Who am I?
Hi, I’m Natalie! My focus is on healthy, nutritious, sustainable, circular and creative living. I love to learn from people with expansive knowledge and immerse myself in regenerative communities who walk their talk.
Growing up I spent weekends on our farm with my father, and weekdays in the city of Johannesburg, where my mother taught art, and hence I developed my love for both nature and creativity. After completing a degree in graphic design, I was young and adventurous and wanted to see the world, so I moved to London which offered a spring board to travel from. Alongside travelling, I joined the work force in a design agency, which initially felt like a role play game, and then at some point, I realised … this is it. This is what people do for their whole lives, year in and year out, they work 5 days a week, 8, 9, 10, 11 hours a day, with three weeks off a year, in a rat race, feeding a system based on unlimited growth using finite resources, chasing something that cannot be obtained – based on a state of lack.
London offered many amazing experiences, however there were also many things that didn’t make sense to me. During this time I often visited family in Wales who lived an alternative lifestyle in their home near CAT (The Center of Alternative Technology). I also visited family in France who had built their own homestead … and so more and more I started to see other ways of living that made sense to me. My focus also started to shift to good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle, and I adapted to a mainly raw diet for some time. I researched and learned all that I could, but the time came when I reached my ceiling, and the big city life, as much as it offered great opportunities and wonderful culture, lacked what I needed – the heart, soul and balance of nature, and the ecosystem in which I could live a natural, wholesome lifestyle.
At the time I was working in Bond Street as a designer for Sotheby’s, the elite art auction house, where Picasso’s work and the largest diamonds are sold to the richest people on earth. It was, in some ways, a magical opportunity of exposure to powerful and famous art pieces, usually privately owned and therefore inaccessible. It was also a world that to me, felt bizarre and foreign. It was interesting experiencing the corporate world that so many live in, but my disillusionment grew. I saved up enough to throw in the towel and went to Australia for a year of travel – living in a van, exploring intentional communities and learning about health, nutrition and regenerative/natural living. This was the turning point…
I bought a camper van, learned how to kit it up with an electrical system, that could run a fridge, lights, computers and of course our blender and fitted a kitchen for all our healthy eating needs. It was a long wheel base, high top van with a comfy fold out bed that turned the living space into a bedroom. I explored growing my own food in wicking beds (which failed with all the compression of the movement), I put split drain pipes on the back counter growing micro greens (far more successful), and put up a shelf for my jars of ferments and sprouts. Sourcing water from springs and finding organic food became part of the adventure, one that took me to many unexpected places.
I visited eco villages, homesteads and lived in the wild of nature, exploring ideas on how to live simply, naturally, comfortably, but with a whirl of adventure. It was a wonderful journey of bathing in the oceans and waterfalls, nearly swimming into sting rays, hiking through mountains, roaming deserts, learning to shower in 5l, working in food gardens, visiting an earth ship and natural built homes made of cob and straw bail, learning about how they were built, their water systems, dry toilets, insulation and energy sources. I also explored how different intentional communities are set up and how people work and live together. I learned more than I ever imagined I could.
I have since returned to my home country, where I work on multimedia projects that focus on a healthy world, ones that connect community, environmental awareness and regeneration. I have continued to meet and work with amazing people that are spouting with knowledge and inspiration. I started this blog because I wanted a space to share some of the incredible things that have been shared with me. So thank you for coming, and joining the journey. I would love to hear about yours.
A trip I took around South Africa…
…visiting amazing projects and people … from permaculture centers, eco villages, an alternative health center in the deep rural area, and many more …
Some projects I am involved in…
- African Earth Rights (Communication platform around reconnecting with nature in an urban environment);
- Soil for Life (organisation that teaches organic gardening, and well being in impoverished areas);
- Good Life Organics (suppliers of organic products);
- Wild and Waste Free (Packaging free, community focused shop);
- TAGDit (social media app for deep democracy and information sharing within groups);
- PHA Campaign (Protecting Cape Town’s primary food growing area).
- Bird Matters (An online birding channel)