What's Happening To The Last Free Place In America?

What's Happening To The Last Free Place In America?

A snippet of the what the last free place in America is all about.
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640 acres of desert,140 miles East of San Diego lies the "last free place" in America. Slab City, CA.

What used to be an old, abandoned marine training base called Camp Dunlap, is now a squatter community. After the military left, the concrete slabs stayed, thus creating Slab City. Starting out as a campground to come to during the winter months where the population swells to about 4,000 people, a small portion of people stay year-round.

However, many are deterred from staying because of the extreme conditions. In the summer, temperatures can reach above 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Despite most people leaving after the winter is over, the year-round population of roughly 200 people are free to do as they wish. Being separate from the government allows them to live without paying rent or having zoning laws. Even though this freedom may come free in terms of money, it is not free all around. There is no electricity, no water, and no sewer system. There could also be munitions and military waste buried in the soil. At which point the Federal government is looking into this.

In Slab City, there are no stop signs, the homes are made of a variety of makeshift shelters ranging from old school buses to tents made from pallets and blankets to make them sturdier. Not everything is this run down, there are more upscale "houses" which are nicer RV's, some even have solar panels. The community has made a church and a library as well.

Slab City not only serves as an escape from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the world but also as a place to create art. In one section of Slab City called East Jesus, there are many creations of art that people have made over the years. The art is generally made out of trash, items that would have been sitting in a landfill are either repurposed or used to make pieces of art. For instance, one sculpture is of a mammoth made completely out of tires.

This piece of land is owned by the state of California and they have recently put it up for sale. Alarming the residents of Slab City, they have decided to make an effort to buy it. The community is worried that Slab City could be turned into a geothermal energy or solar energy plant, destroying the last free place in America.

At the moment, Slab City's future is uncertain due to the fact that many of the residents live off government aid and Social Security. They need to raise approximately $500,000 in order to have enough money to buy the land for themselves. Right now, they have not come up with the $5,000 needed for the application deposit.

If you feel like this is the place for you, here are directions for getting you there. I bid you farewell and safe travels. Simply drive towards Niland on Highway 111, turn east on the street by United Grocery. Then travel for 3.5 miles to the city. The Salvation Mountain marks the entrance.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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To The Girl Who Hasn't Been Herself Lately

Your spark return, and you will shine like you were meant to.
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Life gets tough. Life gets too much to handle sometimes, and those times make you stronger. However, right now, it seems like you have lost yourself.

It’s difficult when you catch yourself not being you. When you do something or act a certain way and just wonder, “what did I do to deserve this? Why is this happening? When will it get better?” The way you’re feeling is not so much that you’re unhappy, you just feel weird.

Your day will come. I promise you. This is just a phase.

The day you realize how much you have grown from this point in time will be your reward. It is so hard to see now, and I feel your pain.

Your light will return to you. Your pure bliss moments, they are seeking you. Your laughter where your tummy aches is in your reach.

Our moods change far too often for us as humans to understand why, but the encounters you make every day have this effect on us.

You must remember the pure happiness you experienced before your first heartbreak, before the first friend became someone you thought they weren’t, before you lost your innocence. That was a time of true joy as you had not a care in the world for the things that would harm you. Better yet, you didn’t have the option to experience them because you were just a child.

The world can be an ugly place, and your attitude towards life can change every day. One thing is for certain: you did not lose who you are internally. We all put on a face for the world. For the people who we try to impress. For the life we want to live. For the things we want to achieve.

Your definitive personality is still in the works. Believe it or not, it always will be. Times like this change us for the better even though we can’t see it.

Your happiness will return. You will be a better, stronger version of you. In fact, you will be the best version of you yet.

Once this phase is over, you will be okay. This I promise you.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Sutton

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Instead Of Getting Sucked Into The NYC Tourist Traps, Follow These 10 Tips Instead

3. Get out of the city.

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Later this summer I will be making my way back up to one of my favorite places on the globe. That's right. I'm going to NYC! After you've seen all of the "iconic stuff" at least five times, it's time to branch out and see the real New York.

1. Focus on smaller or off-Broadway shows

My personal recommendations include Saint Joan or Come From Away on Broadway, Othello at The Public, and Songs For A New World at The New York City Center.


2. Stay away from the chains and big name stores

Although their size and familiarity may seem tempting, there's too much good local product and incredible deals to waste your time and money. You can just get this stuff offline anyway.


3. Get out of the City

Hyde Park is just one example of a breathtaking little stop not too far for a half-day trip! (and soooo worth it).


4. Take advantage of public transit

Cabs are overrated and overpriced.


5. Go searching for public art

The city itself is artwork. Make it a game and go find the strangest piece you can.


6. Take a peek in the public libraries

The libraries are always full of activities and they have some of the most interesting architecture on Manhattan.


7. Spot future comedy legends @ Upright Citizens Brigade


8. Chow down in Brooklyn or Queens

It's probably cheaper and much more diverse in options! This is not the time for Olive Garden or McDonald's.


9. Pop into all the unique museums

The weirder the better.

10. If you're sporty, kayak or bike around the metropolis.

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