The Other Way

Sunset from the raid

”Ultimately we know deeply that the other side of every fear is freedom.”  -Marilyn Ferguson

So, we are running out of money. This is a fact that, just a week ago, had us feeling upset and anxious. It can be a scary thing, running out of money, especially when to a large degree you have been planning much of what you do around money. 

Yet, if you were to zoom in far enough on Google Earth, you would find Emma and I in high spirits (somewhere a little off the trail in a city in the Andean mountains of Colombia). There are strange ideas dancing around our heads now.
Once upon a time, in a riad nestled amongst the cacophany of Marrakech medina, with the most stupendous views of the Atlas mountains and in the company of perhaps the greatest Jenga pioneers of our generation, we met a fellow called Pier. He was a singular man, in possession of a superabundance of love and something that I seem to encounter more and more recently: wisdom. Pier has a daughter, a young daughter. And when she was 16 years young she decided that she wanted to go traveling. Without money. Parents may gasp, but she returned months later, happier and having tapped into the same source as her father.
Emma, Pier and Louise

And then there were the Hungarians. We met them on top of a mountain, in a place called Manjarin (population one), about 700km into our walk across Spain. Immediately we could sense something different about them. They had the heaviest bags of anyone we had met. Usually people had extra shoes, or a pair of jeans (?!) or had packed two paperbacks. These guys had packed a didgeridoo, a drum and a mouth-organ.

The only house in town.
It turned out they were coming the other way. This was a big deal. On the Camino De Santiago, it’s rare to meet people coming the other way. That means either they started at your destination or that they got there and turned back.
“So, you’re walking back?”
Yep, they were. Thing is, they’d walked there (to the western-most point of Spain) from Hungary. When they arrived at the western-most point they somehow lost all of their money. All of it. What else was there for it? They decided to walk home.
That is how we ended up meeting them. They were perhaps the happiest, most light-hearted and inspired people we had met on the entire route. They were full of stories and songs and questions.
“It changed our lives.” They told us.
Losing all of their money had changed their lives, for the better. They were not afraid, not anymore. Not afraid of going hungry, of staying dry, or warm, nor were they afraid of asking for help. If they were in need of anything they would ask, or they would play music for people, or exchange their abilities or talents for food or money. They would lay down their map and busk by it, they would make people smile.

The Hungarians

When Emma and I became anxious and upset about our money running out, we thought back to these people. And we thought back to other people we have heard of, living in other ways. And now all of these ideas have started flooding into our heads, ideas that we would like to share with you. Ideas that are exciting, scary, unbelievable; ideas that we’ve been thinking about for a little while but haven’t had the courage to follow through; ideas that seem impossible, but that we know aren’t because people are living them out.
And so, you might notice a few changes to this blog from now onwards.
I hope you are as interested as us.
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