Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Life Changes in Hawaii

When we move to Hawaii and purchase land, we expect to live a very primitive, self sufficient life, with no use of fossil fuels, and electricity limited to one or two solar panels directly charging something like one laptop, one cell phone, and some batteries for headlamps. We'll stop purchasing food as soon as possible, instead foraging, hunting, and growing everything we eat. To help prepare myself for the new lifestyle we're embracing, I jotted down all the life changes I expect for myself as a result. (Tulsey's theoretical list would be similar to mine, but not identical.) The shortness of my list and achievability of everything on it pleasantly surprised me; my attempts to wean myself from civilization while stuck in the city must have done some good! Here's the list, with some notes, loosely grouped by categories:

  • 'Awapuhi (shampoo ginger) instead of commercial shampoo
  • Natural or no soap (perhaps use 'Awapuhi for soap as well?)
  • Limited hot water - generally bathe with cool or sun-warmed water after working up a good sweat
  • Make all our own clothes eventually - not a high priority for us, but eventually required.
  • Make our own baskets for storage & transportation - somewhat higher priority than making our own clothes
  • No toothbrush and toothpaste - use chewing stick and perhaps some sort of natural toothpaste. See also the 'zine on primitive tooth care.
  • No sugar or grains - I've pretty much weaned myself from grains, but my sugar/sweet addiction rages strong.
  • Hunt our own meat. We'll use guns initially, but eventually want to transition to handmade implements like bow & arrow.
  • Different foods to learn to eat.
  • No freezer. I barely use our fridge, but have relied heavily on our freezer especially for bulk meat purchases.
  • New plants & climate & growing conditions to learn.
  • Limited irrigation - we don't want to install a bunch of plastic pipe & breakable parts; we plan to mostly rely on rainfall which will require more careful attention to what & when we plant
  • Pigs will eat root crops and damage gardens - we've never really dealt with pests larger than slugs.
  • Mongoose prey on fowl, during daylight hours - we've only had to worry about nocturnal predators here.
  • Raw salads have the potential to harbor rat lungworm disease, a pretty nasty & currently mysterious illness.
  • Walking barefoot potentially makes me vulnerable to rat lungworm or other diseases.
  • Open drinking water potential source of pathogens - supposedly no surface water can be trusted, even potentially infecting you from just standing in it.
  • High sun exposure - will need to develop a tan, perhaps wear a big shade hat, and adopt patterns of sheltering under trees during the most intense exposure hours.
  • Mosquitos in abundance at lower elevations - mostly a problem for me for sleeping outdoors.
  • No TV, recorded music, or movies for mediated entertainment - will have to develop our own skills at storytelling, dancing, composing music, etc.
  • No regular internet access
  • Limit computer use
  • Artificial lighting limited to headlamps with solar powered batteries - explore use of candle nuts (kukui) as light source.
  • Sleep with sun
  • Limited bus service, and no car - rely mostly on biking and walking. (We don't drive much now, but I use the bus as my primary transport.)
  • Metal eventually rare - plan for long term independence of metal tools, machetes, cookware, etc
  • Learn to cook without metal cookware - in earth ovens, on open fires, in gourds or water tight baskets, etc
  • Cooking with fire instead of on natural gas stove - requires more advance planning for meals and often more maintenance of fuel as food cooks
  • Limited medical care
  • Limited access to civilization's waste streams - we've grown very accustomed to getting almost everything we need for free or cheap. Much harder to do when we're removed from the city, and when the city is much smaller than Portland. Plus energy descent will reduce the waste streams.
  • More difficult to get to stores for the things we still need to buy in early years - requires more careful planning of trips and advance planning for what we need
  • Less useful library system - Portland's is about as good as it gets, plus we'll have more difficult physical access to libraries in HI
  • Limited social interactions - Fewer people around and less likely to run into them than in the city. On the other hand, we can probably form much deeper relationships


S said...

I just came across this blog and am so excited to find it, looking forward to reading more from you.

Norris said...

Thanks for your interest, Shan!

I forgot a big one for my list: learning to speak Hawaiian!