My mind doesn’t seem to have a great capacity for personal memories. I can easily recall numbers, facts and information I have read, but it’s a struggle to recall my own life experiences. For the sake of remembering this past year, I have been keeping track of the skills I have acquired while living on the road.


Here are the concrete items I have learned over a year of camping in the woods, living in RV’s, working on organic farms and traveling through Central America. Some are shockingly useful (setting up a tent in the rain), while others are quite random (drip tape repair). But, I am a big believer in everything happening for a reason, so if the day ever comes that I am forced to repair drip tape to save the world, rest assured, we will all survive.

  • Dry herbs in the sun 
  • Canning (salsa, green and red tomatoes, pickles) 
  • Bake green tomato bread, carrot bread, jalepeño corn muffins 
  • Operate a weed-wacker
  • Hunt for mushrooms (identification, cleaning, cooking, eating)
  • Chop wood for kindling 
  • Properly stack wood, so it doesn’t come tumbling down when a cat jumps on top of it
  • Cook meals from scratch for 12 hungry WOOFers 
  • Set up a tent in the rain
  • Build a fire 
  • Use power tools (angle grinder, screwdriver, compression driver)
  • Install metal roofing onto a building 
  • Drip tape repair 
  • Buck up wood
  • Operate a tractor
  • Plant various vegetables 
  • Tend a garlic patch 
  • Clean a chicken coop 
  • Compost 
  • Weed every type of vegetable
  • Work a farmer’s market
  • Fence repair
  • Install row cover 
  • Milk a goat
  • Make goat cheese 
  • Mix concrete 
  • Hunt gophers 
  • Thin onions
  • Transplant seedlings 
  • Plow a field with a big ole tractor
  • Empty an RV’s waste water
  • Roast chile peppers
  • Basic animal veterinary skills
  • Make lefse 
  • Herd sheep
  • Citrus fruit care 
  • Build a bio-digester 
  • Make tortillas and empanadas from scratch 
  • Improve my Spanish 
  • Plan and teach English classes
  • Plan and teach nutrition classes
  • Bake anything in a toaster oven
  • Distinguish between venomous and non-venomous snakes
  • Debone a chicken
  • Kill enormous spiders
  • Shoo away huge, poisonous toads that hop into my bedroom
  • Milk a cow 
  • Haggle with Costa Rican vendors 
  • Make animals out of pieces of grass
  • Make rings from wire
  • Create coffee bean jewelry 
  • Harvest, dry, roast and grind coffee 
  • Only go slightly crazy with 42 itchy bug bites covering my body
  • Appreciate luke-warm showers, because they are better than ice cold showers
  • Pick fleas off of Gabby 
It’s amazing what can be accomplished in only a single year. I have omitted the countless, intangible life lessons that I have acquired while living this nomadic life because many of them are still rolling around in my mind and becoming a part of my core being. I will keep you posted, but I assure you they will only change me for the better. 
 Cheers to lifelong learning! 



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