Post image for The beauty in Scrublands

Antoine Bruy’s “Scrublands” photo series draws from his experiences WWOOFing around Europe meeting farmers, homesteaders and herders who decided to drop out of city life. He wants to continue his photo project in the USA. “I guess there are many people like this in America,” Antoine says.

To move forward in life, we have to put down our Duckies — or lay aside our old habits. -Betty A. Queen

Sesame Street song circa 1990.

shipMaria Popova makes a list of 7 lessons learned from 7 years of writing. I won’t re-post the whole thing here but it’s worth a read because it’s as much about living well than it is about having a successful blog.

She also writes that we need storytellers to help us navigate today’s sea of knowledge. “More and more information without the proper context and interpretation,” she says, “only muddles our understanding of the world rather than enriching it.”

Information is having a library of books on shipbuilding. Knowledge applies that to building a ship… Once you’ve built your ship, wisdom is what allows you to sail it without sinking.

A great storyteller is the kindly captain who… brings us somewhat closer to the answer, to our particular answer, to that grand question: Why are we here?

From Wisdom in the Age of Information on YouTube.

Ten years ago, Cornell Professor Robert H. Frank wrote about How not to buy happiness (pdf):

Considerable evidence suggests that if we use an increase in our incomes, as many of us do, simply to buy bigger houses and more expensive cars, then we do not end up any happier than before. But if we use an increase in our incomes to buy more of certain inconspicuous goods — such as freedom from a long commute or a stressful job — then the evidence paints a very different picture. The less we spend on conspicuous consumption goods, the better we can afford to alleviate congestion; and the more time we can devote to family and friends, to exercise, sleep, travel, and other restorative activities. On the best available evidence, reallocating our time and money in these and similar ways would result in healthier, longer — and happier — lives.

via Kottke

Keri Smith is an artist who works with things that happen to be available:

If you get into that habit of experimentation, then it starts to get bigger and bigger, the habit grows and then it translates to bigger things. So you become more willing to try new things in all kinds of realms.

Bricolage by Keri Smith on Vimeo

Post image for Phil Thiel: the faster you go, the narrower your perspective.

Naval architect Phil Thiel died at the age of 93 in May. Here’s an insight from his Seattle Times obituary:

“Phil’s philosophy was, the faster you go, the narrower your perspective,” Cunningham said. “I learned the word ‘flâneur,’ from him. It refers to a person who sees things in fine detail, who comes across things by chance. That was Phil’s preferred method of traveling.”

His family continues to maintain his website and his pedal-powered boat designs, including the Escargot, available for sale.

Photo credit

Post image for Pedal-powered Shanty Boat

The 18’6″ x 6′ Escargot is a pedal-powered boat designed by Phil Thiel. I absolutely love the idea of this small, easy-to-build shanty boat as a house.

The minimalist design is beautifully simple. Functionally somewhere between a motor-driven cruiser boat and a kayak or canoe — it’s perfect for eco-tourism rentals and slow houseboaters alike.

The boat is aptly named due to the fact that it only goes 3-4 miles per hour at a pedaling rate of 50rpm.

91-year-old naval architect Phil Thiel, born in Brooklyn, now in Seattle has created human-powered boats since his teenage years. According to Wooden Boat magazine, he has only driven a car twice in his lifetime. He sells fully detailed plans for $150 by mail.

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