Monday, 28 January 2008

Losing the plot - The story so far (part one)

March 2007

I am disillusioned, stagnating, stressed and depressed. I have felt like this to varying degrees for the past six months.

The city I have loved and lived in for the past seven years is getting me down. The fast pace I am living reaps few results, but rather encourages me to seek refuge at the bottom of a bottle. One of the things that truly allows me to breathe is my allotment, which is difficult to maintain with such a busy schedule and having to travel 6 miles by bus to get there. It doesn't flourish as I would like it to.

My lifestyle is unsatisfactory, and I decide that I have to make a change. I consider my options.

Summer 2007

Various options considered, I decide that volunteering abroad would fulfil several needs.

These are a) to escape my current situation b) to do some something worthwhile c) to do something that would have visible results d) to be healthy e) to widen my experience f) to gain new skills g) to travel

What to do? Where to go? The possibilities are endless.

I set myself a deadline of September to decide.

July 2007

I spend five days living in a tent during some of the worst floods witnessed in Britain for a long time.

I am volunteering as an Oxfam Steward during the Glade festival in Berkshire. The rain is torrential, especially during my first shift when I realise that cagouls are not actually waterproof and nearly contract hypotehrmia while trying to prevent it in others.

Food becomes fuel, and a cold trickle of water to wash in a true luxury. The situation becomes more drastic over the weekend of the festival, and we really have to work together to protect and encourage each other.

Finally, the rains begin to clear. As I sit alone outside my tent watching the sun sink behing the trees, I realise that this is the happiest I have been for a very long time.

I almost decide to join the circus, or to somehow travel from festival to festival working and volunteering. This is still an option that quite appeals! I have had a revelation. How little we actually need to survive, and how little extra to be happy. Everything else seems to be a distraction.

Tom and Barbara had the right idea. I have a dream of having a little land where the chickens cluck about freely, where I can make jam and bread and pop outside for a tomato when I fancy a snack. A life without bills and wages! Idyllic, but somewhat unrealistic for now, me thinks.

I focus my search on environmental and conservation projects.

August 2007

After substantial internet research, including lots of dead ends and circles, Ecuador is the destination that recurrently appeals. The reasons for this will become apparent in later posts.

Phew. It took such a long time to make this decision. Getting there will be simple, right?

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