It wasn’t a big farm. It wasn’t a big stay. It was definitely not a big home where I lived for two weeks while volunteering at a nonprofit garden 24-miles-by-bike away as the pilot-test for my cross-country journey titled Round America with a Duck.
But big things happened, and I learned big lessons. I’m still processing it all, but I thought I’d share some of the thoughts, unfiltered and in the order I jotted them down in my journal each day (the cover art on the journal is a photo I took while Traveling at the Speed of Bike — pardon the curse word, but I’ve actually found that phrase inspiring right now).
Maybe, at the end of the day, this is it — everything that I’m going to learn. Or maybe it’s just the beginning.
What I Learned:
Keep going; You are strong; You can carry a lot — but maybe you can lighten your load (on your bike, in your life)
Stopping for breaks is nice even if it adds time to the trip — never pass swings without swinging
Share bounty; You have enough; Your needs are met
You are flexible
It’s ok to just be
People are here for many reasons — it’s a liminal space; Meet everyone where they’re at
You are the only person in charge of your good time
It behooves you to “be of good cheer”
Space heaters are honestly the best invention ever
Be present; Be kind
Take care of your needs unapologetically
There are lots of ways to live a life
Keep it simple
Have fun, and invite folks into your fun
Empowered women are unstoppable
Chickens are my farm animal of choice
There is so much time and yet not enough hours in the day
My family rocks, and I love the creative ways we stay connected
Cultivate an attitude of gratitude
The sun, moon and stars will light the way (especially to the outhouse)
Go with the flow for the first 4-5 days; then make adjustments you need
Be available but protect your need to recharge alone
If you feel the need to hoard, share instead — reminder that the world is a place of bounty
Follow the directions on the instant coffee — more is not better (and is, in fact, worse!)
Everyone needs a little caring — the trick is to figure out how (everyone is different)
There’s a magical moment when people start to believe the impossible is possible, and then, really, you’ve just begun a journey beyond your wildest imagination together
The Tiny House is very cozy in the rain!
Be careful or you could end up eating a lot of browns (rice, pasta, bread, granola bars, pita chips) — make an effort to center greens and fruit
Ask if plants have been sprayed with fish emulsion before making it a habit to nibble in the garden!
It’s ok to ask for help
It’s both hard and easy to be “in community” — it’s also easy to start caring about people very quickly