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I did not find your writing scattered at all. In fact it expressed your complex situation quite eloquently. I think I share many of the same elements of history you describe, although your family situation is actually more positive, but we all have a different basket of challenges. I was born and grew up in New York and Vermont, and lived in New Mexico for 15 years. I moved there from VT to live with my brother, and it was exciting, so different from the East Coast while still in the same country. I live in New Zealand now. I came out here to live and work in an ecovillage (which never got off the ground). Within 2 weeks of landing here all my plans were completely shredded and I was off the map.
I am writing this from the other side of the coin. I left family and friends behind and moved myself and my two sons on our own to New Zealand 10 years ago. It has been incredibly challenging and lonely, and also full of alienation. If it is difficult to blend in in a town in the same state, it is that much more so to blend in when the whole country is based on Pacific Island and British tradition. The way I talk, think, act are all foreign to the people here. Though it was the best decision for me and my boys, if I had some of your family and community strengths all focused in one location I would not be here. I was going to be on my own regardless, and I made my mind up that if I was going to have to do the hard yards, I would like it to be somewhere good for the kids.
I would like to share my opinion on the value of a community versus the value of strangers with similar beliefs. It is really quite simple. When the rubber hits the road you want to be near the people you love and who love you. That trumps permaculture and eco-villages. I have gained a great appreciation for staying in one place, and I would not move from where I am now unless I absolutely had to. Having traveled, as you have, it becomes clear that everywhere you go has advantages and drawbacks.
Your strengths are: family- good relations with your closest family members, issues with your father aside, you are at least on visiting terms. commnity- Your community is one you grew up in and you have a place there, not enough can be said for that. You have friends there. That is the greatest asset.
The challenges are, I guess, making a living and finding a good place to live there. I too struggle with employment. Moving around and being a non-career focused mother has left me with an uninspiring resume. I too have considered expensive and time-consuming re-training programmes and came to the same conclusion that you have. I would not get enough out of it to justify what I put in.
What I have been through I would not recommend to anyone, but I did meet someone a few years ago and remarry and feel lucky at this point. I don’t have family, but I have acommunity here that I would not give up for anything. It has made me a much more active community member than I have ever been.