Today is the first day of my holidays and I decided that I would have a ‘home’ day, a day to purposefully stay at home and do things around the house. There is no shortage of opportunities to get things done and while it would be easy just to go out, spend money at the shops, visit people, run around doing jobs, I set out to start the wind-down by staying at home. There were a couple of things I wanted to do outside of the house in the local area, so I decided to challenge myself to have a car-free day. This would ensure I slowed down. One of the twelve permaculture principles is Use Small and Slow Solutions – today was my day for this. I either had to stay home all day from the time I got out of bed to the time I go to sleep again at night, or I had to find another way – walk, bike, bus. For some people this wouldn’t be much of a challenge, but for me life has been so hectic lately, that when I need something I just jump in the car and go – I haven’t had much time to do anything else. Today I had a slow day.
The day started with a small bit of gardening then I spent some time outside watching the veggies grow, discovered that our tomatoes have small green fruit just starting to come. I spent time sitting in the garden with the Gorgeous One, breathing in the cool fresh morning air and observing nature – this was a great way to start the day.
I did leave the house. I walked past a friend’s house to drop off some excess lemons that we had, to the laundromat to wash the cats’ bedding. What amazed me was that there was a big bank of washing machines just sitting there doing nothing which seemed wasteful but then I considered that for every person who uses the laundromat, it was probably a lot less than 1 machine per family which is what most western families enjoy. The local laundromat is a great way to meet locals, some who I probably wouldn’t ordinarly meet, catch up on an old newspaper or puzzle and take timeout.
While the washing was on, we walked to the local supermarket for a couple of essentials that we had run out of, on to the local butcher and post office as well, then we called into the local wellness place and booked a remedial massage. Once that was done we returned to the laundromat, collected the wet washing and took it home to dry.
This whole activity took us around 45 minutes, which isn’t long and we managed to achieve at least 9 things: we shared excess produce, we washed the bedding, we shopped, we collected the mail, we made appointments, we exercised, we spent time with each other, we soaked up some Vitamin D and we enjoyed looking at our neighbours’ gardens flowering in late spring. I could have run around in the car, missed half of these things and it would have taken me just as long.
The most interesting thing about the walk was we had to plan our route and think about all the things we wanted to do before we left, so that we would not double back or have to retrace our steps. It was an interesting challenge to try and do the day car free and I think I will try to have a car free day regularly – just to challenge myself, remind myself that our resources are precious and we can do a lot more under our own steam without the aid of carbon based tools or vehicles.