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Home » Environment

Round the World or Round the Corner

Submitted by on October 23, 2010 – 6:39 pm

Jules Verne and I have nothing in common.

My first circumnavigation of the world took over 10 years to complete. Traveling into the sunset, If I’d been going about it in a straight forward fashion that’d be more than 40 000km.  But you know me, nothing is ever straight forward;  I took the scenic route.  By the time I’d traversed the Pacific in a westerly direction my trails had covered some 63 000km by land. I’d caught buses, done rental relocations, boarded ferries, hired donkeys, walked, hitch-hiked, ridden motorbikes, on the roof of buses (with chickens, cows, or goats as other passengers), in trains of every class, over-loaded jeeps, over-priced taxis, rickshaws, tuk-tuks, bemos and, of course, my own volkswagen.

I traveled long and hard.  At every stop I embraced the life of the local, eating in local restaurants, shopping in local markets – seasonal, local food.  As mother nature intended.  My most joyous memories are of food consumed on public transport.  Hard-boiled duck eggs for 100 Rupiah, green mango with chili and sugar for 10 Baht, chai and dahl-bat for 2 Ringgit…

I witnessed life at a slow pace; while nothing races past the window of a chicken bus, I tried to engage as much as possible.  I conversed as best I could and learnt from the simplest of exchanges that I was over-complicating my life.

I came home.  I made a home.  I found myself involved in a community of folk who were trying to do the same thing as me: live life simply, locally, sustainably.

In my travels I’ve learnt some pretty incredible things- one of them is that life, at this hyper-pace, is not sustainable.  We’re burning up our resources as irresponsibly as the proverbial bridge.  If we’ve not already reached Peak Oil, when we do, what sort of impact will it have on our day to day lives?  Fellow Happyzine writer, David Laing, recently wrote about the impact of nomoreoil on the business communities and world economy.

In my community there’s a bunch of hard-working folk, the New Brighton Project, who, amongst many other things, are trying to get New Zealand’s first weekly ecoMarket off the ground.  While legislation drags its local foot, the big dreams have been downsized to an ecoWeekend (for now, next year… watch this space!).

But what a weekend!

If you’re anywhere near New Brighton (Christchurch) on the weekend of the 30th/31st why not take part in our ecoWeekend and come along to any one of these amazing events:

Saturday, the New Brighton Community Gardens is having an Open Day 11am-2pm.  These beautiful gardens promote organic seaside gardening and if you’re ever interested in volunteering a few hours, you’ll leave with a bag full of veges.

Nova Montessori will also be holding their Open Day on Saturday.

Sunday, the ecoMarket will be held in the Mall from 10am-2pm, with stallholders including a herbalist, a beer-seller, folk selling honey, native plants, organic produce, Top Bar bee hives, permaculturists, recyclers/upcyclers;  the local edible gardeners will be holding their Sustainable Swap at 1pm, before departing on a Garden Bike Tour at 2pm.

Nearby there’ll be talks given by local expert Rhys Taylor on Sustainable Living (11am, 16 Collingwood St)  Robina McCurdy’s Local Food Self Reliance (1pm, Union St Parish Church) and then we can Dance the Earth/Quake (3-5pm, Union Church Hall, Union St)!

And if that hasn’t sorted you out, television comic and writing hero, Te Radar will be presenting his hilarious “Eating the Dog” on Sunday, 730pm, Roy Stokes Hall on Seaview Rd (tickets available through New Brighton Project’s website)

Now, it seems, I am going to be able to engage with locals at the local market in my neighbourhood!  I didn’t need all those fancy forms of transport to move those 60 000km when I can pedal 3km to have (almost) the same thing.  However, if I hadn’t spent all those hours bumping up and down, up and down, in hot dust and humid sweatiness I’d never have known that home is the best place to be; where we are happy and lucky.

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