06. September 2010 · 23:27 · Age: 7 Jahre
a world tour dedicated to sustainable lifestyles
If some years ago, somebody had told us that we would quit our jobs one day and do a journey to work in sustainable projects around the world, we would have just laughed! As some years ago, we were a pretty normal couple with pretty normal jobs, not even really what you would call “green” minded.
We, that is Joanna and Franck, a multicultural expat couple in their thirties, living in a nice apartment in Brussels. I am the Polish-German part and my husband Franck, a French guy from Dijon who back then was working as a controller in a bank.
So what happened between now and then?
How everything started …
It all began at the movies. After watching Al Gore´s “An inconvenient truth” in 2007, we were wondering how we could go on living as before while being aware of all the horrible scenarios of climate change and human greed destroying our natural resources. Were we trapped in a system, no longer apt to work in an alternative manner? How could we actually live in harmony with nature? How could our society change to become ecologically viable?
We started to dig deeper into that questions, reading books of French environmentalist and writer Nicolas Hulot, the visionary Belgian architect Luc Schuiten and self-sufficiency pioneers like John Seymour or Sepp Holzer. A whole new world of inspiring thoughts opened up to us! Then suddenly the financial crisis hit the US and then Europe and showed us how weak the system of our modern society actually was.
There was no more doubt: We had to seriously rethink our future.
When planning our next holidays, we signed up for the Willing Workers on Organic Farms (WWOOF) program in Spain and went to work for a British guy selling organic wine in the Penèdes region close to Barcelona. We visited another organic farm in the region, where a guy working on an oil platform was growing organic almonds – we had amazing discussions and a wonderful rewarding working experience: Back in Belgium, we stumbled upon Belgium´s first ecovillage Kasteel Nieuwenhoven in Sint Truiden and signed up to volunteer there as well for a couple of days. Captivated by the generosity, enthusiasm and authentic values of the people we met there, our office jobs, our hectic everyday life seemed fake and meaningless.
Many discussions and sleepless nights later, our decision was clear: We wanted to change our life. Even more: We wanted other people to discover that it is worth to live closer to nature. But how do you do that? Our solution: Travelling to 30 exciting projects around the world covering permaculture, eco-construction, herbology, homesteading, transition towns, eco villages etc., meeting positive role models, working with them and sharing their ideas and experiences with others via interviews, video clips and pictures on a blog!
To this end, in October 2009 we also set up an association – Organicvision – as we wanted to show our sincere long-term investment in promoting sustainable lifestyle and setting up a network of activists in this field as our project develops.
In the belly of the beast
Then the preparation for our world tour began: We had to set up an approximate route, the necessary budget, find interesting projects, where we could volunteers, hosts where we could stay...explain everything to our families- a part not to be underestimated : )
To save money we moved to a much smaller apartment (going from 100 to merely 50 sq. m), checked how we could use less energy and water, stopped impulsive shopping sprees and started to sell our stuff on flea markets. It felt great to get rid of all these unnecessary things!
On the other hand it meant buying new outdoor equipment, a digital video camera, a domain for our blog. As we will be using flights between the continents we also decided to pay for a CO2 compensation of our air travel using www.co2logic.be
After checking the vaccine requirements, we went to the Brussels travel clinic, where we found great experts, who could match even a city in Argentina to the necessary vaccine!
We went on looking for possible sponsors, companies and NGOs that take sustainability seriously: Like Yuluka, a Brussels-based communication agency specializing in sustainable projects. Or “Un toit pour les abeilles”, a French company selling the sponsorship of beehives to other companies.
Preparing this journey also meant learning new skills like setting up a blog, using a digital video-camera, learning Spanish, doing workshops about solar technology, herbology, etc.
Finally we had to face the administrative hurdles: Quit our jobs, run to the national authorities, insurance companies and …scan, copy and sign a seemingly never-ending stream of papers.
Getting closer to the start of our journey the sad part began: Saying goodbye to our loved ones, friends and former colleagues, sitting in an almost empty apartment amidst our cardboard boxes with the few left-over belongings. There are moments of doubt, moments of feeling terribly exhausted and then moments of joy and excitement about the things to come.
In August, we will hit the road and our first stop will be the German town of Freiburg, where we will live for a couple of days in the ecovillage Vauban, meeting and discussing with its inhabitants and the city´s Director of urban planning, Prof. Daseking. We will then continue working in a Swiss monastery in Niederrickenbach (close to Luzern), where we will learn about medicinal herbs, followed by a 3 week permaculture design course and eco-construction training at the Ecocentre in Southern France www.ecocentre.org with a Canadian trainer, Bernard Alonso. In mid-September we will be heading to Canada, working on organic farms in Quebec and discovering community-supported agriculture before leaving in mid-November to Costa Rica, helping two American botanists in the rainforest.
Want to join the adventure? Meet us at www.organicvision.org
We are looking forward to your comments! Besides, we are also still looking for sponsors and contacts in sustainable projects around the world, particularly in Cuba. We would appreciate your help!!! Drop us a line at email@example.com