Something that I have found interesting since I started writing vsvevg, is that some people think what Felipe and I are doing is exceptional– living in the middle of nowhere with so little income, self-sustainability as our mainspring. This is curious to me, because I don’t see it that way.

Felipe has done some pretty incredible things; digging a well by hand, planting all of our crops manually with a pokey stick, but what I do is quite mundane. That’s kind of the point really; I sought out a simple life. I cook, clean, read, write, go for a walk, pull some weeds, and ride my horse.

In my mind, what makes our life here exceptional is that we are able to act on our principles with greater frequency than we were in the US. We buy Mexican, as close to home as is available, we grow our own food as much as possible, and we produce a fraction of the garbage that we did when we lived in the States. And, after several years of being removed from the infinite choices and the constant sales pitch of US culture, I no longer have a desire for things that are not important, such as the latest model of cell phone, or fashionably-cut jeans.

When I do something that sounds remarkable, like digging mud from a bucket until my fingers bleed to assist in cleaning our well, it is because there is no choice. I am grateful to have been put in that position, because I learned strength and the vast power of acceptance. But I don’t see it as exceptional, because I felt there was no other option.

Perhaps my ability to relate these things in an inspiring way is exceptional, or maybe, it is a flaw in my writing skills, and somehow I have portrayed our lives as more sensational than they are.

I write from my heart, about my own truth. It is not my wish to make anyone believe we are amazing. It is my intent to show that anything can be done, that having less can be a blessing, and that life is a thrilling story that unfolds before us with all the wonders of a great epic.

It is each of ours for the telling.

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About vsvevg

Hello, I'm Abby Smith. I started this blog in 2010 to write about the pursuit of a self-sustainable life in rural Mexico. In 2015, my then-husband and I moved to Nicaragua, where we created a successful farm-to-table and in-house charcuterie program for a high-end beach resort. In 2022, with mad butchery and cheese-making skills under my belt, I started a sustainable food systems consulting business. Happily, I also have more time for my first love-- writing about food and the complexities of the simple life.

7 thoughts on “Exceptional

  1. One of your best posts Abby (enjoyed here in remote Wyoming with morning coffee). Maybe folks perceive what you describe as exceptional because it contrasts so dramatically from the hyper-complexity that clouds their own everyday existence. Your spare, honest, unaffected writing style also allows for the story of your life there with Felipe to be something of a Rorschach for the diverse readers who have discovered VSVEVG – we all find something we seek here, in and between the lines…

    • Thanks Stan, that’s very reassuring, this post was difficult for me, I wasn’t sure I was getting my message across. I apprecaite your thoughtful critique. paz, A. Look forward to catching up with your blog while I am in the states:)

    • Exactly my thoughts, Stan, only you expressed them so much more eloquently than I.
      Keep on keeping on, Abby, no matter what they say. I believe they are all envious. We are the lucky ones.

  2. Oh but Abby…your life choice is exceptional to the average American….even though you know that I am only living vicariously through what you have accomplished on your and Felipe’s own. Your life is an inspiration for us who to date have only conceptualized for ourselves what it is that you are actually doing. Thanks for your inspiration, your wonderful writing gift and simply for who you are!

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