"Maybe, when we live so close to nature, so near to the tree next door that provides shelter and heat, we can better hear the tick of its clock."
It snowed yesterday. I walked the three and a half miles to town, grateful that the clean powder had temporarily covered the ugly slush of spring melting. The tromp seemed long and dream-like, bathing my face in melted snowflakes and soaking through my cotton leggings, almost as a punishment for my temporary lapse in care surrounding wardrobe practicality. The time of transition arrived two weeks ago, but it is not sudden in the way I imagined, like the weather cannot bear to sever ties just yet. We are walking into spring gradually, splashing water on our feet and our knees and ever-so-slowly wading in to our torso and backing out when the change feels too abrupt.
When I think back to the dusky light of early December, the days feel sleepy and veiled. Never before have I felt such a biological tie to seasonal change. The light and the weather affect everything from daily activities to modes of transportation to bed times to energy levels. I feel like I’m awaking from an internal hibernation, full of activities that deeply engage the self and disengage from the external pillars of reality. And I, like the weather, cannot quite decide whether I am ready to sever ties with winter, to embrace the forward movement and the new faces and responsibilities. To part with the stars, the deep cloak of nighttime, the expectant light of dawn and dusk; to replace them all with the bracing sounds and smells of sunlight at three o’clock in the morning: what a perfect mixture of regret and hope.
As I write, I think of the sunlight that indirectly powers my ability to share these words. Maybe, when we live so close to nature, so near to the tree next door that provides shelter and heat, we can better hear the tick of its clock. And maybe when the whims of the outside world have a real and deep effect on the quality and texture of our daily lives, we more closely embody the shifts in seasons. To me, the winter blues or the carefree feelings of summer are the mild effects of these sways, but here, different facets of my person seem to live in different seasons. It feels dynamic and deeply instinctual, like I live at the mercy of the wilderness that surrounds me. It is satisfying, and a wonderful exercise in loosening my grip on the control board.
Along with the expectancy and stickiness that accompany the in between, I feel a sense of accomplishment. I survived the winter. I survived the dark and the cold, although they were not as intense as they often are. I learned how to knit and cross country ski. I spent time with writing and music and gained wisdom from yoga and books. I grew in directions that I didn’t even know existed. And my sense of what I need, what is essential to a happy, healthy, human existence, downsized and shifted to a much simpler perspective.
The starts in the window are beginning to poke through the soil, sloughing off pepper and tomato seed hats to unfurl their proud green of new life. They encourage me to embrace the spring and summer to come, to release the internal cave of quiet winter, and to dance in the midnight sun.
Check out the first section of my new Alaska-inspired short story here! Also, I’ll be posting a series of short, how-to articles about everything from growing sprouts at home to knitting a hat to converting an old freezer into a composter. Stay tuned, and happy spring!
How much space do we need to occupy in order to be happy? The average American house size is just over 2,000 square feet. The average. That means plenty of folks need to gobble up more space, more resources, more storage for stuff that never leaves its box. A friend who worked for a moving company used to lament the amount of cardboard boxes that he moved from basement to basement, where they would remain planted, growing roots, never leaving the dusty cardboard for a chance at any kind of life. Because we all need three different types of blenders and more television sets than people. Yes, yes. The important things in life.
But the story of American consumption and the idea of paring down is nothing new. The Tiny House Movement has gained popularity over the last ten years. Hell, there is even a tiny house version of the reality TV show House Hunters. It’s trendy to think small, to like the color green, to reduce, reuse, or maybe just recycle. Because we are all aware of the consequences of our own greed—well, at least those of us who don’t believe that God placed us on Earth to gobble it as we see fit.
And yet, we still live in McMansions and drive one too many cars and collect cheap Chinese-made objects like we need them to breathe. And we still don’t find the time to donate items we don’t use or repurpose broken items or stop and think before clicking the “Buy Now” button on Amazon Prime. So then the attic fills, the basement fills, the rooms fill, and every corner fills with emptiness.
How I ended up living in 200-square-feet is not as purposeful as I would have liked. I do not feel righteous, like I wouldn’t too have too many shoes or buy a big house and fill it with heat and light and a dishwasher if I had the money or the situation or the family with kids. It isn’t about judgement or rejection, but about falling into simple in a way that forced me to give objects weight, to question the usefulness of a plastic container before tossing it in the garbage because the nearest dump is four hours away. I was forced into living the ideology I’d always yearned to represent because I found a place I felt at home and home happened to be only 200 square feet.
It is not without challenge. My morning yoga ritual often turns into an anxious dance between trying not to fall on the scalding wood stove while attempting a head stand and avoiding the hanging dirty rag with my clean fingers as I try to breathe through a sun salutation without distraction. It’s like someone should make a YouTube Channel for tiny house yoga, where no limbs stray from the small rectangle of the yoga mat that just perfectly fits in the one free bit of space between the kitchen and the seating area. Occasionally I romanticize the idea, thinking of the one-room cabins I dreamt of while obsessed with Laura Ingells Wilder in my younger days. But when I knock my toothbrush into the dirty grey water tub that functions as a sort of sink and when the water jug springs a leak and soaks through my tea bags that I’ve necessarily stowed beneath it because there is no other logical place for them to exist, I often let out a frustrated sigh.
Or when company comes over, and I want to apologize that they must climb over one another to exit the place. Or more often when company does not come over because having a dinner party with no real table is a bit difficult. And all the pans must live in the oven and a chair sets in front of a cabinet that I use daily because, despite a half an hour of contemplation, I cannot find another place for it to be. Life is like maneuvering a puzzle, requiring me to nestle all the pieces into their proper places or the whole room becomes one big, indecipherable mess. And it isn’t just 200 square feet for me, but for two people. Two people’s book collections and two people’s stashes of months’ worth of food and beer and toiletries. And a dog too.
But then, miraculously, and despite these occasional frustrations, it does work. Living in a tenth of the space normally occupied by the average American household is not impossible; in fact, it is positively enjoyable 90% of the time. Less space means less to clean. Less space means less money spent on stuff. Less space means every item has purpose, sometimes two or three reasons for existence, filling the entire household with an incredibly useful energy. Less space means more time spent outside breathing fresh, crisp air and pumping warm blood through a happy circulatory system.
It also means my creative muscle pumps harder than usual. How to make room for five people in a space meant for one, maybe two? How to use the undersides and insides of cabinets to house spices, dishes, and cups? How to use nails and vertical space and still avoid clutter? I think my interior design skills have grown exponentially over the last six months. And, of course, I can feel my environmental footprint shrinking daily as I compost and reuse and rarely run the generator. My conscious thanks me and so does my bank account.
Let’s talk about it. Let’s talk about how, as a woman, no indoor plumbing is complicated, and how, despite popular belief, the remote Alaskan town that currently houses my potty habits is also inhabited by a number of other women who relieve themselves without the convenience of a white and shiny porcelain throne. So what’s the big deal then? Peeing outside at 20 below? Sounds cold? Yes. But it isn’t exactly about the weather. It’s more about the clothing and the equipment underneath that can make this regular habit that we all participate in multiple times daily into an endeavor that occasionally leaves me crossing my legs in dread instead of relieving myself in the normal and timely manner that I was once trained to do at the age of two.
You see, as women we have these things called periods. We pee sitting down. We need toilet paper because 20 below doesn’t exactly allow for the perfect drip dry technique that I practiced all summer long. We do not have an aiming device or a way of relieving ourselves without dropping trough entirely, which often requires the removal of layers of outerwear to then dislodge the clips of coveralls (expressly designed for men) and in turn lose the majority of our body heat while taking a leak as quickly as possible to avoid peeing on our boots (which still happens sometimes because of the proximity of our boots to the possible splatter zone) and end up shivering inside our insulating layers after what feels like a ten minute endeavor. Oh yeah, and that guy next to us probably just saw our butt because there’s not a tree in sight to cower behind. Or maybe we tramped through knee deep snow to find a suitable spot for hide and relief and now have an inch of melting snow in our boots.
And then, the guy next to us turns around, unzips and pees without the normal aiming constraints of a toilet. Perfect and absolute freedom. He could even write his name if he wanted. Grrr.
It’s moments like those that I feel a simultaneous dose of literal penis envy and strong feminism because there’s got to be a way to make this whole thing, this absolutely normal thing that people do all the time inside and outside, a little bit easier without me feeling like I want to attach a hose to my body.
I’ve thought about this a lot (if you can’t tell already). I mean, peeing outside, no biggie right, especially if you’re following the norms of the the bearded lumberjack-ish Alaskan dude that often inhabits these parts. It’s the cold weather and the peeing while adventuring and the peeing while in town or when I forgot the toilet paper or when it’s the middle of the night or when I’m wearing ten thousand layers that I didn’t think about. I’m not even going to start on the whole period thing.
They make these things called Go Girls that I have yet to try, like a little plastic device to allow ladies to pee standing up. Something tells me they don’t feel entirely ladylike in use. And whoever designed coveralls for women must have been a man. In fact, most cold weather outdoor gear that ventures more into the Carhartt realm of toughness seems to be designed with a very odd concept of the female body.
New life mission? Maybe.
As for number two, I have little to no complaints. After all, Mother Nature blessed both sexes with equality in this department. And thank God for foam seats and beautiful outhouse views.
In the mornings, just before the sun wakes and the sky seems dirtied by darkness and the moon (sometimes) shines as brightly as it would at midnight right through the long upstairs bedroom window and I almost mistake it for the sun but then I’m not quite that naïve, I awake. It is seven in the morning, and the world seems paralyzed with transition. Because the dawn never breaks slowly, never with self-awareness, but always suddenly without anyone realizing that it happened and then the sky is no longer dirtied but white and pure and things are real again because they are concrete. It is day now; possibilities become realities. But the time in between, when the world seems cloaked in unawareness that it is changing, when no one else seems to be awake and the loneliness of the hour feels welcome (more like solitude), I am happiest. I never recognized the beauty of this time before I moved to the middle of the woods.
During these minutes, I have purpose. My job is to dress, to expel cold, to brew coffee, to listen to the events that may have passed while I was sleeping or not listening. To hear Donald Trump’s voice scare me from the radio (because somehow he has gained the pleasure of greeting me every morning these days). But his voice never really touches me until the daytime blooms fully. It’s as if dawn protects me from anything that isn’t simple or logical. It gives me a place to hide, to forget, to remember. A bit like the place I am living now, this tiny community of quiet escape, where I can turn off the radio and pretend like nothing matters but the problems right in front of me, which always seem to have solutions that are obvious and easily stricken from my to do list:
How to stir the pot, to use the blessings that life has bestowed to enact positive change, from the middle of the woods? How to live a life that embodies both lists, both dawn and day and nighttime too, to not fall into a pattern of escapism and loosen the reins on determined, shape-shifting existence? These are the things that trouble me these days.
I just finished Purity by Jonathon Franzen. Witty and challenging yet utterly traditional in format, it seems to suggest we find a way to wipe the Earth clean, to start over fresh, as if we could or would, if given the chance. But with its ending, it resolves such an idea’s impossibility and recognizes the necessity of complexity and strife; the need for yesterday to mix with tomorrow and for today to travel back and forth between the two while adding a unique token of presentness. To accept the bad with the good and the ugliness with the beauty. To do this may be the only way to find peace, to learn how to live a life of responsible simplicity without running away from the world altogether. To remember how to breathe.
Another lesson from the wild, I would say. That we are small and we can only use our smallness to push forward when we remember the quiet importance and expectancy of dawn and keep it with us through the day that follows.
The back of the Subaru looks like someone gathered their life story in objects, shoved them hastily together in the least Tetris-like fashion imaginable, and gunned it towards a new kind of life. We look like we’re moving across the country or beyond the apocalypse, I’m not sure which. And I have a new-found hatred for shopping after Costco, Fred Meyer, two thrift stores, the yarn store, the tea store, the health food store, Walmart (homage to small town Midwestern roots?), Costco again (10lbs. of cheddar!), a cappuccino, snacks, things, stuff, meaningless objects that we spend time and money and resources on and this world is full of terrible materialism and I never want to enter another store and Oh My God I’m going to miss ice cream and go. We’re off. We’re running. We’re ice road trucking. We’re going home.
I think. Home. Yes? Where else is home? Yes, I’m going home.
Home past glaciers and mountains and feet of snow and an 8-hour driving time with so few cars I can count them on two hands. Through muffled quiet and trees burdened with layers of ice and snow and ice and snow. They are bowing to something; not us. This place is not about us. It is so wild, so entirely its own, that we wouldn’t dare try to give it a shave and a haircut and throw it in front of a computer in a cubicle where things are always the same and things are always safe and clocks tick as if clocks exist. No, something else is bigger than we are and that’s why we love it because we are a part of it but not in charge of it; small spectators staring out the window to blink and wonder and never fully understand because we are human and we aren’t that kind of wild. Not anymore at least.
Gasoline in a place called Chitina, a town where no one is outside, and I feel like a ghost. I almost want to whisper because nothing feels quite real and then we’re threading the needle to put tires to dirt road except right now it is ice and snow and quite smooth and without the summer washboard-pothole rhythm dance to avoid popping a tire. One, two, three: road glacier (what the hell is a road glacier?). Now we have a new dance, a road glacier dance. Stay high, don’t break through, don’t stick, don’t slide, just go, go. Barrel on home, the whole 60 miles. Bury yourself in the woods and the wilderness. Feel like a child again. My cheeks keep scrunching up in a smile. The mountains look taller when they wear winter clothes, so I feel smaller than normal, in a good way, and I turn up the music and close my eyes, and we are road tripping up our own driveway.
Mine? Is this place mine? Probably not, but that’s not the point. It’s where I choose to be, and it feels so obvious that I’m not sure why I ever left, even for a hot shower or sushi or good beer. And even though we have to walk down the trail in the dark and haul the mountains of Costco supplies with the snow machine and I can see my breath inside and everything is frozen and it smells like vinegar because vinegar sometimes explodes when it freezes and I forgot and it takes five hours for the heat from the wood stove to reach the bones of the house and the bed is so hard it feels like I’m sitting on a concrete slab and all of our water is frozen so I’m very thirsty; even though, I still feel good in my down jacket and I laugh and dance around the 8-foot strip of walk-able space.
Mostly because home means something more than safe, warm, cozy, and comfortable, and I’m starting to uncover its definition. I think it’s a kernel of personal identity speaking a vernacular that I understand without thinking and an environment that absorbs my conscious and subconscious being. But it’s something else too, and I don’t have to define it with words because I’m beginning to see, smell and feel it, here in the middle of the woods in rural Alaska. Who would’ve thought? I wouldn’t have.
But that’s one of life’s biggest lessons that I am just now beginning to learn; we cannot see what it is we are looking for until it finds us.
Writing from a postcard:
Just a quick update. I've finally put some music up on SoundCloud. You can listen here (https://soundcloud.com/erin-693486634). I'll be participating in a song of the month club and adding new songs as time passes. I got a microphone and guitar for Christmas, so more recording (hopefully better quality too...) is yet to come.
I'll get back into my regular writing groove come mid-January after the holidays are over. Watch for a post about transition and change and living in between life phases in the next week or so. Also, a list of important books that I read this year will appear soon. Until then, check out this adorable photo of my nieces and nephews. Being around new life is probably one of the most refreshing and enlivening things I could do.
Cheers and Happy Holidays!
When the air is cold, its molecules become lonely, drifting apart from one another. This spaciousness makes room for razor sharp perception. It makes the night sky jump out of itself into a new kind of focus. Everything looks so sharp, so real that it becomes surreal, almost magical. Energy emanates through this clarity--breathing in such stillness feels like drinking a cup of coffee. It’s beautiful.
Last night I stepped outside, away from the coziness of dinner at a friend’s cabin, into one of the most precise evenings I’ve yet to see. It startled me. The Milky Way painted a cloudy streak between a spattering of stars. It was cold--the kind of cold where snot freezes in your nose; the kind of cold that makes space for you and your solitude. I’ve been here for over a month and the staunch beauty of winter surprises me daily.
Yet, the dark is a bit heavy. I wake up at 8, and it feels like 4am, the moon still shining through the bedroom window. The sun barely rises above the tips of the snow-cloaked spruce these days, just skirting the horizon, casting a bit of deliciously pink and gold Alpenglow on the tower of Fireweed Mountain, and then dipping off to bed before 4pm. It makes you value the daylight so much more. I never want to sleep late for fear of missing a few of its rays.
And, yes, it does infect your mood, especially when the weather is the sloshy mess that passed over a few days ago. But it also makes you value the night, like the story I just told of the stars and the clarity of air. I’m not sure I would even recognize those things without the pressing presence of nighttime. The value of the internal becomes prominent too, the other side of the coin.
So these are the things that are difficult: little daylight, having to bundle up to use the outhouse when it’s still dark, keeping the cabin warm at night, hauling water, doing laundry by hand, siding an outhouse with a hand saw and a hammer, sticking to a routine, accomplishing as much as I want to, cross country skiing quickly, having to be creative in the kitchen for want of certain ingredients, keeping my feet and hands warm, missing activities and a change of scenery, driving a snow machine without being scared, knitting without dropping a stitch.
Yes, it’s hard. But it’s not so bad. In fact, it’s quite good. I had prepared to have an adverse reaction to the lack of daylight, to completely dislike the bite of cold. And, yet, I’m making it, and it isn’t even as difficult as I expected. I get up early, fill my day with projects and laughter. I am spending time with books and recipes and learning to build things. I finished my first short story (You can read it here). The difficulties are simple because the life is simple. And if I feel down, all I have to do is cook a nice meal or chop some wood or do some yoga. Really, all I have to do is look outside.
My father once told me to never have expectations. I think it was one of the best bits of advice I’ve ever received. Because here I am, struggling but not disappointed. I feel energized by the challenge, by the new things I learn and the ways I stretch myself every single day. It’s all something close to serenity, I think, maybe closer than I’ve ever been.
A few recipes will follow. I’ve had some bread making success as well as a few earthy dishes for a cold winter’s day.
Until then, have a wonderful day.
It was cold last night. Not the sort of cold that can be combatted with layers, but the kind that makes its way through the tiny stitches in your clothing, underneath your skin, and deep into the marrow of your bones no matter how hard you try to keep it out; so cold that your eyelashes start to freeze. I’ve felt it before with wind chill but never with such deep stillness. The sound of winter here is so quiet, muffled by the snow, standing in sharp contrast to the summertime when the never-setting sun keeps the birds whistling until midnight and up again by three. The wind disappears too, for some meteorological reason that I have yet to understand. I am grateful though. I cannot imagine this cold with wind. -25 degrees; I wonder how different -40 degrees will feel. I awoke three times to throw wood on the fire, trying to keep the downstairs of the cabin above freezing. The thermometer read 38 degrees at 4:30am. It’s amazing how warm that can feel compared to the outside world.
And yet, with the intense cold, comes intense beauty. The clearest nights are the coldest. Last night, a perfectly spliced moon shone through the window, wreathed with stars. Even the smoke of my breath floating in the air in front of me was beautiful.
I chopped wood for an hour this morning, and it felt good. The heat of motion got my blood pumping, forced me to remove my heavy down jacket and Carhartt beanie. The swinging motion of an axe can be almost dancelike, as rhythmic as music. It struck me that I’ve had little opportunity in my life to spend time perfecting such physical activities, those traditionally masculine tasks that many women still stay away from despite the pervasiveness of modern feminist thought (although certainly not all women; I don’t mean to say that). I’ve stayed away from tools and machines and hard labor, often feeling inadequate and befuddled, like I have no natural inclination for those sorts of things. I used my first table saw the other day to cut boards for the new outhouse. It was easier than I imagined; my cuts were smooth, my measurements correct. It’s as if the mystique of these activities is finally beginning to fade; it is knowledge, practice, and a bit of intuition.
Not as if I’m particularly domestic. Sewing, crafts, interior decorating, baking: I’m not naturally inclined towards those tasks either. If anything, I’ve taught myself, worked hard to perfect them. I’m still clumsy at sewing; I have no patience for it, no hand for art, at least in the visual sense.
Yet there is a common thread that binds all of these tasks for me, that is making me more and more interested in understanding them, mastering them: the satisfaction of turning work into everyday usefulness. The dance that is starting the generator gives me power. The energy and time spent chopping wood gives me heat. The attention to detail and precision while baking gives me bread and pizza dough. The satisfaction imbedded in seeing the results of your energies and efforts; that’s what I am beginning to appreciate. So many mysteries of how the world works, how I push a button or turn a key or purchase a product without understanding the pathway between the action and the outcome, are shattering. It’s growth, and it’s making me look at every aspect of how we choose to lead our lives (to feed ourselves, keep ourselves warm, occupy our time) with a fresh perspective.
My latest project, aside from writing and music making, has been to create a few sets of insulated curtains for the cabin. Remember how I’m miserable at sewing? One more challenge, I guess, just like overcoming my disdain for wintery dark and cold. I saw a pictograph once of how much heat we lose through our windows, hence heavy drapes in the drafty houses of times past.
So I bought 6 yards of fabric and three wool blankets and set to work. I don’t have a sewing machine, so I hemmed the fabric by hand, which was quite time-consuming, and I would certainly recommend using a sewing machine when available. On the flip side, the hemming was quite meditative, like knitting can be. I’m going to attach a sort of recipe for their creation, for anyone who might be interested in conserving energy in their home. I also lined a few of the problem windows with plastic from a window insulation kit. All you need is a hair dryer, some scissors, a tape measurer, and the kit. It makes a huge difference too, creating a little vacuum between the glass and the plastic to trap cold air.
Just little adjustments to can make a bigger difference than you might think. I know it sounds cheesy, but I think it’s true.
Thanks again for listening. See the recipe below.
It helps to have extra sharp scissors. I used a nice, bright fabric that has some stretch to it, hoping to use the leftover fabric to make a dress or a skirt. I also bought these handy curtain rings and tacks with hooks attached on Amazon for less than $10:
I received a mixed bag of responses when I began telling people that I wanted to stay in McCarthy through the winter, from words of encouragement and excitement to quizzical looks of confusion to warnings of the dreary gloom of Alaskan wintertime. Sometimes, I doubted the decision, especially when people looked at me like I might have a loose screw rattling around my head. The cold, the dark, the isolation, the lack of material comforts and modern conveniences: I often doubted my own strength when attempting to paint the picture of what my life might be like in the long months ahead. Then, I would have bouts of excitement when I would imagine the freedom to fill in the days as I pleased and the challenge of living a life of simplicity, a life without toaster ovens and toilets.
More often than not, people would tilt their heads to the side, give me a long, hard look of distant confusion and genuine curiosity, and ask, “But, what will you do all the time?”—a question that had never before danced its way into my brain space. The first time I encountered it, I tilted my head in the same distantly confused manner and responded, “What do you mean, what will I do?”
Too many unread books, too many unwritten words, too many subjects to be studied and skills to acquire—boredom has recently lost its place in my mental dictionary. The freedom to own my time and energy, to expend it in a productive, positive, and purposeful fashion, was one of the greatest attractions to my new life in the woods. I’m finding it to be true too; I have lists of projects and routines that I never have enough time to complete. This lifestyle is not only about eliminating material waste, but also the waste of moments and energy.
I’m finding routine, self-discipline, and self-motivation essential elements of survival and happiness. Projects give purpose, and attitude is essential. I’m learning to appreciate what I have, rather than longing for the impossible, and to focus on accomplishments, rather than all of the unchecked items on my never-ending to do list. Also, I’m getting really good at splitting wood.
My day often looks like this: I wake up with the sun, start the hot water for coffee, chop wood, start a fire, do the dishes (which is no small task without a sink or running water) and tidy the cabin, do forty minutes of yoga, make breakfast, clean myself, write, and begin my daily project. At the end of the day, I take a walk or cross country ski, make dinner, and read. This routine wavers, and some days are much more productive than others. The point is I’m happy and healthy and moving forward, even on the colder and grayer days of the week.
I am challenging myself to fill my life with necessity (water, food, heat, creative energy, exercise) and to dispel excess waste (worry, stuff, boredom, materialism). Thank you for listening to my journey towards simplicity.
Welcome to my new blog, Life without Asphalt. I am spending a winter in McCarthy, Alaska, a remote town situated 60 miles from the nearest paved road. I'm living without a grocery store, running water, and indoor plumbing. No sweat for many, especially for the intelligent, resilient, and innovative folks that make their home in this tiny community. But for me, this lifestyle is new, exciting, and challenging.
I grew up in a small town in Missouri and have wandered my way through several countries and across the United States. Through careful thought and self-reflection, I realized that the standard image of life in small town America could never bring me the happiness and fulfillment that we all seek. Here I find myself much closer to my basic needs, with a concrete understanding of the cause and effect of my own consumption and footprint.
This space will tell of my triumphs and challenges as I learn about life without asphalt and so many other things we've come to depend on in the households of America. I also want to share step-by-step instructions for recipes and preserving techniques, interior and exterior projects, and small manners of organizing and thriving in tiny spaces. Interwoven, you will find some of the
stories and characteristics that dust the McCarthy community with a thin layer of magic.
Maybe you don't have the time, resources, or flexibility (although it takes less than you may think) to move to the middle-of-nowhere and reach toward an older, more basic way of life. That's okay. Listen to my story to see what it's like, or borrow pieces of my projects and dialogue to integrate with your daily life, wherever you may find yourself.
Thanks for listening.
Journalist, adventurer, writer, musician, dancer, linguist, and cook, ready to tell you about her ridiculous attempts to live in the Alaskan wilderness without running water and live beyond the woods