By Kathleen Kahlon
I’ve been out of the city for the past three weeks—away from the traffic, the noise, and also the modern comforts of home. My husband and I decided in February, that for our honeymoon we should rent a remote (and I mean remote) cabin in the “bush” and see what it’s like living with less. Here at the cabin, we don’t have electricity, or hot water, in fact, we don’t really have much plumbing either. There are none of the city’s conveniences—groceries stores are far away, so are our closest neighbours. There isn’t a Starbucks for over 100 km. We don’t have many “things” out here, but we are living an abundant life.
How has abundance been created with less? In a sense, we live with what we have – water to wash dishes and to bathe comes from the small lake we are on. We take care to only use what water we need. Turns out, we don’t need very much. It means that instead of watching TV, we read books and talk to each other. I can’t remember the last time I was so wrapped up into the novels I read. We listen to the sounds of nature, including the first bird chirping in the morning and the wolves howling at night. We can’t stuff our fridge with food, so we buy less, fresh and local, and we eat what we have. I have become a culinary genius on the BBQ, cooking dishes I wouldn’t have even attempted before. When we do see our neighbours, we are able to take the time to listen and to talk. Yesterday, I spoke to my neighbor for two hours, and learned how he hunts deer to feed his family through the winter.
Being here at our little cabin in the woods, I have had time to reflect on the ways in which I can bring a piece of this life back with me when I return. Part of what I hope to bring back is an even deeper effort to eat locally sourced foods. Instead of a regular weekly grocery store visit, I plan to visit Withrow Market on Saturdays, only buying what I need for the following few days. I will be making a greater effort to support local businesses instead of big box grocery chains. I plan to be mindful of where my food comes from, when I do buy it from a grocery store. I plan to conserve water at home, and electricity. I have learned, just in a few short weeks, that these changes aren’t hard and they don’t necessarily take more time. They just take a to do things a little differently.
In my recent re-reading of The Way of the Peaceful Warrior, Dan Milman writes, “The secret of happiness, is not in seeking more, but in developing a capacity to enjoy less.”
With less, we can have so much more.