The Ultimate Relationship... and the Earth Collective

Full disclosure

The beach at Aberystwyth

I have spent the last month intensively preparing the documents required for my Portuguese visa application. Beyond ridiculous, would be an understatement. Not just bureaucracy on steroids, but no single definitive source of information, conflicting views on many issues and utter dysfunction regards online processes. Several times over, it took me a whole day to complete a single form, having to use the chat facility at every step, to solve technical issues and ambiguities. Guarding my personal data over the last few years has gone by the wayside. This is nothing short of full disclosure.

This week, I am bracing myself for a trip to London to submit the paperwork. I am not looking forward to it. I spent 20 years in London in the early part of my professional career and, while it was exciting at the time, it wasn’t my natural habitat. When I left in 2004, I was done with the city. I didn’t intend to return, not even for a single day. I much prefer the countryside, the relative peace and quiet, and far fewer people.

So, keeping my focus firmly fixed on beautiful rural Portugal, I have been taking things a day at a time to avoid getting stressed (though there have been a few moments), inching my way forwards through the tedium. And it’s not just me. Everyone I know who is dealing with any form of system, whether it's getting an elderly parent into a home, renewing documents such as a passport, opening a bank account or dealing with an insurance claim, is faced with the same turgid bureaucracy. The system appears, by design, to be doing its best to stop all but the doggedly determined, from making changes to their lives and the world at large. It slows things down to a crawl, consumes inordinate amounts of time and energy, and ensures our attention is averted from what really matters in our personal lives and the world at large. I am doing what I have to, so I can embark on a new chapter of my life and a new adventure. The process doesn’t sit well, but I have had to get over this.

Hopefully, within 6-8 weeks, I will have a visa and be travelling to my new homeland. Meantime, there is still a lot to do. First, the beloved ‘mothership’ must be sold. Then I need to take a deep dive down yet another ‘rabbit hole’, and find out what I need to know to import my personal possessions, register a vehicle abroad and more.

On the flip side, I have started to network with a few like-minded groups online, who are in the right part of Portugal. So, I hope to hit the ground running with a handful of contacts and resources. Best of all, I have reconnected with a long-lost friend since returning to Wales, which has been a joy and an essential counterpart to the tedium. I have also been keeping up with the people who expressed an interest in the Earth Collective project, when I was in Ireland. Like me, most are in the process of reconfiguring their lives. Hopefully, we will converge in Portugal in due course.

Going forwards, I am planning to make some videos. I bought a fabulous new camera a year ago, which hasn’t been out of the box yet. I haven’t felt inspired to use it, but something is prodding me to get going now. Having recently changed from Microsoft to Ubuntu (an open source operating system), it was a bit of a project to get everything working again, including video editing. So, that stalled things for a while. But there are no excuses now. I will also be able to make more audio recordings of my book.

Caban Coch Dam, Elan Valley, in full flow

Having got my head around selling the mothership, I am looking forward to leaving campsite life behind. This is not a natural habitat for me either, though it has served a purpose. I have seen some fabulous countryside and met a handful of special people along the way. I have heard some tragic stories, too. Worst, though, has been constant noise and lack of privacy. I long for quietude and to be away from the madding crowd. All said, the experience has changed me - for the better. It has added another dimension to my understanding of patience and humility and affirmed, yet again, that you really can’t make any assumptions about the people you meet. We all have our stuff, and it is different. Some may seem to have more than others, but it’s relative to our ability to deal with it. This last three years (yes, it’s been that long), has put me well and truly into my discomfort zone, which has acted as a catalyst to become a new version of me. This was the intention when I sold up and left my previous life, though I never would have predicted I would still be living on wheels. How surprising is life!


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2 comments on “Full disclosure”

  1. Hi Chris, I know of Eckhart Tolle's work, and though I haven't read that particular book, I echo the sentiment and have been endeavoring to live it more and more, on a daily basis.

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