Propel the Power, Old Skoolie 1863 and the Re-Vision

cropped-skoolie-fb-brushedgold.jpg
If you are one of the many people who have been supportive of Old Skoolie 1863 and the Propel the Power campaign I thank you. In short, for those who don’t know, I have been in the process of converting a school bus into an RV/Community center. The journey has been incredible beyond measure up to this point. It started as a small spark in my brain and has grown into a bus that I own whose seats have been stripped out, electrical lines laid and plumbing in the works. The lessons I have been learning along the way are numerous. You can check out some of the previous posts in this blog to see what lead me to even consider this path, what challenges I have faced and the sheer joy that has washed over me at points when things materialized seemingly out of nowhere. The process has been a steady one moving along at different paces since I made the determined idea to bring this about. Within the last couple of months I have been heavily thinking about this project and It is time for me to make Knowledge Born about the re-vision that is on the table now.

 

At this moment I am integrating a new element. I have realized that I need to implement the nomadic work/hacking off the grid aspect before I add on with the skoolie/community center aspect. I have been weighing this over for the last month as I continue to build my resume and increase my streams of income outside of my current job. I have laid out a list of pros and cons are extensive on each side of re-visioning the project and I am satisfied with where I will be moving with it now. What does this look like in real time?

-I have decided that my intern goal will be a converted camper van. In the current racial environment it will allow me more freedom of movement, I know more about its engine/easier to get fixed, more freedom of places to park it and all of my nomadic gigs will still be able to be activated.

-I will not be looking to buy/convert a full skoolie until 3-5 years from this point.

Will the Gofundme campaign still be in effect? Yes. I will be rebranding and remixing it to encompass the new goal of converting a camper van. So be on the look out for that in a week or so. We still moving forward with the same tenacity that we have been moving with. Site will be revamped. News will be updated in terms of my current challenges. You are still going to see me getting it in!

I thank everyone who has been with me on this journey and continues to rock with me. It isn’t over and honestly some things are coming stronger into place than ever. I have just realized certain steps that will be beneficial to me in the long run.

DWB (Driving While Black) and a CDL

Screenshot_2016-05-20-11-25-07(1)

 

When you fully register your converted bus as a skoolie it is registered as an RV (recreational vehicle). You do not need additional upgrades on your license to drive an RV as it isn’t listed as a different class of vehicle. It is wise to learn how to drive the bus (and even a general RV) as they both have very different dimensions from your average car or van. Yet legally you don’t need a different type of license. Ironically to drive a school bus you need to have a CDL license which is a commercial drivers license. It just isn’t for being registered to drive a vehicle of those dimensions. It is also to take into account that one will e be driving the vehicle commercial transporting people. Now the above is an ideal situation. The fact of the matter is that it doesn’t usually translate like that in practice.

 

Anyone who has traveled on the road realizes that a cop isn’t a lawyer. Though a cop may have a general understanding of the law the reality is that they don’t know every point. If they did they would be a lawyer. Driving while Black I always learned the unwritten rule though….save it for the courts. Even if I knew that the cop was wrong my goal was always to get out of the altercation alive.

 

I say all of this to say that….I’m going to go ahead and get that CDL. I wasn’t at first. I didn’t need anything else on my schedule of things to do. My infamous 1001 things to do list. Deep reflection on the subject led me to change my initial thought.

 

One thing is that I could always use more practice driving a vehicle of those dimensions though I have driven many types of vehicles my whole life. Also this will be the first time that I will be using a vehicle that has air brakes. Plus it will be good to tighten up on using mirrors for big vehicles,

 

The most resonating reason though is to create for myself another level of insulation against driving while Black. Reality is that driving a skoolie without a CDL may work for some. I just want that extra insurance while driving a converted school bus through certain parts of this country. So a CDL will work well with my melanin splashed skin. I have two friends who are already enrolled in this course so it looks like Ill be next up to bat.

Accepted into the Outdoor Afro Leadership Training

PhotoGrid_1456850310825
I told you that we’re going to be moving in March. One of the things that I can now reveal is that I am honored to have been chosen to be a part of the Outdoor Afro leadership training group for 2016. I am excited about pushing forth the Outdoor Afro objectives as they fall directly in line with what I am doing with HoodHealth, the Old Skoolie 1863 Project, Science of Self and Sol Power Rising. This is just the tip of things that I’ll be pursuing and pushing for 2016!
 
“Sixty Leaders Will Create Relevant Outdoor Experiences in 26 States.
For the fifth year in a row, Outdoor Afro has recruited and selected enthusiastic volunteers from around the country to inspire black connections and leadership in nature. We are proud to be expanding to new cities including Boston, Denver, Miami, Las Vegas, Milwaukee, and Anchorage, AK
In April 2016, the Leadership Team will gather in Yosemite National Park to celebrate the National Park Service Centennial and in honor of the 150th Anniversary of the Buffalo Soliders’ stewardship of the park.
Utilizing an experiential learning model, the team will learn skills vital to Outdoor Afro’s national movement to increase Black engagement with nature. Workshops, including “Creating Community in the Outdoors” “African American Legacy of Stewardship and Conservation” and “Learning and Presenting on the Black History of Your Local Green Spaces,” will be lead by senior Outdoor Afro leaders as well as African American park service staff.
Outdoor Afro is deeply grateful to our sponsors including REI, KEEN Footwear, Klean Kanteen,Sierra Club, and National Wildlife Federation – California.”
 
 
#OutDoorAfro #OldSkoolie1863 #HoodHealth #LegacyProject #ScienceOfSelf #SolPowerRising #SupremeDesignPublishing

The Intentional Life

“Intentional living requires one to be aware of one’s fundamental beliefs and to be willing to make an effort to have their behavior reflect these beliefs in a form of integrity in relation to his or her conscience and environment. In some cases, such changes are drastic enough that like-minded individuals group together in intentional communities.

Some examples of intentional living include cohousing, ethical living, frugal living, moral community, simple living, sustainable living as well as many religious lifestyles.

While not necessarily representing distinct or actual lifestyles, many themes and areas of human interest, activity, and study exist that contribute to intentional living. Examples include appropriate technology, conservation, ecology, environmentalism, humanism, humanitarianism, and socially responsible investing.”-Ole Wikipedia.

Screenshot_2016-01-18-08-07-08

Found out that a lot of what I am working towards falls in the framework of intentional living. If you have been following me you know that I am also working to address the fundamental issues of being Black in the States. My parents come from eras where there had to be special guides made to tell them where it was safe to stay at night. In the charged racial tone in many parts of the states recently it would be smart to plan ahead. The challenges though has been able to find those People of Color who are involved in some level of intentional living whether it is the tiny house movement, skoolies, etc. And while I assert that these issues about race and travel should involve everyone it isn’t usually a topic that is approached in a lot of the forums that I am in even if there are people of color in there. The simple reality is that if one isn’t a person of color many of these issues just don’t exist.
I have been fortunate to find communities of People of Color advocating for interacting with the outdoors. In fact I applied to this great leadership training by Outdoor Afro. Also this month I’m registered for the 2016 Black  Sustainability Summit. Both events are in line with the work that I have been doing with HoodHealth and the full vision that I have for Old Skoolie 1863. I see that a re-envisioning of Black communities has to happen on several different levels. I keep referring to it as the Emergent World. Part of it involves capturing the essence of what our fore-bearers did that served them well. Getting in tune with those essential elements will invigorate our communities. It involves relying on the land more, getting into urban gardening, simple preventive health practices that our great grand parents utilized, seeing nature as healing, breaking the tyrannical hold of a 9-5 where one is investing in someone else’s dream.Screenshot_2016-01-18-08-07-18
Some of these communities that are preparing for the transformation of society (due to economic shake ups, environment, politics, etc) are referred to as Transition communities. A good friend of mine’s put me up on two. One is the Transition Network and the other is Transition United States. On one hand one can look at them as “doomsday” in mentality. I don’t see it that way at all. I actually see it as living the way that most of our parents about 50 years ago. They always were prepared. They had food for weeks. They had candles and kerosene. They knew how to survive without power for a grip of time. I think that how we live nowadays is kind of doomday-ish. We expect there to always be food at the grocery store. We expect to always have access to clean drinking water. Events such as what is happening right now in Flint, Michigan with their water being toxic levels (due to government wickedness) is just one example that the grid is not as solid as we would like to think. Though one may be familiar with white preppers out there (there are quite a few sites and shows out there) one may not be aware that there are also Black Preppers out there also.
Screenshot_2016-01-18-08-07-33I continue to connect with Black people who are looking into intentional living. I connected with an older Black woman who has been part of the green movement for a while who is looking into making a tiny home. I have just recently connected with a Black woman from Brooklyn who is investing in intentional living deciding between a tiny home or skoolie. It seems the more I open my mouth the more people pop up. Willfully we’ll continue to connect generating places online and off where we can discuss issues of note for People of Color dealing with Intentional Living. Oh, and I found a spot on facebook that is Intentional Living for People of Color. Check it out.

Endorsing Old Skoolie 1863

I am constantly suprised by the support being shown towards the determined idea of Old Skoolie 1863. Some people are just intrigued by the notion of living in a bus. Other people are attracted to particular aspects of Old Skoolie 1863 such as the Hood Health aspect or the Legacy Project aspect. I keep the determined idea in my head, in my heart, on the tip of my tongue and moving by daily progress. Just about a week ago I made the aquaintence of a Sociology professor in CA who mentioned that they may be able to get a portion of an Old Skoolie 1863 tour through the central valley of California funded. I also just made the aquaintence of a former military medic who is donating anatomy books, supplies and case studies to the project. At times it is overwhelming in that I has very mimimally started converting and at times wonder whta the Hell do I know about a damn bus! Yet when the the whole world is with you how can you fail?

One thing that I have initiated is a page for endorsers of the project. These are just people/businesses that rock with me. They are not sponsors in the sense that they are’t providing any financial support. They are just adding on with publically acknowledging that they have confidence in the project and myself. They also add on in what ever way that they can. You can check out the current line up of endorsers here.

If you are a small business or know of one that would be interested in endorsing Old Skoolie 1863 (the endorsements will assist when seeking sponsorships and/or grants later down the line) send me an email at the email address on the endorsement page. IMG_20140428_141017

Momment of Truth (reprint)

Due to some quirk the previous post on “Moment of Truth” can’t be viewed. Until I work out the kinks I thought I’d just reprint it again.
We’re in here! Yes I found a spot to spark the embryo for Old Skoolie 1863. I was able to secure a lot that is about a half hour away form me. It’s a good spot. The only rules and regulations of the spot is that I cannot work on the outside of the bus while it is there. Trust, there is enough internal work to be done. Though this is a major step in the journey (getting the school bus and securing a spot) it is not the end. It is only a step in the whole story which is unfolding. The danger of course is to become complacent as though this is the last page of the story. I am taking a small break yet still moving forward. A friend of mine’s came up with the term “momenting which is “pairing the mindfulness of living in the moment with focused moment towards one’s goals.”
This is also a good time to really reflect on what the heaven am I doing? Rflmao. As the New England weather starts to flex I have come to the conclusion that I could be on the inside of that bus on the weekend with a small heater working on the inside yet is that the wisest course of action? At this point I have concluded that it isn’t. I will be visiting ole girl, make sure I turn her over every few weeks and move her slightly in order to make sure that the weight doesn’t warp the tires though beyond that I think she will be in hibernation during the winter. I realize that there are still many actionable steps to my full plan that I can use all of the rest of the Fall and Winter to implement. That way when the weather breaks I can get it on and popping. There are actually three areas that I am going to focus on during the colder weather.
The first area is to learn my damn bus. The allure of designing the bus into a mobile palace is of course what drew me to skoolies. The reality is that is only a portion of what needs to be done. I have to know how that bus works as a vehicle. I need to know that engine inside out. I need to know laws and such for the conversion and RV parks. I need to make sure thta that outside body is the best that it can be. I can use this time in doors to do all of that. I also need to draw up the perfect plans for redesign. I can also start to collect items that I know that I am going to install lie everything to the kitchen sink 😉.
The second thing that I need to do is to continually refine the mobile community center and media center aspect of Old Soolie 1863. This will not just be an RV it will actually be a work center for me. The mobile center aspect will be dealing with HoodHealth while the media center aspect will be dealing with the Legacy Project. At this point I have been continually deciding if those aspects will be non profit, for profit, etc. Still weighing everything. I have been securing endorsements at this pint (not sponsorships yet) so that when it is time to see funding for those aspects no matter what the road I decide the avenue will be open. Already some leads on grants and funding have presented them selves.
The third thing is for me to continue to become immersed in the skoolie community. I have learned so much since linking with like minded people who have been doing this for years, months and days. And also due to my diligence I have finally come across another Black person who is living in a skoolie. I have also connected with a Black woman who is into green living/tiny house movement and is working to transition into a mobile off the grid lifestyle. The network is necessary for me to not reinvent the wheel. So many simple questions get answered on the daily when I link with them.
I’m loving this journey. Some days I have a “what the heaven did I get myself into” moment yet that always passes. I’m in it to win it and do what has never been done before in quite this form. Thank you to everyone who is along for the ride.