I have finally had the opportunity to live what was once a feeling, that turned into an idea, that turned into a concept, that turned into a poster and proposed project, which lead to an ideology of what was, for me, a happy, fulfilling, meaningful, connected and globally responsible way of life.
The plan back then was Happy, simply – a sustainable lifestyle model and education project. The components of this were a self-sufficient home off all grids (solar, water capture, compost toilet), responsible transport (walking, cycling and public transport), volunteering in the community.
From the idea to the poster I then threw it out into the world to see what response or interest might find it. I was lucky to interact and follow up with a range of different people to learn and share with. The tipping point to reality came when Tim from Sustainable HAbitat Challenge (SHAC) put me in touch with a Spanish couple who are designers and builders. They loved the idea and so we set about how would be build the home component of the Happy, simply lifestyle model and education project.
Currently living the Happy, simply home that was built by Javi, Mireia, myself and a myriad of wonderful volunteers still has me both perplexed and humbled by how we made it come together and all the generosity needed and given.
The Happy, simply home was built by a community and supported by so many and in a rainless February last year. By March the purple 10m2 self-sufficient home was completed. At that time I was incredibly relieved and stressed by the whole process, it is not easy to be constantly vulnerable asking everyone for everything so I didn’t really have the opportunity to live the essence of the Happy, simply lifestyle before I took off back to Australia to see the newborn donor child I helped my friend have.
After a month in Australia in April last year I took off again for 6 months working with UNICEF in Uganda followed by some travel, volunteering and learning in southern Africa for a month and a half. I managed three days back in my hometown of Adelaide before going on a 5-week global awareness presentation tour of SE Asia. Finally at the end of this (not that I wasn’t loving every minute of it) I had a couple more weeks in Adelaide and Melbourne before I made it back to the Happy, simply home in Paekakariki, Aotearoa New Zealand on April the 1st one since I had left!
My first night in the Happy, simply home was surreal, I couldn’t believe I was staying in a place that housed so many memories, emotions, generosity and more – the smile was plastered on my face all evening and night.
Now almost two weeks on from that arrival I have settled into the Happy, simply lifestyle. I spend a couple days a week in Wellington doing some volunteering and then come 45km back up the coast to Paekakariki to live happily and simply in just the way I like it. I walk, I ride, I meet with people, I volunteer (mainly online setting up various programs and thinking of more) but I live in the most idealistic purposeful way I can imagine.
I use less than 10l of water a day, I have enough power from my small 95w solar panel to charge my laptop daily, I compost my waste and my recreation is spending time with others, spending time with nature or writing blogs about how lucky I am I get to live life in exactly the way I have been envisioning for the past 2-3 years.
The photos will show that it looks like a cool little house but to me it means so much more it is Happy, simply – a sustainable lifestyle model and education project to me and hopefully others.
I sort of said never again after building this place here last year but I suppose like running a marathon or child birth the bad aspects fade and the good aspect rise to the top so I will be building another Happy, simply home in Aldinga, South Australia next month with a new community, band of volunteers and learning to be had! https://www.facebook.com/groups/happysimplysa/?fref=ts
I hope others have the chance to find their own Happy, simply as I know I certainly have.