Rural Manifesto for Urbanites
A general guideline for digital nomads and remote workers that want to embrace a rural lifestyle
Roots in tradition heads in the cloud
Tradition is continuity. Tradition is flux. No roots, no fruits. But the internet is all around us and our fruits are digital. Get inspired by tradition and bear your digital products online. Remember, the future is here, is just not evenly spread around the world. You might just be the bringer of the future to remote locations.
Example: Morkin House, Serbia.
Respect the locals and their lifestyle
You might be a visitor or a commuter, but the people surrounding you have lived here for a long time. There are high chances that there is a different rhythm to life in the village, certainly different customs and inside the community, you might find complex relationships and long shared histories, for better or for worst. Before judging, try to understand what’s happening around you and do your best to adapt a little.
Example: Traditii Creative
Nurture the community
Some of the communities you will visit will be rich, but others will miss a lot of the urban opportunities that you are accustomed to. The education, the economic life, and the medical system might seem spartan, but you can plant seeds that will have positive outcomes in the long future. Share your knowledge, look out for the young bright minds that want to learn, and help them develop the skills that are familiar to you. The young generations are the future, do your best to help them grow.
Example: Rubik Hub
Be a role model for the local younger generations
As someone who traveled a lot and had success in the urban settings, you might be perceived as a gatekeeper to a life that some youngsters are starting to dream about. Be generous and useful to them, tell them your story and how you ended up choosing your lifestyle. Teach them how to use the resources available online, speak with them in English, and encourage them to spend some of their time by investing in their personal development. If you will be approachable and open, slowly the community will embrace you and your impact will increase.
Example: Școala de la Piscu
Be disruptive, but not toxic
As an outsider, you are disruptive, you change things around you from the moment you arrive in a community. You might prefer a low profile, but in small communities, that’s harder to keep. Although your neighbors might not show it, they are curious about you and they will search for opportunities to chitchat. Your impact might be small or big, but it would be nice to be aware of it. Imagine the village as a sensitive ecosystem and try to assess how your choices will ripple.
Take care of the plants and the animals around you
Rural spaces are immersed in nature. On the top of the mountain or near the seaside your eyes will fall upon green patches and for sure there will be birds passing near you. Your neighbors might have seeds long forgotten or they might share with you fresh milk or eggs. You are the closest to the first part of the consuming chain than ever. Enjoy it and respect the environment that offers you all the goods. Try to grow something by yourself and take advice from those who know the land better.
Cherish the vernacular architecture
Quirk and hyper-specific sometimes, kitsch, and brash others, the specific architecture is a mixture of archaic forms and materials and modern and contemporary misinterpreted shapes. You will find buildings that are missing in the city, dog houses, stables, barns, and shepherd lodges. The fences will be made from metal, wood, plastic materials, concrete, and everything in between. But if you look carefully you might find gems that will melt your heart, glimpses of a past long lost and forgotten in the cities. If you have the chance and you decide to build something for yourself, let yourself be inspired by the unique forms from your proximity, ask about local materials and crafters, and involved them in your project.
A village is a place for hard work
A lot of the distractions and the comfort from the urban settings are missing in villages. That means that you can focus better on your work, tune better parts of your work that was postponed for calmer times. This is calmer times, so it’s time to work harder. Your neighbors are doing the same, sometimes for long hours, and with less profit than you. Emulate them and skip the excuses, chase the procrastination. You can try swapping your exercises with a daily dose of agricultural work.
Invite the city to visit
You might have a city close by and your friends might inhabit it. Ask them to visit you, you might spend a nice afternoon in the fresh air. Show them the surroundings, introduce them to your acquaintances from the community, go pick some berries. You might find a lot of longing for what you are experiencing and very specific questions about how you adapted to your new setting. As you spent a few weeks or months in the village you can show the best parts of it and both the locals and your friends will be grateful and happy about this. Your friend’s visit might prove a boost of morale for the village, it’s a sign that you were a good ambassador and you will gain some kudos in the future.
Example: Transilvanian Brunch
Help local producers
From fresh vegetables to honey and homemade pickles and jams, or sheep cheese and traditional recipes that are unique to the place now is your chance to eat local and live local. Even though they might not be label as such, most of the products will be mainly bio and almost for sure very tasty. Consuming locally might demand you to adapt a bit to your old habits, the rewards will be high not only for you but also for the local producers. If you think that some of them deserve to have access to a bigger market, help them achieve that any way you want and can. A professionally made label, a small website, and some marketing might do wonders and have a huge impact on the producers that you appreciate and I’m quite positive that barters are still alive in the rural areas.
Party with minstrels
You miss the nightlife or the pubs, a good 3D movie or some nice concerts. Ask your favorite indie musicians if they would be up to having an unplugged open-air concert. Or find a birthday that might be just the right occasion for a rave in the forest. Artists are quite mobile and they might enjoy a change of scene(ry). Although your tastes might not overlap with the taste of most from the village, for the few occasions when you will listen to local traditional bands might prove a breath of fresh air. Entertainment might be scarce around you, so you could create your opportunities.
Liviu Pop & Mihaela Bidilică-Vasilache, (Asociatia uzinaduzina),
Eugen Vaida, (Ambulanta pentru monumente),
Dumitru Armaș, (EarthInOurHeart)
Simona Robu, (Saschiz165),
Maja Marohnic, Association Murtila (HR),
Sztahura Mark & Adina Sztahura,
Radu Crăciun, (Asociatia Romana de Permacultură),
Salanta Claudiu-Daniel, (Arhitect-șef CJ Cluj),
Nută Dragoș Mihai, (Ambulanta pentru Monumente SV Oltenia),
Lorin Niculae & Irina Scobiola, (Asociatia Arhipera),
Ștefan Teișanu, Centrul Cultural Clujean,
Ana Pascu, Muzeul National al Tăranului Român,
Racasan Horatiu, S.C. RAUM S.R.L.,
Valentina Vujinić & Bojan Vujinić, Farma Transforma (BiH),
Dulgheriu Luciana Mihaela,
and you, who resonate with the ideas above, aim to start a movement and to turn these ideas into planned, concrete and connected actions.
To sign the above, send us an email at contact at uzinaduzina.org