Work to pay a mortgage and buy shiny things while doing a job you loathe or spend time with loved ones, living a happier life while saving the planet?
The alarm rings at its usual time. My tired eyes strain to make out the shape of the rectangular room. It is 6.45am and my body has been busy reminding me for 45 minutes that it wanted relieve.
While I crawl out of bed to start the normal routine and gently wake up my kids, I wonder what terrors lie ahead for me today.
School runs, planning, meetings, emails, more meetings, shopping, feeding, sleeping, repeat.
When I crawl back into bed at around 10pm, my mind picks up where I left my train of thought earlier – imagining what a different life would look like.
A life that has more than just a daily routine and work meetings.
A life that adds value to society and makes me feel like I contributed more than creating additional consumers and carbon releasing offspring.
While I love my kids and derive much needed happiness, they are not enough. I want more and I want something that is going away from Western consumer culture and back to a fundamentally better, more sustainable and happy lifestyle.
What if I did something altogether different?
Let’s start with a dream
Imagine flying like a bird, seeing in glorious 4k UHD drone footage in a Grand Designs style, sweeping over beautiful British countryside and discovering at the last minute that that thing nestled in the hillside by the woods is in fact a massive Earthship, surrounded by a huge garden and a smaller Earthship a little away from the main structure.
Opening the door to the main Earthship greets you with warm, slightly moist air, that’s fresh and welcoming like a warm embrace from a loved one. The sound of small birds fluttering around the greenhouse that runs the entire front of the building overwhelms the senses with its colours, shapes and smells.
There are mangos, apples, berries and other fruit, vegetables and herbs growing among flowers and large plants!
We enter the main living area and kitchen which feature no sharp corners or traditional room shapes whatsoever. It feels warm, cosy and instantly like a space that’s safe and relaxing. The views out over the garden, woods and rolling hills are from a movie and you feel very much at home.
Like Hogwarts, everything looks different to what you rightfully expect a ‘house’ to look like and there are rooms and corridors that let you discover something new every day. It’s fun, it’s practical and it’s got no mortgage weighing down your soul.
No mainline utility supplies and a carbon footprint that’s so low it captures more than it releases. Greenhouses that grow fresh produce while cleaning waste water. A sizeable living space second only to a mansion at a cost of a one bedroom flat, made from 80% recycled building materials.
So, now that we are rocking a mortgage-free, self-sufficient lifestyle, what else does one do?
For starters I won’t need to work as much or travel as far because I’ll use that smaller Earthship building to grow and teach others about growing produce efficiently using hydroponics and low-tech digital tools. And sell it to local packaging free shops, boutique grocers and restaurants.
It’s going to be a busy life for sure, because kids grow, business needs doing and farming – even with robotic aids and automation – still takes a lot of work. But there are no meetings or working to pay mortgages or earning enough to afford a few nice things that don’t really make you as happy as spending more quality time with people you love about, doing something you care about.
And in the end, I will leave the world a better place for I have added value.
Not a bad dream. What dreams do you have? What do you imagine you want your life to be like?