Jack Delano Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe, Sibley, Missouri 1943
Let me give you a quick update on our adventures down under: it’s already a month ago that Nicole was a key speaker at the Great Debate during the Melbourne Sustainable Living Festival. Time flies ever faster. I arrived a week later, and we spent two weeks in Melbourne in the granny flat of our friends Daryl, Lucy, Maggie and fierce border collie Sirius (Serious?) Black. Nicole and I hadn’t seen each other in almost two years, and that’s a long time when you try and run a company together.
Then, 10 days ago, we flew to Tasmania for the Australasian Permaculture Convergence, where Nicole was one of the keynote speakers, along with the very gracious David Holmgren and oldtimer permaculture pioneer Stuart Hill, whom I managed to squeeze a tap dance out of.
The Convergence took place in a little town named Penguin, on Tasmania’s north coast, which of course has a big statue of a penguin on the main road along its beach. It’s also sort of the birthplace of permaculture. Lovely part of the world. Do go see it when you get a chance. Great place to live too! We were invited to stay for the whole week with the very kind and generous Tom and Jerry (no, Jenny) in Burnie, a somewhat larger town half an hour away. Tasmania is quite a large island, with its own indigenous plants and animals, where only half a million people live in total.
The Convergence was a jam-packed 5 days with 200 people attending, with the everlasting challenge to find internet connection, much of which had to be done by tethering my phone. It is occasions like this that allow us to meet lots of people we would never otherwise have the opportunity to talk to, and there’s a lot of bright ideas in the permaculture movement. They just mostly need to be updated on the finance aspect of their world, and its consequences for everyone involved, and that’s sort of where we come in. Because David Holmgren, the guru of permaculture, is such a big fan of both Nicole’s message and my writing, people in the movement pay close attention to what we have to say.
It’s always a fantastic and at the same time humbling experience to arrive somewhere in the middle of nowhere at (for me) the other side of the world, and be invited to come stay with people who then tell you they’ve been reading you for years and consider themselves your biggest fans. That’s what happened when after the Convergence we were invited to spend two days with Phil and Lyn and stonedeaf Irish setter Rosie.
Wonderful people, and it’s at moments like this that you fully realize that the flipside of meeting all these fantastic people on your travels is that you have to leave them behind again at some point. In this case two days was definitely way too short. Traveling the way we do would not be possible if we had to stay in hotels etc., that would be a big energy drain. Staying with readers, with real people, on the other hand, keeps that energy flowing.
We flew back to Melbourne yesterday, where right now, as I write this, Nicole is doing an interview in the back yard of Sam, Helen and Laurie’s home for a documentary Sam and his cameraman Jordan are shooting on the theme: ‘What Can One Do In The Face Of The Crash?’. Tomorrow, we’re back on the road, or rather the air, to go to New Zealand, Nicole’s new home country. She’s moving soon to Wellington on the north island, so we need to get her stuff there from the south island. It looked for a while as if cyclone Pam, which devastated Vanuatu and other south Pacific islands, was perhaps going to disrupt plane traffic tomorrow, the 17th (it’s 15 hours later here than EDT), but the latest is that it’ll be alright. Not for all those who lost their homes on the islands, mind you.
We know there will be talks in the Bay of Islands area (details to follow), but other than that nothing’s carved in stone. So if you’re in New Zealand and you want to meet us or you want to organize events, drop us a line either by email or in the comments section. The internet (I like saying the Interwebs) is a great means of communication, and it allows us to do what we do, but meeting our readers face to face adds a whole, and very gratifying, dimension to the whole thing. So don’t be shy! We want to meet you too!