Showing posts from December, 2021

When Dreams Come True: The Joys of a Simple Life

A year ago, I wrote these words: Every winter I get the same longing for a life closer to nature, and every winter I promise myself it will be my last in the city. But it’s never been easy to make this a reality and this year hasn’t made it any easier. Once more, I set the intention to leave the big city in 2021. Perhaps announcing it publicly will make it more feasible. I was full of hope when I wrote that post  and now, a year later, I'm living in a small town surrounded by nature. I had held this vision for years but I couldn't see a way to make it a reality... until all doors opened. The transition wasn't easy (is change ever easy?) but now green mountains greet me every morning. I can walk to the beach or enjoy pink-orange sunsets in a marshland filled with birdlife. I can help a struggling bumblebee, see a hawk and pet a horse, all within the same hour. I remember the first time I felt this love for rural life. I was visiting family members who lived in a tiny town in

On Fostering Cats and Following Our Heart

A month after we settled in our new home, I felt a longing. I've always lived with animals and a home doesn't feel like home without them. It was too soon for me to adopt one, as I was still grieving my dog's passing and I needed time to process it, so I thought of fostering. The area where I live has a shortage of cat foster homes, so I contacted an organisation and offered to help. A couple of days later, two cats entered our home. I'm not going to lie. The first month was hellish as the four of us adapted to each other. The cats met at our place for the first time. At first, they kind of tolerated each other but kept their distance. But as they got more comfortable and adapted to their new life, the wars started. Suffice to say, I didn't get much sleep the first month.  I almost gave up on the whole idea of fostering but things got a little better as we entered the second month. They fought sometimes but also played together. They woke us up almost every night l

The Animals We Lose, The Animals We Grieve

I often think about our relationship with other species and how we value some animals but not others. The culture we live in and our own personal experience determine how much or how little empathy we feel towards certain species. But of all these arbitrary distinctions, my favourite has to be the value we assign to animals that are endangered or have just become extinct. If you think about it, it's the same kind of behaviour we sometimes exhibit when someone dies or at the end of a relationship. I experienced it myself when my father died: All the bad things were pushed aside and good memories flooded me. And when a relationship ends? Your mind keeps going back to all the good things you've lost. Never mind the bad moments or the fact that you're probably better off without that person.  We value more that which we lose, even if what we've lost is a species we've never personally come across. I find this fascinating. For me, species loss is sad but I value individ

Excerpts From A Quiet Life

On September 1st my partner and I packed everything we owned, jumped on a train and left the big city behind. We were moving to a small town I had visited once in my life, into an attic apartment we had only seen on a video call. I’ve been wanting to write about my impressions after such a drastic change. Here are some snippets from my quiet life in northern Spain: Today the sun came out after two weeks of rain. Coming from a place where it’s sunny most of the time, I dreaded the cold, rainy winters of the north. And yet the north is showing me the beauty of change. I no longer take sunny days for granted: I treasure them. And I treasure the rain too because it makes everything look so green and alive. When I lived in the city, I couldn’t really observe seasonal changes. Some trees would lose their leaves in autumn and I enjoyed the crunchy sound these made under my feet. The cold would come abruptly and days would get shorter and shorter. Those were the only tangible changes and, for