Find out why this particular guest blogger is close to my heart!
Oh right, I’m Elizabeth by the way. Tammy’s little sister. I’m a….hmm…I guess I’m a journalism major turned English teacher and vagabond who sometimes likes to dabble in creative projects. Gross. Does anyone else find it utterly disgusting when having to describe yourself? Basically, I just finished a year teaching English in Jeju, a beautiful little island in South Korea, and am now backpacking through Australia and New Zealand. I’ve resolved to spend my 20s exploring as much of this massive world as possible, taking bits and pieces of information from the people and experiences I encounter along the way, hoping that eventually all my worldly knowledge will fall perfectly into place…sometime in my 30s of course.
And that’s where the home stay comes into play. I want to learn more about what people are doing around the world to become more sustainable, and why it’s important to them. I also really need a refresher course. While growing up I was raised in a home where we grew our own vegetables (in the summer my brother and I were completely in charge of our garden from planting to harvesting), I’ve forgotten a lot. So, for two weeks I’ve traded in the city life for a homestay in tiny Bargo, Australia, for a more cultural/environmental experience. That, and I really needed a free place to stay for a couple weeks. Kidding…kind of…
I found my family, Suzanna and Craig, on Help X, a website that links backpackers with hosts who are looking for an extra set of hands. Suzanna hails from the UK and was bitten by the traveling bug at an early age. She ended up in Australia where she met Craig. They fell in love, started a family, and so the story goes. Suzanna and Craig are actually new to the agricultural scene as they only moved out of the city less than two years ago. They wanted to try to create a sustainable life, and to raise their two boys (Harrison-3 years and Hugo-5 weeks) in a more rural environment. Suzanna hopes to one day become self sufficient enough to where she can provide for her community, but for now she’s trying her best to be satisfied with the fresh veggies and eggs that make their way into her kitchen.
Suzanna and Craig live on about 15 acres of land. They’ve cultivated it from being dry and barren to rich and productive, but it’s still a work in progress. The couple lead a hectic life raising two little boys while both working. It's impressive to see how much they’ve accomplished in such a short amount of time, but Suzanna wouldn’t have it any other way. “I love to be outside working and doing projects,” she says.“ In fact, even when I was pregnant and about to pop I was still out in the garden or tending to the animals.” As a result, her newborn won’t go to sleep unless he’s wildly rocked about. “He’s just so used to being moved about while I was outside,” she says. It will be interesting to see how this family progresses in the future. Hopefully Suzanna and Craig will be able to instill the agricultural knowledge they're obtaining to their boys, who will pass it on to their children and so on.
Maybe I’m being naively optimistic, but I don’t think my generation is as ignorant to farming and growing organically as many are led to believe. Many of us our generally interested and concerned about the food we put into our bodies, and this motivation stems far deeper than being seen as trendy and oh so cool. We also now have the ability to blend the resources of technology with agriculture. Don’t know what vegetables are in season? Google it. Want to know how to make your own cheese? Scour the web for a blog. There’s an abundant of instant information at our fingertips. Yet, there’s something to be said about going back to the basics: leaving our computer screens, books and documentaries behind and getting some dirt lodged underneath our fingernails.
Thank you, Elizabeth!