Why Self-Sufficient Living Is So Appealing

I Find This Lifestyle Hugely Appealing For These Two Reasons

“What’s the appeal to you of self-sufficient living?” a friend in Paris asked me last week when I told him about the Self-Sufficiency Seminar we’re hosting in November.

“I mean, I know you, Kathleen. You like to be comfortable,” my friend continued with a little smile.

Yes, I enjoy creature comforts. But in our current age, self-sufficiency and comfortable living aren’t mutually exclusive ideas. You can have both.

Neither is self-sufficiency an all-or-nothing concept.

Lief and I are enjoying two months in Europe this summer. In Portugal, we dined alfresco at seaside cafes. Here in Paris, we’re shopping, visiting art galleries, antique shops, and museums, and finishing each workday with a champagne aperitif.

Tomorrow we take off for a two-week driving tour of Eastern Europe… where we look forward to lots more of the same.

I appreciate Old World living on the Continent as much as anyone…

However, more than anything, I appreciate contrast. While I’m savoring these two months filled with culture and fine dining, I’m looking forward to returning to the New World the first of September, where life can be a little rougher around the edges… in a good way.

If I were to make a short list of my favorite places on Earth, Paris, France, and Cayo, Belize, would both be on it. As I said, I relish contrast.

For me, a visit to Cayo is pure delight. I enjoy both the natural beauty of this region of rivers, rain forest, and jungle and the no-pretense, back-to-basics lifestyle this part of Belize offers. Plus, Cayo attracts a quirky sort, and I enjoy being among quirky, interesting people. In Cayo you meet misfits, nonconformists, and outside-the-box thinkers from all around the world.

Many of these folks have sought out this unsung region with a self-sufficient agenda. Cayo offers an abundance of fertile land, sunshine year-round, and water, the three primary requisites for this way of life.

Increasingly, these folks are creating lives that are both self-sustainable and very comfortable.

Why is this way of life appealing in the first place?

For me, it comes down to two things. First is control. I’m not a doom-and-gloomer. I prefer to see glasses half-full, rather than half-empty. That said, I recognize that our world is full of uncertainties. Could things fall apart in a dramatic way? I don’t rule it out.

So Lief and I want to create an off-grid bolt-hole for ourselves and our family… just in case. We want a plan in place that allows us to feel comfortable that, whatever happens, we’ll be ok.

Second, I like gardens. I’ve been frustrated in this agenda for a long time. Living in Panama City now and Paris before that, I haven’t had any opportunity to cultivate a garden for a dozen years. Now, in Cayo, Belize, I intend to undertake a long-term gardening plan. We’ll have a big kitchen garden, a small orchard, and trees for hard wood.

This November in Cayo we’re beginning to put that plan on paper and to practice the skills to pull it off.

Kathleen Peddicord