We both came from different lives, with different experiences, and different amounts of knowledge. One thing we can say with conviction is that it doesn’t take a background of knowledge to make a dream come true. Knowledge is available in so many forms these days: books, internet, other people, or even just imagination and practice. It is important to us to prove that ignorance isn’t an excuse, just a challenge. And so we start on this journey without much planning, without learning everything we needed to know beforehand, and with combined savings of just a few thousand pounds.
It would be easy to summarise our reasons for making this choice using well-used statements such as: ‘we were disillusioned with societal life and wanted to experience living in a more human-focused way’, or, ‘we got tired of spending our lives working to live rather than living to work’, or even, ‘city life removes one from oneself to the point where they can barely find their own humanity’, or various other things that are all true but we feel don’t really give the details that people reading about us may be looking for.
Let’s rewind just a few months, sitting in our living room, talking about life (a frequent conversation). Topics like energy, connections, individualism, consumerism, waste, the problem with society, the human condition, the power of mind… the list could go on. I think these are conversations we’ve both had hundreds of times, with people in varying situations, they often end with some kind of debate on what can actually be done about it. The ‘one person can’t make a difference’ vs ‘if each person did what they could, a difference would be made’ debate. Between the two of us we tend to agree with something along the lines of this Howard Thurman quote:
“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
So rather than keep talking we turned our attention to noticing what we were doing that makes us feel alive. For us, it can be summarized by: nature, creativity, self-reliance, and connection.
- Nature is literally our life source. In modern city life it seems like this is often forgotten, but for us, there is nothing more satisfying than spending time with nature. Not just being in the countryside, but also recognizing the nature of everything around us; remembering that humans are part of nature, and using natural substances wherever possible, whether it be in crafting or cleaning, health or style. Working with nature, rather than against it, engenders a more balanced sense of the self, as connected to the whole. It fosters an understanding of energy as the basis of a natural system, rather than something that powers electronics.
- Creativity is what occurs when we allow the flow that exists to run through us. It tends to be over-mythologised in our culture – seen as a gift only few possess, but we see it as an almost inevitable outcome of an open and honest connection to one’s self. Whatever we may be feeling, going inwards and then bringing something out is a beautifully restorative act which results in something that can be shared. A simultaneous connection to ourselves and the outside world.
- Self-reliance is something to us that doesn’t just mean being independent, it involves self-awareness, self-responsibility, self-care, and self-honesty, all of which form a grounding that enables the sharing of ourselves in ways that our healthy and respectful of ourselves and others. These are things that are important to us in life, and become even more important when embarking on a journey that is inevitably going to meet obstacles.
- Connections exist at a basic energetic level between everything; not just people or living things, but with our environment as well. Viewing ourselves as existing independently from the whole is one of the most widespread forms of cognitive dissonance; it leaves us with an incomplete sense of self that can be felt in a very palpable but often not cognitively accessible way. When we notice how intricately everything is connected, it connects us to life, allowing these connections to exist; feeling them, fostering and enriching them, is the most powerful and life-affirming thing we can do.
Noticing what brings you alive is easy in comparison to dedicating your life to it – so they say – you can’t just give up work and do what you like, how will you survive? So this was the next question we asked ourselves. We knew what we wanted, we knew why we wanted it, but how could we put it into practice to the full extent? The answer to these questions led to a plan that will take patience and dedication to achieve.
The end goal is to open an off grid campsite, somewhere we can live in touch with nature, create art and connect with the local environment to fulfill our ‘what brings us alive’, but also a place where we can host people who are interested in this type of lifestyle, somewhere people can come and experience what life off grid is like and learn about the various practical aspects of it.
In order to achieve this goal, we have to raise money for the land. Yep, first obstacle.. but also first opportunity. The need to remain connected in some way to the societal money machine gave us the opportunity to form some steps toward the bigger goal. With this in mind, we decided to get a campervan. This will give us the opportunity to begin acquiring the knowledge needed to disconnect from the grid, while still being able to finish the projects we’ve committed to in London. From a moral standpoint, we don’t want to disregard the people we have made commitments to just because we are changing our lifestyle, and from a practical standpoint we’re not trying to throw ourselves into the deep end before we even learned how to swim.
This blog will be a record of our journey, we’d be honored to have you follow the highs and lows with us. And would love to hear any feedback you have. So… ‘here goes nothing’!