Voluntary simplicity, back-to-basics, modern homesteading, opting out, just plain living: these are the terms given to a modern movement toward more sustainable living practices. The tenets are based on old values before the day of single-use throw-away items and readily available running water, electricity, home heat, packaged food, and gas at the pump. The practices are from the days when people had no choice but to grow their own food and harness the resources around them: collecting water, power and heat from the sun, food from the soil, products like eggs and honey from the critters we cared for. In this country, we look back toward our great grandparents’ age to re-learn the old less-harmful ways of living. But in many cultures around the planet, those ways are still practiced out of necessity and due to remoteness from a metropolitan center.
We first took our children to Nepal when they were ages 3 and 18 months. This first trip, for us, was seminal in its impact upon their lives. Our daily rhythms were occupied by the business of living, free of phones, cars, computers, and central heating. Through our friends, the Sherpa community of Kunde, our children learned what it meant to not have running water in our home, instant food cooked over a stove, or delivery by car to a village 10 miles away. We made our own food from scratch and only ate the produce that was stored over winter past the harvest season: potatoes.
It was a very special time for us and formative for one 3-year-old mind. This little film tries to capture that moment, which still informs us on how we hope to live the rest of our lives: