Years ago, I had the most riveting conversation with a friend who was thinking about early retirement after a long career in public service and in the international development space. He talked about opening a little coffee shop in his hometown, Cape Town, and living a life of “natural abundance”. He explained this to mean “having all that God and nature intends you to have”. Cryptic, right? For him, it meant having enough to live a comfortable life that can sustain his small pleasures e.g. the occasional dinner at a nice restaurant. He would not be able to gallivant in Paris and London as he does now and buy expensive things but, he would have enough to enjoy simple pleasures for the rest of his life.
A few days ago, I had a similar conversation with a friend who lives in Kenya. He is a governance expert during the week but on weekends, he is a pig farmer and spends his time out of the city with his wife and son and their many dogs. He grows vegetables; cooks his heart out and loves the idea of living off the grid in the future. He says the business is small but has gained a solid reputation for good quality pork. As we talked about his plans, I said to him, “I see big things happening for you”. He said, “I don’t want big things. I want enough things”.
I have another friend who left her safe corporate job in London and Kenya and basically went on what I’m calling an eat-pray-love journey around the world for several months. Her travels eventually took her to Fiji where has recently met her life partner. She has happily settled in Fiji with her husband, works as an entrepreneur and is enjoying the pleasures and simplicity of small-island life. She has never been happier.
This is teaser for a series of blogs that I plan to write – telling you more about these guys and other young Africans who are making lifestyle choices to live simpler, healthier and happier. I will write about why I am completely captivated by their nature-filled, wholesome lifestyle. They are not going to wait till retirement to live a life of natural abundance- they are doing it in their 30s and in their 40s. Some are content with the 9 to 5 gigs provided they have an outlet to unplug and be creative. Others make a complete career and lifestyle change with a view to have a better quality of life.
The photos displayed in this blog capture my ideal life of natural abundance. This is the personal home of a South African architect. It is a two bedroom house out in the Klein Karoo, a semi desert area in South Africa. It is completely off the grid, gets water from a nearby spring, harvests rainwater and recycles grey water for their garden where they grow their own vegetables. The architecture and scenery is breathtaking. This would be ideal lifestyle (if I could hack it – my veggie growing attempts have been a bit of a train-wreck). But work with me…. I can see myself living out remotely (but 20 mins from a cafe), working from home, perhaps writing children’s books, making stuff to sell at a farmers market…
Anyway, I’m certain that these stories will inspire many people who are thinking about the next 2 years, 3 years, 10 years… There is no denying that we could all use an improved work-life balance. Does this concept of natural abundance speak to you?
Peace and Love
Photo credits: The ultimate solar-powered Ecomo pod home for off-grid living in South Africa (inhabitat.com).