In August 2014, I sold and/or gave away almost everything I had to embark on a journey. Not a holiday vacation or a quick breather before diving back into the madness, but a proper journey. The idea was to find a new home for me and my 12 years old son. A piece of land somewhere on this planet, where we could live in harmony with nature. We were fine with it being “cut off from civilization” and how close it was to amenities was also not a major concern. It would have its own water, its own electricity (using only sustainable methods), some fruit trees, and we would plant a garden for our immediate needs. Some chickens perhaps and we would also have a cow, for milk only. I do love my coffee….
Every so often we would have to buy certain things, like flour, rice and yes, coffee. That was also understood.
We lived in Vienna, Austria at the time. We both dreamed of and craved a life in nature, besides… how sustainable can you be in the city? I couldn’t even influence the form of energy that was being used for heating and electricity in my own apartment! I was feeding the very machine I kept criticizing.
I felt like a hypocrite, a talker…. and I’ve never been one to just talk. Of course I have considered finding us a piece of land right there in Austria, but several points spoke against that:
- Austria is cold. Being sustainable in a cold area is a much bigger task.
- Austria is expensive.The money I had at my disposal wouldn’t have brought us far in this particular endeavor.
- Austria has a tax on solar photovoltaics, a tax on sunshine! That particular piece of information crossed my path in March 2014, EXACTLY at the time when I was considering a property in Austria. It was the final kick, a clear ‘no’.
So where is home? If you could live anywhere, where would you live?
Where would we live?
Research research research… & watch out for those signs!
Five or six years earlier, back in in 2008 or 2009, I thought of going to New Zealand, to live there. So many things seemed to be right about New Zealand… so naturally, in those early spring days of 2014, it all came back to me. Then, one day, I had visitors. One of them is a cousin of mine, a woman I hadn’t seen in years. She is in Vienna to see her brother, who is in a hospital.
She tells me his story. He left Europe years ago and went to New Zealand with his family, to live a different life. He is in Vienna now, for treatment. He has skin cancer. He was never one to sunbathe or lay on the beach, it’s nothing like that. He was driving to work every day and every day the sun hit the same part of his skin through the car window. Eventually, he got cancer on that spot.
What a horrible story!
What timing… considering the journey ahead of us…
The ozone layer is much thinner in New Zealand, I knew that, but I thought that didn’t really concern me since I was anyway not planning to lay on the beach and toast myself. I didn’t think the sun was this harmful in that part of the world…! I knew that, eventually, the sun might become that harmful everywhere on Earth, but for now, I didn’t need to go, nor take my son, to a place which is the ultimate burning spot on the planet.
New Zealand was no longer an option.
Back to zero-point.
I did extensive research in 2008/09. New Zealand was the top favorite, but a few other countries also seemed interesting. The runner-up was Mauritius, an island nation in the Indian ocean. I began researching Mauritius once again, to see how it would seem to me now, and it seemed quite wonderful, but things are not always as they seem, we all know that. So, in August 2014, we packed our bags and flew to Mauritius, to see for ourselves.