Category: Uncategorized

About That Farm Life

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The view from my work space, which is just a large rock.

La Rioja, Argentina — I’m living on a farm in the middle of nowhere. The nearest town with people (and Internet access) is 187 miles away.

I have been interested in Homesteading for several years now. It all started with a book that changed how I thought about work, time and money. The premise is simple: if you don’t need a lot of money (i.e.an expensive lifestyle), then you don’t need to make a lot of money, and you can spend more time doing things you want to do.

So for the next 3 weeks, I’m doing something I’ve always wanted to do.  I’m living on a farm. The family that owns the farm has lived in La Rioja for over 18 years and  they built everything from the ground up, including 2 houses, the plumbing system and solar panels for electricity. It’s modern and well-designed. While I’m here, I will be helping with chores; gardening, building stuff, feeding animals, whatever they need. In return, I’ll learn about managing a family farm and improve my Spanish (they don’t speak English). It’s basically a masterclass in innovation and sustainable living.

On one hand, it’s glorious (because I’m an introvert from NYC, so I know the value of quiet spaces). On the other hand, it’s a little terrifying because I have an overly active imagination, I’m a bit paranoid and low-key afraid of the dark.

In addition to learning Spanish, I’m helping them with their English. Just the other night, we gathered around the dinner table to play a trivia game on their iPad. While the words were in Spanish, the topics were international. There were questions about celebrities, religion, history, movies, popular culture…everything. Well, a question popped up on the screen and I laughed out loud. My Spanish vocabulary is the equivalent of a three-year-old’s, mind you but I knew what the question was about. They all looked at me a bit puzzled, waiting for me to explain myself. But I didn’t have the heart to tell them what ‘twerking’ was. Not yet.

FAQs

Why are you going on this trip?

The purpose of this trip is multifaceted. As an artist and anthropologist, I am interested in why humans create and how cultural identity informs creative process. I will explore different countries, create art, conduct research, try to learn languages, and collaborate with artists and communities. My primary goal is to learn…about everything. The research that I gather during this trip is in conjunction with my graduate school coursework for 2016-17 and what I learn will be used to inform future research and writing, including my doctoral dissertation.

Which countries are you traveling to?

I will start in South America then travel west to South East Asia, the Middle East, Europe then Africa. My schedule is fluid by design so instead of publishing my planned itinerary beforehand, I will only write about places that I actually visit as my plans could change by the day.

How are you paying for your trip?

I am funding this trip independently. For the past 2+ years, I have been saving and researching how to travel long term on a budget. My approach is to be low-maintenance, which should allow me to meet my goals.

How can I keep up with where you’re going?

Internet access may be unreliable in some places but I will do my best to keep up with social media. This blog will be the dedicated place where I will post updates specifically regarding the trip.

What is the timeline for your trip?

I will leave the country at the end of June 2016 and return home to New York City at the beginning of July 2017.

Why are you traveling alone, won’t you get lonely?

“You seem embarrassed by loneliness, by being alone. It’s only a place to start!” (If you know what movie this line is from, we can be friends.)

Many people have told me that they couldn’t possibly go on a trip alone. I have been traveling solo for several years and I’ve found that some of my most productive and fulfilling trips have been when I was by myself. I feel like wherever I am is home.

What are you taking on the trip?

Erykah Badu said, “pack light” and that has long since been my m.o. Part of preparing for this trip included learning what I can do without. I have been training for this. I have strategically stuffed placed everything so neatly that I think even a TSA agent would be impressed. My luggage includes one carry-on bag and one regular sized back pack.

What will you do when you return to the U.S.?

I will continue coursework for my graduate program, independent creative projects, educational initiatives and research.

Are you scared?

Yep, I’m a little nervous. With long term travel, there are so many variables that are beyond my control, which is both scary and exciting.

What are you doing to ensure your safety?

I packed some nunchucks. Just kidding. I will move about the world the same way as when I’m at home in New York City; being cautious and alert at all times, avoiding unsavory environments and adhering to the laws and cultural norms.

(That last question was for my mom.)