I spent my first week ‘on the road’ in a field, at the International Permaculture Convergence in Epping Forest, staying in a tent and not going off site all week. There was too much of interest happening on site. There were six hundred participants from 60 or so different countries all sharing ideas on how to practically heal the land, heal society and heal ourselves. I lost track of how many workshops there were, but then attending workshops wasn’t my priority. I was ‘crewing’, co-ordinating and caring for a neighbourhood of about 200 people, half in tents and half in dorms. It was a big job; facilitating a morning circle of 200 or so souls, ensuing cleaning rotas were filled, keeping the workshop listings up to date (they expanded daily) keeping the catering crew happy (they kept us fed with three delicious veggie meals a day for a whole week) and generally helping people with questions ranging from lost property to getting on or off site.
Though I didn’t go to many workshops I had so many fascinating conversations with people from all over the world, caught up with several people from the PDC I did at Keveral earlier this summer, got invitations to visit people or projects in Spain and Malawi and, one night, danced with seven beautiful avatars of Shakti to old reggae numbers J. The few workshops I did go to were on subjects such as the ‘ecology of happiness’: about how to live and work effectively from a position of strength and joy and instead of one of fear, guilt and resentment.
Throughout I felt provided for. I had left
Brussels with too little time to buy an
inflatable air mattress and the first day on site I found one on the ‘bring and
take’ stall. My neighbour in the field
had a battery powered pump so I slept more comfortably than I expected. And I reciprocated lending tools, cutlery,
umbrellas to neighbours who needed them, all of which were returned. The last day apart it only rained at night, a
gentle pattering on the tent making me aware of being in nature.
After the PDC at Keveral I felt like I had met ‘my tribe’. This week was a confirmation of that: a superb way to kick start my winter long journey to the South of Europe, full of energy and positivity. Leaving site in torrential rain to spend an hour and a half driving around the M25 to Redhill was culturally dislocating. It took me two days to dry out my tent and camping gear after the downpour we had on the last day.