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The Pursuit of Revolution

The Pursuit of Revolution

What kind of people does the world breed where making money is the primary ambition and only means of survival?

I know I’m not where I’m supposed to be for a 32 year old from a mostly middle class upbringing.  But I see where folks are (like my parents and the families around me) with their 9 to 5s, their cars, their homes and mortgages, and they don’t seem happy to me. Kazu and his family look happy though. He works construction but he surfs and travels with his family every opportunity he gets. I have no idea what his philosophy on how he wants to live is but I’m sure he does what he likes despite what others think.  And of course people in the family are judging and criticizing but it’s his life and he should do what makes him happy, not what makes others happy. In high school I always said that I wanted to raise my family in the jungle, a hike away from a surfable beach.  Maybe it wasn’t such a crazy idea.

Day Zero

Catching the ferry

Day One

Stalked by coyote

Day Two

Trail Marmot

I’ve had a lot of jobs, some of them nice, some of them bad, but all of them eventually bad.  I don’t belong in the same environment forever. I don’t feel like I belong in an office. But when I’m deep in the forest, alone in nature, I feel at home.  I don’t think I could live here; that would be scary (Into the Wild type of scary) even as a thought. I don’t want to be a hermit in the woods, casting away society.  I enjoy these ephemeral moments, glimpses into an ancestral past devoid of social media, video games, television, reality shows, everything that makes the world complicated. I enjoy experiencing the climate change throughout the day and as I navigate through different ecosystems.  I like sitting on my bear canister, eating tuna from a bag, and watching ants work at my feet. I like watching water of a stream or river roll by and wondering the trip it travels.

A lot of folks who share similar politics with me are still deeply invested in the system they’re critical of.  Maybe they’re working for an NGO, or as an educator, or labor organizer, because the directive is in line with their ethics and values. But inevitably they’re building their careers in the same way that any other careerist would.  They’re still selling their labor for a wage and it’s important to know where the money is coming from. The reason is that they still want what everybody else has. They want a house, a car, to go on vacation once a year, the recognition, the status…  But at the end of the day, the only people who care are the people who are doing the same shit. It’s like they’re waiting for revolution before imagining a different way of living in the present.

Day Three

Waterfall

Day Four

Mount Olympus

Day Five

Snowy Mountains

What made the movements of the 60s so powerful and revolutionary was that they developed outside of and in opposition to the system.  Nowadays movements need to be legitimized by the system to exist. There is no room for imagination where a paycheck is involved. There is no such thing as “ethical work”.  

I get along best with simple people with simple goals: to live happy and to be a good person.  Civil society makes both of these simple goals really difficult, which is why it’s so important to decolonize emotionally and spiritually from those social constructs that keep us unhappy and make us terrible people. Divesting from materialism, anti-Blackness, whiteness, gender, heteronormativity are part of that process.. But the next step is divesting physically. I thought that meant revolution, but seeing as everybody has different ideas of what that looks like maybe revolution needs to be personal and individualized.  Revolution for me is living how I want to live, the way that makes me happy, in spite of what folks are doing around me.

Don’t make a revolution, be a revolution. Be the culture shift. Live differently. Divest from mainstream values. Find an alternative means of happiness that doesn’t involve materialism or consumerism. Some people really want those things. Some people are programmed to want those things. Some people may be a little bit of both. The point is though that nobody is offered a different choice.  

Day Six

Out of Gas and Food

Day Seven

On the Wilderness Coast

Day Eight

Camping at Cape Alava

Olympic National Park: Thoughts In Progress

Olympic National Park: Thoughts In Progress

On long backpacking trips sometimes I have thoughts. Some are important and I keep those to myself. Others are silly and I share them here.  Here are 10 of those “thoughts in progress” from my trek through Olympic National Park and the wilderness coast in July of 2016.  Enjoy!

1

Millennials are more likely able to identify 150 Pokemon than a real animal in the wilderness.

2

Don’t try to identify the swarm of insects buzzing around your head. Just run and swat wildly. 

3

I am more afraid of people than I am of bears because bears aren’t fucking crazy.

4

The National Parks are museums displaying what the Earth looked like before humans made her ugly.

5

The great thing about solo trekking is no one can see how awful you look or terrible you smell after a week without a shower.

6

Don’t buy a cook system you aren’t willing to throw on a fire when you run out of fuel and really need a hot bowl of shin ramen.

7

When you’re in a lot of pain, you’ll start holding your breath for no reason and making lots of weird groaning noises like that constipated dude in the airport bathroom.

8

These steps won’t help you hatch an egg.

9

Burping is like farting with your face but not funny.

10

Sometimes I pretend my tent is a spaceship and when I wake up in the morning I’m on a different planet.

Joshua Tree After Dark

Joshua Tree After Dark

Make it easy:

If your newbie likes to wait for closer parking spots at the mall, keep the trekking mileage low.

Keep it light:

Share a tent with your newbie; otherwise you’ll be carrying two tents. Keep their pack weight low and carry a bigger share of the load.

Pack the good shit:

Don’t be cheap with trail food. At the end of the day, your newbie is going to be sore, sweaty, cold and hungry. A warm, delicious meal goes a long way in alleviating a hard day of suffering.

Share responsibilities:

You’re not a tour guide and the wilderness ain’t disneyland. Part of the joy of backpacking is being completely self-sufficient. Everything you need to survive a night in the wilderness you carry on your back. However, it’s also a big responsibility that shouldn’t be taken lightly by your newbie. Sharing responsibility not only keeps your newbie engaged but also teaches backcountry skills.  

Death Valley Dune Run

Death Valley Dune Run

Generally when exploring wild spaces we try to tread lightly–leaving as little impact on the landscape as possible.  On the sand dunes we had a bit more freedom to thrash around since the dunes are constantly shifting and footsteps disappear within a couple hours.  

As a kid, I was fascinated by space. Running on the immaculate soft sand, we felt like astronauts bouncing around on the moon’s surface.

We ran up the tallest peaks and jumped as hard as we could off the top.

At the peak of the jump, we felt a moment of weightlessness.

Spending the day playing in the sand and jumping off the dunes, we felt like a big kids in a giant, adult-sized sandbox.  I was reminded of the simple childhood pleasure of testing gravity by daring to jump off tall structures. But this time there weren’t any teachers or parents around to stop us.