Category Archives: Travel Journal

Keep on pedaling

Un-travel Journal – Day 64

I finished my work exchange/internship up in Alabama, and now I’m back here in Saint Cloud, Florida at my parents’ house adjusting to life not on the road. It’s going pretty well, and I’ve noticed my motivation level is at an all time high now that I’m working on my own projects with all the knowledge I’ve acquired over the last few months. The first thing I did when I got here was build my own pad so I could maintain focus on the things I’m working toward by having a place to keep my energy focused.

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I popped up a tent, put together a cooking surface, set up a few chairs, strung up a canopy, installed a water catchment for dishes, and threw down some mulch. Now I have a place to call home while I’m working on projects here and being around for my parents in their time of need.

After I got the place set up I dedicated my energy toward the forest garden I installed before I left.  Before:

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And after:

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And the pigmy rattle snake I found while doing the job:

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The next informational post I’ll be putting up will be a walk through of exactly what is growing in the garden so you all can get some ideas of what to plant. Also, if anyone wants to come out and learn just get ahold of me and come on out. The biggest thing I miss about being on the road is the constant companionship of other Permaculture enthusiasts, but working on my own projects is also rewarding, and as soon as I feel the push I will be riding my bicycle into Saint Cloud and Orlando to visit and work on some other farms. I’m also trying to make a little money while in town, so let me know if any of you know someone that needs help 🙂 I’m looking for any sort of gardening or farm work. I’m also interested in learning skills in laying foundations, pavers, or other sorts of mason work.

I’ll also keep you all posted with my dad’s condition as we find out more info. Thursday is the big day that he meets with the doctors and finds out all the details on the diagnosis and treatment. I’ll also let you know what happens with the herbal salve treatment we will be beginning tomorrow. Much love! Thank you all for your support!

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Travel Journal – Day 53

I’m still up here in Mentone Alabama, and I’m feeling quite a bit better. After the initial shock and confusion of finding out about my dad’s cancer I luckily came across some peace of mind after taking a lot of solitude time, meditation time, and then some community time at a local swimming hole. I’m very grateful that my mind has been at peace most of the way through my trip so far, and when it hasn’t, I have been able to find the circumstances and/or practices to allow it to return. May it continue to be that way forever forward, and for each of you too for that matter.

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It’s also been a great time getting to know each of these awesome and dynamic people as we spend all this time in close quarters together.

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Alongside this I’ve also been working on completing my food forest garden design by researching the heck out of local and climate friendly plants, testing soils, designing the layout, and digging a bunch of damn holes.

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Not to mention I met some alpacas,

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crawled through some small holes,

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and of course, got weird.

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Travel journal – Day 49

I’m into my second week here at Tranquility Campgrounds and I’m honestly feeling a little rough. I’m very low on energy and I slept from 6 pm last night to 6 this morning. That, combined with the hour long nap I took this afternoon should have done the job, but I still feel drained and a bit asocial. It can’t be helping that my dad was diagnosed with cancer two days ago and I’ve been corresponding with my family about the situation while trying to process the information and figure out what to do about my trip. No doubt this has taken a toll on my piece of mind and has also changed my trip plans, so I’m trying to feel out what I should do once I get back to Florida and how I can best support my family while still focusing on what is here in front of me.

So, to give you a little detail on my dad’s exact situation, he was just diagnosed with stage four “blue small cell cancer” which started in his tonsils and has moved to the lymph nodes in his neck. There is an 80% survival rate beyond 5 years when treated, which includes 7 months of chemo and radiation. First though, my dad will be trying a natural remedy I got from a friend’s father who administers natural cancer treatment in Canada using a Marijuana salve. He was kind enough to give me the directions to make it, so stay tuned for the results from that experiment.

I really just wanted to fill everybody in on this new turn off events, so I will keep you all up to date on his condition and what I will be doing with my trip.

Much Love,
Matt

Travel Journal – Day 47

I’ve been here at tranquility campgrounds for about a week now, and it’s been a change of pace from the last few places I visited. There’s six people here, where the largest group of people at any of the places I have stayed so far has been four, and the community is not only new, but diverse, and half of us are merely passing through. I luckily have ,what seems to be, an extra sense when it comes to avoiding the dramatic entanglements of group dynamics, but energy is required none the less, and I have been learning much.

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The more I’ve allowed myself to get involved with this community of people, those who allow themselves to live outside of generally accepted societal norms, the more interesting life has become, but with it comes a certain sense of being amongst the forces of nature, where things are unpredictable, but more strangely real. I’ve found that each person’s differences allow me to notice and value the uniqueness of my own path. This situation, as I reflect upon it, stands in contrast to the pressures I felt from the work and school culture I left behind, where “normal” was written with a capital “n” and was defined by unquestioned adherence to outside judgment. I felt an underlying pressure to value the unwise things in life, to invest in the temporary, and to make light of that which needs the most attention. I could speculate on what fuels such a pressure, but I’ll leave that to the activists and the philosophers. What I’m more interested in is distinguishing which walls and paths belong to me from which ones come from the outside pressures, because there’s a great thing about committing to be guided by one’s own self – It’s an adventure in the truest sense, because like dream, there’s no way to predict what will come next, and for whatever reason, I’m choosing to put my trust in this river.

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So anyway, I’ll be hanging out here until June 6th working on implementing a food forest design and building/installing a ram pump (a natural pump which requires the water source to be at least 16 ft above the pump, but is capable of pumping water 75 ft vertically and requires no external power input). I’ll likely make a video on both of those processes.

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Charcoal and Time

My bones were tired – walking for years.
I didn’t realize the sky was missing,
and my heels had turned to stone.
The trees were charcoal,
and behind me was darkness…
It ate my footsteps as they hit the ground.

Knowing what I know now I may not have
smelled that flower when it called my name.
I didn’t know that if I stared too long
nectar could get caught in my veins.
I didn’t know I would have to leave it behind,
that it wasn’t mine.

It taunted me for all this time, but that’s fine.
It reminds me of ten years from now,
of that thing I’m here to find,
just past the mountain of time,
where the seed is sprouting,
that the vultures will not find.

Travel Journal – Day 32

So it’s day 32 of my trip and I have parted ways with my wonderful hosts, Wendi, Jayden, and Kaia Bellows,

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and headed toward the off-grid homestead of Mycol Stevens, located 30 miles or so North in Brooker Florida. Mycol wasn’t there when I arrived, but I was greeted by Brian and Genina two of the most humble and natural people I could hope to encounter, and theyfit so naturally into the farm that I could hardly now imagine it without them, and luckily I didn’t have to.

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So, I settled in, set up tent and got the tour. Finca Mycol is a 20 acre off-grid homestead, which serves as a permaculture experimentation laboratory, and, thanks to the efforts of Mycol, a native restoration land and keystone species habitat.

So once again, despite my efforts to move on and find my way out of Florida, I have found myself pulled to stay and learn. Both Mycol and Brian are inspiring sources of knowledge and passion on all things plants, so wow, what a great place to hang out, gain knowledge, build relationships, and be of service. There is one drawback though from being off-grid and so far out in the country – there’s no internet connection. So, any videos I take will have to be put up later, and pictures and other blog posts and communication have to wait until I can catch a ride into town. But hey look at the perks:

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a beautiful outdoor kitchen,

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fresh greens from the garden in a coconut bowl,

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fresh cooked snake (don’t worry, we didn’t kill him. He got run over on the road 😦 Poor little guy),

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a beautiful pond and great company,

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and another pond, and more great company,

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and more great company,

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and artists making art.

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Simple living and high thinking. Awareness. Consciousness. Intentionality. Choice. Walking toward what’s right. Nevermind the odds.