home base

Home, for the last year and 3 months, has been a beautiful farm called Santosha, just outside Lismore. When I decided to live a low-impact and moneyless life for a while, I asked my friends on this farm if I could live there for a year to kick off this ‘experiment’. They were very welcoming and open-minded and have continued to be that way. This gift has allowed me the freedom to try living this way – to test the boundaries a bit and see what is possible. I am ever grateful to Ananda, Hogan, and their lovely family for being so open to this adventure and sharing their space. This is the gift of sharing that is often assumed is missing from our society, but a year of living without money has confirmed that it is definitely alive and well……

I will be moving on from Santosha soon as my agreed year (and a bit more) is up. I will hang around in the area for a while as my gorgeous little (almost 20 years old now) daughter will be getting hitched in May to her equally gorgeous young fiancee. They are the sweetest couple and seem to know so much more about life and relating well than I did at their age (and maybe even do now).

I intend to float around, staying with friends and helping out here and there until the end of May. This does bring up a couple of issues for me though. These issues have been tested over the last few days as I have been house and dog sitting at our neighbour’s place. How do I live under someone else’s roof and remain as low impact as I would like? I realise I am quite hard on myself with this stuff but I do try to remind myself of just how vital it is for me (as it is for all of us, I believe), to reduce my impact as much as I can and still live a good life. It’s a sometimes uncomfortable way to live and think – questioning all the time – but it’s vital. Without this discomfort now, we will find ourselves in a bad place in the years to come. Maybe it’s a case of long-term verses immediate gratification…..

Staying at my friend’s place (the neighbour’s) has been a good experiment. I have not cooked in their house – I built a rough rocket stove in their yard out of bricks that were already there. I have used their fridge – it was on anyway. I have not flushed the toilet unless necessary, have had very short showers and turned the water off while soaping myself. I have boiled the jug once in the morning and used my Thermos flask to store water for cuppas for the rest of the day – I ‘should’ have boiled water on the rocket stove but this is where I have been a bit lazy/easy on myself. I have used the internet but not the big TV (which remains turned off at the wall). I have not used lights unless needed. One thing I did do that was unnecessary and was just out of a desire for ease (I’ve been going through a pretty rough time emotionally), was to put a load of washing through the washing machine. At my place I usually hand wash which is not my favourite thing in the world to do, especially with very dirty work clothes. I have used other people’s washing machines maybe half a dozen times over the past year. I brought my own ‘toilet paper’ (second hand serviettes) to use. I have used the toaster twice!

I have been thinking a lot about how to live in a ‘normal’ household and be low-impact. I think the last few days have shown me that it’s not too difficult. It does require staying on course though – it would be very easy and tempting to just use the facilities available – increasing my impact unnecessarily. We’ll see how it goes……

 

 

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8 thoughts on “home base

  1. I commend you for trying so hard, Jo, trying to stay true to your ideals and values, even though I find them really hard to not make me swallow in discomfort. If I was to keep score like that it probably would drive me nuts and I would feel guilty for simply being alive. Maybe I do. Anyway, it sounds to me like you mean ‘serious’ business and makes me want to say: hey, relax and breathe and smile :-D… I also want to add that sharing a home with others, incl. wash loads or boiling the kettle etc. makes it easier on the environment. Sharing the energy resources, no waste is better than using it only for oneself. So being alone in a conventional house would contribute to your conflicts, or am I wrong? At least that’s what I learnt from you so far 😉 Of course, not using the gadgets at all might be preferable in your no-money-low-impact-world…
    How does that rocket stove perform, by the way?

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  2. I have a friend who told me some years ago that she uses cloth to wipe herself (and family) as she noticed how filthly toilet paper left you. She would wash them afterwards, sterilize in the sun I suppose.

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  3. I have read somewhere that Muslims use a bottle of water instead of paper. Maybe a type of bidet like in Japan. Later I learned this trick for camping…if you apply vaseline/coconut oil/ some type of fat to your nether bits the poo just slides out and paper is rarely needed. Hope that helps.

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  4. Also, a typical front loader uses way less water AND power to the old style clothes washers, that said another friend does the wash in a low pale in the shower with the feet but I’m not sure how really dirty items would go. Maybe leave soaking in soapy water overnight and then rinse/tread in the next shower. Maybe the standard needs to be set to accomodate clothes washed with the environment in mind.

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