Well, it took me two years longer than I had expected to find the place I was meant to live, but it was worth it. I have a twenty-year lease on a piece of rainforest that is so staggeringly beautiful it almost hurts my eyes. I have constructed a roundhouse into the side of a hill with large walls of polarized glass so that animals and birds see it as opaque and don’t crash into it, but to me, when I awake each morning, I see floor-to-ceiling panoramas of forest and waterfalls, and I am a mile trail hike from the ocean beach, and a mile trail hike in the opposite direction to the road and the small village where I can get groceries and other supplies I need.
My typical day is the kind most people only dream of. In the morning I harvest fruit and nuts from the trees growing wild around me, and grains from my small garden, for breakfast. I go online and do a bit of research and video chat with friends all over the world online, using a new Virtual World software that allows my avatars (one that looks just like the real me, only a bit better; the other is my fantasy avatar, an eco-hero BirdMan) to collaborate with others, watch videos, look at documents etc. together as if we were together in real time and real space.
I have a steady stream of visitors from all over the world, so the rest of the morning is often consumed by a walk in the forest or along the beach or to the village with them. Our trips and chats are automatically video-recorded using our miniature headband cameras, and automatically electronically transcribed and posted on this blog with a link to the video. On days when I am alone I still sometimes record my morning walk, accompanied by a personal travelogue or perhaps a story I have written and memorized. Or, like today, I might do more ‘traditional’ blogging like this post.
Afternoons are my volunteering time. I do some teaching about natural enterprise, innovation and sustainability, both in the nearby village and online, where my ‘courses’ are available for free download and self-paced learning, and where my ‘office hours’ for real-time questions and mentoring are posted. The evenings are my time for writing, most of it creative writing these days (stories, plays, films, music, and poetry), but also sometimes essays, research and new ‘courseware’ and blog posts like this one.
I’ve nearly achieved zero footprint. I consume nearly nothing other than my vegan foods, most of which grow wild and local. No need for heat or air conditioning in this perfect human climate. My small electricity and lighting needs are produced by solar energy, and I’ve nearly forgotten what it’s like to wear clothes. Water is collected from the abundant rains and waste is composted. Most of my pension goes to projects to help others reduce their footprint, since I have almost nothing to spend it on.
Everything I do is allotted more than enough time, because I’ve learned that by doing things much more slowly I get much more accomplished, more effectively, more creatively, more attentively, and I have slowed my life down to the point that I am beginning to sense how animals in the wild live in Now Time. The only things I do are the ten things I blogged about three years ago as being what I was meant to do: exploring and discovering (mostly within a short walk of my front door), reflecting and imagining possibilities, writing, loving (people, here and virtually, and the wild creatures I live among and belong with here), learning, conversing, sensing and listening and paying attention and just being present, playing, coaching and showing others what I know and what I imagine, and self-managing (just trying to be an example for others of how to live responsibly, sustainably, and joyfully).
Virtually everything I produce I give away, and I remain astonished and humbled that I am given in return far more than I could ever use, so I just keep passing it forward. My vision of living in a natural, intentional community has come true, I think, but not in the way I had imagined. My community is everyone, and every creature, who happens to be here, each day. I am simply a part of it. This community has no ‘permanent residents’, not even me. I’m just here, for now, in this physical community, and in the virtual communities of which I am a part.
The world remains in crisis, and I am sad about that, but I do what I can, and what I must.