I was born in Houston in 1954. I grew up on the gulf coast of Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. My father built petrochemical plants and we moved to where the projects were. So “home” was a series of rental houses in racist working class refinery towns in the deep, old South, which was a sobering experience. After a short abortive attempt at college (LSU), I dropped out and got a job. I worked as a draftsman at a civil engineering firm for 13 years, then changed professions and took an apprenticeship as a sailmaker (as in sailboats). I worked as a sailmaker for 19 years.
During this time I also became a hang glider pilot, then an instructor, then an ultralight aircraft pilot and instructor. With partners, I opened an ultralight aircraft shop in Houston. This business failed after a year and I returned to the other professions. I retained a strong interest in flying and designed, built, and test-flew several of my own machines. I had no real success at this and gave it up in 2000.
Then I became very interested in the emerging sustainability movement and began changing my lifestyle.
I moved to DR in April of 2002, at the age of 48. I supported myself doing building construction and general labor until I turned 62, when I took early retirement and began receiving a social security check. With this and a few odd jobs I’m able to survive reasonably well.
I greatly enjoy my life here. I especially appreciate living in a rural environment. Just the fact that there are no chemical plants on the horizon is amazing to me. I love walking and biking; I own three very different bikes for different purposes. As a Houstonian, I commuted by car about 60 miles per workday, and I did that for decades. I have owned and worn out more cars than I can remember. But now, at DR, I have not driven a motor vehicle in over 10 years! I’m not sure I remember how to drive one! It’s no loss, and I don’t miss it.
But I do miss flying, even though my last flight was in 1997. I still design flying machines and maintain several design project files. This is limited to paper only and I am reluctant to ever actually build/test another machine. Such a project is all-consuming and leaves no time or money for anything else in life. But the interest is still there and the design process serves as an intellectual exercise.
Other than that, I very much enjoy the day-by-day experience of just living here. Moving to DR was the best decision I ever made. I have no plans to ever leave. Mainstream American culture is no longer of any interest to me and I don’t ever want to return to it. This is written in February of 2021; maybe something will change out there, hopefully for the better.