Saturday, June 4, 2016

Broke, Homeless, Hungry... and Verbose!

06-25-2010 Day 33 Morning-Living Alone In The Wilderness 

This video is somewhat typical of a number I've come across lately. And I've viewed a good enough number of them to see a trend here.  Some folks need, it seems, to speak their lives to witnesses and YouTube is likely the most appealing and effective enabler of that, that we humans have yet to come up with.  Certainly, it's more appealing than the classic approach, the keeping of a diary or journal. That, more traditional approach, provides only the slimmest chance that one will keep at it long enough, write it all well enough, so that some day it will appeal enough to a book publisher to put it between two covers with a price on it and get it out to the book stores. And for that matter, even if offered for sale there, would  folks actually purchase and take it home, or even just borrow it from the shelves long enough to skim it for its gist while sipping their overpriced latte in the store's in-house cafe? Would an audience of appreciable size ever be had for the baring of one's soul and the sharing of one's life? YouTube promises to satisfy the desire to be heard and have one's ego gratified. That's an important desired in our lives and times.  As a species we seem to be evolving to a state in which avoiding anonymity is a driving motivation.

This video, as well as others of this trend speak, too, to another aspect of the spirit and condition of our times, that folks, at least some of them, see themselves as facing a crucial choice; either go along with the clearly defined program for one's life, embrace the societally offered template for an acceptable, although very humdrum life, or do something else. Perhaps, it would be more accurate to say that some folks choose to have this choice, and do so even thought there is risk associated with it.  At any rate, this dilemma is not so new, people have been wrestling with this for a good while.

I am reminded of  Henry David Thoreau who took himself away from the rest of society and lived out in the woods at Walden Pond... and wrote about it. And of Jack Kerouac, the famous Beatnik writer, who chose to live as a 'Dharma Bum' on the road, and Alexander Selkirk (the Robinson Crusoe model) to be marooned on an island. These are all figures from relatively modern society who wrote about their adopted lifestyles and no doubt, there have been many more who weren't as literary or lucky with publishers, whose life stories are lost to obscurity.

Just a few millenia before these guys, though, such choices were far rarer and made much less sense.  I mean, before the advent of agriculture and modern societies that grew up around farms, in a very real sense there was far less of "It All" for one to get away from, and probably far less need felt by individuals to get away.

We live in times, though, when just the opposite is true. "It All" has been growing exponentially and no doubt, the body of folks who see the appeal in getting away from it all has grown too. Here in America and in societies like us (e.g. Canada, the nations of Europe , Hong Kong, Singapore, etc.), where the pile of stuff people own, the fanciness and size of their homes, the elegance of the meals they consume, the high fashion sensibility of the cloth they cover their nakedness with, and the mountain of savings in myriad forms they must squirrel away so that they can keep all this up after they retire, etc.,  generates so much social and economic pressure that some are simply saying "Fuck it! I don't need all that, there's got to be something else to life!"and moving on...

It's what the Lost Generation (Hemingway, Fitzgerald and their post WWI, expatriate peers), the Beats, and the the Hippies did. But they were turning their backs on a way of life that wasn't turning its back on them. There was, as distasteful as it might have been, a way back home. They could simply capitulate and take the damn job and get on with accepting the 'maybe it's not so awful after all' body of compromises, and live life as it was laid out for them.

More and more though, I've been coming across videos produced by people who have no way in, in the first place, for whom the template is beyond their reach. These are folks who see hope, but who see it as a place that is beyond the "unattainable, anyway" norm. And by the number of such videos I find that document being "out there", it appears that such a life is more appealing if one is also a YouTuber, recording one's experience and posting it online to share... and truth be told, perhaps to generate a little income so that one can stay out there comfortably.

I see this phenomenon in the video channels I follow of: expats in Thailand (e.g. retirecheapjc) 
and The Philippines (e.g. Philippine Dreams), of wanderers (e.g. HoboTraveler and Nomadic Fanatic), of   tiny house enthusiasts (e.g. Kirsten Dirksen)  and living off the grid enthusiasts (e.g. Pure Living for Life), and in this video, the one shown at the top of this post,  Broke,Homeless And Hungry.

Clearly, while being "out there" is exciting and satisfying, it's also potentially lonely, challenging, and scary and  having witnesses, those who will follow one's adventures and travails and appreciate what one is going through helps. And, of course when you use YouTube to bare your soul's and your ass's situation and condition you can get a good sense, by tracking views and viewer "likes" and "shares" and "comments", how many folks are bearing witness and what those witnesses think. It's a new world for Maroons and in some ways a good one, too.

Here we have a video titled "06-25-2010 Day 33 Morning-Living Alone In The Wilderness" part of the series Broke, Homeless, And Hungry." This guy is a very interesting case. If you slog through his other videos and the background info that he provides on the home page of his channel, you'll glean, as I have, that this guy was (by his own self assessment and admission) always an undisciplined under achiever and apparently, his slovenly way of being in the world finally led him to find a nice spot way back in the woods where no one much would care about his presence and set up his tent and life and start afresh. Of course he admittedly brings a good deal of his 'baggage' with him, his laziness and his predilection for ingesting intoxicating substances, for instance. Still, there's something compelling and (I'll say it against my better judgement as a writer who hopes to keep you, my audience, on my side) charming about him. He is honest, and obviously a decent person, and while he's a slob with no ambition beyond living the life of a fortunate dog, you know - a dry place to sleep, some good buddies to share his experience with, enough tasty things to eat, etc. - I like dogs and I like this guy who is also quite adept at sharing his experience through videos that I enjoy watching. Well, there is one objection I have to make, though. And since I'm talking about his videos here, let me voice it directly to the video maker himself....

Dude, to make the points you end up making, you could use far fewer words, and your videos could be much shorter. I do, very much, enjoy witnessing your life choices and life style experiences and it is very interesting to see how this all develops over time as you become more comfortable living a life that few have the balls to take on. But consider a little editing, or if that's not your style, and I do understand that you are working in the old stream of consciousness, off the cuff, in the moment, Reality TV genre (although you are somewhat unique, as I think the reality you share is actually real) but why, so verbose?


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