Childless Among Children

Well, I stepped in a big pile of online poop a few days ago. I posted a question online and it touched a few nerves. I shouldn’t be surprised, the subjects involved were two things that seem to create the post passionate responses: veganism and child rearing.

My inquiry was relatively simple, I was curious how I (as a childless person) should answer children when they ask why I am a vegan. How honest should I be? Do kids know that meat comes from live animals? Should I discuss how a plant-based diet is healthier? Should I talk about how I think it is wrong to kill animals for human pleasure? Basically, how do I handle questions from kids about my alternative lifestyles when I don’t want to piss off parents.

I received some good advice. Several parents gave examples of how they would like that situation handled and some language that would be appropriate for children. In general, I am probably overthinking much of this but I am fascinated by child-rearing (and terrified of pissing off parents who are my friends). Most parents even said they would have no problem with me explaining my beliefs, even though those beliefs contradicted their own.

There were some people who were more passionate though, some who did not like the idea of sharing ideas with their kids that ran counter to their own. How children are raised is a grey area in all societies, and one in which there doesn’t seem to be a perfect answer. Most people don’t see their children as property that can be treated as they see fit, parental rights don’t extend to abuse or neglect. But we also don’t like the idea of non-parents stepping in to tell parents how to raise their kids, and rightfully so. Parents, in theory anyway, have the best intentions for their children and have the most localized knowledge. That means they should be the ones in the best position to raise the children, but we don’t always agree on what counts as abuse or neglect.

Some would see permanently removing a part of an unwilling infant’s genitalia as part of an ancient religious ceremony as harming a child and violating that child’s autonomy, while others think male circumcision is fine. Others would say using religion to try and heal a child from a disease is appropriate, while others see that as neglect. Some see raising a child along a certain religious or ethical path as the parent’s rights, while others think that closing your children off to differing opinions is brainwashing and damages their ability to function in the adult world later on.

Parenting is hard, and it shouldn’t be entered into lightly. It might be one of the most important things a person can do with their life and, as such, I think people should be educated about the best practices to raising children. We also shouldn’t shame or stigmatize people who decide not to have children, instead we should use childless people as a resource to provide a more well-rounded education to children and provide support. I don’t want kids of my own, but I will gladly help my childbearing friends by living in a communal system with them, babysitting so that they can get a date in with their spouse and bump uglies for a night, have conversations with them that the parents are uncomfortable with, or take them on an adventure over the summer that will open their minds to new experiences.

I’m not sure that I am comfortable lying to children though, or even really sugar-coating things (though, I will be tactful and attempt to use appropriate language for their age). I guess this is a warning, if you have kids and don’t want certain subjects discussed please let me know ahead of time. If I’m not warned then I will openly answer questions about veganism (or atheism, anarchism, sexuality, non-traditional relationships, vagabond life, or anything else that comes up). I’ll honor the parental request about keeping silent on these issues, but to be honest, I won’t be comfortable with it, and I’ll probably ask about it later when the children aren’t around. On the flip side, if parents are uncomfortable talking about things with their children (I’m sure this is true for some subjects, particularly sexuality which should really be discussed in an appropriate form very early on) feel free to make me the eccentric uncle that they can turn to with their questions. I’m always open to explaining things to all ages and am available via email, text, etc.

Side note: The discussion on my Facebook wall made me realize that being vegan is kind of a privileged position in the United States. In order to go without eating animal products you either need extra money or extra time. Most parents, particularly parents of multiple kids, don’t have either. If your meals are primarily fast food because your weekly schedule doesn’t allow for any breaks too cook then it can be incredibly burdensome to have a child with ethical problems with meat consumption.Vegan fast food tends to be more expensive and cooking meals for a large family is very time consuming. I can sympathize with that.

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Rand Paul

I was sent a Facebook message a couple of days ago by a Facebook friend (someone who I am pretty sure I have never met in real life). He apparently had a problem with me posting an article critical of Rand Paul and wanted to know why I wasn’t voting for him. He also mentioned that I am the only libertarian he knows who doesn’t support Rand Paul. I responded to him quickly from my phone but I figured this might be worth a blog post.

First, I am hardly the only libertarian who doesn’t support Paul for President. I’m sure there are many. Second, it is possible to be critical of a person on particular issues, even publicly so, and still support them during an election. Humans are not perfect beings and we do ourselves (and our leaders) a disservice when we turn a blind eye to their faults, even if it is in the name of some sort of solidarity. Deifying a person is a cult mentality and it is dangerous.

Now to the meat of things…

As a pragmatic anarchist I find voting in national elections an utter waste of time, unless I live in a swing state and the viable candidates are so different that one is clearly a better option. If I lived in a swing state and the two candidates for President were Gary Johnson and Rick Santorum I would find my way to the polls and make a defensive vote against the crazy theocrat. But, that isn’t the case for me. I am registered to vote in Missouri and will likely be somewhere in New York when the election happens in 2016. It is a waste of my time to go to a poll and cast a vote that will make no impact on anything. If someone held a gun to my head and told me to vote I would make a protest vote against the two-party system and vote Libertarian. My view on local and state elections are a little more sympathetic because the people can vote to change specific laws. I think everyone should vote in their state or communities to legalize marijuana, lower taxes, etc, voting on local issues (especially if you avoid voting for specific politicians) is a form of direct action that can bring about real change. Politicians are little more than delayed signals to social norms, they aren’t leaders and rarely make any changes that couldn’t have been made faster if we just got rid of them.

Anarchism and elections aside, I don’t trust Rand Paul. His religious boot-licking that he has been doing recently disgusts me and his views on non-heterosexual relationships are a worry for me. I know people say he is just being pragmatic by appealing to the religious right in order to get elected, but why should I believe he is lying to them but not to liberty lovers. I don’t have any reason to believe he is somehow being covert and won’t just turn his back on his liberty-based promises when it becomes politically expedient. Also, I do think it is a serious problem that he “wrote” a book that used fake Founding Father’s quotes in order to continue spreading the mythology that the Founding Father’s wanted a Christian country or that they were Christians. Some of them might have been but it is much more complicated than that and his lack of integrity in this matter is concerning. I know he has done some good things with prison reform and has decent views on the drug war, but so do other political candidates who don’t get in bed with theocrats. His real strength could be changing the national dialogue by continuing to filibuster and working across the aisle in the Senate to expand freedom, he can shift the Overton Window that future politicians can work in. Even if he did get elected (which he probably won’t) he would be facing a hostile House and Senate, and it is possible that every problem that happens in the country would be blamed on libertarianism. Every military death will be blamed on his dove foreign policy and every economic problem will be blamed on the free market. Getting a libertarian-leaning person into the White House without some support from Congress could be a huge step back for libertarian politics.

So no, I won’t be voting for Rand Paul. I don’t really care if other people do, they can have fun. I don’t think he has a rat’s chance in hell of winning, but if people want to spend their time and money on his campaign go for it. I did the same thing for Ron Paul in 2008 and 2012, which was a little bit of a waste of time but I had some good times with like-minded individuals and I was able to get politicking out of my system early. But, this election cycle (which seems to already be too long) I will not really be paying attention or caring about what is going on with the GOP psychopaths. I’ve got too much else to do with my time.

Facebook, Libertarianism, and Your Name

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As many of us in the queer community know there has been a lot of anger brewing in the last week about Facebook’s “true name” policy. Recently Facebook has cracked down on drag queens who violate their policy to only use your real name on the social network. While the policy has long been in place the recent crackdown has sparked outrage from many across the queer community because it puts them in the unenviable position of leaving Facebook or exposing their birth name, which could lead to serious harm from bigoted family members, employers, or neighbors.

While the easy position for libertarians to take is to say they are a private business and they can do what they want, I find this approach to be heartless and lazy. Many libertarians take the stance on marriage equality that the government shouldn’t be involved in marriage at all, therefore they don’t support marriage equality. While that might be philosophically pure it is again, heartless and lazy (and in a few cases a way for bigots to cloak their hatred behind a noble cause). But, if that is your stance you should be encouraging non-government agencies to see identity, relationships, and names as something owned by the individual and not the state. Those companies that view people as individuals instead of looking only at their government issue IDs, accreditation, or marriage certificates should be praised. Libertarians should be standing next to the queer community and fighting Facebook on this policy, your name and identity belong to you. It is not the property of the state (or your parents who named you), it is your personnel property to define and use as you wish.

It is particularly sad that the liberty community is being so silent on this issue when many people use fake names like “Freeman”, “Rothbard”, “Liberty”, etc as their online identity. Facebook says that they are not targeting members of the queer community, that it is a computer algorithm that identified them. I don’t know if this is true, given Facebook’s very progressive stance on gender identity I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt on this, but it is still a bad policy and libertarians should fight it. I don’t think the state should be involved but we should put pressure on them by writing to Facebook, boycotting those that advertise with them, and doing everything we can to stand in solidarity with those currently targeted, who face a very real fear of harm by this policy change.

Many have said that you can always have a “page” instead of a “profile” if you don’t want to use your name. While this might seem to be a solution on paper, the truth is separate but equal (and this would be far from equal) is not a solution. Facebook treating people differently because of their identity is discrimination, pure and simple. They are looking to the government as the only legitimate source of identity, something libertarians should be furious about. This policy, if left unchecked, encourages Facebook to require government verification for marriages, hometowns, and every other factor of our existence. We should draw a line in the sand here and vocally oppose it. There is nothing un-libertarian about encouraging private companies to change their discriminatory policies, but there is something heartless and lazy about remaining silent.

From Waving Flags to Burning Them

**This is the first post in a multi-part series about what and why I identify or believe certain things. Ideally I will get one or two up per week.**

 

I guess the best place to start is my move away from Republican conservatism. It isn’t the most exciting thing to me at this point but it was the first domino to fall in my life. Libertarianism was my flirtation with the unknown, my pursuit of answers to questions that I had no answers to, it was a search for truth when one of the foundations of my youth showed cracks and began to crumble. After politics I began to question everything else, nothing was forbidden. Religion, sexuality, lifestyles, etc. were all open to analysis, dissection, and destruction if warranted. And really, I have George W. Bush to thank for it all.

September 11, 2001 affected us all in one way or another. For me, it lead to war. I walked into a recruiters office the morning of 9/11, the second tower had been hit but had not fallen yet. The initial hypothesis that the crash was an accident soon was overshadowed by reports of “terrorism”, a word that up until that point was something that brought to mind deserts far away from the safety of the US. The recruiters assured me this would not be war, I think they thought the idea of combat would scare me off, but I was there because I wanted to fight. I knew I was smart, school was easy for me, but I didn’t know if I had balls. I also thought war was something that the US needed, I grew up hearing about how united the country during the Cold War, we were a nation that needed an enemy or we would turn on ourselves. Better to face a backwards and inhumane “other” then be at each other’s throats. Besides, the casualties would be strangers to us. People that didn’t have the blessing of Christ on their holy nation.

With nervousness and excitement I went through Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training to be an Infantry Paratrooper. Despite my high test scores I opted for the Infantry. The training was easy, it was obviously a mind game more than anything. The Drills weren’t going to hurt us or anything, screaming eventually ends and you can only do so many push-ups before your body gives out. Yep, it sucked but it wasn’t difficult. The body molds quickly and the Infantry training was mostly memorization and becoming comfortable in the woods and/or with a firearm in your hand. Any attempt at molding me into a drone or brain-washing wasn’t really effective, partly thanks to one of my Drills who took me and another guy aside regularly to encourage us to think for ourselves and read books (books were technically contraband).

I arrived at my unit and we quickly deployed to Afghanistan. We hopped around from fire base to fire base conducting searches, setting up ambushes, and basically doing the things infantrymen do. It was really days of boredom broken up by minutes of excitement and it all is kind of a blur. While we were in Kandahar a change occurred that woke me out of the drone like slumber I had entered during the deployment, we declared war on Iraq.

Even at that time I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why that happened. Accusations of WMD’s and moral arguments for rescuing the Iraqi people from a dictator didn’t really make sense. The world was filled with WMD’s and dictators, surely there was bigger and more dangerous foes out there if the US was going to use that as a standard for intervention. As it would turn out I would end up in Iraq less than a year later.

I did what was asked on my Iraqi deployment but the seed was planted for me to question the motives and authority of the government, as well as the moral superiority of the GOP. It was enough to eliminate any prospect of re-enlisting (though I did do one year as a National Guardsman in South Carolina). I had to find another political option but wasn’t ready to even consider the Democratic Party, I was still too religious and they were all baby-killing atheist traitors.

This exploration was going on during my first year in college and I was taking a basic Political Science course. My professor said there were four basic political party philosophies: Liberals believed you should be free in the bedroom but not the boardroom, Republicans believed you should be free in the boardroom but not the bedroom, Libertarians believed that you should be free in both the boardroom and the bedroom, and Statists believed that you should not be free in either. Libertarians seemed the most in line with my current thoughts. He also mentioned that Reason Magazine was the official magazine of the Libertarian Party (I don’t think that is actually true) so I picked up a copy at Barnes & Noble, liked it, and eventually subscribed.

There were three things that Reason brought to my attention but I can’t really remember the order. First, they did a run-down of all the politicians running for President in 2008 and mentioned that in a good world Ron Paul would win. Second, they had some sort of memoir for Milton Friedman, this was my introduction to economics and I purchased “Capitalism and Freedom” because of the article. Third, they had an article about why you should be allowed to sell your own organs, this article shifted my entire way of thinking about self-ownership and the proper role of government, it was the beginning of me thinking like a libertarian.

The next few years involved jumping in head first. I volunteered for Ron Paul’s campaign and I devoured any piece of economic or libertarian political literature I could find. Milton Friedman, Hayek, Ayn Rand, David Friedman, and eventually Rothbard. By time I reached my junior year of college all it took was reading David Friedman’s “The Machinery of Freedom” and an IHS seminar and I was a full blown anarchist. My anarchy was grounded almost primarily in economics and the endless pursuit of efficiency though, I had little love or time for morality.

As I graduated college and entered the workforce in DC my hatred for the state grew but an emptiness was inside me. I needed something positive, some love, art, happiness, and community to add light to the darkness. Working for SFL helped a lot, I was able to converse with a variety of people and travel the country, and they sent me to Porcfest. Porcfest was my first opportunity to see some anarchy in action, the small voluntary community operated as much as possible without a state and served as some inspiration. I was skeptical of it growing beyond a small community in a short period of time though, it seemed that just because something works on a small tribe-level that doesn’t necessarily mean it will work on a city or state level. What good is being morally or philosophically “right” if it had no practical application in human affairs? Was anarchy nothing more than an interesting ivory-tower thought experiment? At the time I wasn’t sure, then came Burning Man.

For unrelated reasons I found myself in the basic dust of the Nevada desert under the hot August sun. Around me ran debauchery and love in every creative form. Humans exploring art, community, and many illegal substances seemed to interact like a designed and living organism, but there really was no designer. The infrastructure provided by the organizers was minimal, basically just some street signs and porta-potties, but you could find volunteers providing medical care, Rangers to provide help, bars to get boozes, massage parlors, live music, tea, art performances, classes being put on by college professors, food, and basically anything you would expect from a 70,000 person city like Black Rock City.

Part temporary intentional community and part everything else, Burning Man provided me with another example of how anarchy might play out if adopted on a larger scale. Certainly there were problems, particularly the economics of a gift economy that seems like it could collapse if it lasted more than a week in such a resource deprived environment. How long can “gifting” last when people had to drive hours to bring in more food, water, and supplies to repair structures? Still, here was anarchy with the capitalism or consumerism. While the economics seemed unsustainable the experience opened the doors to the community and love that anarchy can provide. This was a community of people who wanted no state enforcement of building codes, drug laws, or health codes, but having a reputation for being a dick, speeding more than 5mph and kicking up dust, or mooching off the community could lead you to being an outcast. That rarely happened though because everyone involved wanted it to work, by travelling from far and wide to the Playa they explicitly agreed to the principles of Burning Man.

A life changing week in the dust shifted what I believed was possible in this world, and shifted my means of accomplishing change. Before I didn’t think political action was effective but I saw no alternative. After Burning Man I saw politics as not only as ineffective but a waste of my time and energy. Surely, I would be happier and more effective if I lived the life I wanted instead of voting to get someone in office who might give me permission to be happy and free. I decided to just do what made me happy and abide by my own moral code, “don’t harm”.

Opening the door to new experiences and actively pursuing those experiences means I crossed paths with people unlike me. It was like a fog had lifted over my perception, I began to recognize the struggles faced by minorities and those whose cultures have faced generations of systematic oppression. I began to see that the government is not the only oppressor, and for some people the state can rightly be called a savior and protector. Before I had only seen libertarians and anarchists who fought solely the state. In fact, many people seemed to argue that libertarianism ONLY speaks about a person’s relationship with the government, that the philosophy of liberty has nothing to say about racism or misogyny.

If that is the case then libertarianism is doomed just from a practical standpoint. Progressives and Conservatives provide a complete world view, they not only say the proper role of government but they try to explore the best way to live. People are not going to jump behind a philosophy that remains neutral on a significant part of the human experience. A lot of people like to argue that we are somehow living during the end of liberty, that the state is so massive and powerful that every resource must be mobilized to fight it. I just don’t see that as accurate.

We are living in the freest time in human history. Things are better now than they have ever been. Sure, there are problems, and maybe the US is not holding the torch of freedom high anymore, but things are still on a good path. Even “tyrannical” programs like the NSA are facing greater scrutiny and the country seems weary of foreign entanglements. Not to mention the vast expansion of liberty as the dominoes of prohibition fall at the same time as marriage equality continues to spread. You can’t say that we are living in the worst time for freedom when people have more bodily autonomy and to associate than ever.

But, I don’t think libertarianism is limited to the individual’s relationship with the state. I think embracing liberty as an economic principle, moral guidance, and simply because it provides the best life for the most number of people can provide support in dealing with non-government issues as well. The purist form of liberty is anarchy, it is the rejection of man’s dominion over another, no “ifs, ands, or buts”. It is to say that we are responsible for our own actions and reject the use of coercion. And I believe it should be pursued as much as possible. We all will slip and fall, we are humans after-all, but freedom is something worth pursuing for practical and philosophical reasons. It makes life better for others and, for me at least, the exercise of liberty makes one healthier and happier. 

Self Reflection – Introduction

The nature of my lifestyle means I have a lot of time to think. 4-6 hours of constant bike riding daily kind of demands it, your mind tends to wander and you can only focus on podcasts for so long before you ignore them outright. I guess most of my adult life I have spent a lot of time thinking about what I believe and why I believe it. The stability of my Christian, conservative, white middle-class view on the world was another tower that fell on 9/11. After that attack I joined the military, saw some of the world, met lots of people, and realized my upbringing was not the “end all, be all” of the good life. In fact, I found it quite wanting.

This penchant for self-analysis and a recent post on the app “Secret”* inspired this upcoming series of blog posts. I think it is important to constantly question what you believe, why you believe it, and how people perceive you. There are many labels that people apply to themselves (myself included) but rarely can a person’s perspective and history be defined by a few grunted syllables. In addition, I think it will be fun to provide a permanent record of what I believe for future me to look back on. It is likely that 5, 10, 15, 20 years from now I will not have the same points of view. I actually hope I don’t, because that means I have likely stopped growing and learning.

So, in no particular order, here are the subjects, roles, and views I plan on exploring in the coming months, both my current views and how I got to them. I hope to get 1-2 out per week but that depends on logistics for my ride.

  • Libertarian Anarchist
  • Pansexual
  • Nudity and Body Positivity
  • Pagan Atheist
  • Transhumanist
  • Sex Positive
  • Open Relationships and My Current Monogamish Relationship
  • Veganism
  • Minimalist
  • BDSM and Kink
  • Drug Use

*Recently someone posted on “Secret” that my life is basically childish, hedonistic, and that I’m afraid of adulthood. I responded on Facebook and it doesn’t need to be rehashed here, but that perception of me did get my brain moving and was part of the catalyst for this series.

My Water Bottle Still Tastes Like Gin

Caution: This post contains adult language and discussion. This was originally posted on our bike blog “Barely Functional Adults” on May 27th.

Our time in Arcata staying with Belle and her roommates continued to be awesome. We were able to hit up a Redwood Curtain Brewing company and get kind of shitfaced. They are a new brewery but had some delicious beers. We kept up our normal pattern of getting a flight of beers and then having a full glass of each of our favorites… except this night we got two glasses each. Our metabolism is pretty high so we get drunk pretty quickly.

We left the brewery and drunkenly biked back to Belle’s place, except first we stopped by the local store to get noms. Biking drunk is not smart. Sometimes we are not smart. When we got back to the house we realized we forgot to buy more beer so Anna and Hans went back to the store, which was only a few blocks away. I took this opportunity to drunkenly comment on Facebook and offer to send pictures of my penis to anyone on Snapchat who wanted them… there were several takers. Some people requested it after I sobered up but I didn’t send those, not because I am opposed to it but because I kind of ran out of time and energy. Don’t worry snapchatters, there will be more opportunities. (Sidenote: if for some reason you want a picture of my dick my name is pneiger on Snapchat. I don’t even care if I know you… it is just a penis, no big deal).

While I was getting out some of my exhibitionist tendencies Anna and Hans were having their own little adventure. Their drunken trip to the store involved being hit on by a couple of guys, which Hans loved, and not-so-subtly stealing malt balls from the bulk bin. I’m sure they thought they were stealthy but were probably caught on video camera and a number of customers and avoided a meeting with the police due to the laziness of employees working late night on Saturdays at grocery stores. The cashier was less than amused by the drunk cyclists checking out for a second time in less than 30 minutes. Maybe he was jealous…

Anyway, Anna and Hans got home with the beer, etc but Anna and I decided we wanted to bang. We set up the tent in the backyard to have a little privacy. We actually don’t care about privacy that much (I mean, we went to the Orgy Dome at Burning Man a bunch of times and have no problem just being naked) but even though our hostess was pretty sex positive we didn’t think she would appreciate us going at it on the couch, at least not without a heads up. We were kind of interrupted by her roommate’s, friend’s dog who went outside with the roommate’s friend to use the bathroom. I wish I could say she didn’t know what was going on but the unstaked tent was definitely rocking and we were both too drunk to be quiet or care. Also, interrupting sex should be like interrupting someone while they are eating, maybe not perfect timing but certainly not a big deal. It is just sex. So, we had some vigorous, long, drunken sex and it was wonderful. It made my piercing hurt the next morning but it is still worth it… damn, I hope this piercing heals completely soon, I’m tired of having a sore dick after heavy sex.

The next day we joined Belle, her boyfriend, her roommate, and her roommate’s friend (ugh, I should have given them all fake names) at the Kinetic Sculpture Race. Okay, so Belle, the Beast, Elsa, and Merida (also not sure why I’m using Disney characters) were at the Kinetic Sculpture Race and we joined them. Of course, we got separated about 4 minutes after leaving the house but we move slow so that is expected, we caught up with them eventually at the first check point. The race was a lot of fun and we had a bunch of gin and ginger ale in our water bottles, so we got daydrunk. It has been a while since I have been daydrunk and I remembered too late that it tends to put me in a grumpy mood if I can’t nap. I’m not really sure what is going on with me lately, I’ve been kind of grumpy often. I think it is because I am introverted and haven’t had a lot of alone time, we have all talked about how we need to find a way to recharge alone and pair off occasionally to reconnect with each other. Oh well, just another thing to think about and figure out in this new lifestyle.

Unfortunately, we had to leave Arcata the next morning. Our hostess was fucking awesome… such an amazing person, I hope she is in our life forever. I know I say things like that a lot, but the truth is there are so many amazing people in this world. My favorite thing about our trip is getting to meet them and count them among my friends, and thanks to the wonderful technologically advanced society we live in I don’t have to lose them just because we live far apart.

We took off fairly early Sunday morning and headed north again towards Crescent City, which is the next place we planned on having a multi-day break. We got about 10 miles out of Arcata before we stopped for a quick break in McKinleyville. During this break Anna and Hans went into a store to get some stuff while I stood outside and watched the bikes when I was approached by a guy named Paul. He was wearing kind of dirty army pants and carrying a duffle bag and he started asking me about the bikes and such. After a short conversation he asked me if I knew anything about the McKinleyville area. I told him I didn’t and that we were just passing through, that is when he gave me a history of the area.

It turns out that McKinleyville has never been featured on the History channel because there is a secret military base 90 miles underneath the city. The only way to find the base is to look at the small stones scattered across the city that have numbers engraved on them. He showed me a few of the stones he had been collecting that day. When he emptied his pockets there were about a dozen stones, two quarters, and two caps that usually go on the containers that heroin is sold in. He later told me he collects the caps to keep them away from kids.

As I talked to him about government conspiracies, hidden treasure maps on the rocks, Bigfoot’s home at the top of redwood trees, the ancient Mayan engravings on the rocks, and several other things I realized that Paul was harmless, though not completely on the same level as most people. It is easy to laugh or dismiss him as some “crazy homeless guy” but really he is a result of the policies we, as a society, decide to allow. A drug war that would rather criminalize addiction instead of treat it. A country that lacks mental health help for those who need it. I don’t know if Paul could clinically diagnosed with something, I saw nothing more than some paranoia and conspiracies coupled with at least moderate drug use, but that doesn’t mean any of us should ignore the people in our community that need help.

Anna and Hans eventually returned from the store and the three of us got on our way. Paul gave me a stone with a Mayan bird engraved on it by extraterrestrials and waved us off. We knocked out another 15 miles or so before we came to College Cove in Trinidad. College Cove is a clothing-optional beach where we took our first biker butt photo for our GoFundMe donors. We are not really sure if nudity is allowed at the beach or merely tolerated but that didn’t stop us. The cove was absolutely stunning, probably the most beautiful beach I have ever been too, but everyone on it was clothed… it was kind of chilly so that is justified I guess. We waited until we had a little relative privacy before setting up the shot, dropping our pants, and taking the picture. We all really love to be naked and enjoy environments where that is supported or allowed, and we plan on many more similar pictures in the future, even if they are just for us. In fact, we took another booty shot in the middle of the road on a mountain pass just for the hell of it.

That night we camped at Patrick’s Point with a couple other hiker/biker’s travelling the coast. One of the couples was probably in their 50′s and travelling the 1500ish miles from Astoria to San Diego. Man, people like that inspire me. I don’t know if they are lifelong adventurers or just decided not to let age be a factor but seeing people who continue to rock regardless of age is incredible. There are so few legitimate excuses to not live your dreams.

We left Patrick’s Point onto a very misty Highway 101. The weather was wet and kind of cold… almost creepy as we coasted down the hill out of the forest. On the side of the road was an all too familiar site, a bicycle painted ghost white to mark where a cyclist lost his life. It is always sobering. Up in this area it was likely an adventure cyclist like us. There aren’t a lot of daily commuters or weekend warriors riding the misty highways through the mountains. The man who died was likely someone who knew the risks, and died doing what he loves. I guess that is a question we all must ask ourselves, are we willing to risk our lives in order to live? I know I am, though I don’t really fear death. I don’t know what happens afterwards, my best guess is that my time dead will be similar to the billions of years before I was born… but maybe not, maybe one of the religions or spiritual practices is kind of right but I’m comfortable with that too. It is probable that we will all die eventually, though I am still a transhumanist anarchist (neither death, nor taxes)… I think that humans can live without coercive government and will find a way to eliminate the disease of death, maybe even in my lifetime.

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Our ride continued over some moderate hills and beautiful environments (we even saw live Elk chilling by the road) into Klamath, a cool little river town with a strong native American presence. We ended up staying at Klamath’s Camper Corral. At first we thought we were getting a good deal, the manager (Roy) lowered the price for us and told us that there really weren’t a lot of options further north. He lied to us. When we left the next morning we saw at least a half dozen camping areas within 5 miles. The thing is, if he had told us the truth we would have stayed with them anyway. People like that, people who will be dishonest to make $25 are part of the image problem business people face, he put making a profit over being a good person… I guess it is possible he didn’t know there were other campgrounds further north, but given his 8 years living in the area it seems doubtful. Fuck you Roy.

We left Camper Corral fairly early today (Tuesday) and hit the road. We knew we only had 20 miles, but one big fucking hill, before arriving at Crescent City. Because of the circumstances Hans faced today (cold weather, fairly windy, sweaty from bike riding, and no bra) she has declared a new weekly holiday, Nipple Tuesday. She encourages everyone to let those nipples and areola’s show every Tuesday (or really any day) in solidarity. No shame in showing the nips.

The hill today was kind of tough but we allotted a lot of time and now are resting easy in the St. John’s Church in Crescent City. This wonderful church is on WarmShowers and they have a full kitchen, sleeping space, bathroom, and wifi for travelers. They’ve had over 50 people come through this year alone and it is a great resource for those passing through. We are actually here with four other people (two groups of two) so we are making friends. Our plans right now are to spend two nights here so Anna can work, we can restock, rest up a bit, and get some bike maintenance done. Then it is just over 110 miles over some mountains to Medford, Oregon to visit my brother-from-another-mother. I can’t wait.

The Ride Begins Again…

Tomorrow morning I start on a 35,000 miles, 18-month bicycle ride around the United States and Canada with my partner (Anna), our friend (also named Anna), and our dog (Higgs-Bosom – The Dog Particle). I started this blog just over two years ago to track my (mostly) solo bicycle ride from Washington DC to Los Angeles. It is funny how things come full circle.

Anyway, because of the upcoming ride I will have some new writing responsibilities and this blog is going to change a bit. I will still write as often as possible in an uncensored way about the subjects I love (Burning Man, sex, spirituality, BDSM, LGBT, science, transhumanism, polyamory, open relationships, drug legalization, social issues, MDMA, anarchy, libertarianism, veganism, etc) but I really don’t know how much time I will have to spend writing. My Facebook page will probably also lack it’s normal traffic but if you want to add me there to see the articles and stuff I find interesting please do. If you are interested in following my other writing I will be blogging at two other sites:

  • Barely Functional Adults: This is going to be an uncensored blog about our bike ride. Because we are all adults and enjoy adult things (drugs, sex, being naked, swearing, sinning, etc) this blog will cover those things. Some highlights we are looking forward to include visiting nude beaches, going to festivals, the World Naked Bike Ride, Burning Man, and banging in every state. We will be updating 2-3 times per week. (www.BarelyFunctionalAdults.wordpress.com).
  • 10 Legs, Will Travel: This blog will be censored, updated daily, and basically rated “PG”. We all subscribe to the Dan Savage view of dealing with parents/family… basically, there are things parents have a right not to know about their adult children’s lives and they have a responsibility not to snoop. This blog will provide our families with a place to hear about our journey, look at pictures, and keep track of us without hearing about hanging out in the Orgy Dome or seeing our nipples, butts, pubic mounds, etc. (www.10LegsWillTravel.wordpress.com).
  • There are also other social networks:
    • Instagram: 10LegsWillTravel (we will probably take tons of pictures… the Anna’s are both great photographers)
    • SnapChat: pneiger (in case you want to send us pics of your junk)
    • Twitter: pneiger (though this is just my Facebook and blog linked, I don’t actually use it)
    • FourSquare: Peter Neiger

Anyway, I hope you will follow our other travels and still check out this blog from time to time. I will do my best to keep up with everything but it is likely I will only have internet access a couple of times a day… and I’m also working on college courses, Khan Academy, and some other writing so my downtime will be limited. Below is our basic route but if you have any advice on places to check out or know people with open lawn/floor space for us to sleep please shoot an email to 10LegsWillTravel@gmail.com . Much peace and love to you all.

Map Update (1)