ÂŠ 2017 Wildling Magazine All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced by any means without prior written consent from the publisher, except for brief portions quoted for the purpose of review, as permitted by copyright law. www.wildlingmagazine.com email@example.com Instagram @wildlingmagazine Facebook facebook.com/wildlingmagazine Front Cover image by Savan Cruchfield Back Cover image by Rebecca Lindon Inside Cover image by Posy Waterman Back Inside Cover image by Posy Waterman
CONTENTS VOLUME 10 October 2017
Letters From Afar
A Summer in Europe
Zero Waste Parenting
The Free Spirit School
Rochelle Cheever www.rochellecheever.com KC Lostetter
Savan Cruchfield www.savan-photography.com Emma Ross www.mamalina.co Hannah Hardy www.thefreespiritnetwork.com Rebecca Lindon
Shirlene Badger www.rhinosup.com Shawnee Mills www.lettersafar.com Posy Waterman www.photoposy.com
Image by Caitlyn Kellagher
Our Autumn issue comes to you a little later than usual and is also a smaller collection of essays than in previous volumes. Since returning from our travels, we’ve been immersed in settling back into life in the UK and Wildling has had to take a temporary backseat. In this issue, we hear from Heather Chandler on how her family are working to protect the ecosystem in Hawaii, Savan Cruchfield talks about the joy she recieves from her daughters’ relationship with her own mother and Emma Ross gives us tips on zero waste parenting. We head to Japan, Europe and Warwickshire in England with our travel diaries and hear about the magical Free Spirit School and one son’s quest to save the last remaining white rhinos. Enjoy!
Rebecca Lindon Editor-in-Chief
ALOHA AINA PERSONAL ESSAY words by Heather Chandler and images by Rochelle Cheever
From Rochelle Cheever: Aloha ‘āina means “love of the land; to nurture and care for the land.” Kaleo and Heather Chandler own a tree trimming business on Kauai in Hawaii - a place that is affectionately referred to as the Garden Isle for its lush tropical rainforest that covers most of the island. As Kaleo comes from a Hawaiian upbringing, this husband and wife have taught their children many traditional Hawaiian skills to not only care for the land they call home, but also to thrive off the land. They’re a family who fishes together, hikes together, and even hunts together. The kids, Kahlea and Lopaka, already know how to hunt and clean a pig. They can also catch fish on their own and make poles out of bamboo sticks! From Heather Chandler: It is incredibly important for us to teach our children about Hawaii’s ecosystem and how they can protect it. We fish off the reefs of Kauai and hunt in the mountains, where there are delicate ecosystems and native plants. We need to instill these values in our children. It is a vital part of their culture. When we fish we are constantly teaching our kids how to use caution to protect the delicate reef and walk on it ONLY when fishing for food. They get to see the reef fish (i’a), sea slugs, turtles (Honu), crabs, squid everything! They can see how alive it is and we show them we are walking on their home. If we do not be careful they won’t have a home, and we won’t be able to fish for food. Also, if we put trash in our ocean, they will eat it and be very sick. Then we will catch and eat sick fish, which is not good. We also try to teach them about what we use on our bodies, like sunscreen, and how it affects the ocean.
When we hunt, we have to be very careful around the native plants and animals. We train our dogs very specifically on what we hunt for (feral pigs and goats). Our kids are constantly learning, thankfully, because there are so many plants and animals to find in the mountains and oceans. Plus, while hunting or fishing, we are actively looking for something so it is never boring. Our children have been taught to dance hula, how to fish (throw net off the reef and pole fish), hunt with hunting dogs, and pull and plant taro (kalo), as well as make taro into poi. We introduced these skills ever since they were small as this is a lifestyle for our family. When they were 5, we enrolled them into the WaipÄ program which is an amazing program that teaches the Hawaiian ways of life. This program emphasizes what we teach and makes it fun as they get to be with friends and have an exciting learning environment. We hope that they continue these traditions for their family, as the Hawaiian culture is in their blood. They naturally have a love and passion for it, and the more we can include these traditions in our daily life, the more skilled and knowledgeable they will be. With this knowledge, they will be confident and and excited to teach their own families. Also, with an understanding and love for the land (aina), they will want to protect the ocean and land to keep the resources plentiful and healthy.
JAPAN TRAVEL ESSAY words and photography by KC Lostetter
I was 29 weeks pregnant when we hopped on a plane from Hawaii to Japan with a 16 month old toddler in tow. While living in Hawaii for the last 4.5 years we tried to make a point of seeing every island. Then we started to hop the rest of the way across the Pacific, starting with Australia and then New Zealand. Our time in Hawaii was coming to an end and we were trying to take full advantage. Before moving to Colorado, we had a chance to make a quick trip over to Japan. I have a lot of places on my travel bucket list but Japan has never been one of them. When a chance to visit popped up right before leaving Hawaii, I felt like I needed to jump on the opportunity. After spending a little over a week there, I felt like I wanted to stay forever. I was so impressed with the culture. The people were so respectful of each other and their city. We spent a lot of time on the trains and I swear I could have spent days just riding the train and observing people. We visited a number of shrines and local attractions but the people were my favorite. One of my favorite things on the train was watching the youth stand up to offer their seat to the elderly. Without hesitation or obligation they would stand and respectfully offer up their seat. After one of the longer days of exploring and being on my pregnant feet all day with the toddler on my back, I was standing on the train holding the handle as I usually did. An elderly woman noticed me and my belly and toddler and stood to offer me her seat. “No, No, I am fine. Thank you” I told her. Three more times she offered me her seat, until finally she grabbed my hand and essentially forced me to sit in her spot. Traveling with our daughter was easier than you think. She has always been along for the ride and this trip was no different. Staying as minimalist as possible has been key for our travels with her. An ergo carrier to explore with, a backpack with basic essentials, and snacks… lots of snacks. I will always be an advocate for traveling with children. Now that we have two it may be a little harder but we will figure out what that looks like. We are still trying to decide what our next international adventure will be... our first as a family of four.
MY MOTHER PERSONAL ESSAY words by and photography by Savan Crutchfield
I had a very happy childhood filled with so much love, all sorts of family and extended family around every weekend, road trips, cooking and most importantly what I learned from my mother. She never demanded that I spend hours and hours on school work, what she taught my siblings and I was through living life and experiences. My mother and I had the best of relationships, I donâ€™t even remember fighting with my mother at any point in my life, what I can is how much I had in common with her even as a young girl. I wanted to be outdoors in her garden: cutting flowers, cooking, window shopping, jumping in the car and just driving and discovering new places and having the best adventures. She really did give my siblings and I the best childhood. I donâ€™t think she is all that different as a grandmother, ok well she spoils my kids rotten, but thatâ€™s what grandparents are for right? In all seriousness, she grandmothers in the exact way she parented - with full and unconditional love!
When my family took a month long trip to Italy last fall, my mother came with us. Italy was all new to us except for my husbandâ€™s college Europe trip. It was last year this time and watching my girls go to a different country where the language and culture are different and watching my mother navigate them through the cobblestone streets and pointing out new and amazing things to them made my heart so full! Yes being academic is great, and there is a time and place to put the pressure on school work, but learning from others who love you through actually living life to the fullest is another level of learning that my mother instilled in me. She instilled so much more in my children than a book ever could. She teaches my girls to live and to be kind to others, through leading by example. We had leftovers after going out to dinner one night. As we exited the freeway, my mother asked my husband to hand over her leftovers to a hungry man. When we all got home she explained to the girls why it was the right and kind thing to do. She taught me and now teaches my children to be kind to others and to enjoy life, by really living life. She is the kindest, most generous, selfless human being I know. I hope I can be half of a mother or human being as her. My mother is extraordinary!
ZERO WASTE PARENTING TIPS LIFESTYLE ESSAY words and photography by Emma Ross
NAPPIES In an ideal world, we would have used reusable nappies from Day 1, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 12 months a year and I would have had my eldest, Jack potty-trained far earlier – but that’s just not the world we personally live in. At nursery I felt awkward asking them to use cloth nappies which I know is silly and it may well be something I look in to changing once my youngest son starts. Jack also usually spends 1 day a week with my mother in law and expecting her to use reusable nappies just feels slightly too much at this stage. We also do a fair bit of travelling and having to worry about washing nappies as well as all the extra challenges that come with traveling with kids is just one thing too much. And then there’s the nights… SO, where does that leave us? For all the above instances, we use Kit and Kin nappies which are super impressive as almost every element biodegrades within 3-6 years, including the front panel, tapes, anti-leak barriers and packaging. As far as I’m aware there is no nappy yet on the market which is 100% biodegradable. The rest of the time (so when the kids are with us, during the day, not at nursery, and we’re not travelling – most of the time), we use reusable nappies. I’ve done a fair bit of experimenting and whilst with Jack we used gNappies which are fab in many ways, I found that once poop got bigger they just didn’t contain it. We then switched to the Real Easy Nappy which I could not be happier with.
WIPES I hate wet wipes! There, I said it. More natural ones such as water wipes don’t do a particularly good job at actually cleaning a bottom and mainstream brands, aside from smelling horrible, are harsh on the skin (you can actually remove tar with those things!), aren’t cheap, and are not generally biodegradable, so they do all sorts of nasty things from clogging up toilets to harming wildlife who mistakenly eat them. They are all round bad news for the environment. Instead we use the awesomely named Cheeky Wipes which are cotton terry cloths and perfectly reusable once put through the washing machine. They work for dirty bottoms as well as mucky faces and hands so I keep a stash in the kitchen for after mealtimes too. NB: Old cut up t-shirts do the same job and I also still keep a pack of wet wipes in my changing bag for when I’m out in case of any real disaster but Cheeky Wipes are fully transportable too and their starter pack comes with travel bags to take them out and about.
TOILET TRAINING We only used one product to toilet train Jack – the lovely BecoPotty which is made from bamboo waste and rice husks (leftover materials from farming) ground into a fine powder, mixed with a biodegradable resin and pressed into a hot mould. This makes it completely biodegradable and super durable – we’ve had it for years and it’s been well used and it still looks like new. We picked one up from the Real Nappies for London Potty Training session – I really recommend heading to one of these sessions if you’re a Londoner. After we’ve finished with our potty I plan to bury it in the garden with Jack one afternoon which I reckon will make a fun afternoon’s activity. FEEDING We aspire to cut down our use of plastic in all areas of our life, though of course we still have a load of it in the house. My material of choice, however, is anything made from bamboo - a super fastgrowing resource (the fastest growing grass on the planet) and ridiculously beautiful to look at. I love this bowl for the kids: not only is it amazing for baby-led weaning as it stays put on the table thanks to a suction base, it is all natural with a food-grade silicone that protects against BPA and other toxins. I also love the funky bright colours they come in (my favourite is obviously green).
TOYS We definitely have plastic, flashing toys in the home but not many. I always opt for wooden toys which are timeless, don’t contain chemicals (BPA or PVC), are eco-friendly when produced from FSC-certified forests, bamboo or rubberwood and durable. Asda does an amazing collection which are our absolute favourite and the kids have spent countless hours riding their bikes and playing with the garages and trikes – I know they will far outlast the plastic ones. I think in fact what I love most about wooden toys is that they leave room for the child’s imagination without all the flashing lights and noises to do all the work for them. They also of course look better and are far easier to clean weetabix off! On top of this, we love charity shops and hand me downs – the former particularly for books and the latter for the coolest retro fire engines in the world. Then there’s the tupperware, oxo cubes, sticks and bath tubs for paddling pools that we have had endless amounts of fun with too. I hope you enjoyed reading these tips - they are nothing ground-breaking but they are small steps to helping the environment and crucially for us busy mums, the products mentioned are all easy to use, work really well and I think are pretty darn stylish.
THE FREE SPIRIT SCHOOL LIFESTYLE ESSAY words and photography by Hannah Hardy
Wouldnâ€™t you have loved to have gone to magic school? When I was a child I could see peopleâ€™s stories in their eyes, I could travel to places beyond my body, I could heal wild animals and I knew that I was connected to the clouds and light. However I had no way to express this to those around me, and so I hid these treasures from the world and myself, which is why I have founded The Free Spirit School. My intention was to create a safe and nurturing space for children and their families to express their authentic self amongst their peers, supporting them to connect to and express their authentic voice so that they may be of highest service to themselves, Mother Earth and the global collective at this pivotal time in universal history.
This glistening gem truly grew from grass roots. As a holistic therapist (shamanic healing and OHB kinesiology) I connect to the higher self of the client to enable them to lead me as to any karmic / past life / ancestral / future healing needed to return to balance. During one balance I was discovering how I could holistically support my two elder daughters who were then 8 and 10. After living nearly off grid in France for several years we had removed them from the mainstream school system and were unschooling them in North Norfolk, UK. During the healing balance it arose that I needed to create something for them that didnâ€™t presently exist.
supporting our wise teachers to grow into the world in their own unique strength. It is felt that by creating this safe nurturing space for authentic growth we can offer a fertile ground to support our heart based visionaries and pioneers who will be the future caretakers of each other and Mother Earth.
It amazes me how in our modern culture we patronise children. They have chosen to incarnate in their bodies to bring forth pure wisdom to the world, they are compassionate and trusting and just need us to show them how best to connect as being a human. Instead in our modern culture we prefer to mould them into our own shape I was to create a safe nurturing space for them with education, social structures and religion to explore and express their authentic voice and altering their natural and highest flow of growth. intuitive selves amongst their peers. In indigenous spiritual cultures they respect the In our mainstream schooling we tend to path of these spirits and honour the passage of nurture the brain and body, forgetting about the spirit as it comes into womb and incarnates. the heart and spirit, and there is a need for They often go on vision quests to find a symbol, growth spaces that nurture the whole being a colour or a unique song for the baby to remind of the child. Spirituality does enter modalities it of its higher spiritual self through life. As such as mindfulness programs and systems such an adult if one of the community steps out of as Steiner but I was receiving, through their line they are reminded of their true path. For higher guidance, that they needed a safe space example if a member of the community commit so that they could express their highest self and a crime the whole community sings their unique grow without any formulaic parameters. They song to them for two days, they tell that person needed to authentically grow in a sharing circle, all the things that they are loved for, focusing on rather than with prescribed learning. The Free connection rather than exclusion, realising that Spirit School is based on the premise that we are these acts come from some sense of hurt within that person.
In understanding that we are spirit having a human experience, we are able to take a higher perspective and in turn gain more focus and control over our lifeâ€™s purpose and our collective journey. At The Free Spirit School we support these wise souls in connecting to and expressing their authentic voice through the passage as being human. Authenticity, trust, play and humour are really important to us here as we understand that when we follow our highest joys, the miracles begin to unfurl before us upon the path of serendipity. When I received guidance that I needed to bring this creation into being I wondered how the school would manifest. I had just birthed twin babies and was about to move house with our four children, my lovely husband Tom and my father Andrew and I had very little resources or time. However from the point I realised that I needed to create the school, it self-created in a miraculous manner - people and things suddenly appeared that I needed to form the school, and so it was birthed into the world. It is an organic creation evolving and growing and I am guided to support this growth through the close working relationship with my spiritual guides. We are all so astonished by the path of serendipity with this and the miraculous things that unfurl each time we meet. At The Free Spirit School we have our rainbow circle which consists of 12 children and we ask that the children commit to the whole cycle to support trust and deep relationships within the group. We have a large waiting list however we feel it is important to keep the group as a small, lovingly nurtured community that can resonate at the highest frequency and ripple out through time and space. The Free Spirit School of the magical and mystical is guided to explore different healing modalities with highly trained internationally recognised practitioners. Over the passage of the cycle they are guided to explore indigenous and universal spiritual cultures and their beliefs, tools and practices. Each session I playfully support the children to connect with their energy enabling them to act rather than react. I support them to open their intuitive perception, understanding how they connect with themselves and the other members of the rainbow circle on a deeper level. The children of the rainbow circle are over 7 years of age, however several younger siblings stay and play for the day with their parents and often merge into the group in amazing ways. During our last cycle of the rainbow circle here at the free spirit school we have for example, explored workshops in shamanic drumming and journeying in which the children amazed us by immediately discovering their spiritual guides and the gifts that the guides offered them and the clear messages that these visions revealed to them. We have been learning about how we can find out our own personal colour which supports us in our life purpose. We have explored how our body can tell our story by learning about palmistry, we have created collage vision boards to describe our dreams and bring our dreams into the world. We, for example, have begun to learn the art of divination through the use of pendulums and applied kinesiology techniques. One of the last workshops of the rainbow cycle was led by Paulina Jones in a glorious soundbath, immersing us with sacred sounds and scents. During this session there was an incredible shift. We were all being led in a guided meditation and when we reached our destination and ready to explore our dreamtime all the children simultaneously got up unprompted and began to lead the soundbath. Each child gathering up a sacred musical instrument to gift their parents with an incredible sensory
healing session - even our twin toddlers appeared and joined in, one gently tapped a triangle and the other gently sprayed a beautiful aura spray over the parents lying down. It felt as if the children had spent sacred time over the rainbow cycle connecting to their authentic voice and that they were now ready to use their power to help others, it was such a gift to experience! It is really incredible to witness the pure compassion and wisdom coming from these great souls in little bodies. Another extraordinary event happened when we were creating collage vision boards and a younger sibling who was 3 years old was busy finding things in magazines to tear out and glue to a board - to our astonishment the only thing that this little child found by herself and glued on to the board was the word â€œVisionâ€?. Just awe inspiring! We are so excited as to what magic will reveal itself in the next rainbow cycle as we witness so many miracles unfurl before us. I have been contacted by people from all over the world who want to participate, collaborate and get involved. This is why I am now guided to create a mentoring program for others to open their own branch of The Free Spirit School internationally, with people already on the waiting list in Australia, USA and the UK. It is intended that in years to come we can create a beautiful flourishing rainbow circle network of The Free Spirit School which will create amazing opportunities for international community growth and exchange with, for example, magical and mystical intensive camping retreats. In the meantime I have been guided to create an online course for The Free Spirit School to enable this phenomenal gem to support people globally, we are amazed that we already have a long waiting list for this sacred online course which will be released this Autumn. It feels to us that we are entering a re-evolutionary time in history where our dreams pave the way for our feet and we feel that those within the rainbow circle are being truly empowered by their highest dreams which see beyond any hurdles enabling them to shine and inspire others. I feel so blessed to witness this magic unfurl and I am deeply grateful to my guides in etheric and physical form who have in their own way big or small contributed to this gift being birthed into the world. To request your place within the global rainbow circle on our magical online course of The Free Spirit School, or to keep posted for details about how to apply for our course leader program which will support you to create your own branch of the pioneering and visionary Free Spirit School, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. www.thefreespiritschool.com
WARWICKSHIRE TRAVEL & FASHION ESSAY words and photography by Rebecca Lindon
When we returned from our world travels this Summer, we headed straight for the county where I was born to spend time back amongst friends and family. Warwickshire sits in the middle of England and is steeped in history as the birthplace of Shakespeare, the home of Rugby football, the ancient Arden Forest and the wonderful legend of Lady Godiva. We spent a month housesitting for a friend in the Regency spa town of Leamington where I was born. This pretty town boasts beautiful Regency architecture and pretty parks and commons that follow the River Leam. Our sun-drenched days were filled with long walks, scottering, lazy boating and endless visits to the local ramps to satisfy my son’s newfound love of skateboarding. After months of rice and noodles in SE Asia, the children were glad to sink back into English traditions of fish and chips and the Mr Whippi ice-cream van, whose melody filled the streets each afternoon. Half an hour from our base took us to equally pretty towns with endless summer activities for families. Stratford Upon Avon is great for older children interested in Shakesperean history and there’s a sweet butterfly farm for younger kids and quaint eateries for the adults. Kenilworth boasts a wonderful rambling ruined castle and woodland walks (read up on the tale of Guy’s Cliffe House), whilst the medieval town of Warwick is littered with cobbled streets, beautiful ancient buildings and the infamous Warwick Castle, established in 1068. Craft and farmers’ markets, old English pubs and sprawling parks are staples in Warwickshire which we fully recommend for a memorable summer holiday.
Eve wears top from Children Of The Tribe and Zeus wears jumper from Kidscase.
Overleaf: Zeus wears tee from Absolute Cult, jeans from Next and shoes from Vans.
Rebecca wears duster by Little Tienda and vest by H&M, Zeus and Eve wear clothing by Kidscase. Eve wears boots by Dr. Martens. Images by Caitlyn Kellagher.
RHINOS UP PERSONAL ESSAY words and photography by Shirlene Badger
In our house the evening meal is that precious time we all hold space for. We have actively tried to make it a time for both listening and sharing those good and bad experiences in our day, anything we are worried about and what we’re looking forward to. There are of course many moments we seize for those important reflexive conversations with our now seven year old and his little brother, but we especially relish our dinner-time musings and their specific framings: “Mama, Dada…..I’ve been thinking…….” One night back at the end of April this year I had announced that I was thinking of signing us up as a family to the Wildlife Trusts’ 30 Days of Wild challenge. This invites individuals and families to try to do one wild thing a day for the month of June. The following discussion was punctuated by enthusiastic ideas of what we could do beyond our ordinary forays into the wild. Visits to all of our favourite local woods were high on the agenda; ladybird releasing; bee spotting; howling at the wind. The ideas flowed and were plotted. A few nights later at dinner a voice piped up with that beginning we love so much: “Mama, Dada, I’ve been thinking ….” What followed, took us somewhat by surprise. “I’ve been thinking about the 30 Days of Wild and I want to do something more. I have to help save the last three northern white rhinos or else they will become extinct and will be gone forever.” “OK son that sounds like a really good idea. Have you thought about how you want to help?” I asked with a sharp, deep inhale. I sat rather judgementally anticipating a proposal that involved a months worth of baking condensed into two days alongside visions of setting up a cake stall on the street or outside the local school. I am sure I did not look enthusiastic. “I want to make a piece of public art to tell people about what is happening to rhinos.” A few months earlier, dear friends of ours Martin Aveling and Amy Morris-Drake had returned from a trip to Kenya. Martin, the son of zoologists had grown up in Central and Eastern Africa and had taken his now fiancée Amy back to Kenya – a place that holds his heart and inspires him as a wildlife artist. On the equator, just at the foot of Mt Kenya is Ol Pejeta Conservancy. This incredibly special place works with local communities to conserve wildlife, providing a sanctuary for great apes, chimpanzees, boasting the largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa, the ‘big five’. Significantly, it is home to the last three surviving northern white rhinos on earth: Sudan, Najin and Fatu.
Martin and Amy are important people to our seven-year old son. They fulfil a role that we as his parents aren’t able to in the same way. Their passion for conservation resonates with Frankie’s passion for the natural world. They and their families have always shared tales of their travels and their work with Frankie – he being one of the few to sit through every single holiday snap or work excursion photo asking questions of each animal, bird or rock depicted. On their return from Kenya, Martin and Amy’s stories of Sudan, Najin and Fatu featured heavily in their visits. Frankie could not hear enough. Martin sat making rhinos out of play-doh with Frankie answering each question meticulously. Frankie has never seen a rhino and so Martin explained the different features of the different species of rhinos in Africa. He told Frankie about Diego – a specially trained anti-poaching dog. Every day we had to learn something new about the northern white rhinos and how it had come to this state of play. We would find a new video on youtube to watch and from there more questions would follow. How could it be there were only three left? How could it be that Sudan is the last male northern white rhino in the world Mama? We learnt that every time we sat down to a meal last year – breakfast, lunch and dinner – a rhino was killed in South Africa alone. “That’s killed dead Mama, just for its’ horn.” We also learnt that the rate of poaching was increasing and that current rates suggest that before Frankie is 16 years old all rhino will be extinct. And so, the voicing of concern for the northern white rhinos at dinner that night had not come out of the blue. His fact-finding had been a regular feature of conversation. Neither were the words “public art” foreign to him. His father is an artist and our friend Martin is a successful wildlife artist. Even so, his putting the two together and the connections he made between complex chains of actions stunned us. “A piece of public art?” his Dada asked. “I like it Frankie – what are you thinking?” He then unfolded his ambitious and novel idea to create a living sculpture out of bee-friendly plants in the shape of a northern white rhino. In his words, he wants “the flowers to come UP and the rhinos to come UP from the dead. That’s why I call it RhinosUp.” I am not sure I will ever forget this moment and this conversation. That evening time stopped, as we were all sucked in to the beauty and brilliance of Frankie’s idea and his authority on the matter. It was exciting and rewarding just to be hearing him talk like this and to be able to question and bounce possibilities off each other. We were able to ask him some hard questions: How will you get people involved? Where will you plant it? How will the art help you raise money? He had responses for every question, for every suggestion. He had thought hard about this and it was something he was going to do! I remember at one point saying something about how I liked that he wanted to plant bee-friendly plants. It seemed an elegant connection between what is happening here to what is happening to the rhinos in Africa and his response was a simple acknowledgment of how we are all connected. “Of course Mama. That’s why I thought of that. We can’t just let this happen Mama. We have to do something. It’s not just happening somewhere else. We have to tell people and show people so we can change this”. Explaining the realities of human greed as is evident in the acts of poaching, and the demand for rhino horn to a then six-year old was something we tiptoed around at first. “So what eats rhino Mama?” is his main phrasing for questions about predators. Explaining that rhinos have no real predators means explaining that they are being killed by humans alone. Consequently, questions around the rhino
horn trade have come to feature most. It is something Frankie now knows a lot about and yet (he shakes his head), he just cannot understand it. Just this week he was invited to meet with people from traffic.org to be the first person outside of the organisation to see a draft report assessing smuggling techniques and routes of illicit African rhino horn. He has pored over his embargoed copy ever since shaking his head in disbelief as he passionately retells the facts behind the graphics and spouts the names of cities and countries that feature strongly in the journeys of rhino horn outside of Africa. As a family, we are so immersed in this now that I forget the early days and our questions of how much he should know? How do we explain this ugly side of humanity and the violence that characterises poaching? Every so often I rub up against it as Frankie meets new children and tells them about his project and the plight of the rhinos. A mother will shuffle alongside me and voice concern about his explanations and the threat to her child’s ‘innocence’. I am beginning to wonder whether this discomfort, as with much we place on our children’s sense of innocence, is more about our own discomfort with what we have, or have not done as adults and the future we are leaving our children? Our children seem more powerfully equipped to deal with these matters than we often give them credit. It has also reminded me of an ongoing debate in the natural history film industry that features Frankie’s great hero Sir David Attenborough. His beautiful natural history documentaries are intimate friends of our son and we have long subscribed to a similarly held view of Sir David’s that such shows are important and ‘enough’ to inspire a human response to what we are doing to this beautiful planet of ours. But even Sir David has recently come to say that perhaps natural history viewing is not ‘enough’. In a recent interview at the Edinburgh Television Festival, he stated: “Natural history programming is marvellous to look at... But I would go so far as to say it is extremely important that people around the world see what is happening.” I would rather wake the morning after a full moon and look at the RhinosUp instagram feed and see the aesthetic images of rhinos in the wild than the results of a full moon poaching attack; the lives lost (animal and human) in pursuit of one horn. Yet it seems increasingly important to connect our consumption (be that of an aesthetic image, a bracelet or chinese herbal medicine) to what the face of extinction looks like. Frankie’s project has reminded me how as adults we can become paralysed by the seeming impossibility of the task at hand. Whether that be people’s incredulity at the enormity of the RhinosUp project itself and the work involved, or whether it be about an issue as big as extinction. We see them as too big – one of those situations without a solution. My responses have ranged from brushing my child’s ideas away with a no, or the occasional cake bake to solve a funding problem, or sharing a video on social media as my means of social action. Seeing this problem through Frankie’s eyes has given me such hope. He sees the problem and his instinct has told him he has to do something. He has a dream. He imagines a future in which northern white rhinos once again roam in the wild, free from the threat of extinction and free from the threat of poachers. He believes he can help change the course of history and his belief is infectious. It is something slightly different from optimism and it is an activism less battle weary. I believe him and it gives the rest of us a vehicle by which we can all do something – even if it is a simple motivation to donate. More than that, as I have taken him to meeting after meeting; as I have sat through discussions with people in the Council through to conservationists and filmmakers, I have come to realise that we each have our part to play and that ending extinction is something we can all play a part in. We all have the potential to change this world for the better.
The journey of RhinosUp has been an incredible rollercoaster ride. In my mothering journey thus far I have often marvelled at the places he has taken me to, that I would never have dreamed of going. These places are not always tangible landscapes but are as much journeys to new understandings and experiences. Accompanying him, I am also watching him go to places he never knew existed. Having said that, he has never asked to go to Kenya to see Sudan, Najin and Fatu. His commitment to RhinosUp is not motivated by such an expectation. But rather it is beautifully aligned between the urgent task of the now and his future dream that there will be rhinos in the wild. This in itself has challenged my notions of consumption further. I have realised that despite our passion and proselytising about more wild time for our children, that even we have tended to still view nature as something to be consumed or as something of a trophy – a checklist of places we have been. All these experiences are of course good but the challenge of living alongside rather than ‘consuming’ the natural community we live within is perhaps something even the most passionate of us advocates of our wildscapes need to think about. Frankie’s insistence at the urgency of the task at hand and that he can do it now and from here has challenged me more than I can say. It has changed us as a family, motivating us through those classic stumbling blocks where things might feel too big, or that we’re not in the right place, or that we’re not the right age. Every night as we sit down to dinner we remember that another rhino has been killed for its horns. We eat. We talk. We plan to change that. (To follow Frankie’s journey saving the last three northern white rhinos, you can read more and donate at rhinosup.com. Or follow him on Facebook @RhinosUp, on Instagram @rhinosupart or on twitter @rhinos_up )
LETTERS FROM AFAR ARTISAN PROFILE words and photography by Shawnee Mills
When I was little, my sisters and I used to draw maps of made-up lands and write stories to go along with them. In a way, Letters From Afar has stemmed from that memory. I’ve been an artist for most of my life, and the thought of illustrating and writing a children’s book has always appealed to me. Letters From Afar is like an alternative version of that. Once per month, subscribers receive a handcrafted letter telling of amazing destinations around the world. The letters are written from the perspective of an explorer named “Isabelle”, a fictional character created in admiration of the famous female explorer Isabella Bird, who trekked across the globe in the 19th century. Each letter is a living story about a destination sprinkled with historical facts, culture, cuisine, and languages. For children, LFA is a good way to learn about the world and broaden horizons, but in a very simple, minute way. I believe that knowledge of other cultures is so important. It breeds acceptance of others. There are a million ways to learn about culture, but I also think there’s something to be said about introducing kids to the lost art of letter writing. I wanted the “explorer”, the character writing these letters, to be a woman. I’m one of three girls, and I firmly believe in women empowering and inspiring others to follow their dreams, try something different, and not be afraid to do so. In my mind, Isabelle is a woman of no specific age or nationality. Those factors honestly never came to mind! She is traveling the world because she wants to learn about the world, explore, and gather experiences, not belongings. I guess in a way she’s how I’d like to see myself (one day!). One day, my family decided to try something different - for that I am so thankful. My parents took us out of school, sold everything they had, and bought a plot of land in the mountains of Colorado to build a cabin. We grew our own food, my sisters and I were homeschooled, and everyday was spent exploring and learning in non traditional ways. After living in CO for 5 years, we bought an RV and traveled across the US for a year. My own spirit of adventure is rooted in those memories. When I was a kid, I spent almost every waking moment outside. I loved to build things and make up stories. My sisters and I would spend hours in the forest and read, fish, go berry picking, pretend our tree house was a castle….etc. Being homeschooled, we had nothing but time on our hands. There was no such thing as stress. When starting a letter, I pick a place that I’ve always wanted to visit… the list is a mile long. I then spend a lot of time researching, taking notes and writing an outline. I first try to create a fun storyline, and then fill in the blanks with correct facts and imagery. Next, I create a watercolor map of the region and illustrations of the subject. 47
I’ve been so touched with the feedback I’ve had from families. One kind lady told me that Letters From Afar is a “golden nugget” that enriches her family’s life. Another told me that she loves the “organic” qualities of this concept - “it’s a refreshingly different thing to buy our children…. not digital and not plastic”, she said. Furthermore, a mom told me that her 3 year old treasures his letters just because “someone is writing to him”. She reads them to him as bedtime stories! One thing I love is that I’ve had all ages sign up, not just kids. We’ve had people sign up in over 8 countries. We plan on eventually offering the letters in other languages besides English so that everyone can join in the fun! We created Letters From Afar in hopes of developing a fun, unique way to learn. Our letters are just a small glimpse of each exotic destination but are designed to spark further learning and understanding of various cultures. These letters are a minimalistic joy that brings a spark of nostalgia and adventure right to your mailbox.... sans computer, cell phone, and TV. www.lettersafar.com
DUNE DWELLERS FASHION photography by Rebecca Lindon
Athena wears cape and crown by Fable Heart at Marshes & Flint.
Mitra wears jumpsuit by Little Tienda and jacket by Chasing Unicorns. Athena wears dress by Apolina Kids.
Mitra wears gown by Ten Twelve Collection and bell-sleeved top by Hazel + Folk.
Mitra wears gown by Ten Twelve Collection.
Mitra wears dress by Hazel + Folk.
A SUMMER IN EUROPE TRAVEL ESSAY words and photography by Posy Quarterman
While we’ve previously taken family vacations together in the form of summer road trips, this year we went big and travelled “across the pond” for 19 days in August. We left our home in Portland, Oregon and headed first to London, where I had spent a semester in college. We were lucky enough to stay with the same woman I lived with 20 years ago. It was not only wonderful to have a home base during our travels, but also to have a familiar face, cozy home, gorgeous overgrown English garden to sip tea and eat biscuits in on warm afternoons, and a border collie who we came to love throughout our time there. London was a particularly important destination for us, not only due to my own attachment to it but also because of our 10-year-old Potterhead, Francis, who fell hard for the Harry Potter books the previous summer and has since become an absolute Potter junky (she’s Ravenclaw, btw, in case you’re wondering). So the highlight of this entire trip for her was our visit to the Harry Potter Studio Tour outside of London, as well as the walking tour of the city highlighting important locations from the books and movies. From London we traveled by plane to Berlin, which was initially chosen as a destination because I had work there and a free apartment to stay in, but that fell through and we ended up in a darling apartment that was up five flights (140) stairs! We had to buy cushy inserts for all three of our pairs of sneakers because our feet hurt so much by the end of each day. We soaked up history and art, visiting various museums and memorials. We also paddled a rowboat around a pond at a beautiful park, visited plenty of biergartens, purchased handmade cookie cutters at a flea market, ate delicious savory pastries, and Francis consumed many, many, pretzels. We flew from Berlin to Amsterdam and stayed on a houseboat, which was just an incredible experience. I highly recommend it. Each morning while my husband and I drank coffee and our daughter ate sugar cereal (because when in Holland, you eat a lot of sugar!), ducks and swans visited windows looking to share the cereal with her. It was a magical experience and all three of us fell in love with the city. From Amsterdam we headed back to London by train, making a quick stop in Brussels just long enough to drink some Belgian beer. From there, we hopped a plane to Paris for a quick 36-hour visit. We kept expectations low and only had a few goals: eat escargot, crepes, and macarons; see the gargoyles at Notre Dame; view the city from Sacre Coure at sunrise, and ride the carousel by the Eiffel Tower at sunset. We managed to do most of those, though it rained the only evening we were there so our Eiffel Tower visit ended up being during the daylight hours - less exciting for this photographer, but fun nonetheless. We also stumbled upon some excellent street entertainers that left quite an impression on Francis.
One of the unexpected highlights of our travels were the playgrounds we found throughout Europe - nearly all of them had zip-lines, which thrilled my kid. It was a nice way for our “lonely only” child (who is incredibly social at home, and was stuck with only us to entertain her for nearly three weeks) to be around other children, even when they didn’t speak the same language. Some of our best memories are from random parks and playgrounds we found our way to in each city. Francis would probably also like me to add that one of the other highlights for her was chasing pigeons! Francis had attended the photography camp I taught earlier in the summer, so one of the best daily activities for her was taking photographs throughout the cities we visited (I gifted her my old Fuji x100). And I loved seeing her perspective - the photos we came home with are very different from each other, and that absolutely thrilled me (I think she photographed every animal we encountered!). In Amsterdam she purchased a stuffed Miffy (who is a storybook bunny from Holland, called Nijntje there). Miffy joined all of our daily travels from there forward and Francis enjoyed photographing her throughout our days. For parents traveling through Europe with children I would recommend you don’t try to attempt more than one or two tourist activities per day, seek out the playgrounds, and always ask at museums if they have a children’s map or program. My daughter was exhausted the day we visited the Van Gogh Museum, and really wanted nothing to do with it until they gave her a treasure hunt, which not only kept her entertained, but got all three of us learning and absolutely turned her into a Van Gogh fan. We also gave Francis a budget for each city we visited, which gave her the opportunity to handle foreign money and the different ways in which people handle transactions in differing places. It also left her in charge of managing her money and selecting her own souvenirs without me having to negotiate with her over what she could and couldn’t buy at each gift shop we stumbled upon. (I call that a parenting win!) I also recommend checking out books from the library in the weeks leading up to your travels. I was able to find many great children’s story books about the locations we were going to, which not only got her (and us!) excited to go, but also were fun to remember when we saw locations and attractions we had read about. Specifically the Kiki’s Adventures series about a cat who travels the world, as well as James Mayhew’s Katie series (Katie and the Lions, Katie and the Sunflowers, and many more) were great discoveries. We aren’t sure yet where Summer 2018 will find us; we are overdue for an East Coast trip to visit family, and have invitations to stay in Cape Code, Martha’s Vineyard, and Myrtle Beach. But I’ll be honest, if we don’t make it back to Amsterdam or London for an extended stay before my daughter enters middle school, I’ll be sorely disappointed. Those two cities bit us hard, and I am bound and determined not to let another 20 years go by before I return to Europe.
Absolute Cult www.absolutecult.com Apolina Kids www.apolina-kids.com Chasing Unicorns www.chasingunicorns.com Dr. Martens www.drmartens.com Fable Heart www.fableheart.com Hazel + Folk www.hazelandfolk.com Kidscase www.kidscase.com Little Tienda www.littletienda.com.au Marshes & Flint www.marshesandflint.co.uk Ten Twelve Collection www.tentwelvecollection.com Vans www.vans.com
Volume 10 is a shorter version of our usual quarterly issues. It's still packed with parenting essays, travel diaries and a fashion story th...
Published on Oct 10, 2017
Volume 10 is a shorter version of our usual quarterly issues. It's still packed with parenting essays, travel diaries and a fashion story th...