Want to experience a developing country from your own home?

Day 15

  • 23km walk from North Vancouver to South Vancouver via downtown and a cool meeting with Free the Children – but cold, wet, tired, hungry and grumpy upon arrival at my hosts!
  • Breakfast: half packet of very watery instant noodles and slice of bread
  • Snacks: apple (yay my first!) and hard boiled egg (was meant to be on Sunday [my egg day] but didn’t have it as was guilty from beef jerky)
  • Lunch: two slices of homemade bread and ¼ banana which I dropped on the ground and had to de-grit before smearing on my bread!
  • Dinner: garlic, onion, broccoli, third of a can of sardines in tomato and chili sauce, oil and pasta – the best meal I’ve had in two weeks!

I got an opportunity to do a shop where I could really cost things out and I think I have been living waaay below the line in guessing what I have been eating as yesterday I bought a large potato, broccoli, two apples, onion, bok-choy and can of sardines for under $2 of which I used about 60c!

If you have always wanted to experience developing country life you can now do it at home!

Not exactly but I believe if you take on the Live Below the Line challenge – eating on less than US$1.50/day each day for five days you will get some great insights into how billions of people live around the world everyday from your own country.

This campaign started with two good friends of mine in Melbourne who had previously spent time in developing countries and said ‘Well we have seen extreme poverty, how would you replicate that in a country like Australia?’ And Live Below the Line was born. 

Another great way to explain this campaign is to get Hugh Jackman to do it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b2qPhwFokkA

Almost every host I have stayed with on this trip (BTW thank you so much hosts!) I have either guilted or inspired to take on the challenge this May 7-11, sorry guys. My big ask for my trip to others is not for your money but for you to give this campaign a shot!

It is a fundraiser but primarily it is about conversation, thought and perspectives. You cannot regret taking on this challenge – it is honestly a life changer…

But instead of me banging my own drum to death for Live Below the Line I want to share with you a couple of links from others.

The best one comes from a guy who writes a great blog known as Make Wealth History (and he writes grammatically properly and everything!). But he will give you lots of very cool insights in Live Below the Line and his thoughts during his week which he is doing now ahead of the official dates (May 7-11) to promote the campaign – http://makewealthhistory.org/2012/04/23/why-were-living-below-the-line-this-week/ there are also posts with a video, some great comments from others and a great look at the price of food in developed countries.

Passed through Granville Island on my walk and visited my friend who is the brewer at Granville Island Brewery - while not wanting a beer it was tough on a social basis!

So only thing left is to sign up eh! Link through from the Global Poverty Porject website: http://www.globalpovertyproject.com

Enjoying simple eating!

Am I Crazy or Is the World?

Day 6

  • 33km walk from Victoria to Swartz Bay ferry, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
  • Breakfast: oats, Mexican vanilla flavoured corn-flour, bit of bran, a few flax seeds, half a pear and boiling water
  • Lunch: ¾ cold potato and BOILED EGG (wow… saved up for an egg – sooo good)
  • Dinner: rice with 15c of beef broth and small handful of diced kale

Not sure if I have ever walked 30km and only eaten a cold potato for the whole trip – but I have now! The boiled egg on the ferry was a taste and energy explosion however. Then my lovely host in Vancouver, Jozi, had cooked me dinner within my 70c budget!

My dinner from the night before (rice and onion broth) and the potato cooked and my sustenance for the entire walk today

‘Am I crazy or is the world?’ was the theme of my walk – a lovely 33km walk from downtown Victoria to the Vancouver ferry at Swartz Bay (no swimming today).

It is Sunday, a beautiful sunny spring day on Vancouver Island, British Colombia, Canada and perfect walking temperature. I needed to get from Victoria to the ferry departure point at Swartz Bay before about 5pm. Now to me I couldn’t think of anything better than walking that distance through urban landscape, forests, coast and everything in between. Some people will think doing that is crazy but for me I think it is crazy that our society might consider that that’s crazy.

A part of the walk today that was beautiful and filled with walkers, cyclists and horse-riders - if you build it they will come and this could be our priority & maybe less highways?

The walk is purposeful, enjoyable, observational, contemplative, healthy, interactive with nature and others out on the trail and has many other positive benefits – why would I want to miss all that trapped in a machine to save me time do less purposeful things (usually no matter how important I think they are).

This is where I appreciate Live Below the Line because it slows everything down (except maybe me). Walking, cooking, talking, travelling and more. It does not waste time – the time spent doing these things is meaningful. Saving time is a great concept if you only have time to gather food for survival as you can then start to choose things like education, recreation and more, but I feel our developed world has taken it to a point that is so un-human and meaningless. Saving time becomes more important than time itself.

One of the essences of this concept of time and Live Below the Line for me is voluntary simplicity, basically ‘less is more’ and enjoying it. I love the idea of expecting and having less and being happy with that. The concept goes much further than this as it also represents a great connection to family, community, nature and the rest of the world. It is not easy for most but I absolutely love it and therefore appreciate the extra insights and skills Live Below the Line gives me.

I try not to tell people what to do and live life for myself but I can almost absolutely guarantee most people and the developed world would be happier, healthier and more humble with more voluntary simplicity in our lives. This is not about glorifying poverty just an acknowledgement of it when we are not forced into it.

I believe in not making simplicity hard, unwanted or a chore – I enjoy it and feel better for it in so many ways. This is not saying we can’t have anything or we need to live in yurts (cool), just a little contemplation on time and simplicity might be a good thing in our self-controlled but busy and complicated lives…?

For me walking is one of those great tools and I came up with this little quote on my walk:

‘The best TV shows are socks and shoes on your feet

and the stories on your street. Go for a walk and enjoy the beat!’

My Keens shoes have been walking me around for many years and are, a replaceable, but treasured possession as I know the joy and learning they give me.

Another fine spot of many along the walk

Below are a couple of resources and very cool people and organisations to check out if you think you might be keen to know about this concept of voluntary simplicity… I also have ‘Simply Happy – a lifestyle model and education project’ in proposal stage if people are keen for me to send it to them.

Samuel Alexander and Voluntary Simplicity and Simplicity Collective – http://simplicitycollective.com/

  • I have followed Samuel for a few years now as he did his PhD in this field and always has great blogs and e-newsletter

Donnie Maclurcan and a big team from the Post Growth Institute – http://postgrowth.org/

Michael Franti from Spearhead – http://michaelfranti.com

  • has been a great role model of mine for many years through his music and lyrics. I don’t follow his website much but you will be ‘richer’ from listening to him!

Other like – Buy Nothing Day, The Story of Stuff, Adbusters, The Moneyless Man, Ted Trainer, Grist and heaps more propaganda out there!

And to top it all off you must watch this clip of Bangladeshi girls from the streets in a refuge centre and I think this will make your heart sing showing that the best things in life are not things. http://vimeo.com/m/40064516

Big hugs from a tired, simple but very fulfilled man in this evening…

This is my enjoying walking but not quite working out how to use the camera face! Got the LBL shirt and yellow arm socks cranking as well...