The other day I was helping a customer over the telephone with a technical enquiry. His mobile broadband was running slow. He lived in a remote area of Devon and was quite a distance from the nearest mast which was causing the somewhat slow connection speeds. As we chatted it came to light that he had given up the conventional lifestyle of mortgage and 40 hour working week. He said that he was tired of being a slave to his mortgage. I told him he was living my dream and he told me it was the best thing he had ever done. Previously he worked all the hours just to pay for a house that he was too tired to enjoy and so he sold it and bought a static caravan with the profits. He had also managed to secure some part time work at the site where he lived and all his utility bills and land rent were covered by his employer. I guess a pessimist could argue that he is still a slave of sorts to his new employer as he needs a spot for his trailer and money to get by but how can anyone feel imprisoned when they have copious amounts of free time and are able to walk along the beach every sunrise and sunset?
I seem to stumble across more and more people with similar stories to tell. This is quite common with work as folk who live somewhat off the grid need to rely on mobile broadband for their internet connections. A lot of people who live away from the towns and cities live a simple life and it is often the case that due to their locations their connections can be quite slow, but then when you are living a life that has more free time, where is the hurry?
Every day I dream of living a life without a mortgage and a life with more free time and away from consumerism. It is not because I am lazy (that is a matter of perception) but because I sometimes am sure I can feel the speed of the earth as it turns beneath my feet. I long to sit still and enjoy the ride as we circumvent the sun before it is all over. I long to see the sun rise, so I can join the birds in their celebratory dawn chorus, and then watch with awe as it sets opening up the heavens to my eyes. I want to experience the seasons in each of their glory and their effect upon the local landscape like the fluctuating moods of a lover. I want to feel the sun on my face and taste the rain on my tongue and catch a snowflake on my nose.
My dream is still a little far off as I am caught in the negative equity trap along with a huge pay cut in my current employment after redundancy from the last. Distance makes the heart grow fonder and so I court the alternative lifestyle in every small way that I can so that I am fully prepared. "Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find resources of strength that will endure as long as life" - Rachel Carson
A favourite place of mine to visit is Diana Lorence's website Innermost House. It is a magical life that she lives with her husband in the woods.'...a truly simple life that stands on its own centre, equal to every other life in its essential dignity'.