Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton
Well, hello there. I almost didn’t see you, peeking around the edge of that overgrown spot where the right-of-way cuts into my property. Come on up — but take it a little easy. There’s a bit of a rut where my tires spun into the soft ground, just at the top of the rise. I haven’t improved the road just yet.
It’s on my to-do list. I have a lo-o-o-ng to-do list.
I’m Denise, and I seem to be on an adventure. At first, I thought it was going to be a fast sort of adventure. I mostly knew where I was going and what I wanted to do, and I set off with a full head of steam, purging my belongings, selling my home in Indianapolis, and moving myself and my dog, Bodhi, down South where I planned to stay for a few weeks with my parents until I found and bought a property in North Carolina. I put the remainder of my stuff in storage, anticipating that Bodhi and I would soon settle into a yurt and live out our sweetly simple lives surrounded by the wild beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The Universe had other ideas.
Bodhi died. My income all but dried up. And almost every single plan I made changed. My adventure ground to a halt, and I slipped into a dark, weeks-long depression. I felt old and useless and stupid for blowing up my life as I did, on what amounts to a whim.
But you didn’t come all this way to listen to me talk about my troubles. Besides, that’s not where my adventure ends. That’s just where it begins anew.
Finnegan, Begin Again
I started telling this story over on another blog, but I decided it was getting kind of big for that blog and it needed its own space. You see, I’ve been exploring not only the what and the how of living in deeper connection with the land but also paying a lot of attention to the why of it all as I go. I’m trying to answer questions for myself like:
- How “minimal” is minimalism? What belongings will I need to feel comfortable in my new life? How big a space will I need to house them?
- What does it mean to be in symbiotic relationship with the land?
- Is homesteading right for me? What about permaculture? What do those things really look like?
- Do I have the skills I’ll need to live the way I think I want to live?
- What kinds of gear will I have to buy to make the place livable?
And the big one:
- Why the heck am I doing this, whatever this turns out to be?
I’m taking things more slowly now, accepting that beloved companions die and income goes up in smoke and plans for the future collide with brick walls. And out of that acceptance, something magical has happened: A new dog has entered my life. New sources of income have opened up. My plans are shifting as I treat them more as explorations than an etched-in-stone road map.
So here you are, on my driveway-to-be, looking at the overgrowth and trees and all this untouched, untamed, tilting mountain land on which I plan to make my home, and you’re wondering (I know you are!): Where is this going?
Shoot, I dunno. I used to think I did, but that was just an illusion. For now, I have a general shape in mind. I have a story unfolding in front of me. And I have you to tell it to.
Walk with me a while, will you? I’d appreciate the company as I figure this thing out.