i have had emails and comments in the past asking me an important life question - how did you do it?
how did you leave behind a safe social structure, the comforts of urban living, family, friends, a secure job, modern conveniences, a language you know....... for something so drastically different?
i have tried to be inspirational, offer practical advice and tips, but i'm just not skilled in that approach. and more importantly, i had no fear. never have.
i just did it.
when in Australia, i left a promising academic route to backpack and hitchhike around the country. no predetermined destination, no time scale, no plans at all. sometimes i would jump on a train within 24hrs of deciding to move on, from a place i was enjoying.
i left Australia when i was 24 to meet up with my boyfriend in England and discover if the relationship would endure, or not.
at 37 i left England (with said-boyfriend-now-husband in tow, and a womb bean) to live in Eastern Europe. a country i had never visited. i just followed my intuition.
i trust my intuition that much. but, it's also more prosaic than that. i view life as an adventure. i don't view it as something to endure, or survive, or to make as safe as possible. i see it as a very small window of time to experience being human and whatever's on offer. i've always been bohemian.
i also see that society is a creation. we take it for granted - all the rules and expectations and lifestyles - but it's simply something that happened. our society is nothing like it was just 50 years ago. but we accept it like it's a reality carved in stone.
we believe that there's only a handful of choices.
which career? - rather than, career or not?
how many children and when? - rather than, children or not?
and on and on...
but i did have a challenge.
playing with simplicity
convincing my conservative husband that lifestyles were as varied as our imaginations. that the sky's the limit. that some people choose making art over having secure finances. that some choose no home but rather travel everywhere. that some choose odd jobs and freedom rather than set career paths. that some grow their own food, don't send their children to school, parent gently, live in yurts, travel extensively, exhange services instead of money, focus on the process of living rather than a goal, work scattered hours........
everyone has the ability to make their own rules. to construct their lifestyle. most of us just don't realise that. we're too busy paying bills or 'making something (respectable) of ourselves'.
our generation is lucky. we live during a time where choices outside the mainstream will be considered crazy by most, but where those choices are possible and where you can find kindred spirits. the world is a flexible and varied and smaller place than it was just 60 years ago. whatever you decide to do, you can hop online and find others are already doing it.
a word of caution though. alternative communities can be their own traps too. being alternative doesn't make them immune from the need to impose rules and choices. i see it all the time. someone choosing to remove themselves from the oppression of mainstream society, only to feel obligated and pressured to do things a certain way or be a certain person in the alternative community. you know - if you're going to be green, you need to perfectly green at everything. if you're going to be crunchy, you need to be crunchy at everything.
only recently i commented on someone's blog who was feeling guilty about not using cloth diapers and wanting to go that route. part of my response was that it didn't have to be all or nothing. cloth diapers at night, or most days. nappies for outings..... whatever works for you. that's authenticity.
we really impose a lot of restrictions in our 'free' alternative choices don't we?
i refuse to apologise for our choices. they're right for us, at this time. i unschool my girl, but if in a few years it'll work better for us that she attends school, then so be it. i know i would lose home/unschooling readers. so be it. i love the idea of being almost completely self-sufficient. but being an Intuitive Mentor, creating art, and travelling, are higher on the priorities list. i can't have chickens and a large veggie garden if i'm doing so much other stuff and going to regularly leave it all to globetrot.
so taking the plunge for a different life comes down to asking yourself what you really want from life. we live with the stream and hope we'll achieve happiness. topsy-turvy.
begin by asking yourself what makes you happy.
and work towards creating the lifestyle that will make that possible.
if you want a big house filled with beautiful things and a nice car and expensive holidays and designer clothes, then you will likely have to work a traditional job (but not necessarily, plenty of entrepreneurs are living the high life). if your core needs are peaceful living, adventure, more time with your children, doing your passion, travel, rather than stuff, then you might be living a life that is bringing you everything but those things.
our income is about 1/4 of what it was in the UK. but we've traded luxuries for less stress and more time together. here, husband can spend many mornings playing with his daughter. in our old life he would have seen her for a few hours after work - when he was stressed and tired.
if like my hubby you have a deep need for community support, it can be found for the most way-out lifestyles. if like me you're a maverick and life adventurer, you just need to wake up from the socially-induced sleepwalk and remember - oh yeah, i can create my lifestyle.
our particular lifestyle is a mix of both our needs. security with freedom. many conveniences with green mountain living. a social network with a unique lifestyle. a fixed abode with travel. working towards meeting immediate needs with no fixed plans for the future.
so, i've tried writing the motivational posts, but it's not my talent. all i have is...
this is your life, right this moment, there really is only one choice... with fear or without it.....
just do it.