A few weeks ago I began reading Cheryl Magyar’s blog, Handcrafted Travellers, as she was writing about the lifestyle I want to lead, which is a balance of homesteading and simple living mixed with travel. Cheryl kindly offered to do a guest post to let everyone know about their lifestyle and their upcoming summer camp!
In short we are a homebirthing, unschooling family of three, living on an organic farmstead in Hungary where we are creating our simple life, but the mosaic of our existence here is naturally more complex than this.
Together for nearly eleven years and now with our almost two year old daughter, Csermely, our lives are evolving and we are exploring new horizons. Cheryl was born near Chicago, having left to attend a university in Iowa and then onto Portland, Oregon where she fell in love with Roland – a Hungarian born in Romania that finished his university degree in Seattle.
After five years spent in America we knew that it wasn’t for us, to move around apartment after apartment, to be part of the ossified consumer behavior. Our sights were set on far reaching goals. The plan was to relocate to Europe, we did and life has become an ambitious adventure ever since.
A move overseas allowed us to realize how much ”stuff” was necessary for a decent life: very little. Only to move onto our farm with ”inherited” items (understand garbage) that we never had any intention of owning. To this day we have gotten rid of thirty-five cubic meters of other people’s stuff. Digging through garbage piles and sending them where they belong, in a responsible way, is a great opportunity to see what decomposes and what does not – and with this our paradigm shift took flight, envisioning a near future with zero waste. One of the most striking things was the amount of half dead shoes and soles from a single family living and gardening on the same land they also used as private landfill.
Enjoying the newly freed space, the combination of an accidental meeting with wool on the roadside near our village and Cheryl’s previous flirtation with knitting, we invested a good couple of years in learning about wool processing. So we filled the abandoned stable with many sacks of raw fleece and ventured in an artisan business. Though we no longer do this, we are grateful for the skills that were self taught – such as spinning, felting and weaving. These hand skills will enable us to provide – at least in part – our clothing and the ability to beautify our home with natural, compostable materials.
Quite frankly, neither of us pictured internet-based jobs for ourselves, but being flexible in our planning, it turned out to be the best match: we get to work for ourselves, from home, while spending invaluable time with our child, staying fit (not on a treadmill, but scything and sweating by the wood stove), eating wholesome foods with increasing amount of ingredients from the wild, discovering new creative veins of ours and doing all of this with mindful simplicity. Modern farmers we have become, where we co-manage the land with nature and share it with the rest of the world – for a living.
Cosmopolitan in mindset, we are always searching outside of our property limits for different ways to be part of the world. Yet, at the same time we want to share what we have learned from our farm life after six years of homesteading. Our new summer camp: Live a Simple, Sustainable and Noble Life (http://handcraftedtravellers.com/live-a-simple-sustainable-noble-life-summer-camp-2012/) is all about our experiences and much more. The online gatherings around the virtual campfire will include such topics as crafting your own sustainable wardrobe, uncertified/trust-based organic farming, material purity – from the house itself as a building to the household, from the kitchen fork to the pitch fork, eating seasonal with recipes of real food and inspirations from nature. All from our homestead, Echo Tanya, to your computer, sans mosquitoes.
Any and every intellectual or manual work that we encounter in the future will focus heavily on material purity – from fibers to fabrics, from clay to cob structures and everything stitched by hand. We are dreaming big to the scale that someday, even in the countryside, we can buy our grains, pasta, flour and honey in bulk and get rid of unnecessary plastic packaging. We are here to help the world along and leap some steps further – thinking in sustainable patterns for now and in the long run.
Read more about us and our handcrafted life journey at www.handcraftedtravellers.com