LAST year Tracey Smith started her National Downshifting Week campaign from her farmhouse in the south west of France.
This week sees the start of her second seven-day drive to get people to think more about their lives, but this time she has swapped the Lot and Garonne for West Dorset, yet the message is still the same.
“Like many young families with kids we spent so long at work that weekends were rushed and before you knew it you were back at work, so we headed out to France to live the downshifting life,” Tracey said
“Our house in France allowed us to grow our own vegetables, raise chickens and collect their eggs each morning and live as a family once again.”
Tracey, and her husband Ray, had already set their heart on living life at a gentler pace, with the emphasis on living within their means and producing for themselves much of their day-to-day needs.
But Tracey’s enthusiasm for this way of life was soon channelled into writing for magazines offering advice on what people could do to make a difference and from this came National Downshifting Week.
“The appeal of downshifting meant that I was beginning to spend more and more time in the UK and so wasn’t seeing Ray and the children as much, so we made the decision to leave France,” said Tracey.
“We found a place in Cornwall to rent whilst the sale of our property went through that allows us to continue living in a thoughtful way, but also allows me to help others who want to turn their backs on this throwaway culture we are living in and think more about what they can do.”
Her campaign this week to promote a downshifting way of life will see her tour newspapers and radio stations, as well as drop in on schools and businesses to help them think about sustainability and offer simple tips to use less and recycle more.
“Everyone can do something,” Tracey said. “From cooking a meal with products from local shops, or if you run a business look to make your fleet of vehicles greener and schools could cultivate a simple vegetable patch.”