At the moment I’m staying in an even more remote village than the one I wrote about before. No idea how long I’ll be here, but I think I might just stick around for a while instead of heading up to Ladakh in May, which I had been planning to do.
The population of the village where I’m staying might be around 1,000, though it seems much, much smaller than that as it’s so spread out. It’s in the Himalayas, around 6,000’ elevation, with beautiful forests and a wild river. Many people, addicted to conveniences of modern life, would find it difficult to adjust to village life. But for me, what I have to give up to stay here is so much less than what I gain. In the end, I feel that I am giving up very little.
So what are the benefits of living in a remote village? I’ve got a peaceful, easy-going life; fresh homemade food (I do my own cooking); no pollution; very low cost of living; a friendly environment; low crime; a beautiful view; milk from the landlord’s cow delivered fresh every morning; freedom to do pretty much what I like (respecting the local culture, of course.)
What am I missing? A fast-paced, stressful life (nope! I don’t miss that!); polluted, noisy environment (or that); worry about crime and terrorism (or that); convenience foods that don’t contribute to anyone’s health and wellbeing (or that); high cost of living (certainly not!); and a certain level of convenience with respect to infrastructure and especially Internet access (OK, that is a problem sometimes, but compared to the advantages, it’s nothing to worry about.)
What I really do miss, but am working on, is sufficient variety of fresh organic produce. There is some available locally, but not enough. I do have people who will send me oils and dry goods, though.
There’s usually someone willing to supply what’s needed if you’re willing to pay a little extra—and if you can explain clearly what it is you want (and, sometimes, why you want it). Even with the little extra, most everything is a lot less than it would be in North America or Europe.
There’s no problem getting good books as www.bookdepository.com will send books to me here in India at the same price as Amazon—and they seem to carry about the same enormous selection. For Vedic books, which are of particular interest to me, there’s Motilal Banarsidass, Munshiram Manoharlal and Indica Books, all of which I’ve found to be quite reliable.
Many people would feel insecure about living in this situation, but for me there’s no question at all about going back. I agree with Benjamin Franklin, who said that “Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.” I have a different kind of security here than I would have in the US, but I value it more. It’s the security of knowing that I am where I should be.