Introducing “A Taste of Freedom”
We have always known that, one day, we will have to leave the United Arab Emirates. Visas are tied to jobs and sponsors, and no matter how long one lives here, eventually one will have to move on. Most people simply go back to their passport country, others move on to job opportunities in other countries, some start businesses and stay. With political turmoil and violent crime out of control, we are not keen to return to South Africa. We’ve gotten used to not being surrounded by stories of violence and hatred. Both of us have always longed for a simpler life. A life lived closer to the land.
As a teenager I couldn’t wait to finish school and leave the small farming community in the middle of South Africa in which I grew up. I wanted to live and work in the city, and see the world. Ironically, as I’ve grown older, I started to long for a little piece of land on which I could grow things. I don’t have green fingers, and know nothing about growing vegetables, fruit trees, or even the lavender I always thought I’d like to grow. And so, through the years I have collected articles and books on how to live off the land, to feed this deep longing.
Michael grew up in Kariba, Zimbabwe, where he was exposed to a life where wildlife roamed freely, before spending the latter part of his teenage years on a farm in South Africa. He had a secret longing to be a farmer, but life did not work out like that for him. He has always loved growing things, even when he doesn’t necessarily eat what he grows. Getting into the technical details and science of it, is not just a passion, but a compulsion. He loves the challenge of learning something new, and starting a new project is what drives him. Once up and running, with the thrill morphing into slog, he loses interest. I, on the other hand, couldn’t be bothered by the science, but I do have the stamina to see projects through. Hence we think we will make a good team on the land.
In two previous blog posts I have written about our decision of buying land in Portugal, as well as resolving a land dispute, which could have derailed the process. We are currently busy converting a small ruin into a tiny house, and getting electricity connected to the land. The process is slow, because we have to manage it from a distance, and turning a dream into reality costs money.
And so, for now, life in Abu Dhabi will continue as always, despite upheavals at Michael’s workplace, and various changes in the country. We still enjoy living here, and each salary brings us closer to our “life of freedom”.
Having blogged about my adventures of life in the UAE, as well as other random travels, since moving here at the end of 2011, it seems natural for me to want to keep blogging. For now, Dreaming in Arabic will continue as always. Perhaps just with less travel adventures, as we channel our money and efforts towards our land in Portugal.
But we’ve also set up a new platform to document this new journey as it unfolds. If you would like to follow us on our journey of realizing our dream of a life lived closer to the land, please subscribe to our website, A Taste of Freedom, or follow us on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our YouTube Channel, where I will post the odd video to supplement our blog content. Don’t expect daily or even weekly updates, though. This is not a magical journey. It is one entrenched in the struggles of daily life. We are just two ordinary people taking one tiny step at a time to transform a dream into reality.