The Great British Downshift is a best-selling book in progress!
As you’re reading this very sentence, the pages are quite probably being penned by author and broadcaster on sustainable living, Tracey Smith (see ‘The Author‘ bit for more info).
Tracey, her husband and young family made a life-changing downshift almost a decade ago. What she learned along the way inspired her to found the awareness campaign, InterNational Downshifting Week (formerly referred to as National, and also Downshifting Week USA).
The motivation behind creating The Great British Downshift was urged along by the collective media and their misguided efforts to present potential downshifters with a realistic and aspirational pathway, on which to walk.
‘The telly lot’ love to present viewers with extreme downshifting case studies, showing jeopardy at every turn, which might make good goggle-boxing, but it’s not representational of the thousands of everyday Joe’s and Josephine’s who are slowing down their pace, avidly consuming less and scratching around for information to help them overcome the hurdles and barriers such a migration presents.
Sometimes the televised seemingly willing victims are so far at the end of the believability scale, they are almost living, breathing parodies of themselves; this is doing the careful and responsible act of downshifting a grave disservice.
There’s much to be gained by slowing down your pace and embracing a little downshifting and I reckon it’s time to take off the gloves and the rose-tinted spectacles to show you how it’s really done!
Tracey Smith (that’s me - there’s not a ghost-writer in sight) will trek around the UK in Shrek, a classic 1970′s VW Campervan and one of the hottest, most innovative eco-cars to hit the tarmac and I’ll be visiting individuals, couples and families who have undertaken an enormous downshift.
Imagine for a moment your average ex-City Accountant, now getting by knitting yoghurt for a living…what on earth inspired him to make that life-change, how did he make the transition, do all of his ends now meet, how does he feed himself, what does his simple garden grow, does life ring his bell more than before and what living nightmares did he endure along the way?
I’ll spend an overnight with said ex-City Accountant and to earn my bed and board, I’ll help him knit that yoghurt too (which’ll be fun, I can’t knit) and we’ll chew the cud at supper as we dine on his signature dish and I get my lovely downshifters to spill the beans on their journey, warts and all.
I’ll also be inviting along a smattering of my great, green friends and simple living lovers, who will throw their thoughts in the pot.
The final crucial addition to the mix will be a dinner invitation to a handful of aspiring downshifters. People champing at the bit to trade their briefcase for a pitchfork, ready to hand their resignation to the boss telling him what they really think of his management practice (the one that involves places where the sun don’t shine and it may have a few editing bleeps too – we’ve all written them…)
I want to find out why they think an extreme downshift is the only way to go and I’ll shine a light on what I think might be their best route forward.
The Great American Downshift follows…
Watch this space…