Since arriving back in x-mas 2008 after from many years of volunteering and most recently a year in Ethiopia I have managed to not live in a house for any longer than two continuous weeks.
I firstly lived out of a backpack as most return volunteers do when they first get back.
This upgraded to a bicycle trailer as I cycled around Aotearoa New Zealand and from Melbourne to Brisbane.
It was then living out of a troop carrier NE of Alice Springs as I spent 3 months being a roving release teacher in various Aboriginal communities.
Next was to move to Melbourne where I bought a Nissan Nomad family van and pulled out the seats and lived out of my van in various Melbourne locations for almost 8 months.
Then it was a big step to move into my friends’ basement under their apartment – a cement bunker type set up with electricity known as the den.
As of Sunday I now live in a room in a house in Coburg.
I made a promise to myself when I was in Ethiopia that after many years of living and learning from developing countries I wouldn’t settle for convenient ‘western living’ when I returned back to the developed world.
This doesn’t mean I needed to make my life difficult or unusual it meant living with the integrity, humanity and more pure form as I feel I do when I am in developing countries. For example living within limitations that require thought, more action and a mind-shift around what I do and how I interact with my environment.
When I lived in my van I walked almost every night to discover the area I lived in and listen to the radio after a long day in front of the computer.
Then in the den I lived 15m from a river and had instant access to nature, birds and the sound of water.
This week I have really struggled being in a nice house in a nice room and sleeping in a nice bed (and drinking soda stream by night – which I still haven’t off-set my guilt!). It is also closer to work which means a shorter ride or run – even when I deliberately go a longer way.
So how do I live with my own integrity that I feel I have when I am in a developing country?
Again I don’t know… I don’t watch TV but know I will, I have been on walks but not every night, I look after three chooks but my cousin won’t let me live in their shed with them.
Basically I find it harder to live easily and find it easy living harder…
Maybe I need a debilitating illness or impediment to relish my surroundings – not that I wish for it.
So any suggestions to make my life harder (more pure) would be welcome!
Happy popcorn making on the 15th of this week as well…