by Moc Mien
Petite Tran Mai H gave up her stable job and high income as a planning architect to return to the countryside and live as a local farmer some years ago.
Both her family and friends were not convinced with her decision because society was so aggressively competitive that everybody was expected to be more materialistic.
"Since my childhood, I have loved nature and the simple way of life. When I started working as a planning architect and spent my days on construction projects, my creativity seemed to be narrowed and I felt so desperate. I lost my energy. I was so stressed," H said.
"After some years of marriage, I and my husband sat down and discussed whether we were happy with the industrial life, the traffic jams and the way city people relaxed such as with shopping or spending time in cafeés. We agreed that we did not feel connected to that life and wanted a more healthy and enjoyable life than we were having," H said.
She became extremely concerned about matters relating to food origins and hygiene, which could not be guaranteed if they lived in the city, especially after she gave birth to their first daughter. She convinced her husband to make a huge decision for the family, i.e. to return to his hometown in the countryside, and settle down there.
The story of H is not a unique one in today's society. A group of urban intellectuals who are well educated and have promising careers with stable incomes is rejecting the fast and money-oriented way of life in cities. They want to take it slow to enjoy and feel life. They are fine with minimal spending, while returning to nature and experiencing other joys.
Nguyen Van Anh, 32, and her husband, who left Ha Noi to settle down in Kon Tum, a Central Highland city, shared H's ideas.
"I love nature so much that the wish to live surrounded by nature had become indispensible. Coming to the central highland city seemed like destiny. I am living naturally without taking any effort to make it work. It has been almost three years now," Van Anh said.
"Here I use local produce from my neighbours or I grow it myself. The weather is always amazing. As time passes, I feel passion and good energy inside every day."
Van Anh said she was still working as a graphic designer. But she just takes orders only when she feels like working. Most of her time is spent in taking care of the house and enjoying nature.
"I observe life in every single second. I am now happier and more creative. I have had no sickness or disease for several months," she said.
H has the same feeling in the countryside. She said working as a real farmer was quite challenging and inspiring. She has to read a lot and consult many experienced people to make it work without using any chemical pesticides. "Observing life slowly through the growing plants in the field and the garden makes me realize how miracles work. It is like raising children."
Initially, both H and Van Anh had to hear aggressive and sarcastic comments, because few understood why such people had given up the urban life that promised them social status and a prosperous life. Even their families and friends aggressively opposed their decisions, saying that the countryside would not be good for their children.
"But I work very actively to make the life of my child better. My child deserves to have green food and experience a larger life," H said.
Leaving behind unexpected interferences, H and Van Anh are now building their dream homes and gardens that provide green food. People are now so attracted to their lives that they come for healthy food and to talk as a way of recharging their energy.
"Many people say that I am living a slow life. I have no idea about the slow or fast life. I am just living my life the way I really want to. It suits me," Van Anh said. — VNS