This autumn was all about getting back to quiet living for us. The summer is such a busy time, with the garden demanding full attention, holidays and my family in law staying at the house. Plus making my own wedding dress, and at the end of course our wedding. I felt like I hardly got any work done during the summer with all these distractions, and I was happy to get back into a working routine when Autumn rolled around. After the exceptionally hot summer it seemed the weather had returned to normal by September. The nights grew colder, the leaves turned into all colours, and we had those beautiful foggy mornings. Autumn is maybe my favourite season around here.
With the quiet times the contemplation came back, too. We knew we’d spend another winter here in the yurt, and we got back to thinking about improvements we wanted to make and what we’d want to focus on. On the one hand we don’t want to move too fast, so we have time just to enjoy where we are. On the other hand, it seems like we are of an age where we need to decide things and move toward those. In a way, nature is kind of deciding our priorities for us: we want to have kids and we’re both in our early thirties. We went back and forth a bit on how hard we should be looking for a piece of land, and whether it should be land or a house. We couldn’t come to a clear plan somehow.
This autumn brought change for Stef too: he landed a part time job as a front end developer. He has been trying to make the freelance long distance work for a while now, but it’s just not that easy. He decided he needed to get back on a payroll for a while to get his rhythm going again. Fortunately it worked out quite fast, and he now works for a Dutch company. It’s perfect for now. It’s nice to have a guaranteed income next to the patterns (which we have come to trust to work out, but isn’t quite steady). This gave us both some peace of mind. We live in such a way that we don’t need much money, but part of that is because we’re in the back yard of Stef’s parents. As soon as we’d move somewhere else our monthly costs will rise. With two incomes we could afford moving.
How and where, we don’t know yet. Even though they don’t exist yet, we have to take kids in account already. Do we want to raise them in a yurt or in a house, for instance? I’ve found a great channel on Youtube, by a family of 5 who live in a yurt the same size as ours. They live in Idaho and are living in a yurt while they build their own house. Their story is so recognisable. What really hit home for me was how Esther described how in the beginning your enthusiasm carries you so far, but then you start to feel how much mental energy it takes just to be different. This is so true for me. I talked about this with a friend who is vegan, and she understood this very well. If you’re different than most other people around you, you can be asked to explain yourself and even defend your choices at any given moment.
When it comes to making decisions, once you’ve ventured off the beaten track, you have to carve your path yourself. This gives us a lot of freedom, I feel like we have a lot more options than others most of the time. It also takes up a lot more energy. At the same time I feel a need to convince people that I’m not really that different from them, while not giving the impression that our way of living is better than theirs. The same as with veganism, people can perceive your story as criticism on theirs. For me all this has been a realisation to mull over this autumn. Nobody is always certain of what they’re doing, but I feel that with this lifestyle you have to be more certain that others. It wavers when others question us. Fortunately Stef is stronger in this than I am, he has never given much about others opinions. Add to this that we live in a strange country where we speak the language at a minimum, with unfamiliar systems and the customs, and a two days ride from our family and friends. This is another story that is too long to explore here now, but it adds up.
I don’t mean to complain at all, we’re still happy in our yurt in France. It’s just that we have come to a different phase, and I want to be truthful about that. It seems that things are not moving by itself anymore, we have to keep going on perseverance now. And at the same time still be open to the question of what we really want. We don’t have to persevere to prove a point. So maybe it’s no wonder that things seem to move slower than what others are used to who live busy lives. I think our mental energy is always partly occupied by our lifestyle in some way. We’re still positive about our future and our ability to figure it out and make it work, it just hasn’t taken a definite shape yet.