a boots-on-the-ground view of the change that's a-foot

Grid-Free and Off The Beaten Path – a journey

by Jeannie Newell, Crested Butte, CO

Trouble in Paradise…

I haven’t been intentionally misleading these last several blog entries, I have had a sort of awakening living in Crested Butte.  I’ve met some really amazing people, lived some moments of synchronicity and learned that people can step away from seemingly fundamental truths about how to live and think with relative ease if they are just shown the way.  I’ve been having some really happy times.  But while I’ve been having this time learning new things about myself and the so-called American Dream (stuff really isn’t everything, or even anything) other things in my life have been falling apart.

It led me to ask myself:  Why do things fall apart?  It led me to ask my friends:  What does it mean when things fall apart at the same time?

Followers of the Dalai Lama believe that when many things in your life start ‘breaking’ or going wrong at the same time, it is because something new is trying to become born into your life, and it needs for you to be distracted so that it can be born as perfectly as possible.  A wise friend – who’s initials are TAO ;)  – told me that you can never know why bad things are happening until the smoke clears and you can look back on them.  I guess you have to go through the fire, if you want to become someone new.  The phoenix can’t rise from the ashes without one.  I am just saying, I hope we become newer and more perfect humans (oxymoron there, I know) after the trouble has passed.  I asked my Mom, who possesses the most grace and strength in times of adversity of anyone I know, and she said to me “sometimes it just pours.”

So even in Paradise, transition is hard, people are in and out of the emergency room, dogs are in and out of the veterinary ER, phones break, trucks break, people get flus and other bugs, couples end (and start again, and end again, and start again…) and the most loving and loved companions struggle to live.  All at the same time.  At least when I sigh here, I am surrounded by mountains that seem to sigh with me.

As for off the grid and off the beaten path, we might be moving to town to be on the beaten path.  We are talking to a man about renting a room from him in his solar home, so we will still be off the grid.  And we’ll have a hot tub in the middle of a green house where I can hopefully keep some veggies and herbs to use for cooking.  This place is a really great deal if we decide to go through with it.  Although we have only been camping for 3 months now, and I have really fallen in love with it, we are both working so much that we are using the truck a lot more now than we ever wanted.  This way at a 2 mile bike ride from town, we won’t need to use it AT ALL (that will be so fabulous!!) until it gets really cold.  Then we can ride into town and take the bus around.  This is sort of the time to grab rentals around here, and we don’t want to miss the window on places.  Or we may camp a little longer and find a different place, but it’s starting to get cold here.  Summer is close to officially over around this time.  People frown when you mention the cold.  I’ve been wearing my cords and sweatshirts around, especially in the morning and evenings.

When things slow down in a couple of weeks and I have a little more free time, I am going to start working on Nancy’s farm and getting paid with food.  I will work for food — especially organic, local, fresh food, grown by a friend.  Even when times are tough, there are always things to look forward to, great friends to have those long conversations with, family to check in on you and you realize just how truly blessed you are.

That’s all for now…  Love to all,


3 Responses to “Grid-Free and Off The Beaten Path – a journey”

  1. Don Tucker Says:

    Hi Friend,

    I am not full of wise sayings or energizing quotes that change lives … but I will just say you will make it and your days will be full of amazing & beautiful things. Your blog is wonderful and inspiring.

    Peace & Love,


  2. Becca Says:

    I really enjoyed reading this post, thanks for the honesty in sharing life’s struggles as well. I wish you well in your journey.


  3. Barbara(x-calvert) Says:

    Jeannie! I am so happy to read that you are doing so well. I have wondered lately where you are and what you’re doing. You are one of the best people I have met since moving to N.C.. Good luck, and glad tidings.

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