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Why Off The Gridders Are Healthier And Happier, Episode 188 (interview with Rich Scheben)

Pioneer HouseHost Bill Heid talks to homesteader Rich Scheben, an off-the-gridder in rural Montana who says every middle class Americans should consider living a self-sufficient lifestyle – and how it’s much easier to do so than is commonly believed.

Scheben’s story of going from an urban life in New York City to a homesteader who grows and captures his own food has captivated those who desire a more self-sufficient lifestyle.

Living off the grid and among nature is healthier for you physically, mentally and spiritually, he said. It’s also fun.

Scheben isn’t wanting Americans to go back to the 1800s, but instead simply to live a life that is less reliant on the government and big business.

Off The Grid Radio
Ep188
Released: December 12, 2013

Bill:                  Rich, welcome!

Rich:                Thank you! Nice to be on your show again, Bill.

Bill:                  Great to have you. It’s been awhile. You had, really, the last time we talked to you, you told us this story about how you started out in New York and how you ended up in Montana and it was an amazing story and now you’ve got this new book and I wanted to tell you as going through the book, I think this is one of the better books I’ve ever read – maybe the best book that I’ve read – about off the grid living. So my hearty congratulations to you, my friend.

Rich:                Well thank you very much buddy. I appreciate it. I just felt it was something that needed to be said, and with the middle class losing so much ground, I hope it to be a template for some people to leave urban/suburban America and start a new life.

Bill:                  The book is One New York Man’s Journey to Off Grid living in Montana. Rich is somebody that’s actually done this. And when I first called him, he said he needed a minute to let the dogs out and then he comes back and we’re talking about Thanksgiving – how’s your holidays? My holidays are pretty traditional. I go hunting on Thanksgiving. But you said something a little different. You were going to have turkey. Now, Rich, only a guy that really lives off the grid could describe how their Thanksgiving went in the way that you started out, and I wanted to stop you because I thought, “No, no, no.” Let’s make sure everybody knows and understands how this works. You were going to have turkey? And I notice Karen’s the turkey hunter, right? Karen gets some turkeys.

Rich:                Yes, I call one in for her every spring.

Bill:                  That is very cool. So you guys had a turkey you’re going to eat, or what happened to your turkey that you were going to eat this year?

Rich:                Actually this was one of our domestic birds that we raised. We have chickens and turkeys and we had one turkey left. We were going to have the Thanksgiving, and a week before, a mountain lion got him. So we ended up having moose. So we had a house full of about 10 or 11 people and the moose went over real well. So it was a little untraditional, but it certainly was a lot of fun.

Bill:                  You do moose like, you know, like you would cook up beef? Is it just the same? I mean, are the parts of a moose good, the same parts that are good in cows?

Rich:                Well, I personally think I would rather eat wild game than domestic animals. And that’s because of a lot of reasons. Steroids, hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, GMO. I just think we have ingested so many chemicals in our food that that’s one of our reasons that I have a chapter in my book on benefiting the immune system and building it up because one out of two of us are dying of cancer in America. So that being said, I think moose is probably the best of the big game animals. Moose and elk and antelope, I put in my book, are probably pretty close. I think I prefer moose a little more though.

Bill:                  And just curious, why do you like moose? I’ve had canned moose, but never like a moose steak or anything like that.

Rich:                Yeah, and we can everything too, Bill. Because we live off grid. We don’t own a freezer. And think of it from this perspective – look at it chronologically. Meat in the freezer can get freezer burned as early as a year and a half. When we have meat canned, you can preserve it for at least 10 years. So it just makes sense to can, especially with the lifestyle that we lead. And when you cook fresh meat – that’s wild game, which we do occasionally, like when we get something right away we’ll save the liver, the heart. Nothing goes to waste around here. And turkey, since we talked about turkey I’ll use that as an example. When people shoot wild turkeys, often the family members say, “It’s too dry. It tastes like crap. It’s like leather. Blah, blah, blah.” The reason why wild game tastes like leather is because the preparer, whoever cooked the meal, cooked it according to cookbook …

Bill:                  Specifications. Yeah.

Rich:                Specifications, thank you. And I’ve got to tell you, wild game, like I’ll use the example of wild turkey. We cook it for less than an hour. Where if you look in a cookbook, turkey is cooked for three hours. And that’s because every domestic turkey, folks, is injected with oil – never mind steroids, hormones and antibiotics – so you have to cook it a lot longer. Where wild game has very little fat, a lot of protein, and you cook it very … plus you cover the wild turkey. You cut off the back legs. You stick it under water. So there’s a lot of condensation while it’s cooking. And that’s the way to cook wild game, is to cook it quick and make sure it doesn’t dry out.

Bill:                  But are you still cooking at the same heat, Rich? Are you still, what it is, 180 or something? What’s the right temperature to cook a turkey?

Rich:                Yeah. You can cook it at the same heat. It’s just the time you spend cooking it is so much less. So when you’re cooking wild game, throw out the cookbooks, because with all the oils and chemicals in domestic meat, they’re allowing for that in the cookbooks. With wild game, I’ll guarantee you, unless you have a wild game cookbook, basically cooking strategies go out the window.

Bill:                  And as you said earlier, having wild game during the holidays especially is really a nice treat because you’re sitting around with family, friends, whatever and you’re enjoying something that’s literally off the grid again. You’re enjoying something that really most Americans aren’t enjoying and to some degree, I’d say, you’re enjoying the fruit of your labor. Your skills. Your ability to get whatever animal it is that your core is. So there’s just something really … it’s almost metaphysical. Wouldn’t you say, Rich? It’s almost spiritual in a way. For people that have never done that, it’s hard to explain.

Rich:                Well, there’s hope for everybody. As my book reveals, I was born and raised in a metropolitan area near a city for my first 26 years and coming out to the Northern Rockies to live this lifestyle has been my dream. So you’re absolutely right. And knowing what I know about health care industry and all the drugs and the GMO foods and things of that nature, it’s really important to make sure you put the right things in the body. And I’m far from perfect. I have a sweet tooth. I love ice cream. I eat pizza once a month. I don’t want to give everybody the impression that I’m perfect. I’m the most imperfect person out there. You just have to try a little harder. And if people knew what was in these foods, I think they would look for different methodologies to get their food. Whether it be meat or produce or anything.

Bill:                  And we all have to get a little tougher and tougher minded with respect to, here’s this spiritual side sort of creeping in again. Something’s got to get us to the point where we say, “I’ve had enough.” And the first chapter of your book, Rich, what is the tenacity necessary to make the steps? Some people if you just tempt them with a sweet – let’s say I’m diabetic for example and some folks just, if they get tempted, they’re just easy, right? Yeah, I’ll cheat and I’ll have that and it’s easy. And I think there’s a lot of that. And if you’re going to do what you did, just both mentally, physically, spiritually, it takes a lot of tenacity and a lot of discipline. Do you want to speak a little bit to that?

Rich:                Well, I guess I gotta go back in time a little bit, Bill. Because I, when I, even though I grew up in New York, I did a lot of yard work for people. I tended gardens. I used to catch snakes in the woods, sell them to pet stores. Find golf balls as a little kid; sell them back to the golfers. I mean, I just could not be in the woods, in the outdoors, enough. I was in the Boy Scouts. I did day camp and overnight camp. I just couldn’t, I was almost like addicted to nature. And I think there’s a lot of people out there who aren’t happy in urban/suburban America. And every state – I want to make it clear – every state, I even made a little joke in my book, even Jersey has rural areas. And people, they walk around, even in a park, to be in Central Park and maybe they look at a bird a little extra longer or look at a tree, you know, a leaf a little extra longer. They don’t really know what’s pulling them. And I think a lot of people, if they reattached with nature, they would find that mentally, physically, spiritually, every way shape and form, life will simplify and make more sense. It will be more real, more tangible, instead of a lot of those phony corporative, all this culture that we have of consuming, which is not getting most people anywhere.

Bill:                  We do have a culture of consumption, and that is fostered by big companies. Let’s jump in a little bit to your second chapter. And I know that this is where there’s a little bit of, you know, some of the things that happened to you that lead up to this situation are quite remarkable, and I think we would be remiss if we didn’t really go over it, Rich. I know it might be a little painful for you to revisit a couple of these things where you talked about you actually worked for some big pharmaceutical companies, and what would they say on TV? “The following views are not of Off the Grid News. They are of Rich Scheben only.” You know. They would say something like that. And so what you have to say is quite profound about the situation that got you, or helped foster your journey.

Rich:                Well yeah. I’ll be honest with you, it’s not painful to discuss. I do it all the time, whether I’m giving a radio interview or talk or whatever. I think we’ve done anybody who’s classified as victim group or protectionist group status a disservice. It’s an insult to the work ethic. It’s an insult to their intelligence. And I try to be redundant in my book in many things, and one of the things is we need to have the same rules of law and accountability across the board for everybody on American soil. We can no longer judge by what gender you are or who you sleep with or what your skin color is. It’s an insult to everybody. And we need to judge the hard work, effort, proven results, qualifications, word of honor, tenacity, diligence and principle. And what Bill was eluding to, folks, early with this last question, was the fact that when I was working for (inaudible 12:15), I was working with two types of spinal (inaudible 12:19) and nerve damage, amongst other things, and I had a lot of spinal issues. And I begged my company to let me have a part-time job share. And I was even taking to driving with painkillers, which if they would have found out, I would have lost my job way earlier in my career.

And I did everything possible to hold onto my career, my job, and I begged them to have my driving hours reduced so I could work part time. I had people from around the company say, “Stop asking for part-time. Stop asking.” Well, I did my own research and I actually spoke to a human resource representative and it was off the record, the conversation, and she admitted to me that part-time job shares were for women only. Supposed to get that time. And I’d like to think that after I left, I made such a big stink about it that they changed the policy a little bit and started allowing a few men. And actually, Merck hired me as the first male job share during that transition, so I worked six years with two types of spinal (inaudible 13:27) and nerve damage and basically really compromised my physical health. And I had great numbers. I was number one in the nation for one of my products I had launched. I didn’t inherit the product. I had an exemplary record, but we live in this political correct society, where we have special tiers, laws, rules and accountability for different people based on victim protection status. And it should be unacceptable for America.

Bill:                  Talk about … let me interrupt you for just a second Rich. Talk about this, because I think people need to hear kind of just a little bit of the story before. All the time that you were in pain, driving around – and of course a lot of us have back injuries and so forth – you avoided the company, a company doctor and a company sort of diagnosis because you knew that the company wouldn’t diagnose you objectively. The doctors hired by the company are paid to diagnose you in a certain way that kind of gets them off the hook, is that not correct?

Rich:                Absolutely. In fact, they were trying to send me to health services for years and I consulted with about 30 attorneys and none of them really wanted to fight reverse discrimination. In fact one filed, but then he backed out. Basically they told me that one out of 1,000 people are successful, especially as a white male in reverse discrimination. So I had, I was trying to avoid that’s called an MRI and an EMG which is a nerve conduction study, because I was in the pharmaceutical industry, I spoke to doctors, I spoke to a lot of attorneys and they told me to not get these objective medical tests because they would put me on disability. So I was working like this for seven years in great pain. I lost about 25 pounds from muscular atrophy from nerve damage, and I was a big weight lifter at the time.

I lost everything. All my health. And I pretty much found out the hard way that – I was pretty naive – that actually it was pretty much about profits, propaganda, and they didn’t really care about people. So I avoided the health services so I can avoid the diagnosis being on paper, because once you get a diagnosis that’s debilitating on paper, especially as a white male with a Christian name, you’re about as screwed as you can get. I had an attorney literally tell me this. I had attorneys tell me – and this was in my book – that if I was a female and this happened to me, I would have been on the 5:00 news before the end of the day with a $10 million lawsuit settlement. So until we judge but hard work, effort, proven results and principle and all the things that I mentioned earlier, America is not really legitimate. I don’t even see our government being legitimate. Because the government knows about this. Why are they protecting (inaudible 16:34) from anything from restitution to even an apology? That’s where our country has gone. We don’t, everything is so corrupt.

Bill:                  Do you think that they, Rich, do you think that they had a symbiotic relationship? In other words, Glaxo, you know here’s Glaxo doing business, and then there’s the government kind of like a parasite, attached itself to them, and so every time they, the government, finds Glaxo do something, they fine them. So for those two parties, it’s almost like a win-win. The parasite needs the host to continue to live, and but the host has to pay the parasite in blood, right? That’s kind of the relationship that they have?

Rich:                Absolutely. In fact, I talk about, in the book, many times about big government and big (inaudible 17:34) are going to be in control of America. And the middle class is going to lose more ground and be more controlled. And going back to that analogy, you look at in my book – and I’m trying to think what chapter it’s in. It might be in the immune system chapter. National Cancer Institute, just like the FDA, is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Well, I talked about a story by a Dr. (inaudible 18:02) who created these (inaudible 18:04), which when he found that amino acids and proteins were absent in some cancer, most cancer patients in their blood and urine. Well, he created a cure for cancer. I talk about several cures for cancer in this book. Long story short, I believe the Department of Health and Human Services is where (inaudible 18:24) works. So they control the National Cancer Institution, and the FDA. And they, when they actually after 15 years of trying to put charges on Dr. (inaudible 18:33), which cost the American people over $60 million and over $2 million to Dr. (inaudible 18:40), when they took it over, the government did, they put in such low therapeutic doses, it was actually (inaudible 18:52). So whose idea was that? I mean, cancer has been dubbed the cash cow for trillions of dollars for the American people and the whole world. What I’m saying is here, there are cures for cancer out there, and it’s this story shows proof that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is in bed with the pharmaceutical industry. Big health and big business, Bill, is all connected. And it’s disgusting. Especially when death is the consequence.

Bill:                  They’re tightly connected, and just like our Treasury Department and the Fed and everything, the players kind of go back and forth. So back to the parasite/host metaphor, it’s almost like there’s another organism that travels back and forth and lives for awhile in the parasite and then for awhile it goes back and lives in the host and does it business there. And that’s a remarkable thing, that that goes on, because every time you see a President, he brings in some new cabinet member, advisor, whatever it is – they were part of some, as you say, some oligarchy, some big corporation that might as well be part of the government, as far as that’s concerned.

Rich:                Well, it’s a revolving door scenario with big oligarchy CEOs and government officials.

Bill:                  And supposedly they’re the most qualified to do both. But really what they should just say is, there should be some kind of ethical things – that you’re making reference to before – there should be some kind of stop gap that keeps that from happening. In other words, you can’t cross lines back and forth and the lobby or do things back from the industry that you just were in or if you were in a position of the government, where you have to sort of police that, then all the sudden you’re one of the lobbyists. Man alive, that’s a formula, as you say, for disaster.

Rich:                Well, it’s the fox guarding the hen house, is what’s happening in just about every aspect. Every scandal that occurs in government is basically being looked into by other government entities.

Bill:                  It’s the mountain lion guarding the turkey house, Rich.

Rich:                Absolutely.

Bill:                  To use your analysis. Yeah, it is a bad, it is a bad thing. And I think that’s one of the things people are going to have to, Americans are going to have to wake up to, and I know that’s the point of your book is saying, “Look. Wake up.” And the reason I think people should read this – again, I’m going to say this a couple of times throughout this interview – is the reason there is, we would say “street cred” here, the reason you should read this book, this isn’t a guy who decided there was such a thing as the survival market or the prepper market. This is a guy that went out and did these things and has lived to tell about it, even though he’s in pain. I mean, Rich, if anybody should be a victim in this case, you are. So what’d you do with the bad back? You went out and built a house and built a log home in the middle of nowhere and you raise animals and hunt and just the pictures in the back of your book of some of the stuff, the things that you’ve shot over the years is just, it’s remarkable and beautiful. And some of the animals that go through your property, what a blessing.

Rich:                Oh, it is a blessing. And I feel that this lifestyle should be passed on to other people. Right now my main goal in life is to help as many people as I can. Even if it’s one person at a time. Because I feel that even though my health has been greatly diminished and I’ve fought through a lot of political correctness and affirmative action and quotas and victim status and all this stuff, I feel very blessed in still able to live my dream. And I just see a lot of people out there who aren’t getting ahead, hamster on a treadmill, running to nowhere. And they might have dreams and they can’t, they can’t go for it, for whatever reason. And this book gives a lot of recipes, reasons and evidence on why we should be more self-sufficient. And if people can read this book and they could be motivated or inspired or they can gleam some good information on how to take the first or couple steps, it would make me feel real good.

Bill:                  If they just look at … reading your book is great. Like I said, because you’ve been there and you’ve done that and you’ve got a real story to tell. You’re not some guy that lives in New York and wrote and (inaudible 23:30) book on prepping. You’re someone that really did this. But if you did nothing more, the book’s value – you can get this book on Amazon – but the book’s value, if you just went and looked at the pictures in the back, you’ll say, “Look.” Some of you that are going to go buy this book are going to say, “That’s for me.” You’re going to look at these pictures of Rich with a beaver that he took in the Bitter Root River, you’re going to say, “You know what, I’m going to give every … I’m going to give this rat race up. I’m going to give up this treadmill. I’m going to give all of this up and I’m going to go do something. And you know what? I don’t need to know what the future is.” The future is going to bring uncertainty, right Rich? You, the thing that people are scared of is because they don’t know what is going to happen in the future, so you have to have some sense of faith that things are going to work out okay if you’re willing to work at it. What do you, can we talk a little bit about just trying to get people. It’s almost like talking a guy off the ledge, because getting someone to go do this and actually jump in with both feet, there’s a lot of uncertainty here.

Rich:                Well, there is, but there’s an uncertainty for everything. And if you’re going to be at home, watching the blue light, hoping nobody ever sees you and your curtains are closed all the time and you can’t control your own destiny and your health is getting worse and you don’t see your dreams materializing and your financial situation is not getting better, you know it’s time to create a new game plan. And I want to make it very clear – I am not any smarter, better, more skilled than anybody who is listening to this program. I can guarantee it. I’m an average Joe. But because of the uncertainties out there, this book is about the, it’s not just about off-grid living and self-sufficiency. Half of the book, the second half of the book is a lot of how-to. The first half is a lot of why. Why we as middle class Americans need to go back to some form of self-sufficiency and tangibility. So I talk about the financial, economic, social and political reasons why we as the American people need to start thinking differently, because the faulty American dream has not worked out for so many people. And the middle class is disintegrating. It’s going to be an extinct animal here real soon. So I’m trying to give people alternative choices for controlling their own destiny. And Bill, the book is, Amazon’s saying it’s out of stock, and I heard from a credible source (inaudible 25:59) truth in the book, meaning that it might not be politically correct enough. I don’t, I just heard that from one person. But it’s easier to get it on BarnesandNoble.com and on eBay.

Bill:                  Okay. Barnes and Noble and eBay. So let’s talk about something else real quickly, because we talk about what the motivations are, and we talked to you awhile back and you never know, the clock’s always ticking. You never know. One of the things we talk about on this show quite a bit is a phenomenon, if you talk to someone that was in Nazi Germany or someone who experienced some kind of inflation, they say something really interesting. They say, “I never thought it would happen so quickly.” So things go along. They go along; they go along, like everything’s okay. And people say, “Why would I read a book like this, or why would I listen to Off the Grid News Radio. Why would I do any of these things?” And the answer is, things seem normal every time before there’s a huge disruption culturally and societally. And then all the sudden, boom. It looks a little bit – fi you want to give a picture of this, Jimmy Stewart’s on his way with his new bride. It’s the time of the year we all watch that movie. He looks back, back and says, “What’s going on at the bank?” Do you think the bank is one of the biggest … what’s going to blow on us, Rich?

Rich:                Okay, so you want me to talk about the banks or the economy?

Bill:                  Whatever you think in general. Whatever you think the biggest problem is, in your mind, from your view.

Rich:                Well, I have a chapter just on, just on the economy. You know.

Bill:                  Chapter five is on the economy.

Rich:                (Inaudible 27:31). Chapter five. Yup. And it’s mixed in. You know, financial economy, social and political stuff is mixed in throughout the whole book. But about the economy, I mean, what do you expect? We’re printing basically $3 billion a day of paper (inaudible 27:52) currency, which is backed by debt or our Federal Reserve is printing the money, buying back the debt, and our treasury is giving out IOUs. Now, the brick nations – (inaudible 28:01), India, China, South African, Iran, a few others – they are having meetings behind closed doors. And they are already in the process, and they’ve admitted this openly, that they are going; they are starting to drop the U.S. dollar as reserve currency. And as most of you listeners know, reserve currency, all worlds’ currency can be converted into U.S. dollars to buy oil.

And so what’s happening is, there’s a lot of trading going on. Central banks around the world are buying silver and gold like crazy. And our (inaudible 28:40) is basically illegitimate in most people’s eyes now. And I say that because there’s naked shorts going on all over the place. And what that means is, people are buying tons of paper, silver and gold and paper, which means it’s being incorporated into the silver, the physical places, to reduce the price of the physical metal. So there’s so much illegitimacy out there, people don’t know what to trust or what to invest. The middle class is the recipient of all this corruption and manipulation. And people don’t know what to do and where to go and how to do it. And I’ll tell you, I personally believe, Bill, that the worst thing anybody can do is just sit and wait and not have a plan of action. You have to have a Plan A, a Plan B, a Plan C and that’s one of the reasons.

Now, I came out to Montana because of my love for hunting and fishing. Because I wanted to live off the land. I just love nature. I’m addicted to nature. I’m the first to admit it. However, that being said, it turned out to be a blessing because of what’s happening politically, socially, financially, economically in this country. And we all have to have a plan of action because we’re losing our skills as a nation. I don’t, I’m not saying we need to go back to the 19th century. I’m just saying we need to regain those skills and dovetail the 21st century skills and control some of your own destiny regarding financial, economic, food, I mean this sitting around for Generation X and Y and whatever the generation is after that to buy your house for profit when they don’t even have an investment and savings portfolio, to me doesn’t even make sense. I believe we have to grab the bull by the horns and create some type of a plan, and that’s one of the reasons I wrote this book. I wrote it for you, for the middle class, because they’re losing ground. And I’m hoping there’s some information that your listeners, that the country can gleam from this book and maybe again control their own destiny and regain some control of their lives.

Bill:                  You talk in the book a little bit about leaving piles of wood around, you know, and that wood thing. And this is a little bit like one of those deals if you get lost, you break a stick to try to find your way back as you’re walking through the timber, or leaving some kind of marker. This book is one of those little broken sticks, or one of those little markers that can help you find your way back. Because, as I keep saying, this isn’t an academic book. This is a book written by a guy that’s really done this. And I think you use (inaudible 31:22), didn’t you Rich? So you just really spoke this book literally into existence.

Rich:                Yes. I used Dragon Software. My arms, if I keep them up too long … I’m in pain 24/7. I have nerve damage in my arms, shoulders and spine. And I do most things with moderation and modifications. I try not to let … as long as I don’t do too much in one day, get too physical, I can, I can do most things. And I try not to let anything stop me. So when I was writing this book, I used Dragon Software, where I speak into a microphone and the headset and then I started to edit and thanks to my proofreaders, it turned out to be a fairly legible book. Because I’ll tell you, folks, my writing skills pretty much stink.

Bill:                  But the book’s delivered, the reason that your writing skills are good is because you didn’t write this book, you spoke it. So what I like about it is, the book reads like you’re having a conversation with someone, the way I’m having a conversation with you right now, Rich. So it’s easy to read and it’s like talking to somebody over, over a beer or something. That’s kind of a nice thing, to be able to have a book that’s like that, and like I said, it’s not written in an academic way. And I wanted to bring that part up about the way you did it because there’s another Off the Grid way of getting something done. Hey, I’m not a writer. Everything you do, Rich, you figure out a way to do it, even if you don’t know how to do it, you’re willing to dig in. Truthfully, that’s the American spirit. That’s what made this country great. That’s what build, you know, think through the Colonial Period and that’s what guys like you and I are trying to (inaudible 33:05) back on the culture today. How can we inspire people to dig in and try hard, wherever they find themselves, and just do something? It’s this idea of not doing anything that drives me absolutely crazy, and I have people all the time – young kids come in here looking for work and so forth, and they don’t, they’re part time, and they don’t do anything. They watch something or they let something be streamed into their consciousness from somebody else’s worldview, and if we’re going to turn this country around, Rich, I think you’d agree with me, we’ve got to start, it starts with motivation, doesn’t it? It starts with getting people excited about what the benefits are of being more independent.

Rich:                Absolutely. I mean, the middle class is losing ground, folks. We’ve got to come up with some type of plan. And my book talks about, I talk about edible and medicinal plants, fighting cancer and building your immune system. I talk about, again, the financial, economic, social and political reasons why we as Americans need to be more self-sufficient. It’s pretty obvious to me that there’s an indoctrination from the power that be, and I use the term “blue light specials” in my book, and basically the blue light is television, computer, the iPad, you know, I don’t even know … the smartphones, this and that and the other. I mean, I don’t even have a cell phone. People have lost contact with what’s real. Virtual reality is the new norm. And what I’m trying to do is build, give ideas so people can regain their lives and build new skills. Now, I personally think a college degree is getting pretty close to worthless. I think 90 percent of the degrees out there are worthless around the nation, which is basically building trade schools, so people can get skills instead of graduating with a four-year degree and tons of debt and basically being behind the eight ball. Young people are supposed to gain ground through investments, through time leverage, through equity in their homes, which the sub-prime mortgage industry has basically destroyed. We’re not; we need to think outside the box.

Everything that we thought America was is no longer, and I mean culture, traditions, heritage, we need to start thinking differently. And I can just say, speaking for myself, that this life of off grid living, being more self sufficient, has basically shined a new light of opportunity for me, especially me being a while male, having a debilitating diagnoses on paper where I had several attorneys tell me I’d never be hired again, and I needed, I needed to do something and living, living this way has already been my dream in the first place. So I’m not saying we even have to, you know, live in a shack or whatever. I’m just saying to think about what our pioneers and homesteaders did. They bought land. They lived in a tiny one-bedroom home, and as their fiscal situation improved, they expanded on their home. We’re doing everything backwards. We’re living in cookie cutter subdivisions, buying big homes, where insurance, taxes and maintenance are directly proportional to the size of the home, and not getting ahead. So this lifestyle offers a lot more opportunities. For anybody who is listening to this who says, “Well, I don’t have the money or the skills,” I didn’t have any skills. I came from New York City. I live with a (inaudible 36:47). I didn’t have any skills on that. None, nada, zip. And of course I always hunted and fished so I had those skills, but I would gain a lot of skills living this way. And it’s just fun. Living in nature is fun. It’s real. It’s healthy. And you know what the best benefit of this lifestyle is, Bill?

Bill:                  What’s that?

Rich:                I get to help other people.

Bill:                  Certainly!

Rich:                Helping other people. I have a goal to help at least one person everyday. Even if it’s just a silly little thing like little financial counseling, a little gardening tip, or the simple little compliment to help someone’s self esteem. People are hungry for this information. We had a preparedness conference in Kalispell, about three years ago, and I was one of the speakers. The room was packed. People are hungry for information, because they’re not gaining ground financially. And they need a Plan B or a Plan C and this lifestyle is not hard. I mean, I’ve lost 90 percent of the strength in my arms, thanks to Glaxo Smith Kline and political correctness and spinal (inaudible 38:02) and nerve damage. And I still do most things with moderation and modifications. I can’t split wood anymore. I use a wood splitter. If I have to pound posts, I’ll hire some teenagers to do that for me. You know, there’s certain things I can’t do, but there’s a lot of things that I can, as long as I don’t spend more than two hours a day doing it. So moderation and modifications can be done, but I think a lot of people who are stuck in urban/suburban America, living off GMO foods, where there’s hardly any vitamins and minerals or enzymes. Enzymes are so important. There’s so many things that the urban/suburban dweller is not getting benefit for anymore. I mean, shoot, I can talk about this for …

Bill:                  And it goes on and on, Rich. It goes on and on. And I think people should really read the book. Thanks so much for writing it, and I think we’ll wind down. Do you have any last final thoughts as we close this one out?

Rich:                Well, I just, go for it! Don’t, don’t, things are getting tough, and options are definitely dwindling for the middle class. But I think this is a really good way to move with these likeminded people. You know, talk about maybe doing a little barter. Talk about sharing ideas. Talk about, here in Northwest Montana, we have so many likeminded community people, and we all stick together. I mean, there’s a few people here and there that might not think that way, but for the most part, I mean, I can call up 200 people any day of the week and get them to come over in a matter of minutes, if I had to. I just think that people are being divided, and that’s how, if you read the Communist Manifesto, that’s how the elite are winning. They’re conquering us, because we’re divided. We need synergy, and synergy is one of my many messages in that book. So, I think I’ll probably leave it with that, Bill.

Bill:                  Well, thanks Rich, so much. Thanks for writing the book. Thanks for being a pioneer and going through and doing all of this. Rich Scheben, author of One New York Man’s Journey to Off Grid living in Montana. Rich, Merry Christmas to you and Karen. Thanks so much for being on the show today.

Rich:                Oh, thank you, Bill, and Merry Christmas to you and yours too. And thanks for the, thanks for the opportunity buddy.

Bill:                  You’re welcome. Thank you.

Announcer:      Thanks for listening to another episode of Off the Grid News. Be sure to check out Rich’s book, One New York Man’s Journey to Off Grid living in Montana, available on Amazon.com. Join us again next week for another episode of Off the Grid News.

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