Where Are We And Why? Enjoying a Different Way of Life and New Experiences On a Farm

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Thursday 3 September 2015

Where Are We And Why? Enjoying a Different Way of Life and New Experiences On a Farm

Following our extended stay in the Queyras Regional Park we have recently found ourselves a little more settled this past couple of weeks near Guillestre, staying on an organic farm. Although we've still found the time to get out and about a little and experience some more cycling and hiking in the region, we've also been enjoying this opportunity to be more mindful, learn about farming, spend time with interesting and like-minded people, continue our own talking and exploration of ourselves and have many other new experiences. When we arrived we had would never have known just how fascinating and important our time here would be. It's showing us that by letting life flow a little more and resisting less by planning and worrying so much, that there are many unexpected opportunities that continually arise which might otherwise be missed.

It was during our stay in Arbries a couple of weeks ago that we felt the need to return to a slightly larger town to restock some of our diminishing supplies and especially to look for leafy green vegetables. So we decided to head back to Guillestre on a Monday morning to visit the busy and bustling market and the two bio-shops, Bio-monde and O'fil Bio. Once there, in addition to buying lots of fresh, colourful organic food, we were very happy to be reunited once again with a friend we had made during our stay in Ceillac.

As we chatted he reiterated the kind invitation he had made in Ceillac to visit him on the organic farm he was working on, which we did later that afternoon, and thanks to the kindness of the farmer we found ourselves staying here a short while as well.

During our time since arriving, although it was not expected of us and we were warmly welcomed as guests, we've enjoyed taking the chance to help out a little on the farm where we could, particularly with weeding some of the vegetables patches, which has been an unexpected chance to practice being mindful doing an activity, building on the books we've been reading recently.

It's also given us a great appreciation of just how much work goes into organic farming. We didn't always, a few years ago at least, eat so many vegetables or buy organic and changing this over the past couple of years has been part of our journey. Being here is motivating us to reflect a little more on the food changes we've made and the benefits to our health and our environment in stark contrast to the mixed and uncomfortable feelings we experienced last December during our stay in Cabo de Gata and seeing the industrial scale production of vegetables with a large cost to the environment and the living conditions of the workers. Perhaps we may share some of these reflections in future.

Staying put and not having a plan to dash off to another region, taking each day as it comes, has also allowed us to be open and have new experiences when the opportunity has arisen which we would have otherwise have missed out on: riding a horse for the first time, sleeping in a yurt, making our own sushi, home-made pizza from an outdoor stone, wood-fired oven, star-gazing from a campfire, a horse and cart ride and more..... (even being attacked by a kung-fu-master cockerel!)

Instead of running off and being distracted by being on the move it's also allowed us to continue dealing with things, especially a few things arising from home such as the very sad news we recently had about our rabbit Thumper passing away and therefore needing to find a new home with a new companion for his partner Missy. This has been difficult and emotional so it's been nice to have a bit of stability in our environment and be able to be in touch with people from home.

Our relationship has been challenged further with some more issues that have surfaced, but each issue presents an opportunity for better communication that we've been working on. We might not get it right all the time but we feel it's changing. For example, when we weren't communicating well back in the UK, it led to a disagreement and resentment about the bikes we have and the problems that they have. Talking through this has not only allowed us to think about how to fix it, but also explore how and why we had been communicating so badly and why such a trivial issue had caused so much stress and resentment by tapping into deeper issues. As you may see in posts in  the following few days, Esther can be seen on a new trusted steed, Helix, a heavy hybrid kindly lent by one of the people we are staying while I ride her road bike with some adjustments to allow us to still get out, move our bodies and enjoy the fresh air.

Also, having now stayed with the same people for more than a couple of days we've realised that having lived in a motorhome for some time with just the two of us and especially as we have been changing so much as people, that we'd maybe lost some of our abilities to interact with others comfortably for more than a few hours, beyond the initial introductory chat. Particularly because we'd been doing so much talking in recent weeks just between the two of us, and the issues that has bought to the surface individually and as a couple, interacting with other people recently has helped us by shedding new lights and different perspectives. We've taken the opportunity to speak and listen to many different people, hear their stories and learn from their outlooks as well as get more comfortable with how we are changing.

But we have still managed to explore some more of the region, including a short mini-trip back into the Queyras and we'll post about some of those specific activities in the days to come as well.  But before another bunch of colourful photos of hikes and cycles appear, following on from how we'd been feeling about keeping a blog and only posting highlights which we reflected on recently, we wanted to say these few words about the broader journey. Since arriving on the farm there have been some highs, but also some lows, which may not get reflected on but are still part of the learning and the journey we are on.

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