“Maybe he’ll make money, but he’ll never be the man you are. Truckling to other people for his living, all his days— He’ll never be able to call his soul his own.”
Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Quite some time ago in the history of the human race self-sufficiency was all there would have been to life. Finding and creating your own shelter, water and food. Working each day purely for the natural resources to sustain yourself and your offspring.
We’ve come along way since then and￼ in the majority of ‘developed’ countries at least, it seems the idea of being self-sufficient has become the pursuit of a minority of individuals instead.
*I use the term developed with unease as I fear the phrase, in conjunction with countries, seems to hold many perceived positive connotations which I am not convinced are really deserved.”
I have ways been unsettled. Discontent with 9-5 style jobs. The concept of money and economic growth (although I recognise it’s importance in the system we have made for ourselves and am well aware that it benifits me currently somewhat) fills me with anxiety. I have dreamt up as many ways that I could possibly think of for a world where money was not the main focus of the populations waking hours. Of world’s where money does not exist. Where people lived in harmony with nature. If you’ve ever watched Avatar you’ll understand what I am trying to imply when I say ‘to live at one with nature’. Taking and using no more than we need and having respect for all forms of life. That make-believe world makes my heart swell and my soul feel free. Oh how I long to be self-sufficient living off the land.
Sharing with my better half, children, family and friends ideas, documentaries, books, articles and blogs about homesteads, small holdings, urban farming, hydroponic farming, and even a back garden vegetable patch, draw me in for hours. Ideas around harnessing sustainable energy, eco builds, natural remedies, natural cleaning products and recycling/upcycling projects inspire me constantly. Each and everyday for the past year or more I’ve found myself lost inside thoughts of what life could be like if we just had enough land in Egypt to set up a small self-sufficient homestead of our own.
Together we dream. We discuss the produce we could grow, the animals we could keep. I imagine what my day would look like from dawn till dusk. I ponder upon and plan the layout, the build and even down to the smaller details of what tools I would need or how I could set up a DIY irrigation system. I imagine cooking each day with fresh homegrown produce or preserving fruit and vegetables for the off-seasons. I think about the potential disasters we could face such as floods or extreme heat conditions and how we could over come them. I even think about how frustrating it would be when we lost crops. I imagine the good and the bad. The hard work, the long hours as well as all the joys and rewards it could bring. I imagine how much the kids could learn and how we could safeguard our futures against economic crises just by securing our own shelter and food sources. By learning how now.
Yet I don’t just dream about how my life would look as a result of a more sustainable lifestyle. What would having the luxury of such knowledge and access to such land do for others? Our family could inspire other families and individuals to do more to move towards similar ways of life. Perhaps we could help with excess produce to feed the poor. We may be able to help others set up urban gardens on their roof tops or balconies. It’d be a nice little sanctuary for family and friends to come visit and find a little piece of calm away from the rat race.
As I think, ponder, plan and dream my soul feels free.
We don’t yet have the privilege to access the land we’d need to achieve all that but I do believe there are things we can be accomplishing, putting into practice and perfecting so that we are more prepared when we do. Where ever you are it is possible to reduce what you consume, it is possible to grow a few herbs in pots and to make use of windowsills, balconies or outdoor space to grow vegetables and fruits . It is possible to decrease your dependency and become just a little more self-sufficient. To be more aware.
I know that one day I will own my soul.