Dreams of Escape

{a drawing from my 2012 mini calendar, available here in my shop}

I just started reading the book And I Shall Have Some Peace There by Margaret Roach. It’s a memoir about how the author quit her high-powered life in New York City and moved permanently to what had been her weekend home for twenty years, in the woods of upstate New York. Towards the beginning of the book, she talks about how not long after she made the move she started a blog about gardening and her new life. And not long after that, a bunch of people found out about her blog (including some major newspapers), and she started to hear from a lot of people. One of the main comments she heard over and over was something along the lines of: “Wow, I’ve always wanted to do that! Congratulations to you for taking the leap!”

Of course the book is about how the reality is much more complex than the dream. It’s not all blissful commune with yourself and nature. The reality includes things like: doubt, loneliness, limited funding, confusion . . .

But the book got me thinking—why is it that so many of us dream of this escape? Why does it sometimes feel like the only real way to relax and be peaceful is to flee—to run away to the woods, or the mountains, or a small farm, or whatever remote location you love, and just live there with the landscape?

I have had this dream often, even though I know that there are many problems with it—I like being able to ride a bike to the grocery store and go to the library on a whim. I don’t like having to drive long distances to get supplies. And then there is the little pesky detail of making money to pay for my life.

And yet still, especially when life (or my mind) gets too chaotic, I dream of going away into some small house out in the middle of nowhere with no internet connection, no phone and just spend my days sitting by a fire and soaking in the silence there, taking up the slowest possible way of life.

I think that what we’re all searching for is peace. Everything we do is an attempt to find or pin down peace—we want to make more money so we’ll have peace around our finances, we want to lose weight so we’ll feel peace with our bodies, we want to get this job or that circumstance because we think that if we get it, we’ll finally be able to rest and feel peaceful with ourselves. I think the urge to run away is also about peace—we think that escaping our current circumstances and taking out all of the fastness of modern life is bound to solve the problem.

I’m still in the beginning of Roach’s story about what actually happened when she did just that, but I feel like I can make an accurate prediction about where it will go: basically, it’s just not that simple. I bet that she found some peace, but she also found a lot of mental chaos and fear. I think this is always the truth when you actually take the risk of living the reality of something you’ve been dreaming of. This does not mean you shouldn’t take the risk—I’m a firm believer in living dreams because I think it will always get you somewhere more interesting than if you just sit around dreaming for the rest of your life. I guess what I’m trying to come to terms with though is: no matter where I go and what I do, the chaos and the un-peacefulness is not in the situation, it’s in my head.

I know this to be true, and while it doesn’t mean that I should never live my dream of going away into the wilds to live, it does mean that I can’t go there searching for peace. Also it means that the chance to be at peace is always here. It’s my own choice, and it can exist even within the chaos of a busy life.

It’s very easy for me to write this, but very hard to live. As I’ve found out so many times in the past, you can’t chase after and/or “find” peace. You can only relax and breathe and let everything else go, and then peace exists in that space you create. That’s why I feel so far from it when my mind is flooded with thoughts and things to do, and I’m running around and feeling crazy, and then on top of it I get angry because I’m not peaceful, and then I start dreaming about escaping, and add a whole other layer of thought and longing on top of the initial chaos. The more I long for peace, the farther away it feels, and then the more I blame my lack of peace on the circumstances.

It is fun to dream though, and I often wonder how living in some far away natural place would affect who I am and how I act. There is something to spending time alone and away—it forces you to face yourself, and you can no longer blame anyone but you for your un-ease. And so here I have come full circle in this blog musing—I will end it here and leave you to your wild life.

Do you ever dream of escape? What’s your escape fantasy?


5 Responses to “Dreams of Escape”

  1. 1 Peach Farm Studio November 21, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    Great post. Thanks for the book recommendation too. Sounds great! I did something similar, quit my corporate gig in San Francisco, then moved to where the trees and plants are planted in the ground instead of in containers on/in/around buildings. No regrets — loving it! (BTW – love your drawings!)

  2. 3 Melissa November 23, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    Dear Nicole,
    I am so happy to have stumbled upon you Etsy first, as well as your blog. An artist myself, I have been perusing Etsy for like-minded individuals, and though there are many pretty things to look at, your writing is what captured my attention. I could especially identify with what you said in this post, “This is perhaps one of the most gratifying experiences as an artist—to keep going in the process of making, pass through the doubt, and come out at the other side having brought the vision in your head into reality.” I am currently in that place of passing through the doubt and hoping to come out on the other side–Just today I quit my part time job to leave my afternoons free to make things again.

    You are an inspiration and I wish you the best in all your making.


    • 4 Nicole | Blue Bicicletta November 28, 2011 at 10:51 am

      Hi Melissa,

      Thanks so much for your comment! I’m so happy you found some inspiration in my work, and I wish you so much energy and play as you make more time to make things! Doing exactly that has changed my life and continues to expand me every day!

      • 5 Melissa November 29, 2011 at 6:06 am

        Thank you for the encouragement. It’s good to know that there are kindred spirits out there. My life is changing already and I’m just so excited to see what’s next.

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Hello there! My name is Nicole K. Docimo, and I am an artist and writer from the U.S.A. but currently residing in Zurich, Switzerand. Thank you for visiting my blog!

Some Thoughts

"Be thirsty for the ultimate water,
and then be ready for what will
come pouring from the spring."

{from "Joy at Sudden Disappointment"
translated by C. Barks.}

~This Work ~

Unless otherwise noted, all images and writings on this blog were created by me, Nicole K. Docimo aka Blue Bicicletta. If you would like to share anything you see here for inspirational purposes online, I just ask that you kindly let folks know where you found it. If you are wanting to share/reproduce any of my work in any other way, or have any questions about how you will be sharing the work in relation to copyright, please contact me directly at nkdocimo {at} gmail {dot} com. Thanks!

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