At work we were musing about the sheer number of ex-corporate people who went on to do something different: selling coffee, fixing bikes, cycling in Latin America, settling down in some secluded island. And there’s this dream of starting a bed-and-breakfast somewhere remote, perhaps by a beach, perhaps in the mountains, we’ll grow our own food and embrace sustainability. And all that. It can be pretty romantic, the idea of being back to nature, being subsistence even, spending last, consuming less.
I thought about the persistence of such dreams over the past 2-3 generations. Modernity wrecks havoc on our soul in many different ways. 2 generations ago, it was the world wars; and in the last generation, there was much violence in the form of hidden repression: within corporations, amongst societies. Then the current generation had almost an entire decade lost from the financial ravage of the Global Financial Crisis and then now a Global pandemic.
The dream persisted because we all desire to create a safe space; not necessarily one we have so much control in but where we find ourselves better able to let things go. It is the psychological kind of freedom we crave, away from wars, repression or the violence of competition.