When I was 10, maybe 12; the world spun on the axis of outdoorsmanship. I loved making survival kits. I’m not sure what catastrophe I thought I was planning for, but I would spend countless hours jamming 2 matches, 6 inches of  dental floss, a 2ft square of tin foil and a couple fishhooks into a waterproof matchbox you could hang around your neck on a string. If I was really on my game I’d probably have managed a penknife and a whistle in there too.

These survival kits represented more about a concept of minimalism then they ever did actual usage. I think other then a few notable times that I took this kit, and several others ( my biggest one fit in a small army first aid kit ) they were really just about the exercise of Tetrising the parts into a seemingly impossible holder, and the eventual removal and re-packing of everything to get it just right.

I grew up on a small family farm in the north of Canada. During most of that stage of my life we didn’t really have electricity, or running water. Television was a treat my family would experience when visiting ‘city folks’. I love that I grew up playing in trees and learning to live off the land, but I blame this off-grid time for my current day uselessness during pop culture quizzes, and music bingo. You don’t want me on your music trivia team.

Throughout my teens, and early married life I lived in the North, involved in agriculture with animals and helping to raise a couple of ginger gals who seem to have taken on animal husbandry and environmental stewardship, and for which I’m very proud of them.

Currently I live in and work from a 24′ school bus based on Vancouver Island and couldn’t be happier. I’ve spent the several years converting it from brown ‘pleather’ seats and fossilized bubble gum, to a cozy little cottage on wheels with a standup desk and room to sleep four. It has 640W of solar power, a full kitchen, bathroom and a roof deck. My #calvaryshortbus home is not unlike the survival kits of my youth. These days I often spend time designing ways to fit little comforts of life into the bus, getting similar feelings of accomplishment from wiring lights, and designing storage, then I did as a kid building survival kits in the North.

  • Do more with less, instead of owning more stuff.

  • Learn to fix it, modify it, upgrade it. Game the system by keeping things working.

  • If you have to talk yourself into going to work every day, you are doing it wrong. Quit and discover your real life.

  • Spend money on experiences. Travel, concerts, events. These will give you more joy than the newest gadget ever will.