Friday, 14 November 2008

Back to NaTuRe... *** the mother of us all ***

Hello everyone and sorry for not having posted for ages but I have been really avoiding technology and trying to settle into my experience here after such a long and busy build-up. I think I need to explain this further as I have a feeling that a lot of people who know me are not necessarily aware of quite how important the 'nature' element of my travels in New Zealand is.

So here we go...

I came here to WWOOF.

As the WWOOF website describes...Willing Workers on Organic Farms is a world wide network where volunteers ("WWOOFers") live and learn on organic properties. WWOOF volunteers offer their help on the farm and in return they learn about biological farming. Food and accommodation is provided. WWOOF began in New Zealand in 1974.

WWOOFers live with families and get hands-on experience with organic farming, permaculture, earth building, cooking, crafts, wine, cheese and bread making, alternative energy and much more... check to read examples of the variety of host experiences.

Basically the point is that, as many people will know, when I was in England I spent a lot of time preaching about fair trade, free range and organic food etc, so now what I am doing is actually, well not just buying/talking it but DOING it. Learning what it involves to grow vegetables & fruit, look after chickens, pigs etc, live close to 'the source' (NATURE) ...

I tell you it's incredible how good it makes you feel to spend 2 days completely rejuvinating a patch of ground from being totally overgrown with last season's vegetables to being fully hauled over with sacks of horse shit mixed in (after being collected by hand) to make it richer soil for planting a load of baby kumara (a sort of sweet potato) plants into... fresh air, exercise and being outside are SUCH sort outs!!

SO the reality is that I am actually learning and experiencing, the kind of things that back home I merely dreamed of and moaned about. I am doing something about my desire to live more in synchronisation with nature and things just make so much more sense that way. I can't actually imagine how my conscience could let me return to the way of life I had back home and it's starting to dawn on me where many of my guilt issues were rooted.

Learning what herbs are good for what effects on your health and making teas out of them, knowing how to plant baby carrots and what minerals different plants need to grow, watching baby chickens get bigger by feeding them natural food and letting them run around freely, milking the goat that feeds on the grass and family's foodscraps, picking fresh salad leaves, cabbages, broccoli, strawberries...these are a small percentage of the things I have so far experienced whilst WWOOFing.

Oh and eating amazing organic meals and sharing some wonderful conversations in which I don't feel like the odd one out who's 'just being fussy'!!!

Plus, now that I have watched a happy 100% free-range chicken have its head chopped off, helped to pluck it and break bones whilst preparing it for cooking, then later on eating it whilst being fully aware that it was alive and running around that very morning, I am pretty positive that I will never again eat chicken unless I am certain of its origin. Also I have seen the size of naturally fed 6 week old chickens and it aint big. Those ones you buy in the supermarkets are that age and let me tell you those poor things must have been so pumped full of hormones, and simply bred to eat with no respect whatsoever for the beauty of life that it's people can continue to eat these things without feeling sick at the horror of thinking how they've been treated is beyond me.

The time between staying with the WWOOF hosts I am travelling as cheaply as possible, camping in my tent and finding ways to eat and have amazing experiences without spending money.

Oh yeh so that's the other thing - MONEY.

Yes, money is something I am also trying to avoid here in New Zealand. I didn't manage to save a massive amount before I came away but the way I am living is such that I am hardly spending any whilst still living a really rich life full of beautiful experiences. The first week I was here & staying in Auckland I had some big outlays - buying a bus pass, sorting out a NZ SIMcard (for occasional mobile phone use) and of course some booze-fueled fun nights. But now I am in full resourcefulness mode ie. do I reeeally neeed this item here that I am tempted to buy? - No of course not, it is just being SOLD to me by someone who wants me to spend money and convince me that I desire their product (a product which was probably produced by someone who was underpaid whilst using up energy and producing pollution). It is amazing the things that come to you for free or what you can make out of someone else's waste when you are in thrift mode...someone else's leftovers became a gourmet breakfast of toast and tea, for example. Or a load of old washing machines get turned into a water wheel for generating electricity (as is the case for Allen, the WWOOF host I am currently staying with).

The two WWOOF hosts I have so far stayed with are both working towards living completely self-sufficiently. Getting power from the sun or streams, water from the sky and food they grow themselves. Using waste food to feed animals which in turn provide more food, using waste (excrement) to feed the ground from which more food grows. All of which follows the natural path of things working in cycles, the way nature intended. I think it's a beautiful notion and one that more people really should consider, if not as a way of life then at least just THINK about these things. Why should people depend on material things and modern society, owe thousands in debt to whichever bank or credit card or mortgage company , spend their days sitting in front of a computer and their evenings in front of a TV, draining resources from our beautiful planet whilst they become more and more distant from the very thing which sustains us all?

And hey it's not the easiest thing in the world to cast off years of learned materialism and dependency on comforts such as flushing toilets and hot water whenever you want it. You have to give things up that you think you need and it's taking dedication and some serious re-training of the mind for me to do. You have to think more, and take it step by step. But all you have to do is be more aware, pay more attention and realise how healthy and good it is for you to have a happier conscience. That is, of course, if you choose to ACTUALLY think about these things, which I have come to find is unavoidable hence the action I am taking (I say 'you' where obviously what I refer to is MY experience, not sure why it feels more natural to describe in this way). And yes it is not necessarily as 'comfortable' to sleep in a barn and have limited electricity, but for the three weeks that I did so I had no tobacco or alcohol and I swear I only missed them on two occasions.

Said barn was located on a piece of land owned by Anna and Dino, a couple who, when they first bought the land 5 years ago covered in trees and scrub, lived in a tent for a year and a half whilst they implemented their ideas and now have 3 beautiful children, a house they built themselves, various veg, fruit and herbs growing, a load of chickens, goats, bees, and much more in the pipeline. All it's taken has been dedication and positive action. Anyone can do it. Yes, anyone...

If you can imagine it, then anything is possible.

Sitting in front of this computer tonight as I am, I feel that in reality my blog, what I want to explain about what I am trying to achieve, should be something I dedicate more time to and even approach as if I am writing an essay, because I so desperately wish to explain how important these things are to me and my travels and hopefully make people think about these things. Not that I know how many people will actually have the patience to read through these mini essays!!! (please do me a favour and comment if you have done?)

So the point if that it's not just about having fun travelling! It's a very serious project and experience...

Though that's not to say I haven't had heaps of fun and some beautiful experiences. I think I have fallen in love with a dog by the way. I now understand why people have dogs. There is a dog called Rusty who seems to understand me so perfectly. For the first 4 days I was here (the place I am currently staying at) he barked and growled at me from within his fenced area. I looked at him and said to him 'You WILL be friends with me somehow'. And believe me a lot of people would be scared of this dog. That's why the poor thing is chained up. Most people don't understand him. Their fears breed mis-interpreted aggression which is, of course, merely a desire for love and attention from a dog who's not aware of his own strength. So he's chained up because certain humans don't understand him. I know very little about dogs, but I think I can RELATE and that's the main thing. I got Allen to introduce me to Rusty, I approached him with pure love and within minutes he was beginning to understand me, and me him. I proceeded to spend a few hours with this dog, speaking to him about my thoughts as I dug over some soil, cuddling him and lying down with him, and he made me cry about 3 times through sheer force of love and beauty and the incredible way in which he responded to things I said to him - some really powerful emotional connection going on. Impossible to express why/how. But yeh, I'm in love with him.

This is also a journey of the SPIRIT. You know all those questions and pontificating conversations I so love to engage in, the meaning of life, philosophy, psychology, what it's all about? Well so far in my travels here there have been many amazing conversations and so much information has come to me to add to my quest for answers. Discussions about where our planet's at in terms of a collective consciousness, an imminent shift in the overall level of humanity's connection to understanding more than just what we immediately perceive as being reality. But more on that when I have learnt enough to attempt to sum some of it up. For the time being let me just say that I am very excited and feeling very lucky to exist in this stage of the evolution of existence. Some people will understand more than others what I mean by this and to those of you that do, well guys let me tell you it is quite magical how many circumstances have so far presented themselves to me in which I have learnt things I have been wanting to learn. Positive universal change is not too far away my friends and WE are the lucky ones. The faster we all start realising it the better!

POSITIVE is in fact the thought I shall make the last one of my blog for today. Approach everything with a positive outlook and the universe will respond in positive ways. Fear breeds fear. Love breeds love. Simple. Rusty the dog is the perfect example.

So what, if people think I am just a crazy hippy?! I'll leave you with a quote from Bill Hicks...

"Today a young man on acid realised that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, and we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively. There's no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves".
(more Bill Hicks:

I love you all

PS. pleeeeease email me with news of what's going on with you!!!!


mandy said...

Yes... You scared me at first (white coats), but the more I read on the more I realised you're doing what makes you happy. And i'm really glad it's working for you.
The Rusty storey was very moving, even shed a little tear for you!!!
Not sure about you being 'in love' with him though, I think that's illegal!!!!!lol
I'm so happy that things are working out for you.
Take care, be safe and keep us updated. We do worry when no-one hears from you.
Love and miss you xx

Marie Planner said...

A lovely and very interesting read Kat, I liked the Rusty bit too,will give things more thought when shopping etc. Take care and enjoy the lovely outdoor lifestyle you describe. xxxx

Annie said...

I've said for a long time that you are a hippy at heart - not crazy though. You are doing what you love and believe in and I really admire your outlook on life.
Thank you for my birthday card, full of profound words and wonderful rosemary.
Take care sweetie - love you loads

Anonymous said...

Who'd be so foolish as to not read all the way through I ask myself :O)

Wonderfully written and beautifully expressed my dear friend. I'll stop my comments there I think however before I delve into a monologue :op

Take care Kat, dream, live, love, never stop asking questions, and never stop being you my friend x