Living an inverse life?

Camp life...
Camp life…

“Friction between your true self and conformism might result in trauma and numbness” ~Iwanjka

I passed four days at Luxembourg, a campsite near Berdorf to be more precise.

In my ‘previous life’ (untill 2008, my burnout and transition moment), I had been I guess for about 30 times to this place. The primary focus: Rock climbing.

The normal sequence: Work for about 40 to 60 hours during the week, pack things in the car Friday evening. Drive till about 1 AM. Sleep, and hit the rocks the day after. On Sundays the opposite sequence, hoping not to join a one hour traffic jam somewhere on the road back. And Monday be at work again at -sometimes- 7 AM.

Rock climbing had been my rescuer in a ‘low state’ in my life when I left school and went to university. Using my body, vitalize it, be part of a group system and spent climbing trips in nature gave me new energy. Further on in my life, when I started working as a consultant in banking industry I think it was my main source of energy to survive in these -basically- poisonous environments.

In this trip I went on my own. I could share the ride from the Netherlands with a new dear friend, Niels Baloe. We went with his car. I met Niels at a Transition Towns national day in the Netherlands some years before. He is dedicated in making a off grid gather house, with for example a 12 volts network (solar) and permaculture garden. And facilities for group gatherings. What a quite and nature abundance I experienced. This is his website, he also gives courses in non violent communication and off-grid living.

As being on my own, I did not have a climbing partner who could belay me. I did bring a rope with me though. And I had figured out a plan how I could belay myself once I had my rope through a carabiner above in the rocks ‘toprope solo’. But that required also somebody else to get it there;-)

I arrived Wednesday. It was fairly quite in the rock climbing area. Maybe six people. I decided not to ask them, it felt intrusive. Rock climbers couples can be pretty ‘self focused’. And also I wanted to experience this journey if I changed my attitude to my climbing habit: Was it still an escape and with that, a sort of addiction? Could I stand being with rocks, and not able to climb there?

I enjoyed nature, did some wanderings, did quite some work, which – thanks to mobile internet- could be done anywhere. And I felt not obsessed with climbing;-) So, a next phase on this for me: Climb from a more healthy perspective: Joy and keeping my body vital. Almost forgotten to mention: I also did two barefoot mountain runs, to train for the 2018 Ventoux-Malawi Fund raise project.

My return traject I planned to do by train and bus. For the first time. To put my words and intentions into action: Travel with far less fossil usage (not by a fossil car).

Inverse living…?
And now I come to the core thing I observed: By being able to be in that climbing area during the week it was nice and quite. In the weekend I didn’t want to be there actually.

I had been striving already 20 years ago to tune my life in the direction I could be there during the week.. and now it happened. Whoopy! And it again makes me realise how attached we are to all kinds of obligations and schemes… Work, school, children care, children school, schemes of our partner (climbing normally takes two, etc.).

In addition: I could take the ecological-better travel alternative because I had been able to change my life and do not have a static working schedule. In such I take a whole day for traveling by bus and train (Monday) (by car it is 3,5 to 5 hours driving). And, as migrating to a mostly mobile worker, I could do for about 5 hours work while being on the road.

About changing my life: A burnout made me change my life, I don’t think I would have quit my old working life and mortgage situation, etcetera, without that burnout. I hope that when more and more people make a transition. And share it, more and more people can make a transition without undergoing a deep personal crisis (also having a deep impact on ever one around them!).

Camp life dynamics…
How I love the camp life, in opposite to the living in concrete ‘bricks in the wall’… The freedom to go with the sun. The openness of fields and tenst, why you meet by accidence new people and sit around a fire together. Or ask people you like to join, and spent some days together. And children walking around in their little village (the campsite), making direct new friends at the trampoline and swimming pool. No need for daily journey to sporting clubs, schools, etc. (if we can arrange school at the campsite). As long as things are neither too big, or too small.

These things I miss in nowadays cities.

About camping and season: Camping in winter I don’t like, why do Dutch people have a long summer holiday and go south, instead of doing this in winter?). [Maybe future work, add Tranzhumance link.]

And what a different life we could live if we change the underlying fundamentals. That we organize society in such way being can move, travel, school everywhere, etc. Is this an Utopia? I don’t think so.

Imagine (permaculture) style food facilities around these campsites. In which people work themselves for maintaining them.

And I realize more and more, that it is not my duty (or burden) to help everyone to be able to live like this. I have been struggling too much with this the past 10 years I think. Their part, is a part of their own response-ablity. Everyone has the opportunity to build their own reality untill a certain level. But it takes personal action to start making steps. First for a day. Than three days a year. Than maybe some weeks. Than maybe a month. Etc.

Create your own heavens
I can try to find and make the places where I can settle and be there for a while, with like minded people if possible. I started to name this instant community. And keeping a harmonic balance with my biological family, and children care taking. Make -and contribute to- my own little heavens. Maybe this is what the ‘easy little quite valley’ stands for in my name poem. [maybe future work: add link]

And maybe you can find or make your little heavens too. Or maybe we can join in this;-)

And I can share experiences to the world (like writing this article), and hope to inspire those who deeply inside feel the desire for this way of life in their soul burning. Who feel sick about daily routine of going to work, feeling too deprivation and isolated where they live. And I can-and do- contribute to create interconnecting facilities to connect places and people. But I cannot do this on my own. Together we can make it work.

Tear down the walls, that hold us inside…

And I realize that I can do this now, by the grace of two mothers taking care of my children in the Netherlands. But I would like to -and do partly- also facilitate them that they can live this life.

And I realize there is a reason for me still living part time in the city (Amersfoort). I feel we can transform cities into more social vital places too. [Maybe future work, add link to vision paper on housing]. Although this might take some decennia to manifest. And I am happy to have found one of the ‘more social cohesive’ neighbors settings I have seen in cities. I am thankful for this and those people!

If you want to read more, the ‘Flowtowns’ [Maybe future work, add link] word is about this, and how we define ‘work’ [Maybe future work, add link] is about this. And you can read more in my Personal Transition Plan on how try to make steps in this direction.

And in such we might live more with each other… again.

And, and, not every one needs to life like this. If you are in a more stationary phase in your life: It is perfectly fine to remain where you are. But I think the life described above is not too strange for many people: Thousands of eldery people in the Netherlands stay in the warmth in southern areas already in winter. About a hundred of thousand Dutch campers and caravans drive south in summer, like a sort of human migration already being there, mostly aiming for… camp life

~ Iwanjka, may 2018