I’ve just realised that I haven’t made enough of some of the great people I’ve met who are also undergoing this amazing green journey – downshifting or re-moulding their lives to their views of the new reality we face. There are so many of them I won’t attempt to get them all into one post, so here is a teaser for you . . .

Becoming Domestic

Living the dream – a rollercoaster ride into the realities of downshifting with a family. Inspirational and nailbiting, as well as practical and down to earth . . well worth a read – becomingdomestic.co.uk

The ultimate pantry

Green Cottage

From someone who faces the workday reality of trying to tackle climate change through the constraints of local government – and at the end of the day he walks the walk – combining low-cost renovation of a Victorian terrace with high-effort regeneration of a woodland – ourgreencottage.wordpress.com

Away from green cottage – valley wood

La Ferme de Sourrou

La Ferme de Sourrou is where I see myself in another life – without the daily schoolrun or the pressures of catchments and SATs. Amazing tales of self-building and self-sufficiency, wonderful gardens and animals – read more at lafermedesourrou.blogspot.co.uk – and have a look at the gorgeous photos.

It’s all about the chickens

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Just finished listening to the first podcast from The Downshift Project – a really interesting insight into the lives of budding escapees from this oil-based rat race.

I’ve never really got into listening to non-radio podcasts so this is a new one on me, an extra, personal, dimension to a blog. This podcast is an strangely intimate confessional, and as I found the content so interesting I didn’t really think about how vulnerable the author must feel, and I hadn’t had any thoughts about the quality of her podcast until she mentioned it at the end – which must be a good sign.

In it, Tess, the creator of the podcast, discusses how she got from traditional daily life to living in a wooden cabin in west Wales. She talks about the difficulty in leaving your established career, something which often defines you in our work-based society. She confronts the fear of losing skills built up over many year, but a turning point comes when she makes the realisation that she couldn’t survive without Civilisation. That was a good point for me: how could we survive without the constant crutch of nearby shops, water and power? And I guess that really is the ultimate question we’re facing here at Gentle Descent.  I liked her advice that the best way to free yourself from the constrictions of your existing job-and-skills mindset – focus on the future, and as you develop those new skills and interests, you’l leave your old “protective shell” behind without even noticing.

The description of their Narrow-Boat life was great – I liked the intimate connection to nature. Something that I remember from our un-insulated timber house in Brisbane. The community of narrowboaters sounded fun, and I wonder if our desire for land (and therefore space between us and others) is the sort of thing that reduces community bonds. It’ll be interesting to see if they can find that kind of community again in a rural, land-based world.

Their aim to be debt free, so they can minimise the time they have to work for others, really resonates with me. And the balance that they’re striking between life and career goals is certainly refreshing. I’ll be interested to see how their paid work/life/self sufficiency work balance pans out, and whether Tess manages to spend enough time writing and composing music or will her time all be taken up with producing food & fuel? Lets watch and see!