Voluntary Simplicity ~ Enjoy where you are

Stay Close.

milesThe ‘make the most of where you are movement’ is intriguing. What would I do if I allowed myself only to do things within a certain radius of home? What about a 15-mile radius for two months, a 40-mile radius for three more months, a 75-mile radius for four and a 200-mile radius for the remaining three months? The idea is that I would be limiting the resources I use in travel.

What could I do in 15 miles? I can run and race, hike in the Coopers Rock state forest, cross-country ski, bike the rail trail, kayak the Monongahela, attend concerts, movies and lectures. Poetry events exist often. I can go to art galleries, libraries, eat at fifty plus restaurants, have friends over, go to work, roller and ice skate, play on recreational sports teams, take classes and participate in workshops. Expanding to a 40-mile radius allows me more opportunities to eat, recreate and take class at a second university nearby. I can then visit my in-laws. A 75-mile radius expands my area to include more work opportunities. Ohiopyle and Pittsburgh offer skiing entertainment, competitive running races, Laurel Highlands recreation and architecture. More white-water rafting adventures, biking and hiking trails exist at Wisp and Deep Creek. I can stay with more family members and host dinner for those I miss. More places exist in a 200-mile radius to do what I enjoy but now with the added value to include all of my relatives. The Appalachian Mountains, the Potomac River, and the GAP to the C&O trail allows plenty of movement by foot, bike and boat from Pittsburgh to DC. West Virginia offers spectacular peaks and creeks throughout at places like Marlington, Seneca Rocks, Spruce Knob and Dolly Sods. These places have adventures in every season. I can read a book anywhere and try local food restaurants by the plenty. It’s amazing what I realize I can do when I begin to limit the possibilities by only a few miles. Perhaps focusing is the only way to ever initiate the belief it takes to get something done.   —

Others who have produced books and films about their sustainable choices are:


No Impact Man is a documentary on a family living in NY who went one year without electricity, without waste of materials, and was an inspiration film to start a project as I am proposing above.


Animal Vegetable Miracle is a book by Barbara Kingsolver who wrote about eating off of her and nearby farmers’ products for one year in Appalachia.

What can you do close to home?

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