Issue No. 11: Going Home
“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life."
- John Muir
“Every time I drive into Mammoth Lakes, California, off of Highway 395 I feel, what I think is a huge sense of relief. I’m not sure if it’s the crisp air, its out-of-the-way location, or knowing that I get to take in the geographical and spiritual bounty of the mountains for a short time.
At the end of each stay, as we pass the ‘Going to the mountains is going home.’ sign on our drive out of town, my husband and I start to hatch a plan for how we might stay. Then we get back to the bustle of Los Angeles, our jobs, real life and it’s months before we find ourselves back in the mountains. But that doesn’t stop the daydream: What if the mountains could, one day, be real life?”
I wrote those words in December 2014 for Be Wild Be Well, one of my (many) abandoned projects. We all have those places we feel most at home. For me, it’s Hawaii (the ocean, the beach) and the mountains. While very different settings, they both encourage you (and in some cases require you) to live close to the earth. Both have tight-knit communities based on being active and getting outside into the real world.
REI recently shared some research out of Harvard that found that the average American spends 95% of their life indoors. Which means that, if connecting with nature and the outdoors is essential to a life of meaning (which John Muir beautifully states above and which I absolutely believe), the modern American is missing a key part of being a human on this beautiful and awe-inspiring planet.
So, stop reading this email and go do something outside. REI has provided 95 ideas.* Then, when you’re good and tired, the rest of this issue will be here waiting for you.
*All editorial all the time. I highlight REI because they know what they’re doing.
Cleaning up my coffee and grocery shopping routines by replacing plastic and paper with cotton:
Clean water, healthy living, green tech, zero waste, renewable energy—(easily) align your investments with your values with impressive returns. Progress pays. #noexcuses.
Eco chic—it’s a thing. The Remodelista rounds up small-space living inspo, sustainable items from Ikea, and eco-friendly storage and kitchen swaps.
Rugs I can get behind: Made from sustainable fibers, Fair Trade practices and lovely to the eye. Enter Armadillo & Co. (My next trip to Los Angeles will certainly include a stop at the company’s only U.S. showroom.)
An economist calls out our obsession with growth and offers a doughnut model for progress.
Going down a Brain Pickings rabbit hole and surfacing with this gem on the antidote to anxiety in the Age of Anxiety featuring the work of Alan Watts. I’m also reminded that I (finally) need to finish his book The Wisdom of Insecurity.
“To put it still more plainly: the desire for security and the feeling of insecurity are the same thing. To hold your breath is to lose your breath. A society based on the quest for security is nothing but a breath-retention contest in which everyone is as taut as a drum and as purple as a beet.”
Ponzi schemes can be used for good—like building food-growing gardens and spreading education about sustainable food. (Google “Permaculture + Your City” to see if there is something similar near you.
*Thank you, Dad, Joy, and Mary, for the tip.
**Thank you, Taylor,for the nudge!