This is a blogpost for all of you who realized a dream. The dream of a home. I am longing for a deliberate decision about where and how to live. A place to grow and to create. We are at a point where (almost) everything is possible but nothing seems to take us any further. What helped/motivated you to make the move, the jump, the dive, the shift? Tell me, I am curious! Our apartment is too small, the Bay Area so expensive, my job situation is all up in the air and Raj is mainly frustrated and wants to simplify.
Last month we traveled up the Northwest and saw a bunch of intriguing places, gathered some inspiring ideas and revelations. Visiting a permaculture farm off the grid on Marrowstone Island was a marvelous experience. Lots of outside space, a garden, a sand mountain worth $300 just for playing, a big wooden playhouse, a trampoline, an outside kitchen, ducks, chicken, not to forget an outside shower and bathtub (with warm water) and a place where our poop was valued as it turns via thermophilic composting into manure for the garden. All surrounded by trees, beaches and a widespread small community that seemed to be interested in a good, simple life that takes care of the earth and their children. Sounds perfect, doesn’t it? My friends among you readers know that I am suspicious about dream like places like this. A lot has to be suppressed or needs to hide under a coat of perfection and won’t be visible unless one stays there for a longer period of time. I was impressed by the beauty, the hard work, the apparent wonders everywhere and nevertheless, I could sniff the hard life that brings along such dedication.
Revelation #1: Immediate access to outdoor space is so much more important than a much bigger apartment! City life and its constant trips to parks and activities is exhausting and I definitely wish for something simpler. With a child that hates to wear clothes, I love the idea of a garden where Sequoia could be naked all day long. I am all for less dressing fights!
On the road we stopped in random places. We saw beauty and despair. Malls that seem to be lifeless, displaying an abundance of boredom; towns that welcomed us with a boarded-up health food store and people being suspicious toward the strangers whose child runs wildly around while waiting for the greasy fries. We saw a lot of “bodylessness”. We were in awe of nature; we loved the rivers and their crystal clear ice cold water that makes your senses splash; the gigantic trees and forests felt like churches; we saw amazing mountains and breathtaking lakes. We also realized how fleeting and dangerous life is by facing the fires that were raging through the landscape during our trip, leaving an imprint of ash on our car.
Well, and of course – on some days there was ice cream for the big boy and dad’s hat for the little boy. The chocolate ice cream came from an exotic ice cream trailer in Portland.
Revelation #2: I want to live among a few people that share a common lifestyle or at least are open to different lifestyles. People’s attitude to living is relevant as I am nurtured by other humans I can talk to or dance with.
Another stop was near Ashland, OR. We stayed in an Airbnb Airstream trailer in which its owners lived for a couple of years before they decided to stop and realize the dream of a family. We visited friends on the same land. They left the buzz of Oakland to build a simpler life in nature with less financial stress. They took a risk and started a totally new path in Talent, OR, a tiny town that seems to be growing into a lively little town next to its big hippie sister Ashland. We also visited a little gem goat farm run by 2 female farmers. The cleanest farm I have ever seen!
Revelation #3: Risks are worth taking! Well, that is not really a revelation…. More a reminder.
I think we are ready to embrace a new chapter of our lives, but I am impatient, unsettled and I don’t just want to leave out of a necessity. Oakland is a fantastic city in many ways. Sequoia often says: “Mommy, it is hard for me to wait.” How I relate, for me too!