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Living and thinking in a new way
Many people are looking to simplify their lifestyle, by consuming less, eating locally sourced foods and reducing their ecological footprint.
But Daniella Roze has taken it a few steps further. The W.L. Seaton graduate, who now lives on the Coast, has found a way of living off the land in a wilderness experiment she has undertaken for a month at a time for a period of several years.
She and a group of friends spent one month living in the mountains with only the buckskin clothing and tools they made, and eating completely wild foods.
“The project is based on rekindling ancient knowledge and nurturing an appreciation of the earth as a living organism through transforming the gifts of the natural world in order to provide food, shelter and clothing, while participating in the interdependency necessary of community living,” said Roze, who will present a slide show of her experience this week at the Vernon library.
She had already made a conscious decision to live a simpler lifestyle, inspired by living in West Africa at the age of 20, working with One World Global Education, a Canadian charitable organization and whose philosophy inspires Roze to this day: “While we can’t think ourselves into new ways of living – we can live ourselves into new ways of thinking.”
The experience of living six months in a place where people are living a simpler life helped Roze to understand there was a better way.
“They had no electricity, no running water and they were the happiest people I knew. When in Africa, I noticed in my own personal life when I have more of a relationship with where everything comes from, with where my water comes from and where my heat comes from, I feel more connected to something much greater than myself, and I have deeper relationships with others. I definitely feel like a happier person.”
Roze has been further inspired by her friend Miles Olson, whose just-published book, Unlearn, Rewild, espouses a philosophy of living a wilder and simpler existence.
“A number of us have been living together on the land for a number of years, hunting and gathering, living off the grid, without running water and electricity, just candles.”
For Roze, the idea of living a simpler life is not a new one, but one that began when she was a young girl, dreaming of living close to the land.
Roze, 31, has built her own cabin on wheels, and has learned to harvest plant medicine instead of buying commercially available preparations at the pharmacy.
“I have just found a more simple way of living that I saw in a healthy way when I was in West Africa. I see myself as a part of the earth, not separate, we’re all like an extension of the earth.”
Roze appreciates the support and the wisdom she has received from First Nations people in her quest to live on the land.
“I have a lot of respect for First Nations people and my source of inspiration really does come from indigenous people and that way of life, and I really want to honour the Okanagan Indian Band and all indigenous people.”
She said family and friends have been supportive of her need to live her life this way, including her sisters, one of whom is a medical doctor, the other an acupuncturist.
“I think when I was younger, my family and friends wanted me to be more conventional, they saw that way of life was security for them, you need to have a career, go to school and do everything society does.
“But my family is so supportive, we’re all doing different things and are so supportive, and that kind of support gives me the security I need to do what I am doing.”
And, while Roze plans on continuing to live a life that is respectful of the earth, she said she also realizes she needs to walk in two worlds.
“Now I realize in order to fulfill my life purpose, to feel like I have a sense of meaning in my life, I need to pass it on, otherwise it just dies. I need to look at what can I do, instead of what can’t I do.”
On a holiday break from the wilderness school where she is currently an apprentice, Roze is in Vernon visiting family and is exploring the idea of returning to her home town with the aim of starting her own nature education school.
“It would use nature as a medium for deepening relationships to family, community, self, and the natural world. I am interested in building partnerships and collaborating with community organizations and people who share a common vision and common values.”
Roze will present Living Wild in the Stone Age, a slide show presentation detailing her wilderness living intensive, Friday at the Vernon library starting at 4:30 p.m. Co-sponsored by the Okanagan Regional Library, the event is about 90 minutes to two hours in length, with admission by donation.
“My intention for the presentation is not to tell people how they should be living, I experienced something that was incredible, and that’s been my dream, but I want people to follow their dreams, and to have the courage to do that, because in this society and this culture, there is a lot of pressure.”
For more information, e-mail Roze at email@example.com