Ever thought of getting out of the rat-race and taking the plunge into a simpler life like we have? Can’t say I blame you and it’s easy, honestly you just have to make the choice and then plan!
However if you are coming to Bulgaria there are another few adjectives that you may want to consider, like ‘patient’, ‘inventive’, ‘willing’ and ‘adaptable’.
It is the last word that comes into play frequently if you are thinking of taking early retirement, I mean Bulgaria is cheap but it is not free, so you have to be able to support yourself and your animals. You don’t have animals? You will have when you live here, even if you don’t want them, they just move in…(Picture – Exhibit A).
You will be living a self sufficient lifestyle so you don’t need to buy food…really?! Let me say we all have this intention, if not self sufficiency then at least a little more self reliance, but it takes time, even if you know exactly what you are doing and have years of experience, you will still need to adapt to Bulgaria.
Undoubtedly the ground will need some TLC, the different bugs and diseases that will eat your produce or kill the roots will need understanding and the weather, don’t forget the weather… we have around a 60-70 degree shift in temperatures here from -28C in the winter to 40C in the summer and one hailstorm here can wipe out your whole crop or take out a lean-to roof…(Picture – Exhibit B)
But as long as you are adaptable, willing to try new things and learn how to preserve what you grow you will, no doubt, be able to support yourself, especially if you get yourself a few chucks or a pig or two. You may have to think about fodder for your animals though, so consider the space and storage options for that too…or go vegan of course.
You may also be able to barter in the village for fresh honey (if you are a sugar taker), or oils and even alcohol, but with the animals come vet fees, inoculations, emergency treatment, worming, fleaing… Shelby (our husky cross) proved that last night as in my eagerness to get a head start on spring weeds, I scattered a heavy layer of salt around the edges of my raised beds and never gave it another thought.
In what can only be described as ‘husky-wisdom’ he had followed me around clearing up the salt…not the best idea he has had and he has had some crackers I can tell you. One of which resulted in me spending a week poking my steroid creamed finger up his bum on a daily basis when he ate a pair of blue crocs as a pup (not sure why the colour was important…but it made it easy to identify when it came out the other end). I digress – we spent yesterday evening in the vets, sitting on a blood-stained, cold, tiled floor with Shelby on a drip. Fabulous out of hours treatment for less than a tenner – bargain…it costs me more than that to worm them!
Do you see where I’m going with this. This life is amazing, fulfilling, satisfying but also challenging, educational and sometimes good value for money and at others, unexpectedly expensive.
The more eagle-eyed of my readers will have noticed a new page at the top of the site called ‘Profile’, it will not be of much interest in terms of its detail, but the ‘why’ may just explain why I’m focusing on ‘adaptable’ as the word of the week.
You see despite my very best intentions and efforts to do all of the above, I still need to earn money to pay the bills (I haven’t got around to installing solar yet), to pay the taxes (they don’t like to barter for a jar of chutney), to fuel my car and generally supplement the food I don’t, or have failed, to produce.
Fluctuations in exchange rates when you earn dollars or sterling severely affect your income, so I began working on building my editing and writing income to supplement the teaching I do. I have done a lot of writing and editing in the past, quite successfully, but I was amazed when I was offered the opportunity to edit a novel.
Check out Zatvor (which means Prison in Bulgarian) on Amazon – this is my affiliate link, but I actually edited this novel and know it inside and out and absolutely love it, it will change how you think about life on so many levels. I’m incredibly proud of the work I did on this book but also a little envious of the writer’s ability to tell a story…
Working on Zatvor changed how I viewed my work here too as it made me realise this is what I love to do, so much so it really didn’t feel like work at all. So in adapting to change I have found my vocation and have been offered two great new gigs that I’m so excited about, but I can’t talk about just yet. All I can say is I am getting back into motorsport and can’t wait to get started!
Today is Valentines Day or in Bulgaria better known as the Day of the Vines when the village get together and open up (and taste) the wine they made over the summer months, a great excuse for a party. Unfortunately we were unable to go, due to a certain husky, so the party came to us…food and cake kindly put to one side for us – this is why Bulgaria!
Happy Wine Day everyone….Join me: