Kia ora koutou! 皆さん、こんにちは! 大家好！ Hello, one and all!
The indigenous Maori tradition of introductions involves first linking oneself to the land, its people, and their people, so in that spirit: I was born in the northern tip of the Great China Plain, protected in the north and west by the Jundushan and Xishan mountain ranges, and fed by the Chaobai, Yongding and Juma rivers. Most people today call this place Beijing, China. I am Han Chinese, which is an ethnic group that arose out of a neolithic federation of agricultural tribes that settled along the Yellow River (the 6th longest river on the planet) and has grown to be 1.3 billion people worldwide. I am also American and a New Englander by way of growing up on lands that were the home of the Massachusett people. I lived a few years in Hokkaido, Japan, which has been home to the Ainu people since around 300 BCE. I currently reside on the ancestral lands of Ngati Whatua-o-Orakei... people not of this land tend to call it Auckland, New Zealand. My little family is my husband, myself and our dog. My name is Lucy and it is lovely to meet you all.
I joined to learn and see if my husband and I can feel a sense of community and connection to people with similar aspirations but perhaps very different backgrounds and journeys. We have office jobs and live up in a tall apartment building in a city with high cost of living, but we dream of being able to sustain ourselves on our own bit of land in the middle of a forest (within one hour of ski slopes, the husband interjects). We're thinking New England, or British Columbia, or just somewhere in the Northern Hemisphere with lots of trees and four seasons. We'll probably make a big leap at some point in the near future, but since we're very much city folk right now, I'm probably going to be more of a reader and asker here than anything else.
While I've done the lurker thing of looking at others' stories here, I'd like to start some active conversations now:
What brought you to this point in your life?
What is your culture, background, or the road that you or your family took?
If you made a big change like the one we're looking to make, what was one thing really early step you took that you'd like to share with someone just starting out?
Thanks for taking the time to read this. No reira, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa.
Tena koe, Lucy. If you think North America is for you and you're keen on forest, BC is pretty hard to beat. In fact, the whole of the PNW is pretty awesome. I grew up in Arizona and have a real affinity for the ponderosa forests of the southwest, but I think that region is going to be tougher to deal with from a homesteader's perspective with climate chaos. Still an awesome place and not nearly as wet.
Then again, if you're not as fixated on the four seasons thing, we have some amazing bush clad spaces all around this country. I have a mate who has a place in Karamea and he can't stop raving about it. Another friend of ours just gave up city life and is headed for the back blocks of Ruatoria. And one of my favourite permaculture communities is nestled in bush up near the end of the Coromandel peninsula. They even have a waterfall.
The destination is pretty open, as the first part of the plan is to travel around to see as much as we can first. I did not know about the Ponderosa Forests, but will definitely go see them!
Honestly, I think the climate of the upper North Island is so perfect for growing pretty much anything I'd want to grow, but we'd have to get a mortgage to afford anything and we just don't want that. I wish there was more support for the economic health of the regions as well, but people seem resigned to rural communities dying slow deaths. Also, we'd still want to go to North America to visit family and friends (and get real powder snow), and that's a lot of money and carbon burning up in those flights.
I'm curious about your experience, Phil. Though I'm afraid I've run out of time at this moment and need to get my face out from behind my phone!