Saturday, June 19, 2010

Non-Fiction: The Circumference of Home: One Man’s Yearlong Quest for A Radically Local Life by Kurt Hoelting

You begin expecting one thing and come upon something entirely different. Unexpected. That describes both Kurt Hoelting’s life of late and it describes his book, The Circumference of Home (Da Capo) an unexpectedly poetic story of one man’s personal mission for change.

Hoelting states his mission plainly enough when he describes The Circumference of Home as “one man’s attempt to confront his own complicity in the climate crisis and to do so out of freedom rather than fear.”

In a nutshell, then: Hoelting vowed to devote a year of his life to a relatively simple sounding experiment. He would eschew his car, forgo air travel and completely reduce his carbon footprint to the point where he wouldn’t go anywhere not reachable by foot, bicycle or kayak. For a year. The big surprise in The Circumference of Home: Hoelting found it easier than anticipated to accomplish this mission. In the course of relaying a year of oil-free adventure, he shares words all of us can take to heart:
Everything we need to be happy really is near at hand. I keep meeting others who have found the same to be true and they’ve made similar shifts in lifestyle. It’s almost never as hard as people expect, and the benefits always seem to outweigh the costs.
Words to live by? And, perhaps, a surprisingly convenient truth.

Aaron Blanton
is a contributing editor to January Magazine. He’s currently working on a book based on his experiences as an American living abroad.

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