This is not a long travel or a sabbatical. This is like sailing into the Unknown to find an alternative route to India. What my wife and I are about to do is changing our lives completely. After staying in Brazil for three years, where my wife had a working contract and where I turned into a writer, we moved into a 4×4-truck converted into a mobile home. Our aim is to find an ecovillage or a self-supplying, sustainable living community in southern Europe to stay there for the rest of our lives.
The transition we are about to experience is driven by several reasons:
- Morale: Countries like Germany, whose economy almost completely depends on oil and gas, have a huge interest in cheap costs for and a constant flow of these resources. Our biggest ally, the United States of America, takes and secures oil and gas by force, and we are supporting them. Since 1999 we have even been involved in wars lead by the US that break international law, the highest legal authority in the world. This development does not lead to peace but to a catastrophic disaster. If this policy cannot be stopped by elections or political agitation, every single one of us has to act and lower his or her energy consumption, which is in average 50 to 60 times higher than the energy we need to nourish ourselves. Not depending on resources you do not own means peace with your neighbours, in a small as well as in a big scale.
- Freedom: I believe human beings are born to be free and equal. Though western constitutions claim these rights as their unique selling point, their economic system turns their citizens into working slaves and produces inequality. I do not understand how someone, who has to work eleven months a year to finance his or her living just to have a single free month, can call him- or herself free. I think it is totally unjust that only people who live on the work of others by employing them, by letting houses or land or by lending money and getting interest in return can enjoy freedom. This is wrong and does not comply with our constitutions at all. Our humanitarian rights do not fit the economic systems, is that not obvious to see?
- Environment: Earth is changing because of our consumption of fossil energy. Nature will cope with it, though it means that 90 % of the species will become extinct first according to the speed of changes. The question is, if our civilization will survive mass migration because of rising temperatures worldwide and wars for fading resources. Since earth’s climate system is, from a human point of view, inert, we need radical measurements now and not in 50 or 100 years. Only avoiding the emission of carbon dioxide in a grand scale is radical enough to stop climate change. This means an enormous reduction of energy consumption in the so called developed countries.
- Inspiration: Living in different cultures widens your horizon. Especially when there is enough time to learn a different language and you get in contact with people. It changes the view on your own culture as well. Fear and occlusion are driven by the unknown. If you do not know, what you are risking, everything is potentially highly dangerous. When you become a part of a different culture you understand the risks and learn how to behave to avoid them. In Germany no one would walk around on an Autobahn. It is extremely dangerous. Everybody knows that. In Brazil there are hardly any roads where pedestrians are excluded. Therefore the maximum speed limit is 110 kph. But everybody knows that you do not show off with your new smart-phone in dark back-allies, unless you want to be assaulted.
- Low costs: I am convinced that less energy consumption and not paying a rent for a house or an apartment mean less costs and therefore less work. I am hoping that living in a self-supplying community will leave time for me to work as a writer.
The aim of this blog is to describe the process of this transition, with all its hopes, experiences, encounters, gains, draw-backs and downfalls.