Extremely Slow Travel

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7Wannabe5
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Extremely Slow Travel

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Thu Oct 19, 2017 6:50 am

My vicinity affords many good walks; and though for so many years
I have walked almost every day, and sometimes for several days
together, I have not yet exhausted them. An absolutely new
prospect is a great happiness, and I can still get this any
afternoon. Two or three hours' walking will carry me to as
strange a country as I expect ever to see. A single farmhouse
which I had not seen before is sometimes as good as the dominions
of the King of Dahomey. There is in fact a sort of harmony
discoverable between the capabilities of the landscape within a
circle of ten miles' radius, or the limits of an afternoon walk,
and the threescore years and ten of human life. It will never
become quite familiar to you.

Henry David Thoreau-"Walking"
Recently I came to the realization that I have become an accidental regionalist. Interests, jobs, relationships, addresses, practices, I have frequently changed on a regular basis, but I have never wandered very far for very long from the latitude/longitude where I was born. As if the realm previously inhabited by the Native American tribes who spoke the Algonquin language has been analogous to the good-enough-marriage or the good-enough-career for me.

My current lifestyle finds me heading out to different locations almost every day for work/project, social-life, or recreational reasons. Generally, I start out on foot or bike, then bus, then sometimes train, Lyft or passenger in friend's car. My daily radius is usually only around 5 miles, but my monthly radius is more like 200 miles, or fairly close to the limits of half a day car ride. I was somewhat surprised to learn that the Native Americans and early French explorers and fur trappers of my region, regularly traveled a wider radius than this by foot and canoe. IOW, they spent much more time traveling than the average modern American, but within a radius naturally contracted by means.

A friend of mine told me he would build me a tiny boat I can live on for $8000, and I have been researching inflatable kayaks/lightweight paddles that can fit in a back-pack. I am now thinking that if I am more interested in exploring natural regions in my region, hike/kayak/camp would be a better option for extremely slow travel than bike/camp.

Unfortunately, one thing that will inhibit my ability to engage in extremely slow travel is the fact that the location of my permaculture project is surrounded by a high crime district. On two different occasions recently a woman bicyclist was kidnapped, robbed, and raped by thugs driving a van, along stretches of pavement I sometimes traveled. So, I am considering the notion of getting a concealed carry permit to deal with humans, even though I think spray is adequate protection from bears.

ETA: My question for the group being have you considered some variation on extremely slow travel as a way to reduce either expenses or energy consumption while enjoying post-retirement adventures?

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Ego
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Re: Extremely Slow Travel

Post by Ego » Thu Oct 19, 2017 7:18 am

We were strolling around the Maker Faire over in the park a couple week ago when we came upon this retired aerospace guy and his bicycle teardrop trailer doing something similar. Very slow meanderer.

https://sandiego.makerfaire.com/maker/entry/88/

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ThisDinosaur
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Re: Extremely Slow Travel

Post by ThisDinosaur » Thu Oct 19, 2017 7:27 am

I have been researching inflatable kayaks/lightweight paddles that can fit in a back-pack. I am now thinking that if I am more interested in exploring natural regions in my region, hike/kayak/camp would be a better option for extremely slow travel than bike/camp.

I have a Sea Eagle inflatable kayak. It compares very well to regular non-inflatables because 1)its way less expensive (~$200), 2)it can be 1 or 2 seater, 3)can be transported inside a car instead of needing a special rack on top of a car.

But it is way heavier than the advertisements imply. I don't think I could go camping/hiking with this thing. I'm a pretty fit guy and the bag for this thing will cut off circulation to my arm before I get to the water.

JWJones
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Re: Extremely Slow Travel

Post by JWJones » Thu Oct 19, 2017 7:52 am

This is exactly my kind of travel. When I hear people talk about how they want to go see this-or-that faraway place, my usual response is that I haven't even seen as much of Oregon as I'd like to see. We have it all here: temperate rainforests, the coast, mountains, deserts. I'm reminded of the book "Listening for Coyote" by William Sullivan, who chronicles his adventures backpacking across Oregon.

Back in August, I cycled from Forest Grove (about 20 miles west of Portland) to Tillamook (on the coast) with a group of 11 other cyclists, along the North Trask River. It was a mix of paved and gravel logging roads (about 50/50), about 65 miles one way. Some of the hill climbs on gravel were quite grueling (18% grade). I will definitely be doing more trips like that next year, including bikepacking overnighters.

There are also several places along the coast where rivers meet ocean that have some splendid looking kayaking waters. I have been thinking about doing this sort of thing for years, but haven't yet done it. I have been keeping my eyes on the local craigslist for decent used kayaks.

I know that I could easily spend the next 25+ years exploring my own state, and not get tired of it, whether by foot, bike, or kayak.

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vexed87
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Re: Extremely Slow Travel

Post by vexed87 » Thu Oct 19, 2017 8:03 am

Last night I was reading 'Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist' and in it are a few chapters on localism. The author told a tale of another who had abandoned city living, in favour of a ~12 acre homestead. It struck me as quite profound at the time that this chap had jokingly claimed he had only ever hoped to be famous for 15 miles, meaning beyond that, he had no meaningful social ties, but locally we has well known. With no desire to travel beyond, instead he was taking great joy being rooted in place.

Personally, I'm not much of a traveller either, and my walks and bicycle journeys are habitually similar. Though from time to time, I occasionally follow a new trial just to see where it goes, and it never ceases to amaze me that all along I had not explored that particular route, nevertheless, I go always back to habitually walking the sames paths I always have. I'd never really given it much thought!

7Wannabe5
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Re: Extremely Slow Travel

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Thu Oct 19, 2017 9:57 am

@Ego:

Very cool. My BF and I happened upon an older couple who were pulling a somewhat larger teardrop behind a small car. They opened it up for us, so we could see the tiny outdoor kitchen. Obviously, some sort of micro-foldable-inflatable-lightweight combination of bike/trailer/camper/boat would be ideal. My "ex" and I used to travel with an A-liner trailer, foldable full-size boat with outboard, and bike rack behind small truck. I could put set up the origami-like camper and boat by myself in about 15 minutes.

Maybe something like this, but even smaller/lighter. I can rent or even buy a berth very, very inexpensively in my region, but winter would be kind of a huge problem.

https://www.portableboatplans.com/mini- ... ruiser.php

@ThisDinosaur:

Right. I am approximately the size of the average adult human male, but significantly upper-body weaker, and less power overall. OTOH, I have better endurance (also more cheerful disposition -lol) than most men my age (52) with whom I have hiked. I looked at some that were very light, but they were also pretty pricey.

@JWJones:

That's pretty much how I feel about my region, but I am also considering the possibility of slowly traveling South to greet the Spring. I was playing around with the random 3-D option of Google Earth recently, and it occurred to me that the possibilities for virtual tour have become so realistic, splitting the difference in terms of where my "meat" actually moves in space might be ideal. Of course, beyond all sorts of scenic wonders, one of the benefits of my region, like yours, is there are a lot of recent immigrants from many parts of the world here, so I don't need to travel very far at all to experience cultural diversity.

@vexed87:

I was also thinking about how social connections relate to locavore or slow-travel practice. If the maximum number of social relationships a human can maintain is 150, and it takes at least 7 interactions with another human to become "known" rather than "stranger", what would the ideal map of travels, inclusive of familiar-human nodes, look like? The reason it recently occurred to me that I have become a regionalist is that I have so many different "something/someone in common" ties to so many different places and different people at all the different places I have been going to each day within a fairly wide expanse of space and population.

OTOH, it is increasingly easy to maintain social ties or conduct trade, even person-to-person, on a global level. So, I can buy eggs from chickens that are raised within biking distance from me, but I can also Skype with a friend's brother in warmer region from whom I can directly buy coffee, and I can chat with a man with whom I used to deal books at the local produce market. I can live in a world where none of my transactions are anonymous or alienated!

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Gilberto de Piento
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Re: Extremely Slow Travel

Post by Gilberto de Piento » Thu Oct 19, 2017 10:23 am

Look into packrafts.

zerncox
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Re: Extremely Slow Travel

Post by zerncox » Sun Oct 22, 2017 7:59 pm

My wife and I sold pretty much everything and can now fit all we own in our compact Prius. When we sold our house we moved into an apartment in Georgia. After a year, we moved to Phoenix. Once that year was completed, we moved to New Hampshire. Next summer we’ll be in Santa Fe, NM. We do plan on staying there for two years because it’s getting to be a pain switching over all our car stuff every year.

I currently work remotely on a part-time basis and plan on retiring next year (I just turned 50).

7Wannabe5
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Re: Extremely Slow Travel

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Mon Oct 23, 2017 9:08 am

@Gilberto de Piento:

Then I could have a modern-day Huck Finn adventure! Some early French explorers in co-operation with members of Native American tribes traveled from Mackinaw Island in Michigan to the headwaters of the Mississippi River in Minnesota by foot and canoe. I was surprised at how fast they were able to make this trip, but apparently this was due to the fact that they used very large canoes paddled by many young men. Therefore, I would likely have to recruit the services of a full University crew team in order to replicate such a journey.

@zerncox:

I am kind of betwixt-and-between minimalist-vs.-self-sufficient-maker lifestyle, so that is why I am considering possibility of "regionalist" solution. With the notable exceptions of all of my gardening tools which are currently tarped/tubbed and chained to a fence on the site of my permaculture-project, and my collection of rare books which are mostly on the topics of lost arts and crafts and gardening, I could fit the remainder of my personal belongings in a medium-sized car inclusive of bike rack.

Since I am already very well able to support my frugal needs on very part-time, flexible commitment employment, when I consider further freedoms that could be obtained with greater flow of passive income, the only one that comes to mind is the freedom to totally move about the planet at will. I could also choose to tutor very young Chinese children in core elements of U.S. elementary school curriculum via video since I possess the credentials, experience, and standard Vanilla accent and appearance, if I wished to further free up my location, without need for more passive income.

The problem is that I find that I need some context in which I can appreciate novelty. Being stuck with the same full-time career, house, and spouse for the rest of my life would likely make me feel like I was buried alive, but not having anything locked in place makes life feel too random and meaningless. I can only learn and do so much in the optimistic estimate of 40 years left to me, so I am thinking that going deep on my region might be a happy, frugal compromise. IOW, I have resolved to follow some sort of rule-of-thumb along the lines that I can only purchase an airline ticket in pursuit of novelty when I have mastered identification of X species and read Y histories relevant to within 200 miles of my current location. So far, I am finding great success or satisfaction with this practice, and actually just positively identified a very rare species of bird on the site of my BF's property.

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Smashter
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Re: Extremely Slow Travel

Post by Smashter » Tue Oct 24, 2017 8:31 am

@7, you so casually mentioned the string of rapes happening in a location that you frequent. You're tougher than me! I'd be spooked.

How much does stuff like that actually bother you? I know it's irrational to think too much about it, and you're statistically more likely to be injured by a lawnmower or whatever...but rape is some scary sh*t.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Extremely Slow Travel

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Tue Oct 24, 2017 7:30 pm

@Smashter:

Sexual assault is more than 50X as likely as injury by lawnmower. Annual incidence rate of 2/1000 vs. 4/100,000. Spooky is an understatement. The area where one of the assaults took place is a small strip of zombie apocalypse abandoned warehouses in between two areas that are relatively safe because either policed by private security or small city within city force. I am part of the 17% of all females who have been sexually assaulted at some time in their lives, so pretty much I would be okay with covering the thugs with tar and feathers and setting them on fire in the public square. If anybody tried to drag me off of my bike and into a van, I would shoot them dead with my gun if I had one on me, and then feed them to any street dogs who happened to be in the vicinity.

That said, I don't believe there are enough resources on the planet to make it safe for me to travel anywhere I want by myself with only a bicycle and maybe a phone. My BF and I were driving through a particularly "spooky" rural area recently, and he asked me if I would be okay camping overnight there by myself, and I replied "No. I would need a man, a gun, AND a dog." I sometimes worry that these stupid action fantasy movies and video games that show some woman kicking her way through a room full of attackers give young women a false sense of bravado. Here are your odds of winning a direct unarmed confrontation with another human who has 40 lbs. more muscle mass than you -0%

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Smashter
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Re: Extremely Slow Travel

Post by Smashter » Wed Oct 25, 2017 3:26 pm

That all makes sense. I hope I didn't sound too flippant above, I should have referred to car accidents instead of lawn mowers. I was just trying to use the counter argument people make when they argue that it's silly to be worried about women walking anywhere alone.

My wife used to work at a restaurant in San Francisco, so there were several occasions she would walk .75 miles home alone, between 1-2 AM. The neighborhood was mostly safe, so I wasn't worried about it at all. Then one of her co-workers got jumped, knocked out, and had their stuff stolen while walking the same route. I couldn't believe it. My wife didn't walk home alone after that, needless to say.

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theanimal
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Re: Extremely Slow Travel

Post by theanimal » Wed Oct 25, 2017 4:05 pm

In the spring I met a guy named Kayak Kelly in Southeast Alaska. For the past 11 years he has lived out of his kayak, exploring the waterways, coastlines and islands of the southeast. Everything he owns he brings with him in his boat. I asked him where he's been, alluding to a map of the southeast on the wall. Instead of pointing to the places he's been, he pointed to where he hasn't been, which only ended up being a handful of places. He takes as much food as he can from the land, fishing from his kayak and gathering berries and plants. When he runs out of food or sanity, he heads in to a small fishing village where he makes jewelry from seashells and other things he finds on beaches or in forests during his travels. Selling the jewelry provides for enough funds to cover the small materials or goods he needs and he heads back out once more.

I second the suggestion about looking into a packraft.

slowtraveler
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Re: Extremely Slow Travel

Post by slowtraveler » Fri Oct 27, 2017 1:22 am

@7w

I can recommend Brazilian jiu-jitsu as a method of having a much higher than 50% chance at self defense in such a scenario. Bear spray or a nice Glock will also do the trick, assuming you have trained the reflexes to use them instinctively when need be.

Brazilian jiu-jitsu and Thai boxing saved me from an attempted jumping/robbing back in my teens. The guy initiating it ended up in a hospital, expelled, and because I was friends with his step dad's new family, he ended up apologizing to me in front of his family.

I would recommend against tai kwondo or karate, I have been through years of them and find them useless for self defense purposes.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Extremely Slow Travel

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Mon Oct 30, 2017 1:14 pm

@Smashter:

No worries about coming off too flippant. I was likely coming off a wee bit too aggro myself, but here's an article written by another female in my region who expresses this even more clearly. I don't agree with everything she is saying by a long shot, but she does strike flint with steel a few times.

https://medium.com/@rozsharp/rapecycles-d609ff9417c8

@slowtraveler:

I appreciate your suggestion, but my experience was that I was sexually assaulted on a first date with a man with roughly the build of George Foreman in his late 30s. I also think it is possible that he was using or abusing steroids. So, I highly doubt that jiu-jitsu or even a glock would have sufficed in such a situation involving a person who was also initially quite socially disarming. Since I was 43 years old at the time of this incident, I wasn't unduly traumatized by it; I mean it wasn't nearly as bad as many previous experiences such as pacing around the waiting room while your child is undergoing emergency surgery, but it did render me significantly less optimistic and trusting for a period of time. However, my overall perspective remains that there are many more men who would actually put themselves at some risk to protect me from harm within the context of a first date than the opposite.

My rational take on the specific problem of how will I choose to safely travel from the train station to my property in the city is that for the time being I will have to use Lyft/Uber or get a ride from a friend. This is the least worst option given reality of situation.

@theanimal:

The Kayak Kelly lifestyle strikes me as maybe 70% very appealing, and 30% very unappealing. I very much like the concepts of slow-human-powered transport, foraging, and piece-work*, but I believe that my endurance for "sanity" would likely be much shorter than Kelly's.

There is a bus stop located 1/4 of a mile from my mother's front door. I suggested to her that she make it her goal to be able to walk to that bus stop. I told her to just walk to the end of the sidewalk and back Day 1, and then just try to do a few more steps each day. She is not heeding my advice, so I decided to give the same piece of advice to myself, but base it on the scope of my current capabilities. If/when I don't plan on turning around and coming back on my own power before bedtime, I will have to have landed myself at my next safe place to spend the night. It's kind of funny contemplating having to spend the night in a Motel 6, as if it was some olde pilgrimage inn, because a day's walk would not get me from my mother's apartment to my BF's apartment (50 miles approximately) , and would likely land me in some fairly rough neighborhood at dusk, if I travel as the crow flies.

*My rare book business had aspects that were rather piece-work like, and I have been trying to come up with some other projects that have that quality. Subject for another thread.

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theanimal
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Re: Extremely Slow Travel

Post by theanimal » Mon Oct 30, 2017 3:31 pm

That's understandable. From my conversation with him, he had trouble with the sanity portion as well. We commiserated over spending the darkness of winter alone, dealing with the self doubt and thoughts that flood the mind during those times.

50 miles walking on pavement would be miserable. Although,as a bit of history have you heard of the JFK 50 mile walk? : http://www.jfk50mile.org/history I think Ken Ilgunas tried to do a modern day version of this. My recollection is that it ended poorly.

Why do you have to limit yourself only to walking? I realize the bike is limiting but how often are you leaving the road system? Back in the day native people, old trappers and travelers would cache gear (sleds, canoes etc.) between seasons when travelling. You could do the same with a bike.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Extremely Slow Travel

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Mon Oct 30, 2017 4:42 pm

@theanimal:

That's a good idea. My plan would be to maximize off-road travel, even if it added some mileage. However, I could emerge from a green belt, and then walk to the nearest thrift store and buy a bicycle which I could lock or stash at the next green belt. I prefer walking because it's not as natural to scavenge, scout or forage while on bicycle.

On our second or third date, my "ex" suggested that we try to make our way from his house to a shopping center a few miles away without ever leaving the green belt. We had to cut across a golf course, but we were fairly successful. Unfortunately, this proved to be a bit of a "bait and switch" move on his part, because he rarely chose to go on hikes with me once he secured contract.

I like going out and about on my own, but I have never lived by myself, so I am accustomed to having at least one conversation per day. Yeah, I don't think spending the darkness of winter alone would work for me. They'd probably come dig me out in the spring and find me talking to a corncob with button eyes.

halfmoon
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Re: Extremely Slow Travel

Post by halfmoon » Mon Oct 30, 2017 9:39 pm

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Mon Oct 30, 2017 4:42 pm
Yeah, I don't think spending the darkness of winter alone would work for me. They'd probably come dig me out in the spring and find me talking to a corncob with button eyes.
This is just the perfect combination of "made me laugh out loud" and "completely creeped me out". :lol:

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