Watch this excellent short video interview by Andrew David Watson with Adam Cramer of Liberty Vintage Motorcycles in Fishtown, Philadelphia. It's a great piece of art, and also comes with many compelling messages. One of them is the value of knowing how to use tools. Knowing how to fix and build things. I am reminded of this so many times every day at home and at work and while I'm traveling.
It's perhaps the most valuable skill -- knowing how to build and fix things. For example, yesterday I interviewed a young woman from New Zealand who is traveling the world on a 250cc motorcycle. Danielle Murdock is her name. She found a bike, modified it for travel, and learned how to fix it. She is fearless traveling alone through places like Russia, East Timor, Australia, Africa, India. She spends less time worrying about breakdowns and more time using her instincts to navigate her way through foreign cultures. She is competent, experimental, and joyful.
I learned how to fix things because my dad was raised on a farm and became an engineer, and my mom is an artist and craftswoman. We always had projects -- art, homebuilding, mechanical. Therefore, I am comfortable with just sitting down and figuring things out whether it's plumbing or carpentry or engines. I can kill a chicken, skin a rabbit, shoot a rifle, catch a fish, build a fire, identify some edible plants. It has made me fearless. Or less fearful, at least.
That's the value of learning how to build and fix things.