I’m a big city girl. Always have been and always will be. I spent the first eighteen years of my life in Johannesburg and then moved south to Cape Town for the next seventeen.
Then, at the end of last year, I decided to spend some time out of the city.
The plan was to spend two months living in Barrydale, a small little karoo town about two and a half hours out of Cape Town, to work on a writing project that I’d finally managed to commit to.
Two months turned into four, turned into six, and tra-laa, I’m still here.
I have to keep slapping myself every time I manage to admit that I actually like this type of living. How could I? There’s no sushi, no movies and no shopping (besides for the OK Bazaars and the Pep Stores). I mean, how could anyone POSSIBLY live here?
My rent is exactly a tenth of what I was paying in Cape Town, which not only frees me up to do more of the things that I love, but takes a lot of pressure off me to “perform” at a high and consistent rate to sustain that kind of living.
There are no queues, no car guards and no traffic. It’s quiet and peaceful. Entire menageries of birds live in my garden and I wake up to the sound of their chattering every single day. Mountains lie like sleepy long forgotten ships all around the town, people acknowledge your existence when you walk down the street and the biggest issue these people have is deciding what the hell they’re going to do about the baboons that come into town.
Barrydale isn’t exactly average as far as South African small towns go though. It’s known as being the liberal little dorp of the western Cape, sporting a wide array of inhabitants including metalworkers, painters, chandelier makers, writers and a large gay and lesbian population that keep this town looking and being awesome.
I guess the non-negotiable for me is people. If there weren’t anyone in this town that I cared about, it would probably have been a lot less fun and harder to sustain. Whether you’re in the city or out, we all need a community to fit into.
My trend forecast for the next fifty years is that more and more, people will start leaving big cities and settling in smaller ones like Barrydale.
The internet is making it easier and easier to be prudent about which location you choose to situate yourself in, and also easier to travel. Nomadic lifestyles and location independence are terms that are becoming more and more common place in the early stages of the twenty first century. We don’t need big cities anymore to interface with new and old faces, work colleagues and business acquaintances anymore.
As the world’s values start to shift and older paradigms are steadily embraced, people are starting to seek out nature and real connection again. I can’t tell you how much that excites me.
The world is changing by the day. I recently saw an interview with a well known scientist who predicted that the rate at which things are changing will multiply fifty times over in the next hundred years.
The world is speeding up, that’s not going to change, but you can choose how you want to fit into that.
Which platform are you perching on to watch the fireworks go pop?