Start Here

Hi there…

My name is Heather – but my friends call me “Hat”.

Here’s a photo of me:

We clearly don't take ourselves very seriously these days...!  ;-)

We clearly don’t take ourselves very seriously these days…! 😉

This is my family:

The loves of my live – my Threeples – are my husband, Nick (a filmmaker)… my daughter, Morgan (9) and my son, Joah (7).  You’ll see a lot of them in this blog.

Our home-base / studio / office is currently in Johannesburg, South Africa.  But – we love travelling – and we’ll often be on the road for months at a time… (whether locally in South Africa – or internationally… exploring other parts of this wonderful planet).

Us… Noordhoek Beach, Cape Town… April 2014.

Us… Noordhoek Beach, Cape Town… April 2014.

Us… in Washington DC… January 2014...

Us… in Washington DC… January 2014…

Before I tell you what I blog about, I suggest you read why I blog.  I want to make it clear from the get-go that this blog is about connecting with like-minded people… and NOT about attempting to *convert* people who live – or believe – differently to us.

I am a lover of diversity – and therefore do not expect the world to live like us – or to make the same choices that we have made.  Each to their own.  Be the best YOU – and I’ll be the best ME.  Live – and let live.   LOVE – and let live.  You get the picture.

This blog is mostly about documenting our journey… telling our story (and my story)… and yes – expressing my opinions.

I’m a Questioner, so – oftentimes, my opinions will evolve as I change and grow.  I love connecting… and I enjoy deep, meaty conversations with thinker friends.

I am not a “Knower” kind of person.  I do not believe that I have all the answers or understand “The Truth”.  I see life as a journey – and, for me, that’s the best part.  I like the process of moving, learning and growing.  I don’t like stagnation.  I don’t like to stay in one spot for long periods of time (whether physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually).

That’s why I’m not a “destination” kind of person.  I don’t want to “arrive”.  If one has “arrived”… then where does one go from there?  How does one grow?  It must be very boring to believe that you have “The Answers” to all of life’s big questions.  What a dead and stagnant place to exist.

Anyhoo’zers… so…

This blog will probably resonate best with the following types of people:

  • Thinkers
  • Questioners
  • Artists
  • Travellers
  • Storytellers
  • Dreamers
  • People who live or think unconventionally
  • People dissatisfied with “The Norm” or The Status Quo
  • The Curious
  • People-Watchers

This blog will probably piss off the following types of people:

  • Those who believe there is only one *right* way to do life.
  • Those who believe there is only one *right* religion – or one *right* truth.
  • Those who think in very dualistic ways (“black vs white”… “right vs wrong”… “us vs them”)
  • Those who are fond of rules, structures, systems and who believe that The Authorities know best.
  • Those who believe that there is only one *right* way to educate children.
  • Those who believe that they are victims of circumstance.
  • Those who don’t like change.

In this blog, I write about:

1.  GIVING UP THE RAT-RACE & LIVING NOMADICALLY

The big process of packing and purging (before we left)...

The big process of packing and purging (before we left)…

Almost 2 years ago, we made a big decision:  we wanted to live differently.  We were tired of our rat-race-existence… the never-ending cycle of work and debt… the stress… the time spent apart (as a family) – even though we all lived under the same roof.

So – we made the decision to live DELIBERATELY.  To live life on OUR terms.  We decided that we wanted to:

  • Renovate & rent out our house.
  • Purge most of our stuff.
  • Get rid of debt.
  • Travel the world (including our own country and continent) indefinitely.
  • Spend our money on experiences and making memories (instead of on *stuff*).
  • And… speaking of money… we wanted to make money doing what we loved.

We’ve come a long way with these dreams… and a number of our posts on this blog focus exclusively on “that” part of our lives and journey.

Here’s a few of my favourite posts dealing with our dreams to live differently:

2.  UN-SCHOOLING / LIFE-LEARNING / ROAD-SCHOOLING / INTEREST-LED-LEARNING / ALTERNATIVE EDUCATION

Our kids exploring an old school house at the Fort Christmas Museum in Florida...

Our kids exploring an old school house at the Fort Christmas Museum in Florida…

Our kids don’t go to school.  We follow a different educational philosophy than most people in our circle of friends and in our family.

We blog occasionally about un-schooling and educational reform on this blog.  It’s a topic close to our heart.  I blog about alternative schooling – NOT because I want to *convert* parents or try to convince others that our way of educating our kids is the *right* way – or that theirs is *wrong*… but rather because I’d love to connect with like-minded sojourners.   It’s my way of sending out a ping… my way of saying:  “Anyone else out there who resonates with this?  Let’s chat!”

I share to connect… not to convert.

Besides, I don’t believe that it’s even possible to *convert* people.  Everyone has their own journey to walk… in their own time.  And I’m okay with that.

Here’s a few posts about the schooling stuff…

3.  TRAVEL

Enjoying the lovely, historical street cars in Tampa...

Enjoying the lovely, historical street cars in Tampa…

I blog about travel – and specifically, our family travels.  This isn’t a travel blog, per se… but we DO write a lot about travel because… well… we travel!  🙂

4.  LIVING DELIBERATELY

Our snowy Christmas in the Adirondacks, New York State.  This had been a big dream of ours - to have our children experience a *proper* White Christmas.

Our snowy Christmas in the Adirondacks, New York State. This had been a big dream of ours – to have our children experience a *proper* White Christmas.  As South African kids – who don’t get to see snow – this experience was SO exciting for them (and for us too – obviously)…

This is another regular theme that pops up on this blog. We believe that life is just too short and precious to waste away “surviving”… “making do”… or “getting by”.  We believe in living deliberately and making lots of on-purpose choices about where we want to be and where we want to go (and where we don’t want to be!).

We wasted a lot of life simply plodding along to the march of the Status Quo… and when we eventually decided to re-evaluate our lives, we were shocked at how much of life we had just let happen “to us”… like a Victim of Circumstance… instead of deliberately taking action to steer our lives in the direction of our choosing.

Here’s a post or two…

4.  QUESTIONING STUPID RULES AND THE STATUS QUO

stupid rules

Occasionally, I blog about the status quo, and systems that just don’t make sense… and ideas on anarchy… and how I loathe stupid rules (see photo above)… and how I’m continually questioning authority – and the many systems that govern us and tell us what to do (government institutions, religious institutions, education institutions and various other Powers-That-Be)…

Blogging about this kind of thing can be somewhat controversial – and since I’m an introvert (who doesn’t like fighting with people)… I tend to pull away from these topics (that I actually feel rather passionate about)… because I don’t want to get into heated debates with angry people.  Now that I’m slowly getting braver – you’ll probably find more and more topics like this popping up on the blog…

5.  FIGURING OUT HOW WE CAN BE THE CHANGE…

One of my projects - VENT! - working with 50 creative youth - mostly from the township of Zamdela in Sasolburg...

One of my projects – VENT! – working with 50 creative youth – mostly from the township of Zamdela in Sasolburg…

I’m a recovering Social Entrepreneur.  I burned out after launching one too many projects in my attempt to *fix* the world.  I’m still coming to terms with the fact that I can’t just wave a magic wand and change the world… and occasionally, I write a post or two that expresses my respective yearning and frustration…

6.  CREATIVE STUFFS

coffee cabaret poster

Nick and I are both creative creatures – so it stands to reason that there’s a fair amount of art-stuff on our blog.   Considering that illustration, songwriting, cinematography, filmmaking, photography, composing and storytelling are such huge parts of our lives… it’s surprising that there’s not a lot MORE arty posts.

Here’s a few to tell the story:

7.  AND… A FEW PERSONAL STORIES… 🙂

hat1

So there you have it!

An introduction to this blog!  🙂

If you like what you find here, please consider subscribing (the most recent posts get sent directly to your inbox)… or maybe *like* the Facebook page.

Other than that…  enjoy life and be the best *You*… (and I’ll be the best *me*)… X

24 thoughts on “Start Here

  1. I just ran across your blog while searching “living differently” on Google–who knows what you can find. Much of what you stand for and how you live resonates with me. I am a 26-year-old mother of 1 (six months). I was always adventurous in college and studied international environment and development; I thought I would do something wonderful and brave, but I find myself a house-mother, working as a server a few hours a week (a very fun job indeed, but not very fulfilling). My fiancé and I have accidentally fallen into the rat-race. I do enjoy life and LOVE being a mother, but I know there is a better way to live than the way we are doing life. I’m looking forward to diving into your blog. Thank you for sharing your brave dive into LIVING life!

    • Thanks so much for the lovely note, Ellie. I can completely relate… and *get* where you’re at. It’s so easy to fall into the rat-race. Nick and I are currently making some more BIG decisions about further changes… (involving the sale of property and what-not). There’s a big push-and-pull going on between our ideals and our dreams and the kind of life we WANT to live… and, of course… the “norm”… (which, interestingly… is convenient and easy!). Living against the flow is often not an EASY decision and is often a bit uncomfortable (in more ways than one). But – my gosh – it’s so liberating and freeing in other ways… and we have NO regrets. None. Thanks for connecting! 🙂

  2. Hi Heather,

    I just came across your blog through a Facebook post, and WOW! Your writing is fantastic, and your posts have really struck a chord in me. It’s made me sad to think how my husband and I – and our two gorgeous boys aged 4 and 1 – are currently living. We’re well and truly trapped in the “rat race”, and I can’t see any way of escaping. Please tell me there’s hope!!!

    I’d love to chat with you some time about your experiences, if you don’t mind? 🙂

  3. Wonderful! Just found you through a facebook post. I am 53 and my husband is 62. We have 2 kids, a son who is 28 and a daughter who is 14. We are currently homeschooling for the past 5 years. I am starting to see the light about the status quo…who needs it! 🙂 You are very refreshing!

    • Thanks, Lisa! And thanks for connecting. Yep – I’m a big homeschooling / unschooling fan… which is actually quite ironic – since, just a few years ago, I was the parent who VOWED that I would *never* homeschool my kids. I’m so different now… in so many ways (and considerably happier too!)… 🙂

  4. Found your blog today though a friend sharing your post on FB. LOVE your blog. I’d like to think I’m like-minded. Following 🙂 … Love the story about Gillian… it’s what brought me to your site! Blessings 🙂

  5. So excited to find your blog! I broke the rules and read a whole bunch of posts, instead of first doing ‘start here,’ but I have a feeling you’ll forgive me! (;
    I kinda sorta wanta squee for having found your blog- I’m a 26yo unschooling, Creative, lady who is trying to change the world and always questioning All the rules. I just graduated from college, so I need to destroy the student loans before my family can really live as freely as you do, but having a resource like your blog is going to be crazy excellent help for looking ahead!
    Thank you!

    • Oh yay! I’m glad you found me… and I’m glad you’ve been enjoying the posts too! One of the reasons why I created the blog is to send out a *ping*… looking for folk who resonate… for people who *get* this particular journey. Living differently can sometimes be a lonely road… but (*RELIEF!!*)… I have found SO many wonderful online tribe-people through this process of blogging… and I’ve been so grateful for that. So – thanks again for connecting! 🙂

  6. I emailed this to you, but I would like to share it on your blog as well, because what you are doing is inspiring, special, freeing.
    Thank you for being brave enough to be you, it’s a scary thing when we put ourselves out there. I believe we have to be soft enough to allow others in while respecting their opinion, but strong enough to weed out the negative opinions that threaten our freedom. I think that what you and your family is doing is wonderful, how much of life is wasted trying to keep status quote, it is a sad existence at best. It is a wonderful gift to give yourself, family and others the real you, the best YOU possible, the only you they will ever need.

    This was a wonderful gift to stumble upon, it gave me courage to see myself and the power to “rethink” where I’m at verses where I want to be.

    Thank You and God Bless.
    Heather Wickman

  7. This is AWESOME. I can’t wait to read more of your blog, but given this intro I’m pretty sure I love you….jk..ok, maybe not. I see a lot of myself here, but it took me until 40+ years and a thyroid disorder to reach the place where I could embrace my anti-authoritarianism and unschooling philopsophy for my children. Being me is hard here in the south (Florida) though, as you can imagine (maybe) so it’s nice to be able to find people online that view the world similarly …also nice because introverts don’t meet many people 😀

    • Oh…. THANK-you, Holly!!! Thanks for connecting…. and I – too – took quite a long time to truly EMBRACE my anti-authoritarianism and to stop feeling so guilty about it! I hear you about the introvert thing too… interestingly – I love connecting with people – and specifically online and through stories and writing. I also like chatting to GROUPS of people… (i.e.: storytelling or speaking to a group)…. but – as soon as you put me together in one-on-one situations… I get all awkward and shy and I don’t know what to DO with myself! I also hear you about being in a more… uh… conservative community. And that’s why I am SOOOOO grateful for these online connections… and to have found a “tribe” of sorts that *get* the journey. Thanks again for writing!!! X

  8. oh don’t you love the way the universe works?? so happy to have come across an article today, from there a click and here I am!!! Reading you and sending you and your family lots of magic and health on your adventure from The Netherlands!!!! I will definitely read more in the future! Love it !! Well done!! Keep fighting dragons and making this a better world!!! xxx

    • Thank-you, Daisy. Your comment is quite timeous… as I’m currently fighting some dragons today. Dragons that whisper in my ear and tell me that I need to water-myself-down… or change… or adjust myself in some way – in order not to OFFEND people… in order to please others… in order to have people *like* me. I hate those dragons! So yes – I’ll fight them… and THANK-YOU for your note! 🙂

  9. I think I’ve found a kindred spirit of sorts! For me, it’s about the journey as well. My life has been about following my heart to the next step and the next one after that. And for me, writing has been an outlet for me to get my “stuff” out. Along the way, I’ve found a few other people that like to read my musings and vents and epiphanies. I have always felt the need to share things I’ve learned that have helped me, in the hopes that it might help someone else. It’s the healer in me. In any case, it’s lovely to have discovered your blog and I look forward to reading more. I’m Susan, and I live in the Pacific Northwest of the US.

    • Awesome, Susan! I absolutely love connecting with like-minded folk… people who *GET* The Journey…. in fact, one of the most rewarding parts of this blogging-thing… has been that I have connected with some of the most interesting, amazing people from around the world. Seriously – I could explode with gratitude! Keep in touch! If you want my little news-email-update thingy… just click on this: http://eepurl.com/bftIfn (if you haven’t already)… I write occasional letters (but I think a lot of people are hesitant about the idea of “newsletters” because they’re usually these boring, dull, blah-blah-blah in-box clutter)…. Anyhoo – AGAIN – thanks for writing… I hear you about wanting-to-share-in-order-to-HELP. I get soooo frustrated when people jump to the assumption that I share my stuff because I want to *CONVERT* people… or convince them to change their minds… but the truth is – that I share to CONNECT… not to “convert”. Anyway – I’m in a rambling mood…. and I still have quite a few mails to respond to… so gonna sign off now…. Take care & keep in touch! Hat x

  10. I can’t believe i found your blog. My hubby and i have just made the big decision to home school our kids. I’m so excited and terrified at the same time, knowing i have their future on my shoulders. I have a feeling reading your blog will help me with those tough days to help stay positive. Thank you so much.
    Janine

    • Hi Janine! I am SO sorry I have taken this long to respond to your comment! This path month has been c-r-a-z-y busy. I’ve been spending every spare moment on my book… and on launching my online business – and my blog has taken a bit of a back seat. Homeschooling has been an awesome journey – and the web is filled with amazing stories (and blogs) of parents from a VERY wide range of backgrounds… educating their children in a very VERY wide range of ways. I LOVE diversity… and truly believe that you – as parents – know YOUR kids better than anyone else… and – you have their best interests at heart. Enjoy this wonderful and exciting time of learning & growing together – and keep in touch! X

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