“He who has a ‘why’ to live can bear almost any ‘how'” Nietzsche
After finishing my BA, I decided to take a year off and explore alternative communities. During that year, I spent time with an Amish community that had left the US to move to the Bolivian jungle, with Chabadniks in Brooklyn, and a French community which lived according to Gandhi’s ideals. I also volunteered on Kibbutz Ne’ot Smadar, an organic communal settlement, for several weeks and headed to Alaska where I traced the footsteps of people who decided to withdraw from society and live in solitude. I’m not a sociologist; I didn’t seek out these communities for research purposes. And I wasn’t going through a personal crisis or “trying to find myself.” I simply wanted to experience different life styles the best way possible – by immersing myself in these communities. The first thing that I noticed was the huge disparity between their lives and mine – the differences in clothing, diet, work, and mainly, their beliefs. In the beginning, these differences looked like much bigger obstacles than they actually were. But very quickly, I got used to the daily routines and lifestyles. We’re social beings to a much greater extent than we realize. After I had adapted to the different communities, interesting questions arose within me. Being away from all that was familiar and known forced me to reexamine myself. I tried to see which values I would want to take with me and which ones I wanted to leave behind; what I would miss, and what made me want to move on.