To call it an alternative lifestyle would be wrong. For us, there is no alternative. With the UN about to announce that the majority of people in the world now live in urban sprawl, we believe that such a lifestyle is unsustainable. Everybody in the world appears to want to live the American Dream. However, if we all wished to do that then it's not possible as there aren't enough resources on the planet. It amazes us when we read American alternative lifestyle websites and see people proudly announcing how they have just installed an array of photovoltaic solar cells to provide enough electricity for their daily 30kW/h need. Thirty kilowatts???!!! It would take us 10 days to use that much power! If American good lifers live profligately then how is the world's entire population going to live like the average American gas guzzling, pizza packing, consumer behemoth?
No, there's no alternative to what we're doing. We don't call it sustainable living either. We simply call it sensible living. We don't live in squalor though. We live in a modern house. Seven bedrooms and three bathrooms to be precise. And, we still only use 3kW/h of power per day! There's no alternative and we shall detail here what we've done to live sensibly.
Life here is far better than what we had in London. The constant desire for goods and the money to pay for it all. Friends? Well, my mobile phone had two numbers on it. In a mega city population of 12 million my phone had my house number and my parents' number. Here, with just a few thousand spread out over hundreds of square miles, my phone has thirty numbers stored on it. All of them friends, who we meet regularly and who think as we do.
I had a terrible cholesterol problem before coming here. I've now lost over 2 stone (over 30 pounds) in weight. No longer do I eat processed food. We use fresh ingredients, much of it grown on our own land, and it's all healthy eating. More than that. It's cheap. I read an article entitled How cheaply can one eat? and it mentioned one simple thing. The cheaper the food, the more healthy it is for you. Processed food costs a lot and it's bad for you. Plant a few cents worth of seed in the ground and when the vegetables have grown they will be far healthier than a pre-packed meal or takeaway and will have cost next to nothing.
No, there's no alternative to what we're doing. Fifty years from now, Europe will be a different place. With westerners pricing themselves out of their jobs, and the east taking those jobs, we will have to get used to being second class citizens in the world. And that means living sensibly so that you can afford to survive. There is no such thing as self-sufficiency. As Dean Martin sang, "Everybody needs somebody sometime". We can't survive alone. But, with sensible living and a real community spirit, we can survive until the rest of the world has developed and priced itself out of our jobs.