Spreading the Word

Today I received a visitor into my home, a young woman from France who is traveling around North America for 8 months interviewing people who are living Simply and/or Sustainably, or who are on a path towards that lifestyle. Her goal is to take her interview photos and notes back to France and use them as a starting off point for discussions around these issues; she hopes to facilitate networking and the development of supportive, local communities of like-minded folks. She got my name from a friend and blog reader who lives in a co-housing community on Vancouver Island.

Of course my children behaved like wild animals, alternately shrieking and fighting. Eventually I separated them and gave them each a snack while they watched movies. I had to shake my head at the irony of hosting a discussion about Our Simple Life while one kid watched Blue’s Room on the DVD player in the kids’ room and the other watched Ratatouille on the big screen monitor in the living room, streamed via an AppleTV.

No, really. We embrace the Simple Life. Honest!

The discussion itself was very interesting. I explained that I had come to Simple Living via frugality when Husband and I formulated The Dream and The Plan. She commented that many of her interviewees came to it through a desire to tread more lightly on the Earth, or to find more time in their lives for their true passions. It was interesting to look at all the different aspects of Simple Living and how they intertwine.

We also talked about the Internet and what a valuable resource it is for bringing people together and fostering a sense of community. On the other hand, she noted that, ideally, we should be forging such communities in our own local home towns and cities. She shared some interesting ideas about how media promotes the idea of the “normal life” (consume, work harder, consume more, buy on credit, work even harder…) such that those of us doing things a bit differently are made to feel alone in our efforts, when in reality we may not be.

She admired my garden and my clothesline and my homemade pot scrubbers. She tried to take pictures of me with my kids while Daughter wiggled her butt at the camera and stuck out her tongue and Son screamed “No! You can NOT take my picture!!”. Sigh. That’s life with young children, very unpredictable and guaranteed to put on a show when you least want one…!

Nevertheless I was excited to speak with her and hear her ideas on promoting sustainable living. I was very impressed that such a young woman (I’m pegging her in mid-to-late twenties) was already so focussed on issues that I was far too busy clubbing and dating to give any thought toward when I was her age. Not to mention her travelling around the world to put her beliefs into practice and try to make a difference in the world. I don’t know if she got much out of her talk with me, but I experienced the wonderful feeling of being part of Something…it was definitely the highlight of my day.


3 responses to this post.

  1. First of all, your description of your kids remind me of mine. A photographer was going to come about a while back to follow our family around. It never panned out and maybe that’s a good thing. I can imagine my boys doing the same thing.

    That said, it sounds like a great experience. It is amazing . . . and heartening that someone so young is so focused and on the right path. Her points about forging local communities are good ones. Of course, we also need the support of our Internet community while we work to build a local support group.

    Thanks for sharing your experience.


  2. Posted by Janet on May 21, 2008 at 9:41 pm

    So glad the two of you caught up with each other!

    When N. visited our house (we are the co-housing friends) it was a MESS. She couldn’t walk across the floor because of the toys out and then couldn’t sit on the couch because the cushions were in the corner as a tent.

    What her impression of “simple” Canadian families is we can only guess at!!!!


  3. Posted by Nolina on November 15, 2008 at 11:33 am

    Ahhh, this is the quintessential form of rippling out across the world, in human form and yes, helped along by modern technology in the form of the internet, shared values and lifestyles for simplicity and sustainability.

    I would love to have this woman visit my growing organic farm and property along the Rio Grande Valley in the heart of New Mexico where I live off the grid in a straw bale casita I built. Yup, I am roughing it now in pursuit of The Dream. Working hard, living simply, doing without many “comforts and conveniences” taken for granted, yet knowing it is well worth it.

    Several of my devoted Farmer’s Market customers are preparing to go to Canada as WWOOF’ers (Willing Workers on Organic Farms), so I feel connected in an abstract fashion to Canadians farming organically and living closer to Nature.

    Best Wishes for Enjoying the Precious Moments of Life whilst Living your Dream!!


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