Thursday, October 2, 2014

Living for now

Some people may think that my wander lust and my obsession with my garden are an insoluble conflict.

They aren't to me, they are all part of the master plan.

Yes I am an insatiable travel planner and dreamer, obsessed with maps and a mad devourer of travel literature. But for me, there has to be a backup plan.

I'm not some girl in her 20's with a university degree and a disillusionment with the self serving ambition for possessions built on debt and consumerism, which I totally agree BTW, is a scourge on this earth and is fuelling over consumption and environmental degradation. So yeah, I applaud those idealistic youngsters who set up careers as digital nomads and travel the world. Often these travel bloggers sell up everything they have when they embark on long term travel, figuring that possessions are not only unnecessary and a burden, but somehow extemporary to the freedom of travelling the world with no commitments. Sure, not everyone sells up, but it's certainly a common theme I see.

This may well be fine when you are in your mid 20's, maybe even through to your mid 40's, and when one follows travel bloggers for some time, you notice that they inevitably settle down somewhere at some stage. And the place they settle in usually is predicated by the low cost of living, because they've opted out of the mainstream, and hence the ability to live in the expensive west long term.

There's even an entire industry catering to long term retirement as an expat in cheaper countries, and yes, many governments in the developing world are very eager to welcome retirees, with conditions of course!

I have friends who've taken early retirement, who have sold their possessions and now have no equity. And as property prices have increased they can no longer afford to buy back in, especially as their age reduces their likelihood of getting many years of gainful employment, and hence a loan. Other friends, however, have wisely kept their primary home, knowing they have something to fall back on should age or illness reduce their ability to continue to travel.

Some people, of course, never have that option, and retiring within the western world will mean their later years spent in penury, counting pennies and hoping the doctor doesn't prescribe them another, expensive, medication. This is a damn good reason to relocate to a cheaper country, and many baby boomers are doing just that.

So I'd like to keep my options open. I'm yet to find anywhere else in the world that I enjoy the lifestyle more than where I live now. Why should I reduce my options to a point where I can no longer live in the west because it costs too much? As much as I love to travel, my little piece of paradise at Chez Drummonds is my home for life.

Given this, it makes sense to invest in creating the bones of a good garden. It doesn't matter that in the years that I'm away plants will die, that I may have to start all over. It doesn't matter because I take such joy from creating it, right here, right now.

I'm not leaving tomorrow, in fact I'm not even sure when I'm heading off on "the big trip". I know I'm heading to NZ again in July for the ski season, and I'd like to spend the summer back in Oz windsurfing, and then after that, who knows. But right now, is right now, and growing and eating healthy food is really important to me, so I invest in my garden.

The future is ephemeral, I refuse to live for tomorrow when today is where it's at. Whether I'm growing seasonal veges or planting fruit trees for future crops it's really all for the same reason. I get incredible joy and satisfaction from just pottering in the garden, whether it's building a wall or a gate, staking a tomato plant, collecting snails, or weeding and making compost. Listening to interesting podcasts, or the myriad birdcalls, watching the stumpy tail lizards crawl through the mulberry leaf mulch whilst I'm stuffing my face with succulent purple berries, planning the next stage of the great wall of Drummonds or hauling posts for the chook run resurrection, I'm having a ball. The only thing that really gets in the way of this enjoyment is having to go to work.

Ah well, that will be over soon.

Nine more months!

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