Druid festival season is nearly upon us, with the many well- meaning invites to attend. Driving or flying over the hundreds or thousands of miles. I would love to attend them all- in theory we have the time being retired. I know there are no local druid events in North Florida; but there are issues of the cost to attend events out of state (we are on a fixed income now) and leaving our acreage unprotected to consider for these long treks. (We generally drive and bring the cat now, so he’s happy.)
But I have this little secret (even if I mostly grew up in California) – I don’t just drive or fly off to places without a thought. I used to live 3 miles away from services and combined my errands into a single trip anyway. Now those services are more like 28 miles away and we really plan our trips to the ‘city’. I’d also rather buy non- standard items online than drive around for days trying to find them 50 miles away in the nearest metro area. So why would I feel any differently about driving a thousand miles each way for my one time a year with other Druids?
I don’t think it’s just because I started driving in the early 1970’s with gas rationing. I always knew wasting gas and putting extra miles on the car weren’t good (from my parents, if no one else), well before the concerns about burning carbon. Nowadays some of the staunchest eco-druid types I know gladly travel across the US several times a year to events. (From major metro areas with the critical mass to perhaps start their own events. But that’s another post…)
I used to only live 50-100 miles from areas with big metro areas and big pagan events. I bucked the trend, helping to lead large public rituals as a Druid newby in the early 2000’s. Now that I prefer Druid themed events and have more training, I live in a pretty rural area deep in the Bible Belt. (Hopefully, for not much longer- the sickening absurd, blatant racism and attitude towards the land being enough reasons to move on.)
So friends invite me to an event far away to commune with druids and with nature. (In a county with 10x the population of the one I live in, and with half the wildlife. But being close enough to major metro areas to actually have- gasp- lots of live Druids!) And I want to go, I want to see my people at least once a year. But as I sit in my house with only 2 lights on (both reduced energy types) I ponder this invitation- do I go to this event and instead not travel to see our son this year?
This year the decision is easy; our son has moved to the east coast and we can combine the trips. We’re saving up to make a 1.5 to 2 week road trip into something longer. We’ll use up this year’s travel carbon again actually seeing and staying in the places we travel through. And I’ll get to watch other Druids in their turn leading rituals. We won’t have to incur the carbon foot print, or associated fees.
The time will be used to contemplate our dream of living on the road full time- exchanging our current daily energy use in a small house on a large property for an RV. Exchanging the things and property- beautiful as it is- for experiences seeing and doing across our grand and (still) wild country. Not getting out the carbon tables, but living more simply and making travel itself the destination. I hope to see some other Druids along the way.
May 2014 update – we’ve lived in our motor-home since summer 2013. We figure that even with our costs moving from state to state, we have less or equal energy usage in a motor-home compared to living in a detached permanent dwelling. (After all, recreational vehicle parks are like an apartment complex, with shared utility and maintenance costs.) You’d be surprised at the range of people living in these parks- retired, to single workers, to working couples, to families with children. There is a whole subculture living a minimal lifestyle that is unseen unless you are sharing it in the parks.