I have been living in Sadhana Forest, a reforestation-focused community in the Auroville ecovillage in India for the last two months. There is so incredibly much to say and so much learning to share, but I wanted to start by sharing just three morsels that have evolved over the past two months, in accordance with The Watson Philosophy:
“To remove oneself from the comfort and stability of Home, exploring the World selectively in focused pursuit of one’s Passion, and discovering along the way one’s potential for humane and effective participation in the world community. The Watson journey is a “solo” experience, to be lived independently but shared broadly with those who cross your path.”
In the spirit of sharing my experience broadly, while at Sadhana I created an “Ecovillages around the World” PowerPoint presentation about my experiences in the first five ecovillages I traveled to: Crystal Waters in Australia, Findhorn in Scotland, Tamera in Portugal, Damanhur in Italy, and Torri Superiore in Italy. Though it is basically a rough first draft attempting to comprehensively document my travels thus far, I wanted to share a copy in order to quench your update thirst. Two test audiences of roughly 50 each eagerly lapped up the first and second manifestations of my presentation, so I hope you enjoy it as well!
Another thing I would like to share, which I also presented while at Sadhana, is an essay I pulled together as part of a weekly “This I Believe” essay-writing series. The theme of this essay was my beliefs concerning “the environment.” I used it not only to cover this, but also my thoughts on the environmental movement being a human potential movement aimed at the full expression of Life (all in 531 words!) After presenting, many people came up to me and said “sign me up,” genuinely expressing their wholehearted acceptance of what I spoke, which was humbling. See what you think by reading it here: Environment This I Believe
Finally, I wanted to take a moment to promote the Watson Fellowship. Wow, what a godsend. I am being paid to live my dreams; the freedom is unbelievable and vital. It has been amazing in my life personally and I think also bodes well for the rest of humanity and for the planet. In my opinion, it’s actually one of the best things happening on the planet and should be available to everyone. To this end, I wanted to share a list of resources that could allow you to craft a similar experience for yourself. It is from one of the most important slides in my presentation, the connections page. I have been receiving quite a few inquiries about finding communities or about opportunities for travel or volunteering, so here is a list of great resources to these ends:
Great resources for traveling and/or exploring other ways of life:
- Global Ecovillage Network – find one near you: http://gen.ecovillage.org
- Fellowship for Intentional Communities – find one near you: http://directory.ic.org/
- Eurotopia – find an intentional community or ecovillage in Europe: http://www.eurotopia.de
- Worldwide Permaculture Network – the Facebook of Permaculture; find people and projects: http://www.permacultureglobal.com
- World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) – volunteer on an organic farm. Stay free and eat well in exchange for part-time volunteer work: http://www.wwoof.org/
- Idealist – find jobs or volunteer positions in doing good for the world: http://www.idealist.org/
- Help Exchange – like WWOOF, but with more than just farming: http://www.helpx.net/
- Ecoteer – eco-related volunteer opportunities around the globe: http://www.ecoteer.com/
- Workaway – volunteering and homestays around the globe, particularly well-suited for gap years: http://www.workaway.info/
- Go Abroad – the “leading international education and experiential travel resource:” http://www.goabroad.com/
- Living Routes - an excellent ecovillage study abroad program for American students. “Bring your education to life by studying in communities across the globe that are striving to live more sustainably” http://www.livingroutes.org/
- CouchSurfing – go anywhere in the world and stay for free with awesome locals willing to show you around the place: http://www.couchsurfing.org
Get out there! The world outside your country is gigantic and begging to be known. As Mark Twain said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” Purposeful travel and intentional exploration are powerful educational experiences – I can attest to this firsthand. You could argue that instead of spending tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars on University education, you would learn more by using significantly less money to travel for a few years and do things you’re passionate about listed on the sites above.
I have formed a goal to have visited at least as many countries as I am years old for the rest of my life. Even though I have been traveling fairly extensively for the last 5 years, I have only been to 16 countries in my 23 years. And that’s only if you count England and Scotland as separate countries. There are roughly 200 countries, depending on how you count them, so that is far more than a lifetime of exploration – not to mention that many of the countries are so large that you couldn’t explore one in its entirety in a lifetime! To again quote Twain: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
I offer you my friendship, personal correspondence, and support in whatever journey you want to undertake. I want to spread the goodness of this Fellowship and my associated experiences and thoughts as broadly and deeply as possible, to make it alive and relevant for many lives besides my own. This blog is the main avenue I have for doing so; I will continue to update it whenever I am able. Send me an email at thequestionofwhy (at) gmail.com and I will reply in full.