We arrive late. Later than we thought. It is dark outside as we open the front door. As we walk in we immediately feel warm and welcome. There is a fire going. The room is invitingly lit. And Meg, who has arranged for us to meet and talk with Patrick, comes over and gives us a big hug.
Dinner is on the table, and as we sit down we are treated to an explanation of where all the food has come from. Much of it has been grown on their property; all of it has its origins known.
Over dinner we discuss many things: their planned removal of fridge and dishwasher; their way of enabling more recently introduced species of flora and fauna to flourish alongside and longer standing species; their ways of living with less money and material things to enable more connection and wellbeing in their lives.
We learn about Patrick’s days of playing practical jokes in the CBD of Melbourne: climbing and sleeping in trees; holding up signs to make people think. We learn of guerrilla tactics for reclaiming vacant, bare, underused land to create thriving permaculture oases. We hear Patrick’s thoughts on how our understanding of origins and purpose can determine our actions and trajectory.
The overwhelming feeling is of connection and openness.
That night we stay on site in a tiny house with no more or less than is needed to live. And the next morning we are treated to breakfast, a tour of the property, and an expedition foraging for mushrooms in the nearby forest.
My weekend in Daylesford to Meg and Patrick’s place was the first time I had been able to stay with one of my guests for an extended period of time. It gave me an excellent insight into the way they live, and why they choose to live that way. I was able to see the many benefits it brought to their life, and the freedom it enabled them to experience. I have made some changes in my own life to live in a more frugal way and to decouple enjoyment and fun from money, and I was inspired to take this further after this experience.
Patrick Jones and his family live in a fascinating way – one he describes as one response to the context we find ourselves living in now. A context where we seem to see technology as our saviour and the earth as our foe. Where things like slowing down, reusing what we have, and connecting to the land are inferior to doing more, buying more, and putting more layers between us and the dirt.
I am inspired by Patrick and his family’s response, and my time with them left me with much to ponder. I hope in listening to our conversation you are left with the same feeling.
Patrick and Meg’s tiny house (aka the Permie Love Shack) is available for rent through Airbnb.
You can read more about them on their blog.
Here is a link to their book, The Art of Free Travel, about their experience travelling around Australia on bike for 400 days.
And if you enjoyed listening to this conversation, you may also enjoy listening to Samuel Alexander on his response to living in our current context, Karen Ellis and reuse and repair, Matt Wicking on what context we are living in, or Cameron Elliot on crowdsourcing wisdom.