expensive than a large TV that would dominate the space off or on.

    I own an xtracycle and use it to haul drums, drive my wife out to our favorite Thai food joint, and pick up organic groceries at the local greengrocer. I consider anything within a 15 mile radius fair game, which covers my city with overlap to the important suburbs. I'm a vegetarian with increasingly strong vegan tendencies, who just put a leather saddle on his bike.

    Balance is key; a plant can support so many healthy branches and no more. I feel healthy with the number of activities I engage in, as wholesome to my nature: to read, write, play music, paint, tinker, prepare delicious food, ride my bicycle, spend time with my friends, these bring me satisfaction. I hope someday to build a home from natural materials such as cob, off-grid and self-sufficient in heating and water, as a base from which I may live calmly; I have no interest in further debt after what I owe is paid. It would be wonderful to travel the world by boat and bicycle; this too is within the envelope of the possible.

    If an object or activity is not in keeping with my Way, we part ways, amicably if possible. Many of my happiest days have seen my possessions kept in a single backpack for months on end; I believe that this freedom can be combined with a smart built and cozy home base, full of books, a shop, beautiful art and a space for physical activity. The simplest life is lead by mendicant monks, and I admire it but do not wish to emulate it. If I am guided there, there I will go.

  4. #204
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    I live quite simply as well. I have a bed/futon, coffee table, shelving, and everything else like clothing, bike stuff, food, etc. I don't own a TV, and don't own a computer. I use the one at work, which is why i'm, ahh, not working right at this moment. But yeah, It feels good, especially at moving time. Carrying sh*t upstairs sucks...
    yep.

  5. #205
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    Smithw6079 - I've been with my wife for 10 years. Not long, but long enough to realize that people change over time. I am not the person I was, nor is she the person I first fell in love with.

    I suggest you just live your life how you want and your partner needs to be let alone to make their choices as well. Lead by example, if your way is working out well they may just adopt it too. If not, that is OK.

    As for having a child, a large dog, a house, and a business, etc. Those things are in my life. They are my life. We have two cars. One is now a prius and the other may become one soon.

    I lurk here because I believe in simple and a little reading here now and then keeps me inspired.

    Good luck.

  6. #206
    Senior Member heywood's Avatar
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    No car. I don't own a computer. I don't own a cell phone. I don't own a TV. I have never ...

    Then dude...how are you posting on a web forum???

    c'mon guys we're using the ultimate in western late 20th early 21st century communications systems..riding bikes that have come from centuries of materials experimentation and design that is the product of even more centuries of technology and advancements that have given us the ability to have "free time" that allows us develop and advance more. All those geniuses that have come before us and the engineers and scientist and labourers that figured out metal smelting and sidewalks and concrete mixing, etc..etc.. seem to being swept under the carpet by alot of posts on these forums.

    I agree that most of the general western population don't have any clue about the concrete under thier feet or the light bulbs in there homes, but by dismissing all the wonderful things that our western society has produced we dishonor those brilliant men and woman that came before us.

    Don't throw out the baby with the bathwater!

    The internal combustion engine is an amazing invention but like nuclear technology it's gotten out of hand and we have to start reigning it in before it ruins what we've all built over here.

    Take a trip to a third world country and you'll start appreciating what we have. They're many stupid and wasteful people in these countries too..sometimes it's one of the reasons why they're a "third world" country. Fighting wars is really stupid when you should be bringing the crops in.....(not that we should talk).

    Sorry I'm rambling...keep up the conversation..just don't forget those that gave us this society, the concrete under our feet the metalurgists for our nails & wires, the mathematicians for our operating systems, the guy that keeps our **** in the settleing tanks at the treatment plants, etc...

    One more thing...those air miles and point (loyalty) cards that C-cards give us are just a really cheap way for these companies to track you spending and living habits it saves them tens of $1,000's in marketing and research fees while they give you back a few percent of what they've saved..I personally don't touch them...Always pay cash! Although I am being a hippocrite since I have to use a card to purchase stuff online (Damn!)..

  7. #207
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    donnamb and BK,

    Thank you both for the advice. I think I will attempt to simplify my life and lead by example as BK suggests while also trying to love and accept my girlfriend for who she is. Maybe we'll be able to achieve a balance or maybe the whole thing will come crashing down like a house of cards. I guess I'll see how my significant other reacts and only time will tell whether donnamb will be right about a potential breakup. The good news is that we will likely be moving closer to where I work, so that at the very minimum I will become car light since my girlfriend will likely be taking over the car. I'll still have to pay for a portion of it though.

    Quote Originally Posted by heywood
    Then dude...how are you posting on a web forum???

    c'mon guys we're using the ultimate in western late 20th early 21st century communications systems..riding bikes that have come from centuries of materials experimentation and design that is the product of even more centuries of technology and advancements that have given us the ability to have "free time" that allows us develop and advance more. All those geniuses that have come before us and the engineers and scientist and labourers that figured out metal smelting and sidewalks and concrete mixing, etc..etc.. seem to being swept under the carpet by alot of posts on these forums.

    I agree that most of the general western population don't have any clue about the concrete under thier feet or the light bulbs in there homes, but by dismissing all the wonderful things that our western society has produced we dishonor those brilliant men and woman that came before us.

    Don't throw out the baby with the bathwater!

    The internal combustion engine is an amazing invention but like nuclear technology it's gotten out of hand and we have to start reigning it in before it ruins what we've all built over here.

    Take a trip to a third world country and you'll start appreciating what we have. They're many stupid and wasteful people in these countries too..sometimes it's one of the reasons why they're a "third world" country. Fighting wars is really stupid when you should be bringing the crops in.....(not that we should talk).

    Sorry I'm rambling...keep up the conversation..just don't forget those that gave us this society, the concrete under our feet the metalurgists for our nails & wires, the mathematicians for our operating systems, the guy that keeps our **** in the settleing tanks at the treatment plants, etc...

    One more thing...those air miles and point (loyalty) cards that C-cards give us are just a really cheap way for these companies to track you spending and living habits it saves them tens of $1,000's in marketing and research fees while they give you back a few percent of what they've saved..I personally don't touch them...Always pay cash! Although I am being a hippocrite since I have to use a card to purchase stuff online (Damn!)..
    heywood, you bring up some very interesting points. I believe a lot of confusion is created since simple living means different things to different people. Mention it to some people and they'll assume you want to go off and live a hunter-gatherer lifestyle in the woods. I don't think there is any formal definition for the term, although many posts here have given some great ideas for it. Regarding technology, one's attitude towards it can make a world of difference. For example, one can apply advances in science to create energy efficient homes (passive solar, wind turbines, solar panels, etc) or we can use science to build better weapons. Perhaps we can even do both simultaneously. I'm not sure if anyone here is advocating giving up concrete streets or sewers, but perhaps we are trying to think of ways to use these technological resources more efficiently. With a little forethought and the fortitude to put it into practice, we just might be able to build communities that don't require driving 20 miles each way to work everyday on
    6 lane highways from our 3000 square foot home with its 3 car garage.

    It all comes down to what we value as a society. Even if most people don't currently get the point that the current Western lifestyle is unsustainable, they may finally see the light when the consequences of the rest of the world emulating our lifestyle become evident. We can only live the way we do because the vast majority of people live on $1-2 per day. I'd like to hope that we can voluntarily adopt a simpler and sustainable way of life before it is forced upon us by ecological disaster or political and societal collapse.

  8. #208
    Senior Member pakole's Avatar
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    What ...? So you tell me that if a person enjoys the company of another person then he or she should not be willing to make any changes for that person that they supposely enjoy their company. That sounds like a pretty shallow or weak-minded person or shallow or weak relationship. My viewpoint have change greatly during my time in college, and my financee has been cool. She has also change and I give her room to grow as well. If people do not feel passionate about things then life gets bland real will quick.
    ---
    Is morality determine by when no human is watching you or when no being is watching you? For if it is the latter, I can not be a moral person for I know God is with me each and every day.

  9. #209
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    Quote Originally Posted by heywood
    c'mon guys we're using the ultimate in western late 20th early 21st century communications systems..riding bikes that have come from centuries of materials experimentation and design that is the product of even more centuries of technology and advancements that have given us the ability to have "free time" that allows us develop and advance more. All those geniuses that have come before us and the engineers and scientist and labourers that figured out metal smelting and sidewalks and concrete mixing, etc..etc.. seem to being swept under the carpet by alot of posts on these forums.

    I agree that most of the general western population don't have any clue about the concrete under thier feet or the light bulbs in there homes, but by dismissing all the wonderful things that our western society has produced we dishonor those brilliant men and woman that came before us.
    I don't feel particularly "western" riding around on my Taiwan-made bike with Shimano components. :-O

    To address your actual point, a bicycle and computer (the two things everyone on this forum can be assumed to use) represent to me the pinnacles of human engineering. The bicycle + rider is able to move more efficiently than anything else on earth, while the computer + programmer is able to do numeric analysis on dizzying orders of magnitude past what was once possible. And yet, for a few hundred dollars which can be acquired in the simplest ways (manual yard labor for example) these marvels may be had, and will last years for the computer and decades for the bike, with a little love.

    A wheel has 36 spokes around a hub, but it is the space that makes it useful.
    A cup is made of wood or of jade, but it is the space that makes it useful.
    A home is made of brick or tyvek-sheathed 2x4s, but it is the space that makes it useful.

    When I fill that space with objects, the usual couches and carpets and dining room tables, televisions, gadgets, and the like, I cannot use that space. It belongs to things. I cannot dance, twirl my staff or poi, do yoga. Most importantly, my environment is too complex to be calm, and so I have difficulty connecting to that calm inside myself. So I go through that environment keeping only the beautiful and useful, and I cultivate a home and workspace that is simple because it is transparently functional. With fewer objects I am free to arrange them associatively according to the flow of my work and play, until I have a space that is arranged to accomodate the landscape of my life.

    A simple life, to me, is one where one lets habits and things go as easily as one acquires them. Ideally, we do and have only the needful, while the rest is allowed to flow by. This is simple living as (when) I practice it.

  10. #210
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    [QUOTE=iBarna] But you guys should try the grilled eggplant sandwich at Herbivore on Valencia Street.

    Oh my! I'd almost forgotten the Herbivore. One of the best restaruants In SF too.

    Living simply. Wow, a long time ago, I used to brag about how everything I owned could easily be put in the back of my pick-up(excepting the animals). Then came the great job....Insanity took over and I really think I tried to own everything we couldn't afford when I was growing up. Art, books, gadgets, tools, STUFF! I had a home (rented) on acreage where I could keep the horses so I got more of those too
    And then one day, after helping relatives clean out a house of a mom who had died, I started to get sane again. All this stuff is just my way of making some sort of mark that I was here. Graffitti on the walls. When I leave this existance, do I really want those who follow, have to deal with this STUFF? No. Do I need to haul this STUFF around with me while I continue to discover this incredible life I have? No. All I need from life is to try to leave good memories. I rent a studio that my friends think is far too small. I love it. It keeps the STUFF to a minimum. I do still own a vehicle. because I have a need to go to remote places in the desert and mountains to see what life has to show me. I could do that on my bike, but I would like to return to the job in a timely manner...
    When life gets to the stage when I want to live in one spot; I'll buy some acreage and build my Straw bale, off the grid home. I will use the horses for turning the land ( they gots work too) . Simple works for me. And it gets simpler all the time. I have learned that most of my needs are really wants. And so most of those wants are not acquired.
    I recently went through a cancer scare. When life may end sooner than you'd like, it really gets you to thinking about what is important. The best that I could come up with is that I have Loved and am Loved. The rest is just stuff....
    Cheers
    horsec8z

  11. #211
    Banned Bikepacker67's Avatar
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    How Simply Do I live?

    It has to do with the Krebs cycle and something called the Electron Transport Chain, but my biology is a bit rusty.

    How SIMPLE do I live?

    Well... I can pack up my life in about a dozen large boxes.

  12. #212
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    Oh yeah? Well, I can pack my life up on my rear rack! Had to do it before, and will do it again soon.

    Don't have anything in the way of physical possessions that I'm attached to, except my bike stuff and important legal docs (HS diploma, military records, birth certificate, etc). All my furniture, non-cycling clothes, etc was either bought cheap and used or given to me, and I'm a strong believer in the "freely you recieve, so freely you give" thing.
    Last edited by rs_woods; 06-11-06 at 02:44 PM.

  13. #213
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    Jack Burns: Very well said! Thank you.

    And thanks to everyone for their contributions to a most inspiring thread.

  14. #214
    hell's angels h/q e3st ny brunop's Avatar
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    i do have a car (honda civic)
    no computer (i am at work)
    no tv
    no ipod (i do have a boom box cause i like to listen to music and drink wine when i cook)
    no gears (2 fixed gear bikes)
    ". . .a striped jersey under his jacket; bared calves (outside the bicycle track); cap pushed back; feet in a false position on the pedals; a barking horn, a disorderly appearance, an always-dry tongue, and a definite fondness for wine merchants. . ."

  15. #215
    Senior Member heywood's Avatar
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    you don't have kids do you..

  16. #216
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    I could live under a bridge
    if I had to. I would rather
    slum it in the burbs tho and
    go car free.
    Ned Goudy, Glendora, CA USA
    Lightning Thunderbolt, Easy Racer EZ1, Rhoades Car
    http://www.rhoadescar.com/4w1p-j.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody

    Who are your philosophers of simplicity? I like Buddha because he teaches not to get attached to things. I also like Thoreau because he simplified to the core and because he knew how to live outdoors.
    I'm a follower of the Buddha and Thoreau, as well; sometimes I do better than others, but I keep on trying.

    Roody, are you from the upper or lower?

    W.P.

  18. #218
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Will, I'm a true troll--I live under the bridge. (Only people from Michigan will know what we're talking about.)

    I just got a book from the library called "Hooked." It's a Buddhist analysis of consumer culture and our "addiction" to things. I'll post more info and a little review here when I finish it.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  19. #219
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    smithw, i have only one -oh, no, two! of those things that you listed going on: pets over 10 lbs. and i'm partnered... i think you're probably right about your list, unless maybe one is married and BOTH partners are likeminded. luckily i am, and our 2 pups arepretty low key. they want all that we do: food, exercise, and sleep! we won't talk about sex.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody
    Will, I'm a true troll--I live under the bridge. (Only people from Michigan will know what we're talking about.)

    I just got a book from the library called "Hooked." It's a Buddhist analysis of consumer culture and our "addiction" to things. I'll post more info and a little review here when I finish it.
    I'm a troll, also, but I'm married to a thick-headed-Finlander-yooper, so I have honorary status above the bridge (10% off on pasties, fudge, and smoked-fish.)

    I'll check on the book at my library. Sounds interesting.

    W.P.

  21. #221
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Will,

    My grandfather's family farmed in the U.P. so I feel like an honorary yooper too. Not long before my mother died, we took her to the ancestral graveyard, located in the eastern U.P., almost midway between the straits and the Soo. It was a very moving occasion, and the last time she was able to travel away from home. I have wonderful memories and photos of that day.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  22. #222
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    I work in a high tech industry so must have a very high end computer. It's a desktop. I don't own a portable since I also have a desktop at work.
    My job also requires me to own a zone free DVD player and a good quality monitor.
    That aside, the rest of my life is pretty low-tech. I do not watch television (though I spend about four hours a day online.)
    My main exercise is the bicycle since I don't walk well after the auto accident.
    I purchase locally grown organic food from the farmers and pick up deliveries on the bicycle (formerly my giant Cypress; since yesterday, my Trek 7200.)
    I own a cat who has to eat meat but I am mostly vegetarian.
    All the lamps in the house are compact fluorescent. (Vegetarianism and the elimination of incandescent lights in the house are the Greenest things you can do and they take relatively little effort).
    I love books and have far too many of them. If the job situation here changes for the better they will mostly be donated to a college library.
    and I am still debating the practicality of a bicycle commute to work..sadly, since i would have to cross a busy highway and carry a lot of materials that would weigh me and the bike down, I shall probably stick to carpooling.
    Most of my furniture was bought second hand; it's either antique or almost, and it is fun and very lovely.
    My weaknesses are beautiful objects. The house is full of them and I must decide whether to clear out some of the clutter soon.

  23. #223
    Junior Member
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    This is the life I would like to live, ideally. If I really knew what I want. If I were more self confident. If I didn't have 2 teenage boys twice as materialistic as I am. If my wife left me and I had to start all over again... Well I guess she won't, and it is better so.

    Turtle

  24. #224
    screw you Keith Bontrager
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    i find that living in a city, i dont need a car. i live right by the grocery store, and i ride to and from work, and for that matter i ride a bike for a living. i dont miss car payments, or insurance, or gas, and i dont miss having a car. i pray for a drought though, and temperate weather. it has been 100 degrees every single day in savannah for like the last month.

  25. #225
    Senior Member littlefoot's Avatar
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    The area I'm currently in kinda suburban...but not too big and is easy enough to traverse by bicycle...I don't see why more folks arouund here don't. Lots of cagers feel that cyclists should be banned from the road around here....Spartanburg SC. But what I have generally found is very little animosity...which seems to be more geared to zelot roadies clad in Lycra thinking they are 'Lancies' I ride a pretty lowkey and utilitarian bike(s) and generally work with traffic as best as I can to avoid getting killed.

    I found I was able to downsize my life considerably after my ex an I split up...and even more so recently after traveling around the US for essentially the past year with a back pack. I thought that if I really was going to live a carfree life I needed to be some place more 'progressive' so I spent time on the left coast.and don't get me wrong I like it over there but I honestly felt that until I really did something in the south I really wasn't doing anything....reading this I feel like I'm rambling and I guess I am....

    I guess my point is I'm trying to keep it simple southern style ...I'm getting more intune with things daily which is great...and every once in awhile I get to rap with someone around town at the farmers market or the library about what I'm finding to be a better way of life for me....in most of my 'adult'life there was the absurd notion that If I wasn't accumulating a bunch of crap....I wasn't happy. By far one of the best things that every happened to me was being evicted and having the majority of my things either taken...or I gave them away to people passing by.

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