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‘Off the Grid’ columnist Ammi Midstokke shares adventures, ‘poor choices’ at Northwest Passages talk

March 15, 2023 Updated Wed., March 15, 2023 at 9:48 p.m.

Ammi Midstokke has made some poor choices in life, like climbing Mount Hood, getting lost and hitchhiking back when few cars were around to pick her up.

But she embraces them.

“I am a big fan of making poor choices but being prepared for the outcome of the poor choice,” she said.

Midstokke spoke about her “off-grid” life, which is chronicled in her new book, “All the Things: Mountain Misadventure, Relationshipping, and Other Hazards of an Off-Grid Life,” Wednesday night at the Bing Crosby Theater in downtown Spokane as part of The Spokesman-Review’s Northwest Passages book club.

She grew up in North Idaho, where her family lived without electricity in a camper van. Without power or much money, she read a lot and spent a great deal of time in nature.

“I read a ton and I always loved to write,” said Midstokke, whose dog, Freya, laid at her feet as she spoke to several hundred people at the theater.

She was home-schooled but eventually left to go be part of society, attending high school in Sandpoint and college at North Idaho College.

“Thermostats were the most fascinating thing,” Midstokke said. “You just move the thing and it gets warmer.”

After living in Europe, she eventually returned to her off-grid roots in North Idaho.

She said she wants to be connected to the systems that support her life. Growing food and picking apples off her trees with her child and turning them into cobbler are examples.

“Fully living this human life in this body on this earth with everything that it involves” is what she said she desires.

Midstokke shares her adventures in The Spokesman-Review’s “Off the Grid” column. She also shares about struggles she and others close to her have experienced.

“When I talk about suicide or cancer, those are complex feelings, and writing about them I think brings us closer to our community and our shared humanities,” she said. “So I’m comfortable writing about it as long as you’re comfortable publishing it.”

Midstokke’s outdoor pursuits are plentiful, but “the off-grid house and my love affair with my husband” are some of her favorite adventures.

“I think my best adventures are the ones that are really unique to our family,” she said. “That’s really precious to me.”

Midstokke said she hopes a message that comes across in all her stories is that people not take themselves too seriously.

“It’s better just to have humor about it and carry on,” she said.

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