My Journey So Far
I was born in Northern England in the old industrial town of Bolton. Bolton born and bred, this is where I grew up.
Luckily for me, my parents actively encouraged me and my brother to go out into nature with our two dogs, armed with a bag of ham sandwiches and a few biscuits and together with a gaggle of other kids from our estate we went off exploring the ‘backfield’, making dens and climbing trees. From here my love of nature and the great outdoors was born. I spent hours out with the dogs, just happy to be in nature, to just watch and listen and if I was lucky, spot some wildlife.
However, adult life beckoned and with that city life became the norm. Those green days were over for a while. And amongst the adventure and explorations or early adulthood, I didn’t even realise how much I missed them. From the cobbled streets of Newcastle to red brick Manchester and then a stint in Hong Kong, it was years before I returned to Bolton for a long enough stint to reawaken my love of being close to nature.
It’s funny that those things that are taken as normal early on in our lives are often the things that we appreciate so much later on in life. Indeed this was the case for me. Upon my return from my travels, I found myself with a lot of time on my hands whilst I (pretended) to look for a ‘proper’ job.
Walking the dogs
My (admittedly humble) contribution to the household was taking the dogs out for a walk every afternoon. And so I returned to the countryside where I grew up, I followed the same trails, did the same walks, returned to the conker tree that we used to climb and re-visited the places where we made those epic dens.
And what a blessing those 6 months were! They gave me time to reflect on my experiences whilst travelling and allowed the changes that had happened on the inside to take root, and at the same time allowed me to rediscover a part of myself that I had long forgotten. To be in close contact again with nature was so wonderfully refreshing- I had literally and metaphorically come home.
After a year and a half of being at home, a number of chance encounters with people opened my eyes to a variety of movements happening in the UK and beyond, all connected to sustainability- a topic that had begun to interest me more and more.
From ideas about local economies, permaculture, renewable energies to compost toilets and home brewing your beer, I had discovered things really excited me in a way that anything related to my psychology degree didn’t. Then I stumbled upon the Incredible Edibles and was amazed to discover that there was an active group in my village!
For the next 6 months, I totally ate, slept and breathed all things related to growing food in the local community to share. I had discovered a new passion and I was totally in love! It was one of the most enriching and satisfying experiences of life thus far, and in fact, it still is.
Itchy Feet- Again!
However, as much as I had got to place where I felt truly happy and content in who I was becoming and how my life was, there always comes a point where you need to move on in order to keep growing. The winds of change were blowing and before I knew it I was on a plane destined for Madrid with a one-way ticket.
Local country life had given me so much, but it was time to venture out again into the unknown, learn new things and meet new people. But the passion that I had discovered with the Incredible Edibles remained strong and I was determined to keep the fire alive in Madrid and get involved in as many different projects as possible.
This plan started off well and I found a wealth of people doing really interesting and alternative things in the city and tried my best to get involved.
However, my limited Spanish skills made it difficult and projects in the city are a lot different from the small projects in my local village. In my village of Bromley Cross, I had a strong sense of really being part of something but I found this lacking in the projects that I tried to get involved with in Madrid. I was just one of many passing through.
Not only that but I found myself trying to find my feet in a new profession and between work and trying to create a real-life for myself here, the involvement with alternative projects soon died down.
And for the last 5 years, this has been the case. It´s been a wonderful adventure with many ups and downs and many challenges to overcome along the way but these dreams of alternative living have slowly faded away and given way to ‘real-life‘. I´ve been busy at work, and we all know that between doing the cooking and cleaning, there isn´t much time left for volunteering in worthwhile projects.
Not to give you the impression that it’s been all work and no play! I’ve tried my hand at a whole range of creative pursuits; from capoeira, clowning, painting and drawing to yoga and meditation. In fact, the most part of my salary so far has gone on funding my extracurricular activities (investments in yourself always pay off), not to mention more adventures around the world!
But it is true that my desire to be involved in a new way of doing things in the world had long become a thing of the past, something I was involved then but not now.
However, as with the seasons and the cycles of planets, things always come back around.
This year the wind of change started to blow again and after a series of small coincidences, it was clear to me that something needed to come to my attention. A conversation with a mystic astrologer and a trip to India later, and here I am, doing something I never imagined I would be doing in a million years (writing a blog) and full to the brim with a longing to go back to the land- but this time for good.
I want to return to a life in constant communion with the Earth- a life that I have never known but I feel that my heart has known and is longing to return to.
I want to return to a way life in which things may not be so convenient but they are a lot more valued; where things are not just thrown away when they´re broken or out of fashion. I want to know what it´s like to grow my own food, to produce my own energy, to live in a real community where helping your neighbours is a daily occurrence.
I don´t know what shape this is going to take, nor the wheres or the hows. All I know is that it is going to happen.
This blog is going to be the story of my journey home.
But this is not just about me, this is about the whole world. So I welcome you to take this journey with me.
I’m not sure where we are going or how the road ahead looks, and I’m sure that like anything good in life, we are going to have to invest some time and effort, and practice patience and commitment in the face of the twists and turns in the road. But it is in this way that beautiful things come into being.
So without further ado:
Let the journey commence!
Written January 2020