Travelling can be an issue for people, who want to live off-grid and reduce their dependence on money.
Travelling Short Distances
A solution inspired by a friend in Wexford, Scott was to convert a bicycle into an electric bike. There is no road tax, NCT/MOT (vehicle test), insurance.
It’s cheap to run, the only outlay is the small cost to charge the battery, and perishables such as tyres etc.
As you cycle the bicycle, the motor, which in my case is fitted to the rear wheel, kicks in and assists you as you go. The faster you pedal the more assistance you get from the motor. A 20 mile trip feels like a 5 mile trip. The pedal assist can be set from 1 (least assistance) to 5 (most assistance).
Hills are no problem either, the pedal assist really helps there too!
The bike has a range of about 12-30 miles/19.5-48 kilometres depending on the level of pedal assistance, the weight of the bike, wind speed/resistance and your weight and anything you might be carrying. Which is fantastic for my needs.
I got a bicycle given to me by another good friend, Brendan. It has front and rear suspension. This was great because I needed something built for comfort not speed.
We got the kit from Electric Bike Conversions (UK). The kit included everything needed to do a home conversion. A replacement rear wheel with motor, the battery and rack to hold it, the controller box, and on-board odometer to tell you your speed, the time taken to travel, the battery charge.
I remember as a child, the sense of freedom I had when I got my first bike. I grew up in the country, our nearest town was 8 miles away. At that time country shops were in decline, but we had a local shop only a few miles away. My cousins and I would go off on adventures, exploring and visiting other friends and perhaps stop off at the local shop for a treat.
Living in a rural setting, with no public transport, I still have that childhood sense of freedom, knowing I can go anywhere. .
It’s a great way to get fit and have a closer connection with nature. You get to see more of life, the flowers, insects, the birds and animals. You’re not travelling as fast as a car and notice more of your surroundings.
I spent around €800 getting the bike ready between the kit and accessories. The kit costing €600.
I like the old style Dutch bells, the sound alone brings back such happy childhood memories. I picked one of them up for around €3, and a powerful led torch and holder for €6, which came with added bonus of a head lamp.
Available from eBay
It took a short time to convert the bike and I got a second battery to double the distance I can travel.
Here it is, the finished project
The bicycle is now my principal means of transport and when the off-grid electrical system gets installed, the four hour battery charge will be from home produced free electricity.
Travelling Longer Distances
We have friends dotted all over the country and as good as telephones and Skype are, they are a poor substitute for a hug, a face to face chat or sitting down talking or enjoying a meal together.
For longer trips I like to hitch-hike or thumbing as we call it. It’s not at all common today, but many people that will stop an give you a lift are people that at some point in their life have done it, so they know the relate easily to you.
It’s a great way to meet people that you otherwise would never encounter and a great way to travel if you not looking to get anywhere in a hurry. You get to hear their stories and experiences and gain their perspective on different real life issues and vice versa It’s great for whoever gives you a lift, it shortens the journey for them, having someone to talk to.
Almost always, if there is something I am looking to understand or find a solution to, the universe will bring forth someone with that understanding or solution I have been searching for and I have been told the same is true for them. Many times I have answered questions or given direction which has helped the driver.
I have never had a bad experience and have travelled many miles by hitch-hiking. I have met many generous people, who have given advice as to where to get the next lift, offered me food and drink.
One wonderful lady, a real mammy, with grown up children, explained, her husband would scold her if she told him she had picked up a man. He would have been concerned for her safety, picking up a stranger.
She was really kind, she talked a lot about her children and what they were doing in life. They were all grown up and I gathered she missed having them around as much. She gave me a lift from Carlow to Bunclody, offered me fruit to take in case I got hungry. Bless her, she reminded me so much of my own mother and I enjoyed the journey with her.
Another man gave me a lift from Bunclody to Enniscorthy. He turned out to be a web-developer and to my surprise, despite his business suit, was a avid gardener, bee-keeper, animal lover and small holder. Much like myself. It’s strange as I asked the universe to help me with optimising the website for search engines and it’s fantastic to have met someone who is sensitive to growing etc. and understands my needs.
On route home I met two people who both mentioned an author, sadly now deceased “Ronnie Plant” an Irish man, who wrote a number of books on herbalism and maintaining good health. That was the universe telling me to get his book, which I have done and it’s great.
Talking on the subject of writing. It’s my dream to publish a book on self-sufficiency and I really had no clue how to go about it. I got a lift a few miles outside Bunclody heading towards Carlow. This man as it turned out is a writer and editor and he explained that you can publish and have your book printed on demand each time it sells, by using a site called www.lulu.com. You just upload your proof, at no cost, set your price and the Lulu take a commission on each book sold. Fantastic 🙂
People ask me was I waiting long for a lift, and in truth I seldom do. The longest I have waited is 40 minutes, which is unusual. Fairer weather is a good help when hitch-hiking.
Here is my hitch-hiking guide (Loved the film)!!
- Plan your journey and know the names of the towns and villages you will pass through.
- Dress and look presentable – first impressions count.
- Wait in area just before the town limits, where road users are not yet travelling at full speed.
- Face the oncoming traffic, in a place with good visibility.
- Get a good sized piece of white corriboard (A3) and a whiteboard marker and write your destination on it, in large sized print. Place it at your feet. Corriboard can be easily folded over when travelling.
- Enjoy the whole experience, from waiting for a lift to travelling. (People tend to give happy people lifts.)
- If a lift doesn’t come quickly, don’t get disheartened, it will affect your mood and expression. Remember the universe will provide the right people at the right time.
- Avoid being offensive and opinionated.
- Don’t smoke unless the driver smokes, and even then ask is it ok. Avoid taking liberties.
- Being open with people, breaks down a lot of barriers and you will find people will be more relaxed with you. How open you are is relative to how comfortable you are with the driver, if you feel unsafe or uncomfortable then talk generally. The weather is always a good ice-breaker.
- People seldom want to hear your woes, keep topics light hearted and interesting and solution based were possible as opposed to problem based.
- Conversation is a two way process, give the driver a chance to talk and you a chance to listen.
- Always remember to thank the driver for stopping and thank them again once you stop and give gratitude to the universe.
- If people ask you a personal question such as what do you do for a living, then its a given that its ok to ask the same question back. Ask questions to show your interested and help keep the conversation going.
I know people say, you are a man and it’s safer for a man to hitch-hike. A women friend of mine, hitch-hiked all over Europe. She related that she almost always felt comfortable, on a few occasions, men have stirred the conversation towards sex and depending on what was said, would either change the topic, pretending not to have heard, said she wasn’t comfortable discussing that, started talking about her boyfriend or if she so wished continued with the conversation but made it clear, she wasn’t available for casual sex.
In conclusion I believe we create our own reality, whatever you focus on, in fear or love, is what we manifest or call forth into creation.
Main image source: http://www.businesshitchhiker.com/why-hitch-hiking/