Location - claiming your ground

27 June 2013
Before we move onto specific subjects such as budgeting, paying off debt, traditional skills, baking, cooking from scratch, organisation, routines, decluttering, recycling, vegetable gardening, chooks and whatever else we can think of, I'd like to talk about living where you are - claiming your ground.

I suppose simple living is often been seen as a rural pleasure. A way of life that makes sense in the country, or at least outside the city. I think there are arguments for and against most locations, the key here is to work out where you have to be at a particular stage of your life and then make it work for you. Bloom where you are planted.

I live in a semi-rural town about an hour's drive from our capital city and I'm very happy here. There is good rainfall, we've built up our soil so it now produces abundant harvests, the sun shines most days and nothing much happens. At this stage in my life, all those things are important to me. But public transport here isn't as reliable and frequent here as it is in the city, if we needed specialist medical services we'd probably have to drive into the city for them, and entertainment consists of beaches, cinemas and not much else.

Living in the city offers good public transport, a wide variety of shops from which to buy groceries, a better choice of many things such as art galleries, exhibitions and schools. The down side of city life is that in Australia, and probably in other countries too, rents and house prices are much higher.

Usually life tends to place us in certain locations depending on our stage of life. If you are living in an area that doesn't seem to support your wish to live more simply, you might just need to think outside the square and make the most of where you're at. Everything you do will prepare you for a move to another place later but don't waste this part of your life wanting to be where you can't be.

When we moved here we had a large block of land with an 1980s brick house on it. There were no fences, water tanks, solar panels, gardens, verandahs or garage. Over the years, when we could afford to add something, we did, and now we live in a home that easily supports our way of life. If we'd given up on being here, we never would have felt the warm familiarity we feel now. This is our true home now and I reckon we'll both die here.

If you're having trouble claiming your space now, look at the permaculture principles again here. If you can apply any, or several, or these principles to your current home, that will be a starting point for you. If that doesn't work, learn a traditional skill such as knitting, fermenting, baking bread or making wine and see how that fits into your life and if it makes you feel that your home is home (for now).

Whatever you do, don't waste time whining about where you want to be. Get on with your life and focus on the positives. Just do what you can do. It is possible to bloom where you are planted in almost any location. If you have the will to do it you can make a warm and comfortable home anywhere.