Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Packing Light for a Long Journey

by DeAnander Wed Jun 13th, 2007 at 06:37:51 AM EST

Packing Light for a Long Journey
An epistolatory dialogue between Nomad and DeAnander

Background:  Nomad recently went camping in Sweden and then moved to S Africa;  DeAnander recently travelled to Canada from the US and back (alas) by train.  These experiences combined with earlier ET threads about consumerism, lifestyle, Dmitry Orlov, Peak Oil, and so on, sparked a conversation about 'the bare necessities of life' and what we think we really need to feel happy.  The recent 'Overshoot' discussion made this diary seem even more relevant -- so here we go. (And btw, a sequel is in the works, about 'Settling In' or trying to apply these insights from travelling to longer-term homes.)


Recently I travelled to BC (Canada) for a couple of weeks by train. Once inside Canada I would be moving about quite a lot by bus, staying in hostels, helping friends to move house, etc.   So I did not want to pack too heavily, as I'd be toting my luggage by hand on and off buses, ferries, etc.  On the other hand, I was in for at least 48 hours on the train (24 each way -- US trains are slow and distances are long), and almost two weeks in various climates;  I wanted to take enough clothing of various kinds to be comfortable from 'snow on the ground' to 'light rain and watery sunshine' to 'hot and dry with smog' at various points along the way.  And enough reading (or other entertainments) to keep me happy on the long journeys (12 hours bus rides, and the long train legs).  And decent food for the Amtrak journeys, since their food is not only corporate, but on the more godawful end of corporate (think "airplane food" but without the cute miniaturisation factor).

Promoted by whataboutbob


So -- as when backpacking -- the weight and bulk of my gear set limits to what I could bring along.  The kitchen sink was definitely not going to be packed.  In the course of the journey I reflected more than once  on how little it really took to keep me amused and comfortable;  I brought with me

  •    (a) about three good books which I'd been looking forward to reading;  the train journey would offer hours of luxurious uninterrupted reading time;

  •    (b) lightweight sketching supplies (small sketchbook, travel watercolours, pencils, etc);

  •    (c) the current knitting project (mittens);

  •    (d) a selection of familiar food that travels fairly well over a 2 day period:  smoked tofu, celery, little wax-coated cheeses, nuts, dried and fresh fruits, jerky-like soya snacks, hard boiled eggs;

  •    (e) the all purpose pareo which has accompanied me on every major journey for the last 5 years, serving as extra sheet/blanket, carry sack, clothing, etc.;

  •    (f) toiletry basics (for staying clean and groomed);

  •    (g) carefully selected clothing which could be layered up for colder conditions and down for warmer ones;

  •    (h) folding umbrella;

  •    (i) microfiber travel towels;

  •    (j) mp3 player (2GB) containing 25 or so well-loved music albums;

  •    (k) laptop;

  •    (l) 2 cell phones (one Canadian, one US);

  •    (m) some papers and documents

  •    (n) my travel documents, tickets, money, passport etc.

All of this fitted into one mid-size backpack, one mid-size soft duffel, and one small fanny pack.  Once I settled into my compartment (a luxury!) on the train I took out my "toys" and books, adjusted the seats into their divan configuration, closed the door for privacy and quiet, and was very well content for the entire journey.  A clean loo and unlimited drinking water were provided by Amtrak.  What more does a person need, really?

I thought more than once of the house full of Stuff "back home," the accumulated consumer goods of 30 years, and how completely irrelevant and unimportant that all seemed when travelling.  It seemed to me that I had everything I really needed to be happy -- even luxurious.

This line of thought led me, of course, to musing on the decade ahead of us (and the one after that!), and the impact of peak oil and other self-inflicted resource liquidation crises that humanity faces [actually, the "self" that's inflicting this vandalism on the planet is only a small proportion of humanity at large, but for those of us in the industrialised West who are that resource-gobbling minority it may well be said to be a self-inflicted crisis we are facing].  We hear very often all kinds of plans, from the fantastical to the suicidal to the murderous, for maintaining or even expanding "the American Way of Life" despite very clear and loud warning signals from an overstressed biosphere and dwindling reserves of water and fossil fuels.  We hear relatively seldom about reconsidering the size and weight of our luggage as we contemplate our journey through the next 20 years and beyond.

Dmitry Orlov, whose name pops up more and more often in the last few years, has written a funny, sarcastic, energetic and ultimately rather hopeful speculative account of how Peak Oil might play out in America.  He bases his futurology on personal experience of the decline and fall of the USSR; here are the links:

Post-Soviet Lessons for a Post-American Century
Part II
Part III

Here's an example of advice from Dmitry:

Suppose you have a retirement account, or some mutual funds. And suppose you feel reasonably certain that by the time you are scheduled to retire it won't be enough to buy a cup of coffee. And suppose you realize that you can currently buy a lot of good stuff that has a long shelf life and will be needed, and valuable, far into the future. And suppose, further, that you have a small amount of storage space: a few hundred square feet. Now, what are you going to do? Sit by and watch your savings evaporate? Or take the tax hit and invest in things that are not composed of vapor?

Once the cash machines are out of cash, the stock ticker stops ticking, and the retail chain breaks down, people will still have basic needs. There will be flea markets and private barter arrangements to serve these needs, using whatever local token of exchange is available; bundles of $100 bills, bits of gold chain, packs of cigarettes, or what have you. It's not a bad idea to own a few of everything you will need, but you should invest in things you will be able to trade for things you will need. Think of consumer necessities that require high technology and have a long shelf life. Here are some suggestions to get you started: drugs (over-the-counter and prescription); razor blades; condoms. Rechargeable batteries (and solar chargers) are sure to become a prized item (Ni-MH are the less toxic ones). Toiletries, such as good soap, will be luxury items. Fill some shipping containers, nitrogen-pack them so that nothing rusts or rots, and store them somewhere.

This is one version of how to pack (rather heavily) for the long and difficult journey after a crash; stockpile things you think your fellow travellers will need, so that you can trade and barter and obtain some kind of status.

Another approach is more like the classic cartoon/tale of the Siberian sledride, in which the stronger passengers throw the weaker ones to the wolves so as to distract the wolf pack and lighten the sleigh for a faster getaway; we can see signs of this exterminist approach in past and current foreign (colonial) policy, a tendency for Anglo/Euros to look at the "teeming brown masses" as expendable and "not wanted on the journey", taking up space that would be better occupied by cash crops for our tables, oil wells to feed our cars, etc.  In a sense Dmitry's stockpiling strategy can be seen as an effort not to be identified as expendable and tossed over the side.

Another approach might be to try to avert the crash by all of us lightening our fossil and consumer baggage now, quickly, to soften the landing.  The image that occurs to me here is the classic one of passengers in a hot-air balloon throwing things -- not each other! -- over the side in order to gain altitude or at least slow their descent.

The question lies on the table, unanswered:  are we willing to throw enough stuff over the side to slow our descent, or should we consider the crash inevitable and start planning what to pack to survive it?  [Or are we, de facto, by not taking other specific actions to soften the impact, implicitly deciding to throw a lot of our fellow passengers (and most other species) over the side in the hope that we alone will survive?  I'm going to rule that option out for now, as simply too depressing.]

Being [and I know some readers will snort with disbelief here] an  optimist at heart, I prefer to think we are smart enough not to drive into a brick wall at 80 mph, and that we might actually consider applying some brake and reducing the magnitude of the calamity, or even avoiding it altogether.  But this does mean jettisoning some baggage we can't afford to go on carrying, and making some serious, thoughtful choices about what is worth keeping.  Travelling light means making choices, not all of them easy.

[and now Nomad:]

Packing Light -- The Nomad Way

DeAnander wrote:

I thought more than once of the house full of Stuff "back home," the accumulated consumer goods of 30 years, and how completely irrelevant and unimportant that all seemed when travelling.  It seemed to me that I had everything I really needed to be happy -- even luxurious.  

When I moved through Sweden on last year's summer traipsing I had packed light; forty kilograms was all I brought to South Africa --  with the aid of baggage restrictions of KLM/Air France.  You take what you need.  Adapting that credo to my own lifestyle has not been difficult, despite the continuous modern-day beckoning of "More! Growth! Free Lunch!" neon signs.

As DeAnander writes: the weight and bulk of gear set your limitations to what you can bring. Yet I packed my kit hastily on the Thursday before I took the coach up north. Six hours before my plane would take off in February, I repacked my bags for South Africa as I came across the weight limitation on my ticket and felt no inclination to cough up E300,- for a few extra kilos. So what do I throw out? Or better put: what do I leave behind in a country to which I will most likely not return for a long while, with the ever-present chance I might not migrate back at all?

I will readily admit that my study years have aced me into packing effectively under time constraints, and that I have frequently slapped my head when I recalled an item left behind. Still, both my Swedish sojourn and my recent swerve through Johannesburg steered my thoughts deeper into a subject that had been laid bare and ploughed ready by earlier debates at ET: the necessity of luxury. And adhered to that: how luxury items scale up in today's Quality of Life. What value do we put to luxury in our own carved-out idea of an ideal life lived?  And: have we perhaps overvalued the wrong luxury items?

Working in Sweden de-stressed me to the point I was wondering whether I should give up on my recently accepted position here in South Africa. Emerging into wilderness, practically from Saturday morning to Friday evening, cut me off politics, news feeds, media frenzy, overburdened workloads which can only be tackled by multi-tasking. It was bliss -- also because it was inside the bubble of ignorance for the rest of the world.

Travelling, you carry what you need, no more no less. Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods has a lovely description of how, after suffering miles and miles on The Trail, he tosses out the unnecessary kilos (and in the franticness and exhilaration of the act also some necessary ones!).  In this way Bryson keeps his mental and physical sanity. The zen in Scandinavia churned my thoughts to the idea how adaptable that idea is to your own life. Hence I began sketching out my own personal list of Quality of Life necessities. Here it is, from my own journal, and I will admit that it is tuned to my Swedish experience at the time:

  • - a place to sleep / shelter

  • - three meals per day to keep you going and the equipment to make the meals happen

  • - health care

  • - good shoes and proper clothing to keep you going

  • - Toiletries

  • - hot shower & a shave

  • - the money to keep your three meals per day, your bed, shelter and shower

  • - a little extra money to treat your life to something nice once so often (cinema, book, concert, nice restaurant, hairdresser, manicure, name it)

  • - music

  • - sunshine & fresh air

  • - love & wonderment & friendship & family

The first three are actually enshrined as a basic human rights. The most amazing discovery that ended up on my own little list, personally, was the shower. In our western, increasingly sanitised world, either the longing to be clean has become strong enough that we, as a people, feel uncomfortable after not having washed for a certain amount of time or considerable exertion -- or we might have evolved from sea-bathing fish-eating apes after all.  Nothing, not even brilliantly clear Swedish lakes or burbling streamlets from which we'd drink and fill our bottles, could mitigate this urge. Hot, steaming showers were precious items for all -- no exception.

Comparing that list to the train journey which DeAnander quotes, the energy footprint when you travel nomadically through the wild probably becomes smaller, resting your head never in the same place for every day for five weeks. In a pragmatic sense one returns to the bare bones of the 'savage' lifestyle. In Sweden, people would of course pay for becoming savages for a week (under guidance) -- that's what outdoor travels are mostly about, testing one's extremes outside the known and cultivated environment.

But the small print of course comes at the conclusion:

One drives back to the Netherlands for long, hot baths, iPods, flatscreen tvs talking to themselves, microwave meals, speeding on the highway, clubs. So the hermitage lifestyle always remains an impermanent and finite experiment; exposure to the elements and a 'poverty' of luxury will relapse the moment the return to the Netherlands is complete. That finiteness to the experience and the expected end of trials in the outdoors - that wholly changes the outlook on how we prepare. The summer of Sweden wasn't permanent, not even for me.

Despite some optimism which I'd share with DeA, I'd argue here that the prospect of finiteness is the heart of the matter -- why prodding people towards an awareness of The End of Oil remains a practically insuperable obstacle.  Stuck in the current energy rut, spoon-fed and powered by the inescapable growth trap of modern economics where the common word for downsizing is 'negative growth' -- I'd begin to despair to even attempt getting the message across ...  and that's even without considering the "Apres moi le deluge" crowds.

I despair even more now I've begun to observe South Africa.

My African Experience

After buying bottles of Amstel beer in a Sowetan shebeen and sharing them around, we sat down in Irene's small stone house. That's a good house for Soweto standards - as several townships still are dominantly constituted by corrugated iron shacks -- shanty towns. Here, there was a queen-sized bed, there was a stove and fridge in the kitchen on the other end of the room opposite of the bed. In between, a TV was flashing commercials in Zulu, encapsulating a little girl (not Irene's daughter but part of the neighbouring community). I sat there for most of the evening, slowly being taken over by the alcohol, while I was desperately grasping for the nuances in Zulu culture and hoped not to offend.

Earlier I had visited The Rock, a monumental point of resistance for the people of Soweto under Apartheid time -- it was the look-out point where people could see the police forces coming into Soweto "to restore order". It was a Sunday. The Rock area was surrounded by gleaming cars. Beats of township rap at high volume were pumping through the subwoofers into the air, making it nearly impossible to converse. People complimented each other's cars, sharing around food.

It's a liberating, even touching experience to see how this community embraces their freedom with a certain flashiness of material possessions which for so long were denied to them under the Afrikaner viciousness. Yet cringeingly, I could also not help the thought that this catwalk for cars was nothing more than following in the exact footsteps of the white community leading towards the same economic pitfall. National petrol prices are going up, the people demur but they do not stop driving -- there is hardly an alternative. There are some eight million cars in South Africa, or so is the estimation. The end of cheap oil is as inescapable for Africa as it is for the West - yet for a city like Johannesburg, correction, for a nation like South Africa whose economy at first appearances is so single-handedly dependent on cars, I can not suppress the niggling worry that when the world hits the cliff, the fall will be thrice as deep in Africa as for the western world. For Africa, the current window of opportunity in the bonanza world needs to stay open longer to be able to make the stepping-stone work. But is the country preparing enough?  [DeA:  is anyone? are we?]

A few weeks after my visit to Soweto, invited by a friend, we drove up out of Jo'burg, north to Hartebeespoort Dam -- an artificial lake crowded with holiday homes.  It was the single most disconcerting experience I have had so far, as Hartebeespoort Dam is vintage Afrikaaner country. The lake is surrounded by gated communities of holiday houses - or in other words, a second house which is furbished just as or more luxuriously as the other home. There is a pool, a huge flat-screen TV with surround sound, two cars (one of them a 4WD), tumble-dryer, washing machine, dishwasher, airconditioning. (!) And then there was stuff. Cupboards stacked with the uselessness of shoe-racks, chair covers, endless rows of cleaning materials, knick-knacks, salt and pepper holders.

Is it useful stuff for them? I'm sure it is. But in a country where you can drive 10 kilometres to find people living in a house of 10 square meters and another 10 kilometres to find villas which would not disappoint their American counterparts -- I find myself severely unbalanced between the extremes. South Africa is the Rainbow Nation -- which previously used to strike me as a beautiful description of the cultural, environmental and financial diversity, and now also struck me as a cover-up name for the retaining of economic pillarization, or post-apartheid structures.

Graph from EIA data : World Total Net Electricity Consumption (Billion Kilowatthours)

Energy Consumption in South Africa has been on the rise, and is now on par with an industrial nation, with a slight acceleration visible after 1994 when the ANC began to deliver more of the basic services of electricity (and water) to the country's townships. I have not done a search as to what the energy per capita is for South Africa today and how (doubtless) there is a huge skew between the communities. Nevertheless, according to Earth Trends per capita electricity use was in 2003 roughly 4.760 kWh.

What makes matters worse: Most of the energy from South Africa is based on coal, and SA is swiftly becoming the largest exporter of coal-to-liquids technology. The Sasol plant at Secunda has already announced it wants to expand by 20%, upping its production to 180.000 barrels per day in 2014 and barely a word on carbon capture.  [DeA:  and Africa is dispropportionately hit by global warming damage, more heavily than most of the industrialised North:  paying the bill for the carbon binge, even though it came so late to the party as hardly to be a participant at all.]

So there we are. Most of the white S African community is as blind to the coming energy crunch as most of the western world. The black community has an additional nuance: it was never allowed the Suburban White Dream and wants to catch up with it in the fastest way possible. And who the hell are we to make them stop dreaming as long as the white community and western world doesn't wake up and start buffering?

DeAnander's Post-Script

We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements in life, when all we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about.
-- Charles Kingsley

We may have to pack light to make it through the next century, or indeed the next millennium.  If we have to pack light, what do we really need to preserve that essential ability to feel enthusiasm, a genuine pleasure in life?  Most of what I own I don't really need or am not truly attached to;  this is something you find out not only when packing for a journey, but when packing to move (which I'm doing now, and that's another story).  Is it worth packing and paying for the larger size of truck and toting the heavy boxes?   Maybe not.   Maybe I can live just fine without it.  I suspect that the same applies to us (affluent Westerners) as a culture; much of what we have isn't really all that wonderful -- not worth throwing away a perfectly good planet or killing people for, anyway -- and we could be quite happy with a lot less material cruft and a much lower energy budget.

So I'm proposing the question -- to myself and to us all:  suppose you're packing light for a long journey; suppose you don't have infinite energy to haul heavy baggage around; suppose you don't have infinite suitcases to pack tons of junk into; what would you stuff into the backpack and take on the train, and what would you leave behind and hardly miss as soon as the journey started?

[Since I did the final copy edit and typing, typos and format errors are entirely my fault!  --DeA]

Great diary -it's been a while since one has stimulated so many thoughts.

I suspect that ET'ers are a mobile lot - I know I am - but my two brothers have been pretty happy to find nice places and pretty much stay there.

I think of "Home" and the fact that there are maybe only two places in my life that I have invested enough of myself in to even think of as "Home".

But returning to the central theme - of a finite world - I think of the need to transition to "Homes" built to last, built for Sustainability, built for "Quality" to draw on Pirsig and Veblen.

But the most resonant train of thought to me - since it is the basis of everything I am working on - is to look ahead to the "post Dollar" society.

 There will be flea markets and private barter arrangements to serve these needs, using whatever local token of exchange is available; bundles of $100 bills, bits of gold chain, packs of cigarettes, or what have you.

Bundles of the current "deficit-based" $100 bills may come in handy as kindling, or even wall insulation, but not much else.

The future financial system will be a generic and networked utility barter/ clearing system (configured around Apache-style web-money servers) with inbuilt credit and a "value unit" as a reference point. Banks will be service providers assessing bilateral "trade" credit rather than credit intermediaries/ creators.

Secondly, it lies in investment, giving rise to units I will find valuable in my travels and my sojourns: property rental units, energy units, even beer units. Based upon a capital market where Banks do not risk a penny of capital in creating secured credit but bring together investors with investments of "money" or "money's worth" such as land, goods and services.

There is a brewery in Germany that pays dividends in beer - why should not a brewery simply finance itself by selling part of its future production at today's price, or a discount, thereby creating fungible "beer units"?

Why should not future property rentals be shared as between the land owners, developer and financier in a way that makes it more "profitable" to develop sustainably than to do otherwise, and thereby creating a pool of property rental units available as "currency"?

Both of which are essentially local forms of value.

But since I'll be travelling, I'll be carrying with me a wad of "energy dollars"  in which I have invested much of my savings - accepted everywhere as units in the infinite global pool of renewable energy production and backed by assets producing streams of renewable energy based on solar, tidal and wind and linked where necessary via HVDC "supergrids".

Travelling light, indeed.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Wed Jun 13th, 2007 at 04:53:16 AM EST
Apache web servers will be worth as much as dollar bills are.

You can't run the Internet without urban infrastructure. You certainly can't run a fast Internet without urban infrastructure. And you can't run urban infrastructure after a financial meltdown combined with coastal flooding.

So I'm not convinced that if world currencies go, some kind of OpenPayPal is going to replace them.

Swapping potatoes for carrots might though.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jun 13th, 2007 at 07:44:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Swapping carrots for open source internet maybe?

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Wed Jun 13th, 2007 at 07:47:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There will be an Internet, but architected differently to now. Fibre optic cables and WiMax will be the basis of it IMHO. The Apache Money server will sit at the heart of Community Networks funded and operating as "Open Corporate" Cooperatives.

I also see a broadcast overlay, by the way, since IPTV is a complete non-starter. It's fine for one to one delivery eg Video on Demand, but one to many delivery of HDTV - forget it.

An interesting thought is also that using this model it is possible literally to broadcast to consumer set top boxes the static frameworks and periodically updated data major websites.

Turbocharge Teletext in other words.

I call it the "Broadcast Web". See


I spent two years working with a company that delivered television direct to the desktop by satellite broadcast of encrypted data. In order to access the encrypted data, users had to have a "router" box and an internet connection as a "back channel".

It worked brilliantly - I was watching the twin towers fall from my office on my PC at the time.

But it died the death because they got into bed with BT and BT fucked it up (inadvertently, not deliberately).

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Wed Jun 13th, 2007 at 09:17:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For intra-urban internet there is no problem, current consumer technology does the job:


But that suppose of course someone is still able to build integrated circuits somewhere in the world (solar panel and computer parts), otherwise the digital world will not exist at all.

Note that wifi bandwidth is currently limited by human laws (frequency space for TV, military, telcos, etc...) not by current technology or safety limits.

by Laurent GUERBY on Wed Jun 13th, 2007 at 03:04:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Very good diary, thank you. I found it resonating with my life of nomad who has no home but finds at home everywhere.

Actually it's matter of experience - on my first journey abroad I took so many stupid things too trivial to mention them here, but later my personal belongings reduced to credit card. Still I have to carry lots of kgs - I cannot drop my last attachment - to books.  

by FarEasterner on Wed Jun 13th, 2007 at 06:11:11 AM EST
Well I am going to need to contemplate your uestion a bit, De, before I answer. And the fact that I could end up moving to Tanzania myself, does make this conversation incredibly relevent. But besides that, being largely nomadic in my habits anyway...it definitely is worth contemplating (though I am still wondering what i was thinking when I hauled my old and well-loved AC american stereo-system to DC europe, where it has sat for 3 years...).

I will say...one of my most favored contraptions, when I would drive out to Southern Utan in my truck...was a portable shower. I LOVED that thing! If I move to Africa...which is  distinct possiblity still...I will have to bring one of those along!

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Wed Jun 13th, 2007 at 06:53:46 AM EST
The question of how much one should carry around takes a special significance for me this summer. I am sailing accross the Atlantic. With such a trip come a lot of limitations. As we made a list of what we were going to need, we didn't realize that there were principles that guided our choices. We need to respect the constraints of being on a boat, of being safe, and of having fun.

Clothes: Foul weather stuff (1boots 1pants 1jacket 1polar 2socks) Normal weather stuff (1pants 1shorts 2tshirts 3underwear 1pullover 1shoes) +hat, 2sunglasses (with the reflection of the sun on the water, not wearing sunglasses would be very dangerous. So since they're easy to loose...)

Food:muesli in the norming, salad for lunch, hot meal for dinner (dryfried stuff). 3liters of water per persons. A fifth of this water will be sparkling becasue it tastes less bland. It seems that after a while you crave for strong tastes, so we will bring strong spices as well.

The rest: there will be three of us on board, we will therefore have time offduty to enjoy ourselves alone. We can each bring books, probably three or four (we will share them! so that's 12 already).
There will be music available through ipods.
We will have two GPS, one just in case, a computer in order to receive weather forecasts, a VHF radio, a normal BLU radio, a sextan (or whatever  the name of the thing we use to get the angle between the horizon and the stars )

We have an autopilot so we can share meal together as well (otherwise someone always has to steer).

The fact that we have electronics on board means that we need to bring in some fuel, and charge up our batteries for about two hours a day.

We have no showers, no toilets. We just bought a bucket.

That's pretty much it. We were thinking of bringing a chess board, but i'm not sure it is going to happen. Aside from the risk of loosing pieces, it's not sure that this is the sort of way you want to escape the reality of being on a boat. We will bring paper and pens.

No alcohol or tobacco.

a satellite phone, so that I can call my mother and tell her how well things are going. And it will be great to receive text messages! this will probably our only way to communicate with the rest of the world, and a limited one because of costs. The phone will not be hookedup to the computer, so no internet. And that's good.

This is pretty much all you will be able to find on the boat. Between space available and maximum weight, we cannot take much more with us.
What decided me to talk about this trip is Nomad's talk about the need for showers... Our only way to shower for 3 weeks will be through rain, that is to say, by hanging out naked on deck. It will also be the only opportunity to clean our clothes. So we will always be on the look out for rain... it will put some rythm , it will become an important element of our days. Will it rain, will it not? Will we be able to get rid of all this salt we see on our arms, legs, faces?

I'm really excited... a boy's dream coming true.

For those you interested, I'm leaving from NY on JUly 13th. Look for a pink sailboat.... or, on the 12th, look for a big party at North Cove! (the marina next to battery park)

I will be happy to answer questions you may have... thanks for the diary... i think the word that rules our trip is 'spartiate'. I remember this book about greece that I read as a kid... one of the pictures was a boy, naked, cleaning himself in the river, with snow on the banks...

Rien n'est gratuit en ce bas monde. Tout s'expie, le bien comme le mal, se paie tot ou tard. Le bien c'est beaucoup plus cher, forcement. Celine

by UnEstranAvecVueSurMer (holopherne ahem gmail) on Wed Jun 13th, 2007 at 08:32:00 AM EST
Where do you intend landing?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jun 13th, 2007 at 09:37:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There are going to be two legs... I will stop in the Acores for a week, and then to Douarnenez, France.
Anybody has advices on what to in the acores by the way?

I realize that I am not exactly on spot for this diary. When sailing autarcy dictates a lot of things.. But maybe it's also a small scale experiment on what we will all need to do soon...

Rien n'est gratuit en ce bas monde. Tout s'expie, le bien comme le mal, se paie tot ou tard. Le bien c'est beaucoup plus cher, forcement. Celine

by UnEstranAvecVueSurMer (holopherne ahem gmail) on Wed Jun 13th, 2007 at 09:44:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I would have thought that after sailing the atlantic what you'd want to do in the Azores is sleep.

Sounds like fun.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jun 13th, 2007 at 10:14:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think after 3 weeks on the water I will rush to the mountain and put my face in the basalt! I will welcome the mineral world of volcanoes I think...

Rien n'est gratuit en ce bas monde. Tout s'expie, le bien comme le mal, se paie tot ou tard. Le bien c'est beaucoup plus cher, forcement. Celine
by UnEstranAvecVueSurMer (holopherne ahem gmail) on Wed Jun 13th, 2007 at 12:20:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I realize that I am not exactly on spot for this diary. When sailing autarcy dictates a lot of things.. But maybe it's also a small scale experiment on what we will all need to do soon...

I think you're exactly spot on and it wouldn't surprise me if De would agree. I would actually think it could be a "dry-run" for things to come.

This sounds like a grand undertaking, I hope you and the two others will enjoy it to the fullest. Although I don't really understand why you wouldn't bring a small hand-pump with an interconnected hose and you make your own little shower on the deck. Then again, I also can relate to the sheer exhilaration when it does rain.

by Nomad (Bjinse) on Wed Jun 13th, 2007 at 10:57:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From what I had on board when I sailed across, here is what I'd add to your list:
  • The book(s) I never got to read (Proust, A la recherche du temps perdu).
  • A star atlas and navigation tables so as to learn sextant navigation. We had competitions to produce the most accurate positionning, and we learnt the stars in the process.
  • A waterproof camera, still and movie capable.

Pencil and paper were heavily used.

We decided not to give news to anyone, since when the system doesn't work, everyone worries.

Keeping batteries charged for electronics is a real pain unless you have wind/solar chargers. We had very little electronics; a wind vane steered the whole way.

Hot meals (pre-cooked at home) were much appreciated.

High quality waterproof 7x50 binoculars are a must. But you know that.

by balbuz on Wed Jun 13th, 2007 at 10:57:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Proust, A la recherche du temps perdu
Yes, this is good! You should definitely bring some very long, very boring book you have never read but always felt like you ought to... At some point you might become desperate enough to actually open the darn thing.
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Wed Jun 13th, 2007 at 11:05:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You're right, I forgot to mention the star atlas. There will ample to learn how to use how to use a sextant, which will be great. The name of the navigation tables, ephemerides is already poetic...

There was some discussion as the books we would need... we agreed that we should bring one Dumas classic, for the flow of the narration, the epicness... but then, we don't really know what to bring. I have tried reading Man Without Qualities  4 times already, so that's going to be one. But after that... Advice?

We don't really plan on using the autopilot aside from having dinner altogether, so it's not what's going to use too much power. I plan on having the worst callouses...

How long did it take you? where did start from and arrived? How many were on board?

Rien n'est gratuit en ce bas monde. Tout s'expie, le bien comme le mal, se paie tot ou tard. Le bien c'est beaucoup plus cher, forcement. Celine

by UnEstranAvecVueSurMer (holopherne ahem gmail) on Wed Jun 13th, 2007 at 12:17:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Today, I'd most definitely take along all of Julien Gracq. Why Gracq, that'd be the subject of a whole essay : for the same reasons I carried Proust the first time I crossed an ocean.
An ocean is not a sea, it breathes, it has a long rhythmic swell. And when you read, you want something that will carry you along the same ryhthm. And that is why Proust. And why Gracq, this prodigious creator, this perfectionist, who will polish each word till perfection; the subject of his novels is the language itself; litterature honed to perfection. Just right for an ocean passage.

There were, just like you, three of us. Getting into the watch rhythm was not easy at the beginning, and we would have hated having to steer : star gazing, reading, having a cup of tea, watching the boat ploughing through the waves, trimming the sails are more fun.

We started in the Mediterranean and arrived in the Carribean, stopping over in Gibraltar, Madeira and the Canaries. Took us maybe 3 weeks, I can't remember. This is one of the most treasured voyage I have taken.

by balbuz on Wed Jun 13th, 2007 at 12:47:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah so you took the trade winds... I do envy you. There will be no flying fishes on our route.

The only book from gracq that i've read is... la forme d'une ville. I only remember the depiction of thursday afternoons that he would spend as a kid in the nearby countryside... I was way to young to understand what I was reading, but I see why he would be a great choice. I remember the rare pleasure of reading the same sentence over and over, for the sake of it and to thank him for his work.

I somehow look forward to this enless steering, to the moment where I won't have to think of what I am doing to do it. When it will be natural, like a second nature... BUt maybe gracq, musil, will make their force be felt....

Rien n'est gratuit en ce bas monde. Tout s'expie, le bien comme le mal, se paie tot ou tard. Le bien c'est beaucoup plus cher, forcement. Celine

by UnEstranAvecVueSurMer (holopherne ahem gmail) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 08:32:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Excellent diary, thank you.  I have been meaning to post something similar (without the energy consumption stats!) on my visit to Thailand, which was also a place of extremes and remarkable ways of adapting to the climate and to poverty.  You've inspired me!

I was forced to pack ultra light, more so than I usually would, because I was taking my camera and most of my kit with me too.  I deliberately took old clothes that I knew would get wrecked when I was trekking (and boy did they) so that I could discard anything that was beyond rescuing towards the end of the trip.

I can remember feeling hugely insulted by one girl in our group (the kind that dresses nicely and delicately and still wears make up even in the 40 degree plus humidity of the jungle) who looked me up and down and made a face as if to say "what the hell do you think you look like?"  

I bordered on being angry and then reminded myself that in a country that has so much to see and so much to learn from, her main concern was with looking good; she was missing out, not getting it. Completely different values. Her loss, not mine.

But it is striking at times, how vastly different that people's values can be and if people like to stay in denial about the impact that their lifestyle has on the world, holding the thought that somehow they are immune and can carry on doing as they like, then we will stay right on course for massive collision.

In terms of what I took for 16 days in Thailand:
Camera kit (the heaviest of the lot)
Spare hearing aid and batteries
Basic clothes and swimsuit
Basic toiletries and bug spray/sunscreen
Hiking books and walking sandals
1 book
1 paper journal
Dry fast towel
Sunglasses and hat
Nut bars
1 Mobile phone

All in a medium sized backpack.  My camera kit was in it's own bag that just fits into the on-flight baggage restrictions.

I didn't miss anything except hot showers!  Cool water is refreshing but not when it gives you pins and needles.  I just loved living basically, being around people, seeing beautiful places and not being bogged down with all that accumulated stuff that I don't really need. I associate sleeping on floors with a feeling of freedom.

I was homeless for 4 years on and off when I was younger and got used to living with the minimum possible, with my stuff all being stored in a friend's loft. A few years later I went to get all that stuff back, I hadn't missed any of it.  I wouldn't be afraid to have to start all over again with nothing, it's an opportunity more than a loss, because I don't value 'things' in the way that so many others do.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Wed Jun 13th, 2007 at 09:20:59 AM EST
I was homeless for 4 years on and off when I was younger and got used to living with the minimum possible, with my stuff all being stored in a friend's loft. A few years later I went to get all that stuff back, I hadn't missed any of it.  I wouldn't be afraid to have to start all over again with nothing, it's an opportunity more than a loss, because I don't value 'things' in the way that so many others do.

Great comments In Wales.  We really don't learn how little the "extras" matter until we give them up.  I am sad to say that after many years living on the road, I never learned to pack as lightly as I wished.  Now we live part of the year in a 3600 sq ft house and the rest in a 400 sq ft apt.  I think we are usually happier with the 400 sq ft.

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears

by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Wed Jun 13th, 2007 at 01:05:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I can stay one full week without taking a shower.. isolated of course...take that Nomad!!!!

But it is surprising how things change in a century..

There is a history professor here in catalonia who explains very well what kind of "non-shower" life our older generations had. Not to talk about middle ages... and smell.

So shelter, clothes, food a, sanitation and fresh water for hygiene (soap) should be basic rights... for nay one that wants them...

Other than that.. I do not need books, nor music no comfortability... except for people.. I do need people... otherwise food doe snot fit my stomach.. I need people to eat with me ..seriously it is a question of mental and intestine/liver health.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Wed Jun 13th, 2007 at 01:14:42 PM EST
Something to realize about books.

Michael Hart of gutenberg project fame estimates mankind has produced so far about 2 millions books (all languages), about 1 millions are lost. If we assume 400 pages per book on average, with each page having 50 lines of 50 characters and one byte per character, that's 1 megabyte per book and 1 terabyte for all of mankind still available books. With compression of one bit per byte that's 125 gigabyte, a hard drive of this size currently cost less than 50 euros TTC in France.

Current "bistable" display technology use no power for static display.

So when we ask what book I want to take, just remember that if we have to choose it comes from intellectual property laws, not from physics or technology limits.

The whole wikipedia text in several language already fits on your cellphone or PDA MicroSD card (assuming you have an open software cellphone or PDA).

by Laurent GUERBY on Wed Jun 13th, 2007 at 04:37:42 PM EST
But... I don't really like reading from my PDA or cellphone.  I like books.  With actual pages.

I sure hope they never stop printing them.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Wed Jun 13th, 2007 at 04:55:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How sustainable is this? If billions of people have the same library than you?
by Laurent GUERBY on Wed Jun 13th, 2007 at 05:00:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's where well-stocked public libraries come in.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 13th, 2007 at 05:03:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's for ultra-dense urban areas.
by Laurent GUERBY on Wed Jun 13th, 2007 at 05:20:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The well-stocked libraries of medieval monasteries were not in ultra-dense urban areas.

At 20/25 Km/h (comfortable biking speed on a suitable terrain) you just need enough people within a 25 Km radius to provide the necessary demand for the library's services. At the average population density of the EU, that holds about 175k people.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 13th, 2007 at 05:27:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Neraly no one had access to book in medieval times :).

How many books a library does have? Assuming two books borrowed per person at any time, that's 350k books out at any time, plus say a similar number in stock (many copies of each book).

by Laurent GUERBY on Wed Jun 13th, 2007 at 05:51:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
  1. That's still more sustainable than having everyone keep dozens of books at home, with duplication, when they are not reading them.

  2. You don't have to have all the books in one library. The 175k figure is just an estimate of the number of people in the catchment of any given library even in a rural environment.

  3. How big of a building do you need to store 1m volumes? A back of the envelope calculation tells me I can accessibly store 1m volumes in a 3-storey building with a 40m x 25m footprint.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 13th, 2007 at 06:12:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The swedish public library system gives acces to lots of books. Each library does not have all books, but you can order books from the whole system and get a notification when the book gets to your library.

This system encompasses the whole of Sweden (lots of rural areas) and while built on a backbone of traditional libraries, at least one in each kommun (municipality and surrounding area, closest translated with county) it also has bookbuses and other ways of reaching the population.

I do not see libraries as a thing of the past. Books are a very popular format.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Jun 13th, 2007 at 07:37:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem is that it's likely current public libraries are under used. If you push this as solution, it has to scale to the whole population.

Another problem is that public libraries are already labelled as thieves by authors those days so if you scale up it will get worse intellectual property lobbying wise.

by Laurent GUERBY on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 06:43:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Another problem is that public libraries are already labelled as thieves by authors those days

Any author that makes that argument instantly loses my respect.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 06:44:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
After the DMCA was passed in the US there was a big push in Europe and in France on this topic, a trace here from an author who denounced the editor's request to sign a letter refusing free book lending in public libraries:


Mourir plus vite
Mis en ligne le jeudi 9 mars 2000.

Nos éditeurs nous sollicitent avec insistance pour signer une lettre, dont les auteurs ne sont pas à l'initiative : refuser le prêt de nos livres en bibliothèques tant que n'est pas instauré leur prêt payant.
Refuser le prêt de nos livres en bibliothèque, mais quel ridicule : juste comme vouloir mourir plus vite.

by Laurent GUERBY on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 05:48:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I used to feel that way...until I tried to move my collection of books to a new apartment...by myself.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Wed Jun 13th, 2007 at 05:34:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have no space left in my small appartment, 70% of shelf space is taken by books.

I really should list and sell them...

by Laurent GUERBY on Wed Jun 13th, 2007 at 05:53:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It doesn't count till you move to standing floor space!  

The Fates are kind.
by Gaianne on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 03:09:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
also on a tangential note, this is the first book I read entirely online (good scifi, btw). You can buy the book in dead tree form as well.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Wed Jun 13th, 2007 at 05:40:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, as a blogger who had as one of his earliest posts and ode ot hot showers

Hot water, for some reason, is the embodiment of civilisation in my mind, and I enjoy this luxury every single day, thinking that any tear in the fabric of our Western world could bring this down and tragically make hot water disappear from normal daily life.

Showers, toilets, food, sleep. Always get these right first. Then have something to read. Then the rest.

As a note, I read my conclusion again

Anyway, I don't even remember my initial point - is it "enjoy your showers"? In a sense, yes: do enjoy life every day, and remember that we live in a system which we all contribute to create and should defend.

and looked at the date - this was a few months before we found out about my son's sickness. In a very real way, I'm glad that I already had the right mindset before that happened.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Jun 13th, 2007 at 06:12:50 PM EST
Sing hey! for the bath at close of day
That washes the weary mud away!  
A loon is he that will not sing:  
O! Water Hot is a noble thing!  

O! Sweet is the sound of falling rain,
and the brook that leaps from hill to plain;
but better than rain or rippling streams
is Water Hot that smokes and steams.  

O! Water cold we may pour at need
down a thirsty throat and be glad indeed;
but better is Beer, if drink we lack,
and Water Hot poured ddown the back.  

O! Water is fair that leaps on high
in a fountain white beneath the sky;
but never did fountain sound so sweet
as splashing Hot Water with my feet!  

--J. J. R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 03:04:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just curious how much an urbanite you are: what was the longest trip in the woods you have taken?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 08:26:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Packing light reminded me of Havamal:

11. A better burden can no man bear
on the way than his mother wit:
and no worse provision can he carry with him
than too deep a draught of ale.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Wed Jun 13th, 2007 at 07:49:28 PM EST
TZhanks for this wonderful double diary!

I started packing light, albeit for short journeys, very young. My went on excursions practically every week. The older generations liked a whole picnic -- e.g., take lots of food, knives etc., and then sit down for an hour or two somewhere. I however didn't like to carry lots of weight, and loved to go long and far and high.

Now, if I go on a long journey, albeit I never have gone on a journey as long as DeAnander's in Canada or Nomad's in South Africa, I pack:

a) pyjama (I guess this could be thrown out, but I usually found the place)

b) raincoat (not a plastic one, but a 'normal' one that could also keep warm, so no need for umbrella and [second] pullover)

c) towel if I sleep at camping sites/nothing if I stay in a hotel/room or go into the woods (unlike Nomad, I don't need a shower then, spring water will do if I stick or stink too much)

d) 5-7 changes of underwear, socks and shirts (am not an enthusiastic washer)

e) a bag with toothbrush (special "for journeys" one, based on repeated prior experience of forgetting to pack in the last item I used on the morning of leaving...), toothpaste, comb, scissor, soap, diverse drugs and oinments for the case of an outbreak of some allergy

f) a few sheets of paper and a pencil

g) good maps

h) a photo camera (always used to borrow one, now at last I have a digital one of my own, bought used)

i) usually a railway timeplan

j) for daylong journeys, two simple sandwitches (consisting of two slices of bread with liver paste and paprika in-bitween wrapped in something) I made and some drink bought in the morning (or the bottle of what I bought last filled up with springwater) and all this in a used plastic bag for smell isolation

k) a Swiss army knife

l) a 100-pack [an alternative norm to the 10-pack here] of paper tissues (also useful as toilet paper if there is nothing else)

m) my papers & money in a wallet

I used to bring along books, but no more: they are concentrated weight, they don't like wear & tear, however long a journey I like to watch the landscape go by (with map in hand so that I really know what to watch out for), and in the evenings I almost never found the time either. I am a luddite with respect to cell phones (in the rare cases I needed to contact someone, a land line always sufficed), and need no music.

With the right packing order, I can stuff most of the above into a single mid-sized bag, which I can carry on my back, fasten to my bike, hold on my knees, or stuff in any train's bag holder; and if something doesn't fit in, that's usually the camera (will be around my neck) and the bottle of juice (will be in my hand).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 08:05:00 AM EST
Forgot: no shave, either...

Also forgot shoes. I buy shoes for strength anyway, so normally the one shoe on me is the 'all-purpose' one. But it may be that I am on a 'more representative' journey, especially in summer, in which case slippers (in the place otherwise for the towel) are a must. Or, if I go on a serious trek, my trekking shoe is a must (then I spare the pajamas).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 08:17:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
hehe, i remember leaving a cache by the side of ther trail down to waipio valley, hawaii, which consisted of my treasured 'whole earth catalog' and a reel-t-reel tape recorder somene had turned me on to a few nights earlier in berkeley... it was a relief, as i'd been carrying it on my head for a couple of miles...

hope someone got good use from that!

i save old guitar strings, my dystopian horror vision is running out, and no wire factory to replace them.

gutting cats again...the things people do to get great sounds.

i also collect cheapish acoustic instruments,,, like a sight-unseen acoustic bass guitar for €130 offa ebay...it works...

life without good bass lines....unimaginable...

picked up the umpteenth percussion instrument from the fair trade shop, a maraca from ghana, the other day in castiglione del lago.

as another sign that my subconch is preparing for peak oil, i lost my car that day.

i walked around for two hours trying to find it, but the streets were like a mobius strip, and i thought i was going insane, no really this time...

finally broke down and went to the traffic police, whose first question was: 'are you english?'

cultural aha moment...

apparently it's always the brits who space where their cars are parked!

food for rumination, when the blushing stops.

travelling, guitar is my best friend, and mandolin doesn't take up much extra space, considering what it gives in return.

getting the baby grand piano into the chestnutpicker's cottage was a real pain, about took off the pergola in the process, a small price for having that sound in the middle of the woods.

the drum set in the living room is a bit invasive, but you get used to it...

good company is our greatest human need, and voluntarily eschewing 'consumer goods' (aka 'subsumer bads') gives more loft to life, to borrow the mongolfier analogy.

possessions do dull the mind usually, unless you chose them well and use them wisely.

planned obsolescence, a throwaway attitude to everything, these are a sad byproduct of our extreme ignorance in the so-called first world, aka corporate global plutocracy.

tripping around the third world gives one a whole new attitude about the material plane.

it's embarassing to think what we take for granted, and what it costs the planet.

wildly superfluous the bulk of it, and it causes so much envy and greed, status-seeking through pointless, futile, energy hoggery.

in my culture my lifestyle is that of a 'failure', economically, but when you see real poverty, the whole artefact of western consumer culture is revealed for what it is...a ridiculously vertical concoction, as befitting a testament to human folly and hubris as the manhattan skyline.

i got it when i was 18...we had supermarkets in london where the doors opened automatically (really new in 1969); and all the fruits and veggies looked like little cloned bot-simul-replicas, reasonable facsimilies...

and in morocco the fruit and veg markets were a sensory paradise, everything looked, smelt and tasted soooo gooood.

and i thought....we think we're AHEAD of these guys...the whole sorry lie capsized in on itself...terminal overload...cog-diss alarm, my god, what is in that koolaide?

so if you're walking in the woods and you hear post-apocalyptic chords filtering through the leaves, let's hope you know how to tune pianos!

if your pack is full of guitar strings, you can share my chestnuts!

if your heart has lucre as your god, keep walking... it's may be firewood to you, but to me these instruments are seeds for a new civilisation, and my ipod bit the dust after a month.

my old baby guild i picked up for $100 in '75 sounds better each day, as does the old j45 that i found for $250 in '80.

i'm told they're worth $1000's today, yet i don't even think about it.

what they are is the perfect marriage between time, love, great craftmanship and sound materials...

and you can take that to the bank....

er, not....

great diary and comments, you are a very amusing bunch of humourists, the kind you need to stare down peak oil with...

and de, i knew you're an optimist...

me too, better crazy than right in my case.

the traffic cops helped me find the errant veehicky, and i got to ride in the patrol car, whee.

mo'ron' moments

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Jun 15th, 2007 at 05:31:35 AM EST
I know what you mean about the guitar strings.

and sewing needles.

but my kombucha and kefir cultures I can propagate forever...

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Fri Jun 15th, 2007 at 01:22:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]