The Great Oregon Road Trip Crowdsourcing Experiement

For the last few months on the social media sites I’ve been hinting around about my impending move. It’s getting close now, maybe four to six weeks before I’m on the road.

I’ve been planning – for years actually, but things like the death of my spouse got in the way – to move to Ashland, Oregon. I lived there for half a year back in 1989, and wished at the time I could have stayed. All these years later it still feels like of all the places I’ve lived the place to which I want to return. Admittedly I expected to get there before what are essentially my retirement years, but there you are. Life happens.

However, I do need to crowdsource some of the move. Crowdsourcing is the social networking Internet way of doing what we used to call rattling the network or pulling in some favors. I like the idea. I have found the world is full of an astounding number of interesting people I never would have stumbled across but for things like blogging, FB and Twitter.

So here’s what I need in a nutshell from you, my wonderful crowd: company on the road and somewhere to stay when I get there.

Here are the details.

The Trip Itself

I’ll be leaving from central North Carolina sometime soon after Saturday, April 21. Can’t leave before then, because I have a workshop to teach that day, but I want to be on the road before mid-May.

I’m gonna load myself and the three “c”s—cat, clothes, and computer—into my old Volvo station wagon. (The rest of my stuff goes into storage to be shipped later.)

I’ll drive from Pittsboro to Chicago. I usually take two days to do that. I’ll then stay a few days in Chicago to visit with my family, and maybe see old friends, too. Depends on the time. From Chicago I head west on I-80 for a long, leisurely drive through much flat land, stopping at scenic wonders and roadside attractions as the impulse occurs. Then I detour to northern California so I can leave Isaac’s ashes in Yosemite, and maybe visit some folks who live in that part of the world. From there I head up I-5 to Ashland, where I intend to stay put for a good, long while.

I’m estimating the whole trip start to finish will last anywhere from two to four weeks, depending upon how long I stay in Chicago, and how many people I visit along the way.

Though I’ve done my share of cross-country driving, I’m not thrilled at going that long and that far alone. My son had hoped to accompany me, but it turns out he can’t get the time off of work until much later in the summer. I can’t travel with a cat in the car in high summer, not to mention I’d rather be out of the South by then myself. And I don’t like driving after dark much, anymore, which seriously shortens my driving day if I’m alone.

Who I’m Looking For

So I am looking for a traveling companion—a substitute son, if you will—with a few weeks to spare who can leave with me from North Carolina, or join me from Chicago onward. This person will have a valid driver’s license, a clean driving record, a bit of a sense of adventure, more than a bit of a sense of humor, and feel perfectly capable of helping me who cope with delays or mechanical difficulties (which will give me serious anxiety attacks).

In exchange, this someone gets a free trip to California and southern Oregon. I’ll pay gas, food, lodging and other reasonable expenses (such as admission to National Parks) plus a plane ticket back to the person’s point of origin. In other words, if you can get to Chicago or NC on your own, I’ll fly you back to your home (from the airport at Medford OR to wherever in the lower 48) as part of the deal. Plus, of course, you get to pick my brains or listen to my stories or put up with my old codger taste in music for a couple of weeks, and maybe meet some interesting people, too.

Interested? E-mail me at phaedra.bonewits (at) gmail (dot) com, or message me on FB. If I don’t know you already, be prepared to provide some references.

What I Need in Oregon

When I get to Ashland, I’ll need somewhere to stay temporarily. I hope to find a room to rent (I like living with other people) or a modest studio. I will have a cat with me, in a crate. If you can put me and the cat up temporarily anywhere in the Ashland area (Talent, Medford, etc.), or know someone who might be able to, contact me at the same email: phaedra.bonewits (at) gmail (dot) com, or message me on FB.

Exactly when I leave will depend on the availability of the traveling companion (wow, sounds Dr. Who-ish, doesn’t it?) and arrangements at the other end, but I really need to get going before the weather gets too warm.

So, my peeps and FB friends and Twitterers and blog followers, let’s take this social experiment to another level, shall we? Oregon, Ho!

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The Great Isaac Bonewits Online Estate Sale, Part the First

I arrived in North Carolina to crash with friends at their farm one year and two weeks ago. It’s time I take my future more firmly in hand. I’m clear in my mind now that I will move out to Oregon. More on when and where later, but I’ll wait till late spring or early summer, as I have no desire to cross the Rockies in the winter.

In the meantime, I’ll be in the process of simplifying my life even further than I already have done. My winter project is to go through the storage locker and to be very, very cold about what I have that’s really worth taking cross country. More stuff to sort, more stuff to get rid of.

That does mean going through a lot of Isaac’s stuff, too. I kept so much of his, both because I wasn’t ready to part with it for myself, and because I thought other people might like to have something that once belonged to him. I have boxes and boxes of magical memorabilia, as well as boxes and boxes of books and music. And boxes and boxes yet unsorted. My winter will be busy.

His papers, as many of you know already, are being sent to the Davidson Library at the University of California, Santa Barbara. UCSB has a special collection for American religions, and now they have the Isaac Bonewits Papers as part of that collection. They’ll be there for scholars and researchers for generations to come, instead of rotting in a storage locker somewhere. Which makes me very happy.

As for his other possessions, those I’m not keeping, beginning today (yesterday, actually) they will start appearing on eBay. It’ll be the Great Isaac Bonewits Online Estate Sale. I think he’d like that.

First items to appear are vintage audio cassette tapes. These aren’t tapes of him, they are tapes he collected for his own listening pleasure. Some are Pagan, some are Celtic or folk, and some are pretty obscure. So if you are interested, please take a look. They’re available in lots of two to six tapes, with bidding starting at a mere 99 cents.

As I get more stuff available, I’ll announce it here, and on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Posted in Personal Happenings, Products | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

On Occupy

I, like so many others, have been following the Occupy movement these weeks and months, but I’ve written very little about it. I’m in sympathy at a general level–I have a low opinion of banks–but I’ve been unclear about how Occupy Wall Street would cause actual change. I was no clearer after visiting Occupy Boston on my way home from Salem, although I admired the community spirit.

Today I got some insight into both the movement and the reaction against it from an unexpected source, a mid-twentieth century book on cultural communication, The Silent Language by anthropologist Edward T. Hall. As a passing remark to illustrate a discussion of explicit and implicit cultural markers, the former being as obvious as laws and the latter being the givens that no one knows they know, he states: “The discovery that one of the implicit assumptions of American life is that hard work will be rewarded may explain a good deal about behavior in this country…” (p. 65)

Indeed. Let’s look at Occupy from that perspective.

  • I worked really hard (and spent a lot of money) to get my college degree, and now you tell me there’s no job for me?
  • The kids in the street are bums. If they worked hard, they’d do all right.
  • The suits got lots of money without really working for it. They are manipulators of a system, not creators of wealth.
  • If you don’t have a job, it’s because you haven’t tried hard enough (or in the right way) to find one.
  • If you are rich, you damn well better have worked hard to get that way.
  • If I am rich, I must have worked damned hard to be rewarded this well.
  • The system (work hard and get rewarded) doesn’t work for me. The system is broken.
  • The system (work hard and get rewarded) works just fine for me. There is nothing wrong with the system.
  • How tents in public squares will fix any of this is beyond me. But I do believe that most of us (the 99.5%) are playing with a stacked deck.

    The culture says that a college degree will get you in the door, but the jobs that are being created by our trickle-down system are for food service and landscaping. The culture says spend whatever you have to spend to get a good education. Parents start saving for college when their kids are born. Kids accumulate tens of thousands of dollars in debt on the gamble of good employment later. The parents are left with not enough funds for a decent retirement, and the unemployed and underemployed kids despair when see what little they have left after the banks and the loan companies take their share.

    Yet both sides of that decimal point think they’ve gotten a raw deal. “I worked hard, and now I have to spend my money to support you bums?” “I worked hard, but now what I did is meaningless?”

    I’ve heard it said that it was the educated kids in the 1960s who ruined it for everyone, with all their social turmoil and political actions. Education, they say, was dumbed down after that to help preserve the status quo. It’s an interesting theory. Certainly there has been a weird shift where now a college degree qualifies you for positions where a high school degree used to suffice. It is interesting to note that a high school diploma is essentially free to all, where a college degree requires money–sometimes a lot of money. Hmmm…

    I also haven’t seen a lot of mention lately of the fact that much of the upheaval in the Arab Spring was fueled not just by political dissatisfaction but by the dissatisfaction a generation (or two or more) of well-educated college graduates who could not find jobs. They took down the political system (or tried to, things are not yet fully resolved). Our over-educated and underemployed are trying to take down the financial system. I wonder which is the more entrenched? I’m guessin’ money.

    At any rate, I got no easy answers here, people. If you expect that, move along. I still don’t know what tents in the park will accomplish, but then, no one knew where the Free Speech Movement was going to lead, either.

    Can’t help but wonder what Isaac would have though of it all.

    Posted in Current Events, Political/Cultural | Tagged , | 2 Comments

    A Young Witch looks at Isaac

    Alfred McCarthy, one of the charming Young Witches of Salem with whom I had the pleasure to work when I was at the World of Witches Museum last month, has posted a vlog about Isaac. I hope you enjoy it.

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