I didn’t know anyone in Mauritius, I didn’t have any contacts there, not even an online acquaintance. We flew to a country we had never been to before, to find out if it was the right place for us, the right place for our project. A piece of land, set up in harmony with nature, with its own electricity (using only clean sustainable methods), perhaps its own source of water… a place where I could work in piece and my son could continue his education.
It was middle of August when we arrived, Mauritian winter. We went straight to the East. When the ocean winds hit Mauritius, that is where they hit, in the East. These winds are known to be challenging. Go East in the summer, but never in the winter. And yet, our journey began there. In retrospect, it couldn’t have started anywhere else. Looking at dozens of possibilities, one stood out in every way.
Tents and wood instead of concrete and stone, clean solar power, lush vegetation, all situated right on the Grand River South East, between the waterfall and the mouth of the river. Kayaks and bikes are freely available. We use the kayaks regularly.
With no prior experiences in Mauritius, I had no idea what to expect, so I made my peace with all kinds of potential hardship and unforeseen challenges. Whatever would happen, we would be fine. I didn’t particularly crave the company of others. When I was in the community area, to eat or connect to the internet, I sat at a table in the corner, situated a few steps above everything else. The company of my son was the only company I needed and any time he roamed around elsewhere, I would usually write.
We were thousands of kilometers away from what used to be home but, in Otentic, there was a fire burning every night.
Sitting by this fire, I thought of Australian aborigines; they have a word that means ‘fire place/hearth’ which, for them, also means ‘home’ or ‘heart country’.
That was indeed how Mauritius seemed to us. Only a couple of days upon arrival we felt embraced by warmth and an unexpected feeling of familiarity. The hard aspect of the toughness mindset seemed obsolete, so I let it go.
After a few weeks of going from place to place and exploring, I found us a semi-permanent home directly on the beach, in the northwestern part of the island. We spent several months there. To summarize all we have experienced is impossible; it was a life-changing journey.
One thing became clear over time, namely that the original project could never be realized in Mauritius and – despite of that – it was tempting to stay, but we didn’t.
So where to next?
I considered Indonesia, but the property laws there are even crazier than in Mauritius. I, once again, started looking at the world map, researching even countries I previously hadn’t considered, trying to figure which was worth a look, worth an exploration.
Well-organized countries were, for the most part, already consumed by the madness of control (controlling their citizens and guiding ‘the poor souls’ through life like blind passengers), while many of the far-away, wilder locations often had a high crime rate, in many cases including even violent crime as a plausible happenstance. Space travel came to mind, but we lack the essential equipment.
We have EU passports which, at least as far as bureaucracy is concerned, simplifies things within the European Union. Which European countries might tempt us?
Spain, France, Italy, Malta, Greece. In other words, the South. Malta has water issues and not many trees, so probably not there. In Greece we would have to not only learn a new language, but a new alphabet. I am not sure Kit (my son) needs that kind of challenge at this point.
Many years ago, when I was in Spain, I felt a strange sensation, similar to a déjà vu. I decided it was worth a second look. I bought one-way tickets to Europe, to Barcelona.