Hi. My name is Chuck Masterson. (Well, no it isn’t really, but I use that name to blog here for reasons I’ve never fully explained.) I like lakes, campfires with good friends, languages, books, and living as though industrial civilization had already collapsed.
I grew up middle-class and suburban in Ohio, and I’ve been slowly recovering ever since. I’m learning to love, to listen, to care for the land, to live from the land, to live like there is a tomorrow, to be a good ancestor, to live with others, to understand others, to understand myself.
There’s a lot to unlearn and reject on the way to all that, and I find that the way I live now is fascinatingly unacceptable and inexplicable to folks back in the suburbs. I often end up living without a home, ignoring laws that are incorrect, working for love instead of money, and enthusiastically embracing the unfolding collapse of the global economy. Life’s more fun down here among the riffraff. This blog, I suppose, is my attempt to explain the inexplicable anyway.
I’ve been a lot of people and learned from a lot of places, and written about much of it here. You may have gotten here because I’m that hitchhiking guy you met, or because you ran into me and I told you about how I try to listen to the forest, or because you’re one of my family or friends. Welcome.
What you’ll find
Last updated March 2018
What might you find to read about here? Depends what you’re looking for.
I started this blog in 2004 at age 15 as a quicker alternative to writing a letter to everyone in my family each time I had a life update or a fleeting thought. Since then this blog has served as a place for me to tell stories (both true and fictional) and work out what I believe and who I am, right out in front of friends, family, and internet strangers who happen by.
Until 2007 I mostly complained about my high school in Cincinnati, and lived for my family’s summer fishing trip to Manitoba. I also occasionally designed fonts, which you can get for free at the Looseleaf Fonts page.
From 2007 to 2011 I went to college, bringing with me a minimum of self-knowledge and leaving with little more, but at least some knowledge of anthropology (my major), linguistics, and writing papers. I also develped a vague interest I’d had in intentional communities into a full-blown pursuit; I’d always known at some level they were the right way for humans to live, even before I knew what they were.
From 2011 to ’12 I taught English at a public elementary school in South Korea, and upon leaving turned myself into a hobo and traveled Asia (a little), Europe (a while), and North America (a lot) on what I called the Year of Adventure.
That year lasted a year and a half, and when it ended in 2014 I’d decided I wanted to move to Minneapolis, where I promptly found myself living in a community house full of people who became another family to me. And somewhat later met Misty, a puzzling, challenging, and amazing person I shared my life with. I also began learning Anishinaabe language and culture, and that’s taken me in unexpected metaphysical directions.
In 2017 Misty and I could no longer stand being in a city and took the first step toward living the life we both want to live, on an off-grid self-sustaining intentional community somewhere. Me being me, and Misty being Misty, that became another year of hoboing, which this time I called the Year of Transformation, visiting homesteads and communities around North America. I expected to learn a lot about practical aspects of living. I ended up learning more about myself.
In March 2018, after the Year of Transformation culminated in a transformative time at a retreat community, Misty and I decided to go separate ways, perhaps for a while and perhaps for good, and I set off on my own for another trip, which I’ve settled on calling the Year of Listening.
My future is uncertain, so I prefer not to write about it. Once it happens you’ll be able to find it here.