These last few weeks of traveling and adventure have been something of a dream. In three weeks time, I’ve transitioned from living in a tent, waking each morning at dawn and milking cows to, jogging in the city, meditating on the beach while the sun set across the pristine Indian Ocean, Sleeping in three airport terminals in two separate countries, to finally find myself in this fascinatingly beautiful city of Mueang Phuket, Thailand. I have one week to absorb and immerse myself in the culture here before making the trek north to meet up with team Panya CQ. After a very brief sojourn in Bangkok the crew and I will make our way north again to Korat and the 50 acres I will call home for the next year.
The excitement for this project has been building now for many months. I feel incredibly blessed to be able to take part in the transformation of this little farm in Thailand. The opportunity to experience Thailand itself is quite a blessing… add to that the chance to contribute to the development of a sustainable culture for both thai and western peoples alike and the blessing is more than significantly magnified.
My new home in Korat, however, can never take the place of my home in Texas. When I first signed up for this opportunity, I had my reservations. I was just gearing up for a three month stint in Australia with the idea that I would perhaps spend an additional 6 + months traveling afterward to experience the world and get myself engaged in international permaculture aid work. The prospect of planting myself in one spot for a year, no matter how exotic, was not something I was altogether ready to consider. But, when the universe is trying to give you a sign, you would be foolish to defy her. In this case, the universe was nearly beating me over the head with signs that were pointing me to this project. I almost feel that, had I chose to turn down the opportunity… The next plane I boarded would have to be diverted to an emergency landing in the center of a 50 acre farm in Thailand. Not kidding.
It pays to listen to the universe when she speaks so clearly. It didn’t take long after making the commitment to realize that this was not only the right thing… but an AMAZING thing! Sitting here in a hostel that doubles as an Irish Pub in the middle of Phuket Town, meeting some of the most amazing and diverse peoples while exploring the very warm and friendly culture of SE Asia, I begin to questions why I would have ever had any reluctance.
Well, I know the answer to that. The truth is, Austin is my home… and the community there, my family. It’s not every day that you encounter a community that you can wrap yourself up in so entirely that they become kin. It’s something I was willing to part with for some months, perhaps even a year, but the gift that is this family is one that I hope to never be entirely estranged.
Seeing through new lenses
Now here I am, three months into my expedition and I’m starting to see the world through an entirely new set of lenses. My experiences throughout the process of this past three months have taught me a lot. When I set out, I set out with the intention of finding and cultivating the tools that would allow me to make permaculture a way of life. What I didn’t know, was what shape that life would take… what does it look like to really live permaculture?
Well, whereas I can’t say that I’m actually there yet… I now feel I have a clear line of sight to that reality. And, what I see there is a world of opportunity, abundance… and travel.
I know, hardline permaculturalist would object. “Travel cannot be sustainable!” they might say. Well, I have my counters to that argument… but this is a discussion for another time. Right now, the best thing that I can do for the world and myself… is to engage completely in the world of permaculture aid. There are a lot of people and places out there that are in dire need of this knowledge and to simply resign to one location, to confine myself to helping only one community, is to sell myself short and and see my vision pigeonholed into a single dimension. Those who know me well enough know that this is an unacceptable condition for me.
Ambition has one heel nailed in well, though she stretch her fingers to touch the heavens. ~Lao Tzu
The Power of Ambition
Recognizing that my journey has only just begun, I have to reconcile how I manage to stay connected to the community that inspired me to take this leap in the first place. Just after the internship ended, I met with two mentors. Two people who, in recognizing my ambitions, offered their guidance and support. In a very clean and concise way, they’ve helped me to nail down the heel of my ambitions.
Now to get at those stars… Is it possible to stretch myself to work both with the community at home and other communities abroad? YES!
I’m Coming Home!
After much thought and consideration, I have decided that I will plan a trip home during the course of this year. I have been encouraged to take 3 weeks off every six months of work at Panya CQ. This allows me time to jump home and see family and friends and bask in the comforts of some of the things that I have come to miss most about life in Austin.
Moreover, three weeks is ample time to teach a Permaculture Design Course!
That’s right, sometime in the fall of 2012, I will return to Austin to lead my very first PDC. I will be coordinating the details over the coming weeks and share them as soon as they become concrete. Booking will be limited and I plan to offer this course at a very special price (seeing as it will my first time to lead a PDC and I only really need to make enough to fund my travel expenses there and back). I cannot think of a better way to share the gifts that I’ve received over the course of this extraordinary adventure and, at the same time, reconnect with the family that I love and miss so deeply.
So get ready to mark your calendars, Austin! A Permaculture Design Course is 72 hours of mind expanding, paradigm shifting, ecological integrating science. The course will be run over 12 intense days so be ready to schedule time to immerse yourself in a full blown life changing experience!
Booking for the course will be limited to the first 20 people (although I will have time to spend with many more than that outside of the course) and the cost will start at $525 on a sliding scale to allow for those who have the passion, but not the financial means, to add permaculture design to their skill set.
More details will be available soon but if you have questions about any aspect of this upcoming course, or would like to reserve a spot early please feel free to contact me.
Much love and gratitude to everyone who has helped make this possible!