Happy, simply House (warming) Freezing

Day 22 House warming (16)

Not the warmest day in Aldinga ever but the warmth from the community, participants and supporters made it the warmest possible house warming ever…

Day 22 House warming (12)

The temperature was the only indication of the home freezing as it was insulated, warm and loved to make it toasty in and around. I couldn’t imagine anything that could have been warmer and more human than celebrating a community to come together for over a month to recognise the experience – and by the way there was also a home that was a bi-product of that process to show for it…

I know I will sound a little delusional and that usually happens when I am at 10,000 feet on my way from or two my next chapter of life, as I am writing this on a plane back to my ‘normal’ world of global awareness education and social justice.

The house warming day saw the Happy, simply volunteers building feverishly to try and finish as much as possible before the 11am champagne brunch and the 12 open-house celebration. By 11am we were still putting in the floor, adjusting tanks and constructing a temporary front deck but regardless of how complete we were we put tools down at noon to join a bunch of supporters, family and others to stop time and take note of the wonderful contribution of humans to put together a community project that produced a self-sufficient home.

This is what Happy, simply epitomises for me – bringing community, collectivism, cooperation, connection together to create shared time and experiences. Anyone who has ever done something collectively will know the post reflection and recognition of what was achieved when people come together behind a shared goal, identity or project.

For me the best things in life are not things and I have never seen Happy, simply as a project to build a house it is a community project to create an opportunity to learn, share and interact with people, a project to build a community – that happens to produce a house.

Day 22 House warming (13)
I love the Happy, simply home not because it is beautiful or a tangible object that I will live in and share with others but because it was made with others who got to know each other and create quality rich experiences and friendships.

At this point I could go into a big Oscar speech of listing people, thanking them and being acknowledged myself but anyone who was a part of the Happy, simply experience – weather following online, making food for the project, donating materials, donating their skills and expertise or being there to use their hands and head to produce the home all walk away with some form of self-appreciation for their part in the Happy, simply project.

Day 22 House warming (11)

Popping the cork to ‘officially’ (prematurely) open the Happy, simply South Australia home!

We were all just as important and insignificant as each other and we now have something to show for our combined time and efforts that not only means something to us but to anyone who interacts with Happy, simply – a sustainable lifestyle model and education project.

Enough rare-air rambling but I can say I am extremely thankful to all who have been a part of the experience and feel proud in what we have achieved but best of all is I walk away with a group of new friends and a rich experience that will last with me for a lifetime.

Day 22 happy simply family

Infinite gratitude, love, happiness and thanks to all who have stepped into the Happy, simply space in the past 6-8 weeks – time for me to step away from the building space and back into the comforts of education, empowerment, global citizenship and youth inspiration for seeing an end to extreme poverty and a happy simple world for all.

Super thanks to all and I’ll follow up with a more practical blog on where to from here for the Happy, simply South Australia home…

Day 22

If you want to keep in touch with my propaganda in my other life of global education and social justice…

Please feel free to use any ideas, resources, information and inspiration from Happy, simply and just get in touch if there is anything specific you would like to know…

The struggles of living in luxury

I am either going to sound like a dickhead or a crazy guy who lives in a little house in the woods (or someone’s front yard in NZ) with this one.

How did people and society get taken so far off track that they have 14 lane highways, no bicycle or walking infrastructure and people lives revolve around the morning news reports of the traffic flow and if a break down or crash will add on another hour or more to their already 3-hour daily commute…

IMG_1264For the first time in about 13 years I have been forced to be somewhere I didn’t really want to be or choose. I’m currently in Atlanta, Georgia, USA for a couple of weeks training for a volunteer program I will be doing in Uganda for the rest of the year.

For the first time in a long time that I have had to grin and bear my surroundings. Even when I was being depressed by the environment and atmosphere of Singapore a year or so ago it was at my choice to be there. Atlanta is full of wonderful people and I am not having a dig at the fine folks of this town but it is a way of life that is so far from my preferred way of life and the life I get to see in many other countries, especially developing countries.

Beautiful sunset through the double glazed windows to keep the highways noises out and the airconditioning in!

Beautiful sunset through the double glazed windows to keep the highways noises out and the airconditioning in!

Let me set the scene. I have a buffet breakfast each morning with a choice of almost anything I can imagine, I then go to 9 hours of lectures and workshops in air conditioning that is so cold you need a jumper and jacket compared with the 30 degree celsius temperature outside, and sleeping is in a well to do hotel equally frozen with air conditioning and rooms that have windows that don’t open and contains all the ‘best things in life’ like a comfy bed, TV with heaps of channels and daily service to turn your bed. I’m sorry this is my form of near living hell – told you I was going to sounds like a dickhead or crazy guy in the woods! Even when I walk to or from the training venue, 5 miles away along roads that don’t have footpaths or any inkling of non-car infrastructure, people think I am completely crazy.

Not out in the countryside this is suburbia Atlanta style - nice trees but huge houses with huge yards that makes the suburbs sprawl endlessly and somehow no footpaths

Not out in the countryside this is suburbia Atlanta style – nice trees but huge houses with huge yards that makes the suburbs sprawl endlessly and somehow no footpaths

If I look at all of this from even a not so crazy perspective it shows that the bulk of peoples lives here comprises of commuting, working and recreating – largely by watching TV or shopping to buy things to make them happy in the few spare moments they have outside of having to work and commute so much to pay for a house that is many times bigger than they need. I hope that is not a too crazy perspective to see that is pretty weird when compared with the simplicity, self-sufficiency and sustainability we largely came from even just 50 years ago.

I usually don’t try to make too many value judgements and I see that it is different to my own perspectives and shouldn’t be considered wrong but it worries me when it is so inbuilt to a societal level that it is a little depressing. I feel like I want to evangelise simplicity and reassure this society that they would be happier with less and they are on a conveyer belt to personal, societal and environmental degradation and destruction.

 

Am I upside-down in this town or is this town upside-down?

Absolutely each to their own but for me in this environment I am dreaming of my Happy, simply home, the hills and beach of Paekakariki and rich conversations with friends and strangers not stuck in their cars.

On a happy note there is a good potential with all the storms to see a monkey-shaped cloud…!