There is a tale worth sharing by almost everyone, if that tale defines a purpose in life, inspires a soul to unshackle itself and resolves the lifelong problem of figuring out where we all belong. This, which you are reading here, will be my rendition of one, a true one too. Ironically, it starts with an old roadmap and a kid, still in primary school.
Having lived in the Eastern Freestate as a child, we were landlocked by a handful of provinces and the country of Lesotho. Many of my classmates have never been to the seaside and did not know what it smelt like, but I did. We made biennial trips to Cape Town, as a family, while my father drove the thirteen to fifteen hours from Bethlehem to Bloubergstrand. At the end of such an exhausting trip awaits the residence of my uncle and aunt, coastal people, beach buggies, pizzerias, surfers and the smell of Kelp (or whatever that odour is) in the air.
As exciting as it was to see Table Mountain, visit large malls and go on vomit inducing boat rides, my memories of the vast expanses between home and the sea stuck with me to my adult years. In order to get there on a decent hour of the day, we would leave from my uncle’s house around 2 AM. Leaving at such an unholy time of the morning, however, was the highlight of my trips. The normal, average folks are fast asleep and only the epic ‘heroes of the night’ are awake. Stopping at service stations along the dark, subdued highways proved this as a fact. The only life around would be the low-key traffic police vehicle in one of the parking bays, and the peaceful idling of a long distance truck, as its arcane driver moves through the shadows with a cup of coffee.
Being properly awake again, I stare out of the passenger window, sipping on my beverage and watching road signs go by. I barely remember all the names, but I recall they held intrigue and spurred my inner drive to explore. Prins Albert, Kruidfontein and Leeu-Gamka and a few others come to mind. As dawn creeps up on us, I peered further into the landscape. It’s rare to spot life out there but a distant farmhouse, wind-pump or reservoir is easy to find if you look hard enough over bossies and succulents. I couldn’t help but ponder existence out there. “What are they doing now, and what does it sound like in a serene setting that like?” It was beautiful, mysterious and enticing. I needed to get out there, but the best I could do as a highschool kid, was to look at the old AA roadmap book at all these places and towns. The 1990s wasn’t a great time for internet, Google Maps didn’t exist (heck, Google didn’t happen yet) and to investigate anything meant you had to go there and experience it. Come to think of it, the way life was when things were right!
At this stage in my life already, I wanted to experience an existence in rural bliss. There are many reasons. The peace, the quiet, avoiding negative influence from toxic people, the untouched natural landscapes and the serenity. Living out there, or anywhere remote, really made it clear to me how we digressed from what is essential. The old way of life was, is to this day, appealing to me because you can focus all your energy on working hard everyday on what is meaningful to you. Taking responsibility for your own food, water, and waste is how it should be. Capitalism ruined everything by making societies feeble and unable to fend for themselves. We are at a point where children think meat comes from a shop, where the ability to forage for basic food bewilders our friends and where fear, uncertainty and doubt rules the masses with insurances, medical aids and war. If you live where your soul craves to be, you have power over your life and fate; you accept blame for your own hunger and you run it as you see fit. Hard work is necessary, but benefits you by providing 100% of its gains to you (unlike slaving for a greedy corporation) and your skill set & personal health goes up; physical and mental stability returns when things make sense. Of course, my spirit demands to be in the arid Karoo, but yours may be on an island, atop a mountain, in a small eco-village in Uruguay or aboard a research ship destined for the Antarctic coastlines.
Enough said about my personal justifications. You have yours and I have mine, and it’s equally important for us both to feel inspired and motivated. Without the knowledge and certainty of what life means to you, you cannot possibly know where you need to be to be happy and make it count. What I am telling here is the story from start to finish, which I will unfurl carefully for you. I did my time in corporate; I tried a few things, and I investigated many paths leading up to where I am now. We are selling our first farm at the time of penning this, and the adventure starts from scratch. This will be a continuously evolving work, and it will cover all the trials, events, animals, planning and economy. It should be a guideline and at least a light at the end of the tunnel for you, and it will give you an idea of what you can expect before and after the storm.