Like a pastor on sundays, I get the feeling that I'm preaching to the converted. The same 'enlightened' people come into my world, they appear to be thinking parallel thoughts concerning their place on this earth, what impact they have, and how their choices impact on other entities. Many occasions will see me meet someone advanced, advanced in their actions, their achievements, their thoughts, and for this I am rather grateful. It's reinvigorating, like a dip in a cool creek on a hot day. Many moons ago I was asked to travel to Bega to present my talk to a crowd of folk at an annual event called the South Coast Field Days. The field days sounded like a great place for me to present, and I'll always say yes to a bit of paid travel. The girls helped me pack up the truck, hurriedly mind you as I'd spent the morning helping to butcher the pig and I was running behind schedule. But I could now embark on a journey knowing our years worth of pork was well and truly sorted out. The drive took us a few days along the south east coast eventually ending up in New South Wales, finally reaching the pretty town of Bega.
I like talking at events, I like meeting people that give a shit. Often the folk I meet are looking for answers, exploring ideas or just stumbling across a better way to live. Words like, self sufficiency and sustainability get tumbled around, but really my talk covers my journey from office to my current way of living deeply embedded in 'practiculture'. Practiculture is as it sounds, practical living with a reduced impact on environment while enjoying doing, instead of merely consuming. A life of licking plates of rich gravy, gnawing flesh from roasted beastie legs, slurping heart warming soups and moments of pure joy at the end of a rod, in front of a fire and under a woollen blanket. This is my life. This is what I talk about. The reasons why I changed from a desk jockey back to my days of a wild country youth. I talk of the benefits for me, my family and our natural world. It's rewarding to converse with the audience after my talk, to hear their story to share ideas. Being a man living on a limited budget I often end up staying at the home of a generous host.
Green with envy is the best way to describe my feeling as I pulled in the drive. The sweet staw-bale cottage surrounded by practiculture had me lured in with the smell of waddling ducks, and the smoke from the camp fire. My hosts Genevieve and Annie, and their kids Oscar and Olive welcomed us to their home, they fed us and housed us. We spent nights around the campfire talking' practiculture with with their geologist turned wild man, Brett. I love those moments meeting complete strangers that have so much in common. It's almost like we're old friends. And I guess now we are friends. We are after all, brothers and sisters.
This little home of Gen and Annie, was a benchmark for practiculture living. They made the house with their hands from humble materials, they dug the soil and planted an array of fresh food feed their family, they made a safe housing for ducks and chooks, composting toilet and a playstation for the children to explore and imagine.
As much as I would have liked to move into the loft of the cottage I could no longer avoid the inevitable. The road called to us. Now it was a matter of exploring places I'd longed to see once again. Snow covered mountain ranges, crisp cool creeks, trout filled waters and new places to roll out the tent and sleep on the ground as nature intended.
For those folk that missed me in Bega but might be in Sydney weekend of the 19th October come and see me talk at Food and Words at the Mint. Details here.