Welcome to A Place To Call Home.
This site is here to encourage you to explore. To open your mind. To the vast array of possibilities out there.
The project was born out of the idea that it would be exciting and interesting to go around meeting people who live in ‘unique’ ways.
Going back through some of the first interviews and reading my first set of questions makes me realise now how the role of this site has evolved.
I fear at the start I was acting like a tourist in a zoo, who just wanted to have a good look at these people’s lives, and in turn put them on display for the world to see.
Questions such as: “how do you manage this?” Or “what do you miss about a conventional home?” Were always prominent. And whilst these questions are important to ask, they only began to scratch the surface.
Through speaking to people from all walks of life, I’ve come to realise what is more important, what common desire runs throughout almost everybody I have spoken to. Which is community.
Community is the glue that holds many of these groups together. Whether it’s tipi’s spanning the best part of 200 acres, or a yard the size of a back garden, people have shown me the strong sense of community that they all share.
There’s something about stepping away from a fortress of brick and mortar and surrounding yourself with like minded people that triggers something in human beings. It triggers a more primal instinct to work together with our fellow man, sharing skills, knowledge, stories and compassion. It reflects a desire to want to live closer in harmony to how we once were, nomadic and living off the land.
That’s not to say in anyway that you have to live like a nomad to live alternatively, many people I’ve met live completely normal lives. But what is normal? You might argue that living in a small commune or a tiny converted space in a more simplistic manner is normal. And the materialistic, wealth hungry and disconnected society we find ourselves a part of is the weird one. Living on a street of metaphorical prison cells, where hardly anybody actually knows your name, let alone wants to spend time with you.
These lifestyles are empowering. Rocking the status quo of a housing crisis of epic proportion. Where scrambling to get on a proverbial property ladder is a means to validate our selves as grown ups whilst also financially crippling oneself.
You don’t need to anchor yourself down with a mortgage. Nor do you need to work 40 hours a week simply to meet next month’s rent. We only have one life, so why not live it how we want? You and I have just as much right to be on this earth as the prime minister, as the Wall Street banker, as the kid who does the paper round or the highway maintenance worker. Or your Pygmy hedgehog or my pet Labrador Pepsi. So why let big property developers control such a large part of your life?
You’re an individual. A human being. Don’t limit yourself with where or how you live. You have the right to take refuge wherever you want to, and only you can make it happen. You make anything a place to call home.
This project would not have been possible without the assistance, support and cooperation of the following people:
Alex and Jess, and the whole Tipi Valley Community
Anna Hope and all residents of The Yard
Steffie Broer and all residents of The Courtyard
Tony from the bus
All images without a credit have been taken by myself. Others have been used either with permission from the original photographer or obtained under the creative commons. Backing music courtesy of BenSound.
About the author
Having recently graduated from The University of the West of England, I am now embarking on a career as a freelance journalist based in Bristol. This project has helped me develop a passion for the unique, the alternative and the innovative. I’m always excited to meet anyone with a story to tell. For my other work, please visit my site. Get in touch if you have an exciting story to tell or would like to collaborate.