I am a curious person. My curiosity has taken me all over the country and the world, from New York City to the Mojave Desert, from Australia to Vietnam and beyond. No matter where I am, I want to try something new. I have cultivated cacti, gobbled up grubs, surfed on sand and snorkeled with sharks.
Now, my curiosity has brought me to Maine, where I’m being challenged in ways that I never have before.
My name is Sam Schipani, and I have been writing for Hello Homestead and the Bangor Daily News since October. Over the past year or so covering the farming and homesteading lifestyle around the state, I have been endlessly inspired by the skills that my sources possess. Farmers and homesteaders are smart and self-sufficient, resilient and responsible.
I decided that I want to be more like them.
Even though I live in Maine, which is known for its legacy of homesteading, I am far from a traditional homesteader. I rent an apartment in a small city. I would never eat my pet rabbit (his name is Hector). My furniture is all sloppily assembled pressboard pieces from whatever big box store was having a sale the weekend I needed a kitchen table, bookshelf or what have you.
Plus, I’m a millennial. I grew up in a suburb with manicured lawns and easy access to takeout food. My high school had no home economics or woodshop classes to speak of. I tried to start a compost bin in my apartment in college and almost got evicted because of the smell.
But I want to learn, and I want you to learn with me.
My weekly column, Sam Tries Things, will be an honest and humorous look at my journey to learn new homesteading, sustainability and DIY skills. I want to try everything, from baking fresh bread and building a bee box to milking goats and herding sheep.
Trying new things can be intimidating, especially in the social media era. Even farming and homesteading are not immune from picture-perfect Instagram influencers with rainbow chicken eggs, galloping goats and painfully photogenic family portraits on their spectacular swaths of land.
That’s not me, and you shouldn’t feel discouraged or ashamed if it’s not you, either. We should all make efforts to live more intentionally, no matter where we’re starting from. Our failures may not be Instagrammable, but they are a valuable part of the learning process.
Whenever I try something new, I make mistakes. Sometimes, I even fail spectacularly. No matter what, though, I learn something along the way. After reading about my experience, I hope you’ll feel inspired to try something new for yourself.
Sam Schipani writes about sustainable living, homesteading and DIY projects. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.