I have a dream that I’ve been harbouring for as long as I can remember. It’s a fantasy that only recently emerged out of my subconscious for long enough for me to realise how idealistic and impossible it as; whilst simultaneously clinging on to it as hard as I can.
Basically, I want to be Laura Ingalls Wilder.
I realise this sounds ridiculous, and it is, which is exactly why my more rational mind has never been given the chance to confront it. Until now.
When I think about travelling the world (and I often do), there is an endpoint in sight. Eventually I want to settle down, but still in the middle of the wild somewhere. Ideally this would be in some kind of plain, probably with a wood nearby, and definitely a creek. (All this and I’m English – we don’t even have creeks!)
It’s always just lurked at the back of my head, that maybe when I go off travelling, I won’t come back. I will just find a place I love, and stay there. Not all that strange so far, as many people are radically changed by the places they visit.
But as I am still thinking along the lines of a visitor, a traveller, I wouldn’t work.
At least not in the conventional sense. Instead, in my head, I will live off the land (I don’t even really know what this means, and I hat gardening, but I long to do it all the same). I might write about my life, and all the wonderful sights I had seen, perhaps sending articles or stories of to the local town’s newspaper once in a while (see Jo March, impoverished writer to be).
This is not the same kind of ambition I have in my real life, the one I am happy to admit to people. In real life I would like to write books for a living, and not struggle for food or even more luxury items.
But in my head, out on the prairie, I would make my own soap. I would knit my own clothes and carve wooden toys with my bare hands. I would carry water from the aforementioned creek, or maybe a well. Giving up all the previous material goods I own and the technological wonders that we are all addicted to would give me a kind of smug inner peace, and rosy cheeks. It would sort of be like being Amish, but without the religion.
Even writing this makes it sound stupider than it does in my head, but I love the thought of it. The freedom to do whatever you want, without being constantly hassled by materialism and politics and greed.
Back in the real world, I love living in a city and interacting with new and shiny opportunities seven days a week, 365 days a year. I doubt communities like the one I imagine survive anywhere these days. But somehow even counting the flaws in my plan doesn’t seem to make any difference. I would love to do it.
You can read more from Kate Ashley on her blog.
Feature image via Flickr.