After an absence from TSOTR, due to undergoing a permaculture design course, (never apologise, never explain!) I now belong to a possibly infinite global community of people who more or less share my values and interests. I’m not going to lie, this is a Really Nice Thing : a bit like a family, but without the expectations! Having spent years being obsessed with
and the idea of walking the Camino de Santiago
without ever finding anyone who even understood, I now feel sure I could go anywhere in the world and find people who share not only these passions, but maybe also renewable energy, basketmaking and co-housing too.
We did a little shared forest gardening yesterday, in my little corner of N15, and one of my new friends was talking about the idea of finding a place, somewhere in the world, where you could set up a permaculture project, and attract people to visit and make money out of hosting and feeding them, which she said is ‘ what everybody wants’. As I think of myself as a natural traveller, inhibited ( in many ways) by single parentdom, I was a bit surprised to discover that I really don’t.
Although my retirement plan is to live in a field in a caravan, grow food, keep chickens, make charcoal,
and I suppose I would sell my surplus eggs, and make curry goat for visitors, I do not see the future as being tourism, even of the eco variety. If you are here, somewhere else needs a lot of time to get to, and if you haven’t got time to walk or cycle, then you need to use a lot of energy, which I don’t think we can afford to waste chasing dream holidays.
Nice as Fiji is, obviously.
I remember a conversation I had a long time ago in a pub in Enfield : two people in their twenties were talking about the places they had been to round the world, like items on a list you had to tick off : Macchu Picchu, tick, Sydney Harbour, tick, that temple in Thailand with the monkeys, tick. I asked them, because they were annoying me, what if getting to know one place infinitely well, perhaps over generations, was as good as seeing loads of places once or twice, and not only did they laugh at me, but the whole group of office drinkers stopped their own conversations to join in laughing at this stupidest of stupid ideas.
Sixty years ago, Mount Everest was a forbidden place, that you risked your life attempting to climb. Now there is a team of people whose work it is to pick up the tons of rubbish left by the um, couple of hundred visitors who climb it every year.
Where I am going with this is that feeling ‘part of’ a place is fundamental to our security and identity, and how our ability to go anywhere and do anything we like is damaging to us who visit, the place we visit, and the people who have to clear up all the mess.
So now I have established how raucously happy I am, living in my little north london place, how do I decide where on earth to go on holiday with my son this year????