A couple of months ago I moved to the south of France, to start up an eco-project. In order to explain to you how this came to be, I need to take you slightly back in time. After an internship in sustainable development/entrepreneurship I had done in Indonesia in 2011/12, I knew somewhere deep down that working in this field was my calling. I became convinced that it provided answers and hands-on solutions to many of the world’s problems and I saw that individuals who took full responsibility for their lives in every way, were able to make immense positive impacts on their communities and environment, and seemed incredibly radiant and free. The world around them seemed to start thriving, with them as a central part of it. Though I was fascinated and felt deeply inspired by the many successful local sustainable projects I witnessed there, it didn’t really dawn on me that I could be someone capable of doing something similar. Later I came to understand, that what stood in my way had to do a lot with social conditioning and programming in earlier life, having adopted false beliefs about how society works, money, who I should be, what I am capable of, what is expected of me etc. Something we all have been subjected to, to a certain extent. So instead of passionately following my calling after my studies, I moved to Berlin. Not necessarily because I thought I would find anything there, but because I felt I needed new perspectives, new doorways, new people and new inspiration.
The state of the world has always bothered me, since I was really young. I have never fully understood why we have to pay for living on the planet that we are born on. Is it not our natural birth right for everyone to have full access to all the abundance this planet provides us with? And is it not our natural duty, to make sure that this abundance is being maintained sustainably? Around me, people seemed to adapt much more easily to society as it is, not all too bothered by the way things are going. But maybe that was just how it looked from the outside, as it did for me too. Neither was I able to fully grasp my own struggle, nor was I able to express is. Thereby, I was walking the “regular” path in life, studying, finding a full-time job to pay for the apartment I lived in etc., all as is considered “normal”, but I was intensely lacking a feeling of purpose. Either way, it made me feel incredibly lost, like I do not belong, very much out of place, even imprisoned in the current structures of society.
It took an immense introspective journey of years to grow into the idea that it could actually be possible to live my life according to my visions. My visions of living life feeling free and fulfilled, in a world where we live in harmony with our communities and environment. It might be a bold statement to make, “I would like to change the world”, overly idealistic and ambitious, maybe even arrogant. But, I would really like to see this change happening and play my part in it. And so, last October 2016, I made the decision that from that point on, every little step I would take would go into the direction of making my visions become reality. I knew then, it was completely up to me to take responsibility for this. Yet, I did not know how on earth I would accomplish this, nor did I have any idea of where to start. I knew I wanted to move a bit more south, somewhere climate-wise more into alignment with where I wanted to start this project that contributes to a thriving planet. I started writing about my visions, make drawings according to them, devoured as much information on sustainable lifestyles as possible. I was thinking about how I could join a project somewhere and started sporadically contacting people who started such projects to gather inspiration, not really knowing where it would lead. On a certain moment in the following months, my brother comments that the brother of his best friend, lives in the south of France and has very similar ideas of starting such a project for himself and that it might be a good idea to get in touch and share ideas. This comment somehow didn’t really impress me much until a while later. Meanwhile, I planned to announce my resignation at my job and cancel my rental contract, even though I had no clear direction of how to proceed and where to go.
As I was planning to visit a friend in the south of France, I suddenly remembered my brother’s comment and decided to contact him, to see if we could meet, as I would be in the area anyway. My message was replied to with astounding enthusiasm. We agreed I would visit for some days in order to be able to discuss as much as possible. I felt excited, finally meeting someone who has similar visions in life and yet, I was slightly nervous about staying with a stranger for some days. Easily feeling uncomfortable in new social settings, I thought it could be awkward or weird. However, the worries were unnecessary as we immediately felt connected and it felt as if we had known each other for ages. Fiery conversations about how we would like to make our visions reality followed, and the decision was easily made, I would move here upcoming fall. And so, I’m here. The last months could be classified as an emotional rollercoaster, saying goodbye to my life in Berlin and to my dear friends, slowly getting adjusted to my new surroundings, to each other and to a completely new way of life. It’s been hectic and chaotic, but the storm is slowly calming.
So far, we mainly have been project planning, trying to introduce some structure into our vast chaotic web of imagination and ideas and in our surroundings. Besides that, I am adjusting to new tasks and I’m learning new skills all the time, taking care of the animals, gathering firewood, riding a tractor(!?) Who’d have thought…
By living in nature, I feel as if I understand the essence of life better. In nature, life’s duality is reflected in its destruction and creation, contraction and expansion, life and death. It is intensely soothing to me to observe the patterns that suddenly seem so evident in everything that exists. I feel as if finally, my life starts making sense, and puzzle pieces are falling into place. Moreover, I am mega over the top excited to share this adventure with you! Very soon, more posts on my experiences here will follow.
You can read more general information about the project itself on: www.natuurlijk-leven.org.