Down to Earth

Rhonda Hetzel uses the phrase “sustainability via house and yard work” for her blog and her book; it might well be a motto for the Urban Hermit.
“I was pulled into simple living before I knew what it was. It crept up on me using the smallest of steps and didn’t reveal its true beauty and real power until I was totally hooked. I was searching for a way to live well while spending very little money. What I found was a way of life that also gave me independence, opportunity and freedom.”

The interesting blog offers information on a range of topics:
“If you haven’t already discovered the power of your own home you are in for a delightful and beautiful shock. Come closer and let me whisper in your ear, because if everyone knows this, it will cause a revolution. The work you do in your own home, by creating a warm and secure place for yourself and your family to live in, will enrich you and make you a different person. It saved me from a life of ridiculous spending and mindless acquisition and slowed me down enough to allow me to see the beauty here. When I took the time to change my attitude towards my home, it not only gave me the energy to do housework and the strength to make the physical changes so our home better suited how we live, it changed me in the process. It is a beautiful change that I am grateful for every day.”

“I cannot stress enough that simple living is not about a particular geographical location; it is not something that happens only in the countryside, nor is it confined to a certain city, or to the suburbs. You do not have to live on a farm or a homestead or in a cave. A simple life can flourish anywhere.

Simple living is more about a powerful change in attitude and how you apply that change to the way you live. You could be living in a tent on the top of a mountain, an apartment block in New York City or a beach house in Australia. Your home could be the suburbs of London or Paris, the wild open spaces of Alaska or any crowded city in the world; a simple life is possible anywhere.

It’s not about where your home is, it’s about where your head is.

The vision of packing up and leaving the city to live a simple life in the country is a common one, but it is not a realistic vision for many people. It’s often a romantic, idealised dream to live a life uncomplicated by traffic, pollution, crowds, violence and uncertainty. Sometimes people move to a location that looks perfect, but when they get there they can’t find a job, the schools are too far away and the idyllic simple life they dream of is still out of reach. Their life is still complicated, just by different things.

One of my favourite aspects of simple living is that you make do with what you have, and that includes your location. It’s an old-fashioned notion and the opposite of what’s currently in favour: instant gratification and having what you want at any price. Simple living is not about buying a lifestyle, it’s about building a life – using what you already have. And just like making a meal using basic ingredients, what you end up with is something suited exactly to you, not someone else’s idea of what you should want. So no matter where you’re living, you can make it better by altering your attitude, making a few simple changes and making the best of what you have.”

Extract from “Down to Earth”:
down to earth 2
For an interview with the author: and an ABC radio program about her:


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