The World After
A new nomad culture had emerged. All our possessions fitted in our backpacks. Our means of transport were our bikes that we carried onboard sailboats, when we hitchhiked the oceans. We lived everywhere, trekking the world wide freedom grid.
Our offices and universities were our notebook computers and our livelihood had become hyper decentralized existing at the core of our homes. They were now directly connected to food growing systems.
Just like refrigerators or microwaves, new technologies had integrated with our living spaces making them completely dependable. 3D printing made these high tech dwellings affordable, allowing many people to migrate from the old existence, out from the cities, and into the new villages that made up the freedom grid.
From my mobile I programmed my diet into the “food computer”. A domed closed-loop greenhouse integrated with my adjacent tiny home. These habitats were not about size but the freedom they offered. The computer kept the right temperature, humidity and lighting conditions to grow my selection of organic vegetables, fruits and legumes. You had to nurture the Earth but if you understood the beauty of these bio-dynamic systems, they became pretty much self-maintaining.
Sensors everywhere and an apparatus that recycled nutrients from my own waste secured the right balance for plants, insects, algae and fish to thrive in this micro-ecosystem, that produced a balanced human diet. Opening something that looked like a drawer to find no socks but growing protein-rich meal worms could sum it up.
My home had the capacity to feed two people and obtain drinkable water harvested from atmospheric humidity. It had a next gen composting system and solar panels on every exterior surface for electricity. That was about the norm. We called these systems “the freedom engine” and they were the core of our homes and the base of the freedom grid.
Demand was met by the creation of new “cells” within this global tissue. So when you entered the grid, you purchased a personal smart greenhouse with its adjacent home. The former did not substitute supermarkets but it was this hyper-decentralization of our subsistence that allowed for an alternative reality and a new way to thrive — if you chose to live from it, you could.
Home was extended and global. Imagine a Facebook but representing people’s dwellings. There you could see what they farmed and you could trade living spaces with them, check-in at vacant homes or ask people to host you. Hospitality was an important aspect of the worldwide freedom grid and most of us were permanent travelers. Permitting you to welcome guests and facilitating mobility, many homes could be programmed to grow more food for visiting occupants. Trading spaces was what most people did but we called it “flowing”. People would find a vacant home of open doors and check-in. We were minimalists and our possessions fitted in a 40L backpack.
I was biking my way down the grid, from the midnight sun in Norway to Vietnam with a bunch of dehydrated food and a nano filter water bottle. My legs were exhausted and I finally sat down over a concrete veranda by the Semois river. I was indeed deviating West. First I intended to reach Portugal and from there I would start the long trip to Vietnam.
The air turned chilly and I would not mind lying on a warm antibacterial mattress or using a detergent-less washer. Fortunately, after almost one week of camping, a notification on my phone told me of a vacant home, some seven kilometres down the river at a self-resilient village. The previous occupants had just checked-out and set its status “open”. It was a house for five from a nomad family. Another guy had already checked-in, who had trekked here from the Philippines! I kept my home “open” when I left it, so I had password access to unoccupied dwellings of the network. This one had a food preserver and dehydrator machine which would come in handy to my journey.
A unity dance would take place that night. Unity dancing was a sort of trance of unison movement to electronic music. There was a moment when you felt so connected to the people around you and the Earth that you reached a point of euphoria. It happened to me once and I was no longer myself but the tribe. People studied these movements and sounds and how they correlated to our brain chemistry.
I remember when I would bike to my job, over the same commute, like a lab mouse and feel alienated and unfulfilled. Now I had displaced myself so far away from that and every day could be a new trip and the Earth was literally my backyard. The day I purchased my self-sustaining home in Norway and entered the world wide freedom grid I had chosen to step out the door and walk without set course.
It was all because I knew I missed those old college days of a “glass of possibilities”. That's the one you hold at party, when your identity is only limited by your dreams. You toast to the future, a wonderful myriad of possibilities. You become your aspirations and boast about them, metamorphosing into a beautiful sepal of potential that gravitates towards those with resonant ideals and goals - in a choreography that makes you feel connected and free. What do you want to be? We became that and cheered with a “glass of possibilities”.
One day that glass disappeared for me and it transformed into a swirl of monotony. Of an imprisoned worker, chained to a job that I hated. And when I went out for a drink it did not feel like the good old days. My glass of possibilities became one of drinking the next Monday away. But you can fix that in many ways, you'd argue - find your true vocation, follow your passion or start your own business. And while this was true, few reached that place and so many would just have to conform. Truth also was, our lives were rooted in restrictive soil and we had potted that soil that limited our time and potential.
The soil changes. We were not happy with the way things were. Almost nobody was and then we understood we could change consensus reality and invest in the technologies that would liberate us. It was going to be sooner or later before we revolutionized the status quo — that is what we do. Investing in the freedom grid I had chosen to go against the old tide.
I look back when I woke up to that first day of my new life and knowing my livelihood was there by my side felt empowering and natural. These permaculture greenhouses, these symbiotic systems were extensions of ourselves and procured for me and those who would come to them. We replicated them throughout the Earth in a network of open abundance.
One day I smiled when I held my drink realizing it was a “glass of possibilities”. Where are you going next? Someone asked. I am heading South, I said. And how long will you travel? I do not know or where will I end or how many new people will I meet or fall in love with. I would follow this expanding grid of people who migrated their livelihood into open and welcoming hyper-decentralization and who were creating new things that had never been created before. My life became more of a book and all the sight-seeing, landscapes and history along the way.
Do you think we should be investing in technologies that would decentralize the systems we depend on, like food and energy production and distribution? When we make technology work for us and nature, by being directly in control of the resources that procure our livelihood what new possibilities could emerge?