Eight months ago I sold or gave away almost all our possessions, keeping just a few suitcases of clothes, books, and my car (that I tried to sell but it didn't). I took my sons overseas and followed the rhythms of life to Colombia, USA, and Japan. We came 'home' at the kids request for a while to catch up with their mates and school, but my gypsy heart (and bank account) isn't ready to settle too deeply, and I've got used to having very few things, which has given me more joy than all the things I've ever had.
So I decided we were going to live in tents - plural, I'm not sharing mine with lego. 'Home' to the kids is where school, aka 'friends', is, here in Lennox Head, Australia, and when everything is within a couple blocks from the local camp ground that fronts a Tea Tree Lake on one side, and the ocean on the other, well who was I to complain?
The kids picked a spot overlooking the Tea Tree lake as our designated 'home', so that we could wake up, unzip our tents, and eat breakkie by the lake. We moved in six days ago, copped two nights and a day of heavy rain, much to the delight of our new feathered friends.
Each morning I wake before the sun, practicing the Wim Hof Method of breathing - currently in Week 4 - meditating, stretching, then jumping in the cold lake as the sun rises, as part of my cold immersion training but also I'm building up my stroke count and aim to do be completing full laps of the lake within a few weeks.
The kids are asleep with the stars, and up with the sun, and aside from school they now spend almost every waking minute outdoors. I've not seen them happier in life. Today Ryder, my eldest (7yo) followed me to the laundry room as apparently the simple act of putting money in the coin slot is freaking cool AF. He has to help put the clothes in the right way (which translates to him undressing with more caution now as to save him an extra job later), popping them into the washing machine, measuring out the liquid, placing it into the soap slot, closing the door, putting in the money, selecting the wash cycle and pushing start. I'm not allowed to overstep a single process; he is in charge. For $4 a load, knowing my 7yo can do laundry by himself and is learning to appreciate the steps involved, and the lack of gender-bias around this chore...worthwhile investment. Camp life is the best.
It is truly something special to take a step back from where society expects us to be operating, and lie here in my tent at night with the outer-shellopen looking at the stars as I type this post. I work some 20-40 hours per week, sole-parent two active sons, train Muay Thai 2-3 times per week, practice yoga every day, meditate, practice WHM, prepare meals, do laundry, read books, listen to podcasts...you might say I'm an active single mum with a full time career, but I live in a tent AND I've never felt freeer. The biggest difference I've noticed is my domestic duties. Whilst still up there in terms of time spent in the day, they have reduced dramatically. There are no rooms to clean, no bathrooms to scrub, paying for laundry use means I'm washing once a week, and with no 'stuff' - especially toys - to clean up, I feel such a huge weight has lifted from my shoulders.
Part of my mission is to raise awareness and money for domestic violence survivors and single mums, and I'll be trekking in Nepal for @firstwewalk in support of @herfarmnepal later this year (check them out on Insta).
With over 85% of DV victims returning to their abusers due to financial constraints, unavailable safe housing (a 10+ year wait in the Northern Rivers region of Australia), and the stresses of sole-parenting whilst in the thick of post-traumatic symptoms, many women feel there's no better life for them and would rather go back to the violence than walk forward in struggle alone.
I was once that woman; I went back time and time again for a decade. In the three years since finally walking free, I have struggled through intense financial hardship, near bankruptcy, alcohol and drug abuse, PST, ongoing threats from my ex husband, but some burning fire inside of me would not go out, and I have pushed through challenge after challenge knowing my life has a higher purpose. Going sober and vegan a year ago was the beginning of a new trajectory, a life-changing pivot point that I look back in with incredible appreciation. I found new love and later had to let him go, which then took me to the depths of heart break on one hand, and awakened me to mutual unconditional love on the other, an experience that grew me exponentially and saw me begin to realize the great self love that I was missing within. The love that man gave me was something I could then take and bring in to self, and I'm so proud of the honest love and trust we share ongoing despite no longer being together. Since awakening this warrior woman, who I now stimulate daily through martial arts and immersing myself at the mercy of Mother Nature's elements, I have discovered an inner strength that I commit to cultivating daily, a previously untapped potential that all women - and men - are sitting on.
Some days I scold myself for sharing my life so publicly, and I realize my openness isn't stomachable for all. But this past week since sharing our tentlife mission with social media, I have had such an influx of comments and messages from friends, family and strangers expressing their thanks for inspiring them in some way. Just last weekend at my cousin's wedding, an old family friend thanked me in person for posting photos of myself in yoga poses around the world: "I forget to move and your pics remind me to stretch," he said, which made me smile, because I'm certainly no yogi, but it is yoga too that has saved my life. I'm grateful my snaps can help ignite someone to get into their body, as I am greatly inspired by the many yogis of Instagram.
Donations for our Nepal trek will open soon, and after speaking today with the guide who will be leading me and my team on the Gosainkunda Lake trek route - including some frozen lakes for me to practice my cold immersion in and high altitude peaks for us to climb - I am delighted to announce that we will be opening the trek to the public and registration will launch soon. And the best news is my kids will be joining us on the trek!
The Gosainkunda Lake is a holy Hindu and Buddhist pilgrimage site and one of the most beautiful trekking locations in the Himalayas. I'll be sharing more information in the coming days, but I encourage anyone interested in participating in the trek to look into studying the 10-week Wim Hof Course, available online. My goal is to introduce the method to the women at Her Farm, as it is an incredible tool for trauma and abuse survivors to control the body's fight or flight response.
🙏🏼 Poverty is a state of mind friends; unleash the power within ⚡️