Written by Jeff Coulliard (Cochrane, AB)
I believe that how you do something is as, or more, important than what you actually end up doing. Anyone can make beer (well, maybe not anyone, but a lot of people can probably manage the task), but not everyone will choose to make good in their community and their world as they brew.
I've tried to take that ethos of making good, or at least not doing harm, with a variety of projects in life and work. Probably one of the most interesting and sustainable projects is the "veggie machine", a 1996 Dodge Ram diesel truck that was converted to run on used vegetable oil. With more than 400,000km on the odometer, and 10+ years burning waste grease from local Cochrane restaurants, it's gone from "fun project" to sustainable way of living and integral to our lifestyle. Not unlike a certain group of home brewers I know, embarking on an adventure of possibilities themselves.
What do you need to know about burning waste vegetable oil in your diesel vehicle? Turns out, nothing that you can't learn from scouring some internet forums and a healthy dose of curiosity.
What you won't learn right away, which only comes from time and reflection, is the life lessons associated with bucking the mainstream. With choosing the road less travelled.
You'll learn that you actually don't need heated leather seats to enjoy a winter's drive.
When the dealership wants to charge you a thousand bucks to replace a fuel pump, you'll learn that it's an 80$ part and you can do it yourself in the driveway in under an hour.
You'll learn that when a fuel hose breaks on a road trip to Portland, that having a step ladder, zip ties and spare bit of hose in the back of the truck makes fixing it remarkably easy.
You'll learn that putting decals on the truck, advertising a local non-profit group, opens people up to asking you more about the truck and the journey it's taking you on.
You might learn that driving on veggie oil is a slippery slope into other hippy'esque' behaviour, like hosting worms in the basement to eat your kitchen scraps.
You'll learn that a vehicle's purpose is to get you from A to B, and safely back again...and the better that trip can be for the planet the less guilt you'll have for taking it.
You'll learn frugality, self-reliance, sustainability, connection with others and being at peace with what you have.
You'll learn that how you do something, matters just as much as that something you end up doing.
Exploring the possibilities means always considering how you do something, not just the outcome you have in mind.
People & Places
Bivouac Stories are tales told by real people about real places, adventures and experiences. They are told to inspire, educate, and connect us; because we all have stories to tell.
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