Tenerife Horse Rescue (Animal Rescue & sustainable eco-community)

My life lately has consisted of a complete change in perspective (exactly what I was after).

Off-grid, eco-conscious, empathy centred and lovingly created and protected LIFE! Hundreds of animals have found refuge here. Humans too I think. Here we eat colourful, healthy food that would’ve otherwise been thrown out (literally, we can feed 50 people a day with FREE food). Whatever we don’t need goes to families that might eat the food themselves or use it to feed their animals. This is not to mention the hundreds of animals that eat the rest of the fruit and veg, or our compost en masse and then gets redistributed amongst our little plant babies. I’m slowly understanding how to save and recycle water in an arid, desert landscape to ensure maximum usage. How to grow plants in a place that seems desolate and unforgiving. I appreciate the simple pleasures, and realise how much I take them all for granted while swept away in ‘the outside world’. I’ve learned that horses poo way more than you think they do, and that you can actually use it to create hot water. I’m also adjusting to life as a member of a true collective. A community of like-minded, albeit vastly(!) different, humans of all ages and backgrounds. Those who do not belong take their leave, and the social¬† entity rekindles itself as each new member settles into their space, the unified unfolding an extension. To be able to sit and witness this somewhat bizarre and constantly shifting, but most natural state of being amongst humans is truly beautiful.¬†

Many hands really do make for light work, and without everyone doing their specific roles, this place simply couldn’t run as it does. I’m growing fonder of the human spirit, and being able to witness tangible, real-life human capacity for love, compassion and empathy – for animals, the earth and each other, is exactly what all of us need in our lives. It’s what the world needs.

And here is just one little corner of the world, showing you that it’s possible.

finca

I sit on a long table in a communal kitchen with a dirt floor. Underneath the table are two dogs asleep on dusty old lounge pillows. At the end is a cat with piercing, cross-eyed azure blue eyes with a creamy beige and brown coat asleep in a fruit box with tomatoes. Two Slovakians revel in their mother tongue, laughing behind me in fast-paced conversation. The teraformer (gardener really doesn’t do him justice) of the Finca chats to a younger guy in German. He is a biologist come desert-planting genius. A jolly Scottish woman is cooking beside me with a spread full of coloured vegetables. These are all vegetables that would’ve been thrown away, but are donated by a local supermarket for us to re-purpose. There are giant cinnamon sticks bubbling away in rice, and the spices from big pots of curry are swept up into my nostrils and out the open air kitchen, away with the Saharan winds.

I slice and hand juice a tray of oranges. My hands and the table are covered in pulp, with punchy zest spurting out from the orange rinds as I twist them back and forth. I pour a generous serving into a beer mug and take a seat on the hill overlooking the horses, and the ocean. I take a moment to sober, and breathe it all in. I bought a one way ticket to an animal sanctuary on Tenerife, where the community is eclectic, but united in kindness.

My new home is an old and immobile van that somehow withstands the gusty winds, and is occasionally also home to a cat that somehow always finds a way in. My small porch is made of pallets and I overlook the ocean, a wind-farm and the mountains. The days are sun-drenched and top 26 pleasant degrees, with the nights dropping to a comfy 19. The sky is generously sprinkled with stars. I sleep deeply, despite the flies, the cat, the shaking in the wind and the competing roosters in the morning.s

There are 45 loving volunteers here living in vans, caves, caravans or other shacks amongst the hills. Horses, goats, sheep, pigs, guinea pigs, birds, rabbits, dogs, cats, chickens, ducks, donkeys, tortoises and lizards make up the other 200 or so occupants. They are all rescue animals.

No job, no plans, no ticket back.

I feel as if I am exactly where I am supposed to be.

the unknown

(If you are seeking a sign to book that plane ticket, or make that risky decision, this my friend is it)


I believe we all desire newness, a taste of the unknown. That takes shape differently for everyone, but the principle remains the same; the allure of difference and a diversion from repetition keeps us feeling alive.

The entrapment of regime and the banal dulls the lustre of desire. Our wildness is trimmed and tamed, coerced into the confines of societal moulds. It is easier to submit than resist. But the fullness and exuberance of our lives is the expense we pay at the behest of regret.

So how do we dive into the unknown? How do we continue to strive and seek it despite the alluring and comfortably worn dip in our lounge that hugs our body as we curl up in the same spot, day in, day out? We must pry ourselves from this position, unstick our atrophied limbs and hurl ourselves outward. Out to the periphery of our experience. Caress the familiar texture of those walls, with all their thinly veiled safety and protection, and then choose. Choose to trust ourselves enough to dip our arms in.

What’s the worst that could happen?

Well, there is an element of risk in everything we do. We live with differing levels of accepted risk at all times. Is the risk worth the reward? We calculate most of these equations instantaneously. The risk of spending $5 on a morning coffee effecting my savings is oft overcome by my cravings, or want to take in a quiet moment of pleasure. A moment of pleasure might mean a step toward stress, sickness, or a divergence from what we truly want in our future (like a healthy bank account), so our future selves are deemed a worthy sacrifice. How many times do you regret the decisions you make? Can you ever avoid that? But, you know what you want – don’t you? So if you’re bound to regret some decisions, and you cannot avoid making them in the first place – why not take the risk? You’re bound to fuck up and some point anyway. May as well make it one wild adventure in the meantime.

I beg you then: DELVE INTO THE ABYSS!

…Witness that veil evaporate. Let fear shroud your vision not – the end of those walls signify the beginning. The immaculate conception of warped dreamscapes and surrealist splendour. Here is the birthplace where those seemingly ornate, elaborate, childish and unfeasible dreams of your life take tangible form. Seize your reality with zestful lust for life and curate the most ridiculous life you can concoct into reality. Get fucking weird. Breathe it all down deep into your lungs, let it fill you with life.

~ Welcome to the unknown ~

Here, the mirage of your limited experiences and the ruse of apparent contentedness dissipates. The only person to guide you is yourself. But this exploration never really ends. Possibilities of life tower and morph in unending revelry. Concepts fade in and out. Renewal is the only constant.

In this playground of imagination, we discover ourselves and our ability to flex and expand into a new self. One that seizes the cup of the unknown and drinks it willingly, trusted to harness whatever capacity is needed as a result.

I don’t believe your exploratory self ever dies. Although, maybe it becomes quietened by years of wilful ignorance. So it seems you have two choices; to strangle that voice until it recedes into fear based quiet, or to amplify it so that it proudly resounds through all the choices you consciously make.

bittersweet

I’ve never felt the gravity of that emotion until now. The sweet, promising, hopeful and abundant – as quickly as it lifts – it plummets into loss, grief, loneliness and uncertainty.

Today I leave Australia indefinitely. It has been a trip 3 years in the making. All my belongings fit on my back and it’s as liberating as I hoped it would feel. Tears of joy and sadness mingle in my eyes and fall onto my shirt.

My plans are fluid and my heart is determined to remain open. Open to all the experiences, people and opportunities that avail themselves to me.

Finally! It is time to be immersed, so into the unknown I go. 

bubbles

In nakedness 
I gleam
A steaming hot glass
Pulled from scolding water
Suds glimmer
Sunshines kiss
Her firey rays
Ignite me
Bubbles for eyes
Glimpsing the blip
Of my brief time
And their reflection
Tells of our orb in the sky 
Absorption
A transient womb
Our colourful ball sustains us
Earth
To above
The air sweet 
With our deepest affinity
Our most magnificent dreams 
Tethering 
Temporary
Fleeting 
End.

Hey interesting person, what interesting thing did you learn today?

This is what I have set my phone to ask me, every night at 8pm.

Realistically, I’ve had a minimum of 12 hours to conjure up an answer to this question. My phone doesn’t care if I answer and obviously neither does anyone else. But I do. It’s a small way that I can keep accountable to myself in a way that is positive and constructive.

I suppose now more than usual, this kind of mental proactivity is useful in keeping our brains open and flexible to new information, no matter how minimal. It forces you to seek out all kinds of bizarre knowledge that you never knew you needed to know.

Small goals help create small habits. When compiled, these small habits lead to consistent behaviours.

Every person you meet knows something that you don’t.

That thought changed my interactions with people. It helped me give otherwise vexatious people the time and space to expose themselves more to me than I probably would have otherwise let them. Be it younger or older, more or less travelled, educated, whatever… the same principle applies: everyone knows something that you don’t.

So then, you may as well make what you know a little interesting. Get creative in acquiring your knowledge. Read books, listen to podcasts, learn a new word everyday, trawl through google or pluck up the courage to ASK SOMEONE – ANYONE – A QUESTION!

For you reading this, what interesting thing did you learn today?