On the last day of Farm and Garden Camp at The Pfeiffer Center a year-and-a-half ago, one of the young camp counselors and I were chatting. She would soon be moving to San Francisco to do a yoga teacher training. She was lovely, and excited about her upcoming move across the country. I suggested she take a drive across the Golden Gate Bridge to my hometown Mill Valley, CA. It's beautiful! I gushed.
Lo and behold, Jamie now lives in Mill Valley and she and I are besties! That she's 30 years younger than me doesn't matter in the least. One of our first visits together, I showed her all my favorite places in Mill Valley: YogaWorks, The Image Flow photography center, the postal annex inside the gift shop, The Hivery women's co-working space, The O'Hanlon Center for the Arts, the gluten-free bakery Flour Craft at The Lumberyard, the sweet family-run nail salon, my cottage up Mt. Tam.
At every single stop on our mini-tour that day, I received warm welcomes, big smiles, and hugs.
- HILLARY! HOW ARE YOU?! GREAT TO SEE YOU!
Me: Hello, this is my friend Jamie, she just moved to Mill Valley.
- Oh, YOU'RE GOING TO LOOOOOOVE IT HERE they all cooed at her.
Well, after a mere three months, Jamie does love Mill Valley! She works at the flower shop at The Lumberyard, babysits for a family who is friends of friends, and volunteers at The Hivery. She's making a life for herself here, and I'm so proud of her! It's not easy being new, not knowing where to go, not knowing anyone. She's going for it!
At the end of that mini-tour day, it sunk in just how much I have here in Mill Valley ... So many friends, so many acquaintances, so much history, so much love! I see people whom I love and who love me each and every day. The vistas are breathtaking. The food amazing. The people open-minded. I love Mill Valley!
But it wasn't always that way. I was frustrated for so many years with the urban sprawl, the busy lives, the traffic, the racing, the stress ... and the impossibility to farm in Mill Valley. Yes I could do a little suburban gardening, but I wanted to be a real farmer on a real farm and that just wasn't ever going to be possible in Mill Valley. And I resented my sweet little town because of it.
That is, until I realized just what I have here, and that I could farm elsewhere. I could have both!
My vision board from January 2018 showed me the way. Images of olives, stone terraces, swimming pools, vegetables, sunshine, baskets, outdoor dining, friends ... the images could be from Sonoma, Mallorca, Southern France. Research was done, a sound decision made, the plan hatched: Live in glorious Mill Valley half the year because why would I leave everyone I hold near and dear to my heart?! And live the other half the year on my farm in Provence!
In just a few days, I leave for five months in Provence where I'll be looking for my farm. Last year I location-scouted all over Southern France and found my area. This year, I'm renting a cottage in that area – Provence Verte in the Var region of Provence – to look for the property where I'll build my little biodynamic farm. Yes it's crazy – michugganah as one of my Jewish relatives derided – but it is possible. Yes I'm terrified, yes it's complicated, yes it's unconventional ... And I'm smiling deep down, because I *know* this is my right path.
As my dear friend Meghan recently wrote me:
I know in less than 2 weeks you will be off to your big adventure. I want you to know how much you inspire me. Living your dreams, going for it, and trusting that you have everything you need. It truly is incredible. You created Firefly and it beautifully took flight. Now you are getting closer to your dream of having a farm, living close to the land, to Mother Earth and all her rhythms. It’s amazing. You are amazing. You astound me, friend, and help me to grow, to dream, and keep going for it myself. I love you, Hills. ❤
Meghan's going for it. Jamie's going for it. I'm going for it!
Go for it, friends. Vision ... and go!