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Here's how it started...

Over the last 12 months I’ve begun to question everything.  The superficiality and pointlessness of our society drives me mad.  We wish our lives away, stuck in boring jobs we only do for the wage, just waiting for the weekend and the next payday. We fret over what we dont have..enough money, enough time, the perfect body, the bigger car, oh and of course the best labels.. its seems that our lives are all wrapped up in consumerism, what we earn-spend-earn-spend and we've been caught up completely.  I blame the industrial revolution. At that point, we decided that profit was King and we've lost skills, lost communities, lost values and much else, all in the pursuit of the extra bit of bottom line, suckering another buyer into buying another bit of tat he doesnt really wants but believes he really needs.

And then of course there's the media...greatest of all evils.  J.Hoffman, philosopher and cultural mechanic, stated in a recent speech that there is no "nutritional value" left in anything we read or hear or see in the media any more.  Where is the truth? Where are the stories that matter?  No one knows anymore because the truth has been replaced by fear and want. Fear of not being enough, of not having enough, of not being safe enough and the stories that matter?...replaced by What Jane Goody Did Next..or What Jordan is Not Wearing ...well I want more, I'm 49 for Heaven's Sake - I have every right to have a wonderful life, created by me, determined by me and owned by me. 

 I want a life that has meaning; I want to do good things every day. For a long time I've been saying that I want to be "Awesome at Eighty!!"  Well, to be awesome, you have to do awsome things.  

 

So firstly I had to  decide what I could spend my life doing that would make me feel as though it had meaning - not difficult - I'm naturally altruistic so Volunteering seemed an obvious choice. And I want to travel...so voluntering overseas? But how could do it I with my debt on my salary with just 25 days holiday a year? Somehow, a week or two here or there just wasnt going to do it.  I wanted to Volunteer fulltime.

 

Well, I sold my house - at a loss, but to live the life I can now visualise, I need to be free from as many ties as possible (and it was draining most of my salary). I sold the majority of my belongings at car boot sales for the same reasons - I want to be able to travel the world with a ruck-sack and go from country to country with everything I need on my back!

 

The debt got sorted thanks to Citizens Advice and I now have outgoings of less than £50 a week (not including food and fuel) a fantastic achievment, managed within 4 months.

I know this sounds crazy but the next thing had to be the job.  I dont do anything by half and I couldnt see myself waiting 48 weeks so that I could feel good for 4.  Well, I finish work at the end of April (08). So how to fund this altruistic life-style with no employment?  Easy!

 

Apparently, there are something like 6 billion people in the world and something like 22 trillion pounds floating about…so I reckon if I could find just 1000 people to pledge £2 a month to my cause indefinitely, I could sustain a life of volunteering. I consider it my effort towards global re-distribution of wealth! 

 

When I ran my own business I networked across most of South Wales and at one point was going to 12 meetings a month.  I met a lot of people..a lot of lovely people.  I am hoping that, if they havent forgotten me in the last 12 months, that some of them will sponsor me. In the mean time - I am already doing my bit. I have a super-duper camcorder for a video diary, a YouTube account, this website and I've been able to secure my first Volunteering opportunity in Taunton at Spring Grove Market Farm. Its organic and they need help to cater for an ever-increasing customer-base..eat right, live right!!  I live in a little solar powered caravan and earn £50 a week plus food. Working 4 days a week here means I have 3 full days to fundraise. The Co-Op - packing bags perhaps or collecting glasses in the local pub? And of course I get fit working on the land, learn all about organic farming and season myself before heading off next year to Peru to an Orphanage for 3 months.  

My challenge is to continue to find ways  to live for free, so that I can focus on the fundraising and not get tied into some miserable job that pays almost nothing and leaves me no time to invest in anything greater.

 

To this end, I want my own caravan or (see above) a Towavardo. Hand- made in Cullompton, this is my idea of heaven. £7000, built on a caravan chassey and towable, it has bunk beds, a cooker, sink and a little wood burner. Weighing 740k I can tow it with my Peugeot 1.7. Coming back from Peru, or wherever,  I can hole-up here and plan the next trip - always assuming that my sponsors have set up their £2 a month standing order! It'll work...who would say no to a request for £2 a month when the deliverables are so tangible?  No overheads, this is the real deal - my time, labour, love going directly where its most needed.

 

Mad? I dont know! I just know that this feels right. Owning a house wasnt an asset - it was a milstone. Employment? I'm sorry, but I'll be contributing more and impacting less than the majority of you put together!  And my bottom line?  Making a difference where it matters, living a life that means something.

 

For updates on what happens next, go to my blog - the link is at the top of the page.