Tuesday, December 14, 2010

If I had a million dollars

OK so more than one person has asked me " Kurt. What would you do if a million dollars fell in your lap tomorrow?" I replied to one person that I should hope that it wasnt a million dollars in coins because it would surely kill me, depending on how high it fell from. They didnt laugh. So I will answer the rest of those questions this way:

If I got a million dollars tomorrow I would still commit to finishing out my van experience (only six more months!). However it would probably be the most lavish six months of my homeless life and my van would be straight up P.I.M.P.E.D. OUT! I'd jack up the van and put it on big-mud-off-road-like tires. I'd replace the engine with a Hemi. Redo the suspension. Paint it black with airbrushed wolves on it and a crecent moon bubble window on the side. Id put a computer monitor in the ceiling above my head where I sleep so I could get my web search on while laying down. I recently invented and mapped out a system where I can essentially have a bathroom (for peeing only) in the van and Id make that and install it. Id make the sliding door open like a Dalorian's door instead so I could kind of have a front porch covered patio area. Cost: $20,000
Then I would buy land. Up in the mountains somewhere, maybe behind 'Y' mountain. Cost: $100,000

I would build a turn of the century Swiss town up there. Approximately 20 small dwellings, three or four commercial buildings, a library, a town center and a town hall. All considerably small and made rather cheap and plainly. Id put in cobblestone streets and walkways. Id provide utilities. Then I would invite fifty or so people who wanted the same lifestyle as I to come and live there whenever they wanted. For free. And it wouldnt be anything like a compound or a cult I promise. Cost: $200,000
          By Fr Antunes
I would give $100,000 dollars to tithes for my church. Cost: $Priceless

I would then pay off the debt of my loved ones, college for my nephews and nieces, and a huge truck for my brother Brian so long as he comes to live with me in my Swiss mountain town(e). The rest would go into the bank. Or to starting a low risk business to make more money. Or investments. Id finish my schooling and then I would become a High School history teacher and a soccer coach and be the richest teacher EVER!

Any other good ideas? And yes my mountain town would do TONS for the homeless and needy. Because thats what kind of town it would be.

Friday, December 10, 2010

For Jenny:

In answer to your question, the hardest part of living in a van is honestly not being able to pee immediately when I wake up in the morning! At the beginning it was so difficult having to wake up and then rush out somewhere to the nearest open market or store and get my pee on. I was tempted quite a few times to lower my standard of living by keeping some sort of "pee jar" in the van with me, but alas, I could not bring myself to do it. Thats not to say that I havent had to use a few unconventional methods at times, here and there. However, time has taught me and my body much. I now can easily, without thought, hold off on using the bathroom for an hour or even two after I wake up. That usually gives me time to get to school or work or wherever I need to go. Of course I cant drink a liter of water before bed like I used to do so I have to make sure I get all my water drinking done in the morning and afternoon. And I try my best to find a place to go to the bathroom at night before I go to sleep. Other than that everything else is cake now! Sometimes I have to sleep with a big hat on when it gets below the twenties at night and that makes my hair look like a freak's when I get up in the morning. Also I miss cooking so much! My girlfriend lets me cook at her house sometimes and its a JOY!
       So I hope that answers it. Im a pretty optimistic person so a lot of things that I guess I should be sad or upset or complaining about I dont think are anything but fun. As a matter of fact, I seem to just keep getting happier and happier as time goes on.

Okay, personal plug! Im sorry. But Ive been listening to this song maybe 15-20 times a day lately and I think it might actually be the perfect song to define my mood lately and I want you all to hear it. I cant stop! Help me!


This is where I got it:

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

For Juston...

Juston, In response to your question about the reaction my parents had to my decision: My mother flew out for my birthday and I was very nervous about how she would react. If I remember correctly she said something to the effect of "You know Kurt, I wish I would have done more adventurous things like this when I was your age". She understands me and I her. This is not really the first crazy thing Ive done in my life. In my family I have always seemed the odd one out, the one that gets the laughs but also keeps my parents up at night. I consciously tried to give my parents little heart attacks along the path of my life. All my life since I can remember Ive wanted to do the exact opposite of what everyone else was doing. I dont know why. I think that if I had to find a reason for it, I would say that when I was little I began to recognize that no one I knew was completely happy, or only happy on the surface. The whole of the world and society seemed to be getting less happy and intelligent the more progress we made, the more stuff we had. With that I kind of decided like a child that "everyone is stupid"/ And with that foundation I gained severe distrust for the 'norm' and for what people told me to do. In high school that was good and bad. I never drank alcohol or cursed or had sex like everyone else was doing, but I also cared little for grades and class and social activities. I was as against the grain as you could go without seeming weird or disturbed. After high school college didnt interest me at all. Even so I dont think I would have been able to get in anywhere. I wanted to get in my van and drive cross country playing music. However this was a problem too because I didnt know how to play music. So I worked and I played and I did what no one was doing so that I could be by myself in something and not worry about being swallowed up by the masses. I became very inactive in my church and explored other churches and philosophy and relationships. Nothing made me happy and I increasingly became more and more miserable with my life and it was because I realized one day that I was slowly slipping into normality. I was a southern redneck with no smarts and a low paying job, a girlfriend who didnt love me, and nothing in my future. It was then I decided that change was a must for happiness. Differentiate your life and you will find that you can live a thousand of them. I regressed back to the things that made me happy and eventually found my church again, this time on my own. I went on a mission to Mexico to teach the gospel and this event wa one of two seminal events in my young life. I read. I read a lot, something I had never done before. I hadnt completed one book since middle school and here I was reading. And whats more is I was reading in Spanish and English. I read only religious books, however it was all I needed. I began thirsting for knowledge, something most people do as children and something that didnt interest me until then when I was twenty. When I came home from Mexico I was addicted to learning and had a want for college. I wanted to teach because I loved learning so much and it seemed logical. So I went to college. After two semesters I was completely disenchanted and quit. The experience there reminded me of high school and I felt as though I was learning faster on my own than in an institution. In 2007 the revolution of change came calling for me again and in a big way. I fled from my home town and took a summer road trip across and through and around the country. For months I drove. Sometimes with friends and sometimes alone. Paul, my best friend, came with me at the start and in the short ten days that we shared my little Hyundai Accent our lives were changed. He experienced things that would set the gears in motion that would eventually convert him to Mormonism, help him find his soul mate and to move from Georgia where he was born and raised to start a new life in Salt Lake City. I met who I thought would be my soul mate out there on the road and would actually bring her back to Georgia in that little Accent at the close of my road trip. The Lord would have other plans for my love life but the experiences I had would, like Paul, lead me out to Utah.
        Ive bee here ever since trying to reconcile the desire I have to progress in life, to be successful and to be 'the norm' with the deep rooted desire to push against the pricks, to spit into the wind, and to go against the grain. I know that simply living in a van is not some statement of rebellion so strong that it could be considered revolutionary. But for me it is change, it is variable, and because of that I feel I can thrive in it.
       My mother, and father for the most part, know all of this about me. They experienced it first hand. And so when they saw the news bit on my story back in July, I can imagine that they just laughed and shook their head and said "typical Kurt". My father didnt accept my actions until recently however. He has always had such high hopes for me and Ive always wanted to make good on those hopes. I think he saw this as a backstep. But recently, while talking to him on the phone, and realizing how much money I was saving and the progress I was making in the other aspects of my life, he sort of gave me his blessing or at least let me know that he wasnt disappointed in me, which would be devastating.
      So there is the long answer. I am blessed to have parents who can accept my odd, if unique methods, and to be able to have their support in the things that I do, no matter how irrelevant they may seem to my life's progression .Any more questions folks!?
This i my cute little van after some snow. It feels very good to sleep in a snow storm. Kind of like letting God build an igloo around you while you dream! It was 8 degrees that night and I felt like nothing less than the feeling of sliding into a Hot Pocket after it gets out of the microwave. That electric blanket and the bed I made are the best ideas I have ever had for this van. 

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The secret's in solitude

Ive been thinking. One of the reasons I have chosen to do this thing is to get away from the things that I thought were important and really get down to what is meaningful to me in my life. In my studies I have come across a few interesting things that I think help me to understand a little more the benefits of a minimalist lifestyle.

In not a few cultures throughout history there is a ritual, or rather a practice, adhered to that we in contemporary society have all but abandoned.

In Native American cultures throughout the North and South American continent the true test of manhood is a test of solitude. A boy will grow into a young man and soon enough will be on the threshold of manhood. The boy will take a minimal amount of necessities with him as he ventures into the wilderness. There, alone, will he spend his days, working out his own salvation with fear and trembling. When he is ready and has accomplished that thing which he has set out to do, he returns as a man.

We dont do this anymore! There is no interim between boyhood and manhood! There is no proving ground, no escape to solitude to escape the world and scrape away at the things that you think you are. When you shed everything, the clothes, the cars, the house, the entertainment; your health, your hapiness, your everything. When you rip it all away and that little speck of something is left there standing... well there you are. Most of us will never even approach this however, and I feel that we may miss out on something invaluable to the fabric of our make up that could otherwise fulfill us in a way that no other stimuli or luxury could.

There are other examples of this sort of solitude escape but perhaps I can, hopefully without stepping into blasphemy, give one more ultimate example. One of the necessary experiences the Lord Jesus Christ had to pass through was one of solitude. For forty days and nights the Lord left for the loneliness of the desert to face the temptations of Satan, facing Lucifer in an arena bitter and dry, without proper nourishment and without the relationships that one might commonly rely on. He fasted from food and by going into the wilderness he fasted from the world. Then, and ONLY then, did he depart from the wilderness having proved himself faithful to his Father in Heaven, and returned to the world to begin his ministry. It was after this test of solitude that he was able to begin his mission on earth.

I hope that I havent overstepped my bounds and dont want anyone to think that I am relating myself to the Lord. However, I want you to know the serious spiritual nature of the desires that I have in living the way that I live. I have grown closer to the Lord and to the people that I love by throwing off those things that I used to deem necessary and now find absolutely irrelevant. I hope that by this small, if incomplete decent into a life of semi-solitude that I will be able to re align my life on the path that was originally intended for us all. First we grow up learning from our parents. Then we develop ourselves and begin to search for a place in this world. I hope that now I can go into the wilderness, lose myself or at least what I thought I was, and return a man with a mission and a purpose, having no reason to remain stationary or aimless in my life.

I have much more that I could say about this topic and if you'd like to hear it let me know. I think about and study this out constantly. I hope that this was something you could relate to and shows a little better the reasoning behind my actions. Later dudes!