“After studying at HEC with a specialization in entrepreneurship, I did several internships during my gap year: in marketing in Shanghai, in a start-up and a consulting firm in London.
However, we had identified, my spouse and I, as soon as we left our respective schools, that the company, CDI and responsibilities combo did not suit us. At that time, we considered moving to South America, believing that the pace would be less sustained there. Bad evaluation on our part! We quickly realized that everything we didn't like about business life in London was found there too: all kinds of pollution in the city, being behind a computer all day …
There came a time when I said to myself: “I will stop”
I felt uncomfortable in business, but I had to repay my student loan. Deep down I was sure it wasn't going to last. I took courses in naturopathy and yoga in my spare time. And one day I said to myself: I'm quitting.
I let go of my permanent contract in 2016 after being dismissed. Then, I took the time to refocus on the meaning and values I wanted to give to my life. My husband and I spent 2018 traveling. We took two one-way tickets to India and ended up staying there for eight months.
I also took advantage of this transitional period to do personal development courses, to see therapists, in order to “deconstruct” all the patterns to which I had conformed until then. Finally, it was not so much the view of others on my conversion as mine that had to be understood.
Reconnection courses with oneself and with nature
In November 2021, we took the plunge and moved to Mayenne on the farm where my husband grew up. To train ourselves in market gardening, we watched a lot of videos and took a BPREA (Agricultural Business Manager) remotely, then did a two-month internship in order to obtain agricultural capacity.
We offered our first internships in February 2021 before a forced interruption by the first confinement. Our formulas are immersed and combine well-being and permaculture. When it is not us who animate these courses, it is external speakers (yoga teachers for example).
We provide bedding and full board (vegetarian meals using produce from the garden or from the surrounding farms). These courses take place on weekends, and appeal to city dwellers in the large surrounding towns.
People are often challenged by our retraining. I went to business school, my husband to engineering school. Many wonder about their own desires and take advantage of their stay on the farm to ask us questions, to see how it really goes.
“I found meaning”
Since I started this change of life, I have finally found meaning, something that was sorely lacking in my professional career previously. I am amazed to be in contact with nature on a daily basis, to take care of it, in front of the vegetables that I grow.
I reconnected to a form of transcendence. I had the feeling of having relieved myself of an enormous mental load and endless questions: Why do I get up in the morning? What am I doing here ?
Every morning I take an hour for yoga and meditation. I spend time in the garden. Monday and Wednesday are our harvest days. We practice market gardening on “living soil”, which consists of not working the soil in order to regenerate it. In the evening, we sell our baskets of organic vegetables on the farm and in a small neighboring village. We also take advantage of the end of the day to do a little administration or, better yet, to take some time for ourselves!
Everything I experience today corresponds to me fully. The only thing that I missed, especially in the early days, compared to my job before, are the colleagues at work. Synergy, the group atmosphere, it's always what kept me going and motivated in business. However, we will make sure that other people come to work with us on a permanent basis on the farm to make up for this lack.
One year later, a positive result
Our beginnings on the farm were as encouraging as they were intense. A little over a year after the launch, we manage to make more free time, to find a good balance.
I think that before embarking on this type of retraining, it is good to have done a real introspection, to be very clear about your aspirations. Coaching, personal development internships or even Wwoofing can help. Many of those who make the choice of retraining, me the first, leave a kind of mold, a job that is often lucrative and comfortable. Departing from this clear-cut path is therefore not trivial. You suddenly find yourself confronted with yourself.
As soon as I knew where I was going in this world, I felt like a breath, everything became more fluid, less painful. I do not believe that going perpetually “against” our deepest aspirations is sustainable in the long term. “
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