“What did we learn from all this?”, I find myself asking.
The answer came to me spending time with some of the Konavle locals, whose vision for the future is going back to the past to how we used to live.
Without a doubt, what we have experienced in these times is that we can’t take anything for granted, the future is uncertain, and those structures that we had come to rely on are now so unstable, we are being forced to look at things differently.
I’ve long wondered whether we have over-complicated our lives, and we have moved so far away from a natural way of existing, that we’ve disconnected with our home – the Earth.
From the hours we spend in offices, working on devices, to how we eat, how we travel, and even what we do to our bodies, it seems that the way we live has become so artificial, it’s no wonder that as human beings and as a planet we are struggling.
Chatting with the Primic family up in Sokol Grad, we agreed that we need to go “back to nature”. Djuro was a well-known local butcher, who grew up in Konavle, so he remembers the time when families were all self-sufficient, they worked the land all year round and lived on what they produced.
Djuro talks about the “Circle of Life”, which many of us will recognise from The Lion King, yet it perhaps holds the key not just to environmental sustainability, but to our survival.
Back in the day, people would work the land all year round and they would have everything they needed. First they grew the crops that would feed the animals – a few cows, goats and some chickens. The animals would produce food all year round, but also the best manure for the next lot of crops, and so the circle continued.
This particular day, I am trying out the chillies from their garden. I’m super excited because Devika, Djuro’s wife, makes curries that you can buy to take away. It’s really popular with the tourists looking for a change of cuisine, but what’s really special for me is that I know it’s going to be the very best produce from their garden, a million times better than any supermarket-bought food.
What seems to have been forgotten in the modern world is that nature provides everything we need to sustain ourselves. By planting a garden, even if it’s just a few vegetables and herbs, is good for us and it’s good for the planet.
It’s a back-to-basics approach that has been adopted by another local, Andro, who has taken an unused piece of his family’s land up the hill in Durinici, and he’s creating a space for people to come and stay to learn how to survive in the wild.
He is especially passionate about teaching children how to sustain themselves. As a father of four, he thinks it’s vital that he passes on the knowledge of how to be self-sufficient, especially in these times of uncertainty.
I think he’s spot on.
We are creatures of nature, this planet is our home, and with respect for everything it offers us, perhaps we can re-learn how to live in a way that is more sustainable and in the event we have another situation like this global pandemic, everyone is able to survive off the land (and the sea – let’s not forget fishing!).
At the moment, it’s just a dream for me, as I don’t have the land yet, but I’m inspired and I’m already thinking of what small changes I can make in my life to start to become more self-sufficient. I believe that we should be the change we want to see in the world, and that it all starts with a change of mindset.
Mine is going “back to basics”, and learning from the locals in Molunat a more simple way of living, in tune with the rhythms of nature.
It’s nothing new, it’s just “re-wilding”, going back to our roots, and it’s good for us and it’s good for the planet.
To learn more about life in Molunat go to www.lovemolunat.com
Gillie Sutherland grew up in the north of England, before settling in Devon, but has now swapped her UK address for one on the Adriatic in the very south of Croatia, in Molunat. A professional yoga trainer she now runs retreats and online courses from her Konavle base. She also writes a weekly column for the Devon newspaper, The Express and Echo. Keep in touch with Gillie via her yoga website - www.yogamolunat.life
For more information on healing holidays in Croatia visit www.lovemolunat.com