Watching things unfold in America, and especially in our home state of Texas, over the past four months has definitely reinforced our initial drive to seek sanctuary in the UK. We are extremely grateful for the experiences and safety we received there. Everyone was super welcoming where we were staying in Totnes, Devon. We also greatly enjoyed the close and easy accessibility to Nature in such an eco-conscious town. Our time there allowed us to focus on our health, spiritual connections, and future plans. The time was much needed, but certainly not a vacation.
First off, as most travelers know, Winter is far from the ideal season to visit England. Totnes is in the southwest area and is near the coast. So not the coldest of spots in the UK. But still colder than what we’ve been used to our whole lives in South Texas, and very humid. Not surprisingly, Cristophe and I both developed colds (yes, just colds, not Covid 19) a few days after arriving at the end of last October. Everything takes forever to dry, and trying to avoid mold growth is a constant struggle. Most locals end up just having to repaint their walls semi-annually to keep the ever present mold at bay. We even had to compost a never-used back-up pair of our bamboo toothbrushes. They had developed mold in the bristles through the compostable packaging from just being stored in the bathroom.
Yet, we definitely enjoyed the lack of mosquitos and flies. Their reduced presence is enough so that the windows there don’t even have screens! (Quite shocking for those of us from a lower latitude.) And the flora of that climate makes up for all of the discomforts, even in the Winter. There is always green life to be found, from flourishing conifers paying no mind to the cold, to living moss blanketing the bark of dormant deciduous trees. Not to mention, the ever abundant foraging opportunities of both medicinal and edible plants everywhere. There was such easy access as we have never before experienced in our lives.
Lockdown in a Pandemic
Another downfall to our time spent in England was the constant lockdowns. Out of the entire time we were there, we were free to do some site-seeing with all the local stores open to us for only a couple of weeks in December. The rest of our time there was spent under national lockdown with only essential shops open and only essential travel allowed. Of course, we completely understood the need for these safety measures. We also appreciated being somewhere with an active government working to reduce deaths. The overdrawn lack of such measures in America has been a constant cause of distress and sorrow for many of our loved ones and us. But we remain hopeful for belated progress on that front at least.
Luckily for us, the UK lockdowns have still allowed outdoor walking for exercise in your local area. This made us very grateful for the many Nature preserve areas in Totnes with public access. I do have to say that my parents chose a very beautiful, ethical, and conscious place to live.
The River Dart
Neither Cristophe nor I have ever lived within easy walking distance to such a well preserved natural river before. The River Dart meant even more to us with Totnes being in such close proximity to its mouth at the Atlantic Ocean. You can smell the ocean on the breeze, feel and see the tide rise and fall within the river’s banks, and occasionally catch a glimpse of local marine life. Yet, Totnes is just far enough up river to not be able to actually see the ocean itself.
Unfortunately, the lockdowns prevented us from ever getting to actually travel to the mouth of the river in Dartmouth. This was a hard spiritual loss to both of us, but especially to Cristophe. He has a strong elemental connection with water. The River Dart saved our spiritual selves many times during our time there.
My mother is very into genealogy. She has done her best to trace down our ancestors as far as is documented. Unfortunately, the colonization of America ensured the loss of most of her family history. She has been working on it for many year now and still has quite a few missing pieces that may never be found. The best info we have has come from her DNA test. This verified our mostly Native American Indigenous roots and showed the usual European percentages common in such colonized populations. She has also recently traced my father’s ancestors, which has proven to be a much easier task. They were all European and mostly English and German.
My ancestry is a mix of clashing histories. But I have chosen to heal those ancestral divides within me. All populations began with some form of Indigenous tribes connecting and thriving with the specific type of Nature around them. My ancestral healing work had begun in America with my Native American ancestors. Then, my time in England gave me the ability to also renew those bonds between my European ancestors and the Nature of their homelands.
In doing so on both continents, I have continued to release the poisonous hate long embedded in my very DNA. Hate seeded there by all the waves of religious persecution, devastating war, destructive colonization, and extinguishing genocide that ever touched even just one of my ancestors’ lives. Whether that Ancestor fueled the fire or/and was burned by it, that hate left a mark. A mark which I am now able to replace with truths of lessons learned to form a positive adaptation for a lighter way forward.
What’s Next in America
We’re back just in time for the growing season! Cristophe and I will be staying in Houston, Texas, with Cris’ mother, as we regenerate her back garden. This work will also include helping her to develop her own version of homesteading with eco-conscious and ethical living. We will also be continuing to plan and prep for our own future new homestead in America, and keeping you up to date every step of the way!
Our posts will be full of even more of the beautiful Nature photos from our time in England for a while yet. Everything was so awe inspiring, we couldn’t help but capture as many pictures of it as possible. In person viewing and feeling is always better, but we did our best to take photos that share at least most of the beauty. Don’t forget to follow us on our Facebook and Instagram pages for access to all of our unique photography posted with extra tidbits about our journey. Thanks for joining us!