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From Manhattan to the Redwood Forest. An inner journey of rewilding, with Ayana Young of “For the Wild”


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In this ongoing series on homesteading I’ve talked to a lot of people who’ve given us really practical information on how to make the transition to a more self-sufficient way of life and connect with nature in the process. We’ve explored how to start businesses on your land, grow and produce your own food, as well as forage for wild food and medicine. In this episode we’ll take a look at the softer side of the homesteading lifestyle in talking about the inner transformations and the feelings connected to rewilding and reconnecting to the land. For this perspective, I spoke to Ayana Young who made a drastic change in a short time from living in downtown Manhattan to living with minimal amenities in the redwood forest in northern California. We explore the motivations behind such a drastic change as well as the inner transformation that can take place during the journey. We also explore the personal sides of managing expectations, mental adjustments to a new environment, and the benefits and drawbacks of living so removed from modern life. Given that I’m normally very focused on the practical, logical and hard science side of ecosystem regeneration and lifestyle transition, it did me a lot of good to take the time to ponder the inner journey that takes place and to consider how others think and feel about the upheavals of these transformations and transitions.  

Back when I spoke with Ayana we were not yet in pandemic lockdown here in Spain, but now that we are and now that the quarantine has been extended until at least April 11th, it looks like we here, and many people all around the world are getting a taste of isolated living, even though we may not have moved at all or are only one door away from many neighbors. These drastic transformations are bringing out extreme and unusual feelings in people, myself included, and I’m hearing more and more urgency in developing alternative livelihoods and support systems for ourselves and our communities. I myself was in the process of purchasing a small farm with my partner when everything shut down here in Spain and the process has been suspended indefinitely, but the two of us feel more committed than ever to move to a situation in which we can be of direct help to our community here by providing healthy food and offering learning opportunities to the people around us who are also looking to make a transition. We are living in uncertain and stressful times, but know that you’re not alone in this journey. We will all need to work together and help each other out in the coming transition to a regenerative society. Though I certainly have low moments and doubts these days, I’m also confident that truly good and beautiful examples of human ingenuity and compassion will come out of this pandemic and that our communities will band together in new and inspiring ways to lift us collectively out of this and away from the trajectory of destruction and consumption that we’ve been on before now. 

If you’ve been enjoying these episodes I’d encourage you to look through the archives of the Abundant Edge podcast for more inspiration and practical information on everything from natural building for low cost, high quality housing, to growing your own food, planning regenerative farms, and much much more in over 150 episodes. This information and the community connections that it can create are more important and urgent now than ever. Thank you all so much for listening and supporting this show. I hope this finds you all safe, healthy and in good company.



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