I’m currently writing from my new house sitting location in the breathtaking mountains of northern New Mexico while the rolling farmlands of Kentucky and the pioneer lifestyle I lived continue to fade from my being with each passing day. I’m trying ever so hard to hold on to every feeling being on the farm gave to me:
A feeling of peace.
A feeling of purpose.
A feeling of completeness.
A feeling of strength and worth.
When I was on the farm, the world as I know it was far away. Nothing mattered but taking care of the animals, the farm, and myself on a very basic level. I was able to escape my own selfish needs and concerns because there were so many others counting on me daily to care for them. In the process of doing this I learned a valuable life lesson: contentment is found in being of service to others. I have always heard of this, knew it sounded nice enough, but it wasn’t until I put it into practice that I realized so much of our discontent comes from our selfish desires and pursuits. Change your thoughts to others, and you will see how quickly you begin to feel at peace with yourself. It’s actually quite amazing.
Ever since resigning from my job as a cruise ship singer I have been in pursuit of reinventing myself. If I am no longer a singer, what am I? Who am I? What do I want out of life? Singing has been my purpose, my escape, my income, my link to travel and relationships for the past many years. When I took off to the desert I learned I loved the simplicity and peace it provided but I wasn’t able to reinvent myself like I had hoped. The farm did that for me. The farm renewed me, it washed away so much of the past because I was so deep in the present moment each day, it brought to light the important things, and it pulled me out of my selfishness for long enough to know being selfless is the key to a fulfilling life.
It wasn’t just the farm that provided healing, but it was also the owner of the farm, John, and our many conversations about life. I learned a lot from John and his words of wisdom, advice, and encouragement. The entire experience was life-altering – just what I was hoping for. In fact it surpassed my expectations in regards to what I would ultimately learn about myself. It lit a flame inside of me that I hope will continue to burn.
The farm is set on 100 acres in central Kentucky. It borders with a Mennonite community of which John, his wife, and his nine children were involved in for many years. They lived without electricity and plumbing in a very simple home built by hand of reclaimed wood from old barns. There they gardened organically, preserved and canned food, made their own clothes, chopped their own wood, and raised livestock. I lived in the home (pictured above) during my stay. I learned to use kerosene lamps, a wood stove, and an outhouse. I took care of the farm animals and the many border collies which John trains and breeds for herding. Each day I fell more in love with the animals and the homesteading lifestyle, and soon I decided I wanted to pursue it even further to see where it may take me. What this means exactly I’m not so sure, but I’ve made a promise to myself to continue reading and researching and at the coercing of John I’ve even began keeping my eyes open for the right kind of partner with whom I may be able to pursue the lifestyle with. While I believe most who try it would fall in love with this way of life, I’m aware it’s not for everyone.
As with everything these days, I’m taking it a day at a time, continuing on my “no-plan” plan, and seeing where life takes me. When I walked away from cruise ship life only a short six months ago I could have never perceived I’d embark on so many adventures and learn so much about myself along the way. I feel so thankful, so alive, and so excited to continue experiencing all life has to offer. (It’s there for the taking).
I found my amazing farm experience through www.workaway.info
Books I read while at the homestead: Back to Basics: How to Learn and Enjoy Traditional American Skills / Ten Acres Enough: The Classic 1864 Guide to Independent Farming