The Caylena Podcast
The Caylena Podcast
Episode 2: Harriet Daisy Trower
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About Harriet Daisy Trower

HarrietHarriet is a captivating soul who dances in harmony with the rhythms of the Earth. She is a seed keeper, a land guardian and a harvest sharer. Her story is woven with the threads of social justice and environmental stewardship, a tale of activism that ignited in the fires of her youth and has burned ever brighter since. She lived a nomadic lifestyle in her 20s, roaming from farm to farm, absorbing in different cultures and climates, grateful for all the experiences, connections and transformations.

Today, her roots have found a haven on the North Coast of the Dominican Republic, totally in love with the tropical fruits and year round growing season. Within Harriet’s being, a ceaseless flame of curiosity burns, a yearning to learn, to grow, and to evolve. She has a heartfelt commitment to holistic education and enjoys offering shared learning experiences to both children and adults alike. Her offerings are composed with devotion and delivered with grace, with each moment being an opportunity to learn, to heal, and to thrive.

She shares wisdom on Regenerative Lifestyles, Permaculture, Syntropic Agroforestry, Somatic Awareness, Nonviolent Communication and Conflict Resolution. Follow her journey of growth and transformation @gloriousregeneration, and join her in cultivating a more conscious and regenerative existence.

Instagram: Glorious Regeneration (@gloriousregeneration) 

 

Our Conversation

I met Harriet whilst volunteering with Cabarete Sostenible in the Dominican Republic. I was inspired to chat with her based on our joint love of travel and interest in gardening. Harriet and I had a very winding conversation covering everything from traveling without a plan through Spanish speaking countries, taking risks and trusting yourself, gardening and permaculture, and more… Here’s a list of topics we discussed:

  • Plan-free traveling 
  • Taking alternate paths in life
  • Turning passion into lifestyle and piecing together a livelihood
  • Pandemic experience in D.R.
  • Gardening, growing your own food, permaculture 
  • Safety/security vs taking risks
  • The importance of diversification
  • Mental health and regulating the nervous system 
  • The importance of rest
  • Overcoming sadness, stress and burnout
  • Sustainability – in lifestyle, energy and the planet
  • Saying no, even when it’s illogical and scary
  • Managing and moving through fear and discomfort
  • Breaking free from survival mode (fight, flight, freeze) and healing from trauma/anxiety
  • Creating safety within our bodies
  • Coming down off the anxious state/nervous system
  • The importance of meeting basic needs in order to get out of survival mode
  • Compassion and empathy 
  • Harriet’s work with Cabarete Sostenible
  • Being willing to ask for help
  • Traveling South America, Carnaval, dancing in the street, Australia…
  • How to travel the world – teach English!
  • How to find new opportunities
  • Being and activist vs living the solution
  • How to create change in your life
  • Creating resilience for yourself

 

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AI Interview Transcript

[Host: Caylena Cahill]

So, today I’m here in Cabareté with Harriet, with whom I met from Cabareté Sostenible, which is an organization that listeners may be familiar with now that you see that I have another podcast with them. So, I’m here with Harriet who works with them. Tell the listeners a little bit about yourself and what you do with Cabareté Sostenible.

Hi, thanks for having me. Thanks for being here in your house with me.

[Guest: Harriet Daisy]

You’re currently in my bedroom on a rocking chair, so this is new for me. Me too. So, my name is Harriet Daisy.

Some people here call me Glorious, so that’s a really nice nickname to have in the community. I’m originally from England, from Newport, Shropshire, and I’ve been in the Dominican Republic for just over five years now. And, yeah, I started with Cabareté Sostenible three years ago.

We started with the pandemic, and I’m sure Mariah and Papo have told you all about it, so I won’t go too much into detail. But originally, I began as a lead gardener. We had a community garden that we split into sections, and we had, I think, five lead gardeners that designed the space and created the space.

And for me, it was amazing because everything was shut down, and I had my bicycle. And working in the garden, the community garden, it really saved me during the pandemic. Like, I was allowed to be outside.

We had a curfew that was from 5 p.m. onwards. Oh, wow, that’s so early.

[Host: Caylena Cahill]

It’s early.

[Guest: Harriet Daisy]

It’s daytime at 5 p.m. So, thankfully for me, like, I’d go in the morning or the late afternoon, and I’d cycle probably around three kilometers. And just being in contact with the soil and being around people that also love to garden, or maybe they didn’t know anything about gardening, but they wanted to help. And, yeah, every day I cycled there, and I planted, or I pruned, or I harvested.

And so then from fast forward, now I’m employed. So, my first two years were as a volunteer, and now I’m employed as the farm manager. So, that’s really nice to show that, yeah, I’m very loyal to Cabaret de Sostenible.

I love their ethos. I love what they’re doing, and I think it’s super important to reach local people. So, this is a Dominican-founded and run organization, and that’s what I really like, too, because I’ve worked at other organizations in different countries, which are led by white people, not by the locals.

So, for me, this is really important. And, yeah, just to help people learn about how to grow their own food, how to make their own compost, to understand where their food comes from. And now on the farm, we’re actually doing a lot of syntropic agroforestry, which is incredible.

It’s a way of farming that actually regenerates the soil, and you build soil year after year. So, in traditional industrial farming, it’s monocrop of one variety for hundreds of kilometers. They use chemical pesticides and fertilizers, which is really damaging to the environment, and actually were created during the World War by the Nazis.

This is the same chemicals that were used to kill thousands of people. And so, after the war, they remodeled these chemicals and also all of the metal as well. So, from the tanks and the weapons, they’ve now turned them into tractors.

It’s so fascinating. So, those same chemicals were rebranded, and there is now a war against the earth and all the insects that live here. So, fast forward to 2023, we’re in dire straits.

This planet is in multiple crises, and one of the solutions that I think is really important is our food system. So, learning how to grow naturally and organically, like our ancestors have done for thousands of years, and learning how to read ecosystems and understand ecosystems and animals and plants, is this ancient, sacred knowledge that a lot of us have forgotten.

[Host: Caylena Cahill]

So, that was a lot. So, I had a lot of different thoughts come up for me in that explanation, but I think where we ought to start is with the fact that you mentioned that you’ve been living here in the Dominican Republic for five years, and you mentioned something about living in other countries and being from England, as well as a trajectory from volunteering with Cabaret de Sostenible to becoming employed with them, and the whole process of growth with the role there and the impact that working in the soil had for you emotionally and all of that.

All of that to say, let’s talk a little bit about how you got here. Yeah, really nice. Yeah.

Well, it’s quite a funny story. Also, I can relate to what you were saying about the gardening helping you get through the pandemic. At the time, I was living alone in an apartment in Newburgh, New York, which is about, let’s say, 120 kilometers, or about 60 miles north of New York City.

It’s a small urban center, and I had a really large balcony, and something that saved me during the pandemic, because I wasn’t allowed to get a dog in my apartment, was an obsession with houseplants that expanded onto the balcony to become a small container garden with some cucumbers and bell peppers and a lot of ornamental flowers and stuff like that. It was just my happy place. I love that.

Yeah, I did that for about two years, and it was wonderful.

[Guest: Harriet Daisy]

I think many people during the pandemic actually had this opportunity to slow down, and when the supermarkets were closed, it was like, whoa, where are we getting our food from? Can we grow anything here? I think one positive of this great pause that we had is that people reconnected with the earth, and they started to sow seeds that they’d never sown before, and they ate their vegetables that they’d never grown before.

To me, that’s really special, so that’s one positive from the pandemic is all of this growing. Just during the World War as well, going back to this, is that every person that had a garden needed to grow food to support the rest of the country. This is quite similar in the pandemic, is that every person that had a garden started to grow their own food because the instability that was there in the structure of this system, especially with globalization, it wasn’t there anymore.

It was uncertain. Growing your own food gives you that control and empowerment to make sure that it’s certain. You know that you’re going to be eating those beans or those potatoes because it’s in your control within your vicinity.

Going back to your other question. I was in England. I’ve been in and out of England for the past 12 years.

In this particular moment, five years ago, I was in England, and I’d just gone through a breakup. I was looking to come to the Caribbean, to hopefully a Spanish-speaking country because I’d previously lived in Spain and Colombia. I looked at flights to Cuba, and I looked at flights to Puerto Rico.

They were pretty expensive, not going to lie, from England. I was looking for something a bit more within my budget. I carried on looking, and I widened my scope.

That’s the good thing about not having a plan. You can be very flexible. I can completely relate to that.

I was looking at Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, and I was like, wow, the Caribbean is expensive. In Skyscanner, you can put everywhere. I flew from the United Kingdom, and I just put everywhere.

Then I just filtered it out to see where I was in the Caribbean. There was this flight, super cheap. I actually can’t believe how cheap it was because it’s cheaper than most train fares in England.

It was Puerto Plata, which is about 40 minutes away from where I currently live. I booked the flight. It was one-way, which brings up feelings of fear as well as excitement.

It’s like, I don’t know when I’m coming back. I don’t know where I’m going to be. I knew I only really had five months because I had accepted a job in the summer.

That was in Edinburgh. I had five months to play with, and you can only stay as a tourist for 30 days in the DR. Technically.

Technically, yeah. I actually thought it was 90 days, so I got it wrong from the beginning. In most places, it’s 90 days.

I think I just assumed it was 90 days, but actually it’s only 30 days. I got my flight, and I told my sibling, Bobby, I just booked a flight to the Dominican Republic. They tell me, about 10 years ago, I used to live with a Dominican called Orquidea.

She’s into farming and permaculture like you are, so you should hook her up. I was like, oh, cool. I did.

I actually spent my first month here in Cabarete. I did surfing lessons. I had some Dominican-Spanish classes because it was very different from the Spanish that I knew.

I just kind of had a nice holiday. Then the second and third month I spent here, I actually met up with my sister’s friend. I stayed with them.

They were in a transition period, so they used to live in the center of the country, Jarabacoa. They bought land near Samana, which is a peninsula in the east of the country. They had two kids and a five.

It was this transition period, so I actually met them in Jarabacoa. Then we all went to Samana together. I got to spend a month and a half in this ridiculous, amazing place, really close to a beach called Rincon, which is one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever been to.

I lived with them on an eco lodge and helped them with this transition in their life. Then once my three months were up, I went to Costa Rica. I spent my birthday there.

Then I traveled to Nicaragua. I stayed on a farm there. Then I actually flew back to the DR because it was cheaper.

Again, I don’t understand why, but it was cheaper to fly from the DR to England than it was Nicaragua to England or Costa Rica to England. Then I actually came back to the island. When I was in Edinburgh working on my job, I was like, wow, I really like that island.

There’s something about it. All the food there, right? The avocados, the coconuts, the mangoes.

[Host: Caylena Cahill]

Oh my God.

[Guest: Harriet Daisy]

The soursop. They call it guanabana here. It tastes like ice cream.

I just kept thinking about the island. After my job, I got another flight out here. Then I’ve been here ever since.

[Host: Caylena Cahill]

It sounds like you have a strong interest and long time interest and experience with agriculture, gardening, farming, that sort of stuff. Where did that come from?

[Guest: Harriet Daisy]

My grandparents and my mom and my dad. I remember as a child that my granddad would give my mom these boxes of beetroot fresh from his garden. Then my other grandparents, they grew berries.

I remember how beautiful their garden was. Eating all these delicious things straight from the plant. I’ve been so blessed and privileged to have a family that is connected with the earth and that they grow their own food.

Every person in my family has an allotment, has a garden where they grow their own food. For me, it’s actually very normal to see and to smell all these delicious things growing within vicinity. My mom would be like, can you go get some mint from the garden?

Can you go get some rosemary? As a little child, those are my chores to go harvesting, which didn’t feel like normal chores. I’m really grateful for my granddad, my grandma, my granddad, my mom, my dad, my auntie and uncles are into gardening too.

It just makes so much sense. It’s a lot cheaper to grow your own food. It’s so good for your well-being.

My granddad is 90. Maybe he’s 91. He’s old.

He still grows his own vegetables. He is active. He still has the same beetroot.

He’s kept the seeds. He’s grown the same beetroot that he’s grown for hundreds of years. For tens of years.

It’s really good for your brain. I see that when he’s strategically planning out his garden. He knows when to sow.

He knows when to harvest. His brain is so active, which is really beautiful to see, actually. I’m really grateful for my family.

[Host: Caylena Cahill]

That’s amazing. It’s really cool to see when people are able to turn their passions into a career. Can you talk about that trajectory a bit?

A lot of people throw out their passion to find a stable job or something that seems rational. But I’m really interested in people that are able to turn their passion into a productive lifestyle. And income-generating tools.

[Guest: Harriet Daisy]

I think there’s a lot of pressure from society and from families. I remember for years, my mom was like, What are you doing? You need a pension.

Go to this job. Go do that. Your cousin’s doing this.

You should be doing this. There’s a lot of pressure around this. I completely understand why people choose the more safer option.

Which seems safer, right? But actually, in the long run, your mental health deteriorates. You’re spending all day working.

Maybe you sat down in an office. Maybe you don’t have natural light. And you make all this money.

But then you get home and you’re too tired to have fun and use that money. And maybe most of your money goes on your rent, your bills, your income tax. So by the end of it, how much disposable income do you actually have?

And how energetic are you to enjoy that disposable income? So from a very early age, I was just like, I didn’t understand. I was so confused of why people, one, wore suits and ties.

Two, spent all day inside. Three, sat down at a desk on a screen. And I guess I’m pretty lucky in that way, is that I’m 33 now.

So technology really came out when I was like late teens. I remember I was probably like 15, 16. I got a phone.

And yeah, I played snake for hours.

[Host: Caylena Cahill]

I remember that. Yes, I’m 34, so we’re in the same snake boat. Same snake boat.

[Guest: Harriet Daisy]

Snakes on a boat. I love that. So I’ve always questioned this narrative of this boring, in my opinion, boring, unhealthy lifestyle.

And thankfully, I’ve come from a family where my dad is a javelin coach. So he actually spent most of his time outside teaching. You know, you can’t really throw a javelin inside.

So yeah, but sometimes he was in an office. And my mom used to stay at her mom, like always in the garden, always outside. And so for me, like I remember after university, I got an internship at the local council.

And it was pretty cool because of the people that were sat around me. But the actual work itself was like data entry. And I remember just like going to the bathroom 20 times a day just to stand up and move my body.

I remember like offering to make people cups of tea and coffee again, just to stand up away from the desk and like move my body. And I remember like doing lunges to the bathroom and doing squats because I, yeah, I didn’t get it. I didn’t get why people sat down for so long and it can’t be healthy for you.

Like I just come out of school where you sat down for so long. Like why are we so sedentary? So then, yeah, I began.

I mean, after those three months of that internship, I vowed to myself to never have an office job ever again. And I’ve actually kept true to that. I did one more internship that was in an office, but it was, that was really cool too.

It was about waste management. And so for me, how to make my love for gardening and permaculture into a lifestyle really took a big leap of faith that I was able and had the skills to do so. But yeah, it was, it was a big, a big jump.

And I still kind of have different jobs. So I teach at a school, an international school. I teach permaculture there.

And I’m also more like a freelancer where I can design people’s gardens and farms. And then I also work for Cabaret de Sostenible. And I’ve just had an online, an online job too with Gaia Education, which was really important during the pandemic, because a lot of people turned online to, to learn and to connect.

So with Gaia Education, we do courses like ecosystem restoration. There’s some social permaculture courses. And it was really beautiful to connect with people all over the world and join together and learn about these beautiful techniques and tools and how we can restore the planet, all whilst being online and sat down at a desk, right?

But then soon after that, I got Zoom fatigued. And I didn’t want to be on my laptop anymore. And I was fed up of being inside so much.

And yeah, just as we started to open up more and more, I mean, I’m really thankful that people are interested in growing their own food and they’re interested in how they can live a more sustainable lifestyle that actually supports the planet and works with her rather than against her and destroys her. Like so many people don’t really think about it, but like, where does your food come from? Or where is your laptop made?

Or where do your clothes? Who makes your clothes? Are they under 15 years old?

Like, we don’t really ask ourselves these questions of where it comes from, who makes it? Where are these materials from? Like, they don’t just come off a tree.

So I’ve always had this like very inquisitive and curious mindset. And I’m definitely an activist at heart. And yeah, just a lot of faith.

And also the demand was there. Like people want a different way of being. And I can offer that.

Like I can walk with them and help them design their garden and how they want to live their lifestyle. Like how many hours a week can they really put into their garden? Do they want more of like a wild meadow?

Or do they want something that’s super productive where they’re working like 15 hours a week in the garden? So it’s very varied. And I’m very grateful that people are becoming more aware.

And I think right now like permaculture regeneration is such a buzzword, which is super cool. But that can also have a negative turn, just like we’ve seen with greenwashing and the words eco and green. So I’m not sure if this answered your question.

But yeah, I guess like the demand for it was there. And I trusted that demand. And I also like to diversify my offerings.

So I’m really grateful for all the different workplaces I have. And also the ability to take on personal projects, which is really important too.

[Host: Caylena Cahill]

Yeah, so I think I heard a few different things there. One of the major ones is tolerance to risk. So I think that probably a lot of people, they see that there’s a lot of risk inherent in following the things that they’re interested in.

And they prefer what we call the safe route, right? We had a little talk about what that means for mental health or could mean and things like that. And don’t get me wrong, there’s a place for security.

But in the end, nothing is really secure. That’s kind of what I’ve learned, especially from the pandemic at that time. I mean, things change literally overnight.

So how can anyone think that things are secure when they can just completely change? 100% overnight. Like everybody had their lives and then everything was closed.

Okay. Right. So tolerance to risk and then diversification.

So having a propensity for being able to bring things in from different sources. So not putting all your eggs in one basket. Those are two things that I’ve also seen work for me in my life.

I’ve had to learn how to become more tolerant for risk and also minimize risk, make more calculated risks. But also the diversification of income strategies and working in different sorts of clients at the same time and all that kind of stuff. Those seem to be things that have worked for me as well as a creative and things like that, who has no desire really for having a full-time job.

It doesn’t mean I don’t want to make money and help people. But the idea of working 40 to 60 hours a week for one organization and having no life outside of that is crazy to me.

[Guest: Harriet Daisy]

I don’t think that our bodies or our brains or our hearts are made for that. And I really believe that this world is functioning on caffeine and sugar and all these, yeah, I mean I would call them drugs. Sugar, caffeine and probably cocaine, you know.

And that’s not healthy. That’s not healthy. And it’s also a very masculine-dominated society because a woman finds it very difficult to work 9 to 5 pretty much for 365 days, right?

Well, you get like three weeks holiday maximum, two weeks, I don’t know.

[Host: Caylena Cahill]

No, me and my friend, she gets like six weeks.

[Guest: Harriet Daisy]

Okay, okay. But it’s not how our bodies work, you know. Like we have internal seasons where our winter season is when we bleed and our autumn is preparing for that bleed.

And then we have spring and summer where we’re ovulating and we’re coming out and maybe a bit more extrovert. But for at least half the time we’re introvert and half the time we’re extrovert and we need rest. Like this big word, rest.

Like this system that we live in, it doesn’t allow people to rest. And I see so much burnout. Like between my friends and what I’m able to see, I see a lot of burnout and a lot of sad, stressed people which aren’t effective and productive.

Like that’s what I love about permaculture so much is you really look for the most efficient way to put the least amount of energy in to get the most reward out. And that makes sense to me. Like if I can do something that requires 10% of my energy but the outcome is 60%, like wow, that’s amazing.

Of course I’m going to do that. So yeah, so I really, for anyone listening, if you have doubts about your job or you feel burnout or you feel stressed, really take an honest look at your life and see where the holes are. See where you’re making choices that maybe do cause stress and high levels of cortisol in your body which is really unhealthy and in the long run it causes so many issues.

And yeah, ask yourself questions. Is it your workplace? Is it your relationship?

Is it where you live, the community where you live? And assess like what can you change? What is possible to change?

And really trust yourself. And maybe it does feel scary because it’s different and unknown. But really when you close one door, thousands of doors open and so many more opportunities come.

Like I remember during the pandemic, I worked for this organization up until the pandemic and then we all got laid off, is that what you call it?

[Host: Caylena Cahill]

Yes.

[Guest: Harriet Daisy]

And then fast forward maybe seven months when the Dominican Republic was kind of moving and opening up again, I was asked to come back but to do three different jobs and for half the money. And in that moment I was making mango chutney and worm castings and worm juice. That was what I was selling.

And so I didn’t have a job basically. I didn’t have a job and I was offered a job and it didn’t feel right. Like I wasn’t a hell yet.

And I said no. And after I said no, literally that week I got three job offers. Three different job offers.

So it required me to say no in the moment that, you know, I didn’t have any money. I didn’t have any security. Thankfully I had a home to live in and an awesome housemate.

But I said no. And because I said no to that, it was a yes to other things. And so literally that following week I was like, wow, like thank you universe.

I’ve been blessed. And then I was able to choose out of the three which one I was a hell yet for.

[Host: Caylena Cahill]

I can imagine some people having some like real resistance to what you’re saying. Like, well, but if I say no, like it doesn’t necessarily mean something is coming. You know?

Yeah, you don’t know. It’s scary. Yeah.

How do you manage that?

[Guest: Harriet Daisy]

I breathe. I’ve got really good at regulating my nervous system. I’ve really spent quite a few years like understanding my nervous system, which I did not learn about at school.

And learning that in challenging moments when maybe your heart starts to beat a bit faster, maybe your hands get a bit sweaty and you feel these sensations that bring emotions, bring that fear, bring that uncomfortability. And yeah, when you learn how to breathe, like really consciously breathe through the nose, you’re able to calm your nervous system down and regulate to the point where you’re able to make decisions. So for me, learning how to breathe and learning how to regulate my nervous system, I’ve been able to make more, like you said earlier, like calculated risks, like calculated choices that my prefrontal cortex, now it’s online because when you’re regulated, you have access to your prefrontal cortex.

When you’re stressed or activated or angry or sad, you don’t have access to this prefrontal cortex. You’re very much living in the reptilian brain. And you make really shit choices.

You make choices from fear. And so yeah, like learning to jump into the unknown, jump into this void where there is no certainty. Like it’s terrifying.

But if you can breathe, and if you trust yourself, like trust yourself that you have the capability, trust yourself that you have the skills, just trust yourself and really take that leap.

[Host: Caylena Cahill]

So how can someone that is in a place of just surviving or just barely getting by and they hear this and they say that just is some kind of woo-woo trope, you know, like, oh, just trust yourself. But like, meanwhile, they’re in survival mode. How do you get from like, being in a place of survival mode to getting out of a place of survival mode when you don’t really know what’s going to happen?

[Guest: Harriet Daisy]

Yeah, that’s a really good point. Thanks for bringing that up. Because I’m saying this as a white woman, who is heavily privileged.

I’ve been to university, I’ve had a job since I was 13. I’ve been, I started with a paper round, like I’ve been making money since I was 13. And I have a shelter, I have food, I have water, I have air, I have my basic necessities met, which allows me to then explore my other needs, such as community or companionship, love.

So I can completely understand that when you are in survival mode, and you’re seeking to fulfill your basic needs of food, shelter and water, it’s very hard to think about anything else. Poverty is one of the main reasons of mental illness. And I feel so blessed to be in the position that I am and to be able to think the way that I do and live the life that I live.

And that’s heavily based on privilege. So I just wanted to mention that. And then on the other side is like, okay, maybe you’re in survival mode, but you have a house, you have a job, you know, you’re going to eat dinner.

And so this kind of survival mode is very trauma based, and highly stressful. So I believe that we all have trauma. And I believe that this was created during our childhood.

And I also believe that we have been handed down trauma from our family. And I think that the world is a very unregulated place. We live in a world where it’s very fast, high expectations.

And there’s a lot of stress. Like if you watch the news for two minutes, you’re just hearing the idea of watching news for two minutes.

[Host: Caylena Cahill]

Like I feel such a tension coming up.

[Guest: Harriet Daisy]

Exactly. Like you are shown on the news, things in different countries that you have no control over is death, is destruction. It is really unhealthy for us to be watching the news on the air every hour.

It maintains us in this state where I’m sure you’ve all heard of fight and flight. These are our responses, our survival responses. And thank God we have these responses because they’ve kept humans alive.

[Host: Caylena Cahill]

Yeah, I just want to add freeze to that list. Thank you. Yeah.

Because mine tends to be freeze. Sure, sure.

[Guest: Harriet Daisy]

We have a fourth one too called form. But I believe that everyone in this world is living in these states of fight, flight, freeze. And the society that we live in just perpetuates this.

It wants to keep you in these states of fight, flight, and freeze so that you can’t make those choices that I was talking about earlier. You can’t be empowered. You can’t think for yourself.

Okay. So if your population is triggered, activated, fight, flight, or freeze, whatever you want to call it, you have control over them because they are living in fear. So if this resonates to you, and yeah, you have a house, and you have food, and you have water, yet you still are living in survival mode, then yeah, I’m calling this as an invitation to check in with your body.

Like, how does your jaw feel? How does your neck and your shoulders feel? Like, is it really tight and contracted?

How does your belly feel? Is there a knot in your stomach? Can you feel your feet in your hands?

Are you connected to your feet? Like, what do your legs feel like? Are you able to even connect with your body?

Or are you so in your head that you find it hard to drop down and drop into the body? And yeah, I would just like to welcome people to befriend their nervous system. It’s really, really helped me to create safety within my own body.

So I’m trying not to look for external safety. Like, for example, I have a partner, Raoul, and I try not to look for him for my safety. I try to look within and create safety.

So if I notice that I’m in fight, okay, so fight, I would mainly have my fists, I’d scrunch up my fists, I’d feel it in my chest. My face would also screw up, like I’m angry, right? And I’m figuring out, like, how can I feel that and breathe and allow myself to come back to a regulated nervous system?

And the more I’ve been doing this over the past few years, the more safety I’ve created within my body, and the less I’m in survival mode, okay? And if I am in survival mode for a real thing, right, because it’s… I mean, it’s there for a reason.

Yeah, it’s an alarm system. So for example, if I’m in the street and something’s happening, I’m going to go into fight or flight. Like, do I need to run away from this person?

You know, it’s real, it’s perfect. But then what I’ve learned is how to come back down. And I think that’s where the issue lies in this society, is that we have these perceived threats.

So for example, like checking your email, going to a meeting. Like, we have these scenarios that actually ramp us up, and they make us feel anxious, they make us feel worried, and we stay in that state all day. And then we have a coffee, and then we’re anxious again.

And we stay in this state, and it’s way too much for our nervous system. Like, our nervous system is meant to go up and then down. It normally takes about 10 minutes to come back down from your sympathetic back down to your parasympathetic.

However, this world that we live in keeps us up there. It keeps us in our sympathetic nervous system, and we are constantly activated. And we haven’t learned how to come back down into our rest and digest parasympathetic nervous system.

And that’s what I’ve done. I’ve learned how to come back down, and it’s really beneficial. I can’t recommend it enough.

Like, if you read a book, if you watch a video, if you go to a workshop, like anything to do with your nervous system and polyvagal theory, like, I highly recommend it. You can become your own therapist.

[Host: Caylena Cahill]

So, that’s all well and good for people that are in the middle class, or even, like, lower middle class, upper working class. What about the people that are, like, the most, um, what’s the… Vulnerable.

Yeah, vulnerable. The, you know, the people that are working three jobs because that’s what they have to do to make ends meet. Or people like here in DR that the minimum wage, you know, is less than $300 a month and that’s not enough to get by.

Like, what about those people? Yeah, good question. I mean, I don’t know.

Maybe you don’t have an answer. You don’t have to have an answer, but that’s just what occurs to me.

[Guest: Harriet Daisy]

I mean, it just popped in my head that that’s what Cabaret de Sostenibilidad are doing, right? It’s a community farm, a community garden, and they’re growing food to give to the local people. So, if you have one of your basic necessities met of food, like, if you know that you’re going to eat that day and the day after and the day after that, like, that automatically soothes your nervous system.

If you don’t know where your next meal is coming from, you are going to be in survival mode. Like, you are surviving. And it’s very hard when you’re in that state to think about being out of that state, right?

You’re just in it. And it’s terrifying. You can’t even imagine that there is another state.

Exactly. Same with, like, depression. Like, when you’re in it, you’re in it.

[Host: Caylena Cahill]

Yes, I’ve experienced that.

[Guest: Harriet Daisy]

Yeah.

[Host: Caylena Cahill]

You can’t see any other possibility.

[Guest: Harriet Daisy]

Yeah. So, I think that’s why I’m so in love with Cabaret de Sostenibilidad and what they do, because they’re trying to fulfill a need of feeding people, number one. And then number two is, like, okay, like, if you’re fed, then how about thinking about growing your own food and having that security in your own garden, knowing that you have that banana tree or knowing that you’re growing sweet potato?

Like, it gives you this sense of security, knowing that you are in control of your food. So, that’s, yeah, like I say, I don’t have the answer, but it made me think of Cabaret de Sostenibilidad and about how important these local NGOs are that really help people. So, whether that’s for food, help people finding shelter, giving out free water.

And, yeah, I think if you don’t have those basic necessities met, like, you are in survival mode, because you are. Like, you are trying to survive. Right, because you don’t have another option.

There’s no other option. And it’s really sad, because there’s millions of people that are living in survival mode because they are surviving, not because of their work and their stress. It’s because they literally, they have no food, they have no money, and they have no water.

And so, my heart really goes out for them. And I think it’s this compassion and empathy that really pushes my work and fuels my work, sorry. It fuels what I do, because I really want everyone to eat.

Not just eat, but, like, eat healthily. Eat real food. Like, real food that’s come from the earth and not a lab.

Not a fake food full of sugar and corn syrup, you know. Like, if you can eat food that has come from the earth and that we’ve been eating for hundreds of years, like, that is such good brain health. However, if you eat crisps or processed fast food, like, you’re not fulfilling your brain needs or your body needs, like, your nutritional needs.

We’re just amping up on health issues, and it’s a very negative cycle to go in. So, I’m, yeah, I’m really proud of the work that I’m doing, and especially in local communities, as I think that’s super important, is to get people to grow their own food and understand about nutrition and where it comes from, and to really empower themselves and fuel themselves. So, if somebody wanted to start, where should they start?

Great question. I think that depends where you are. Like, if you’re in the countryside or if you have a garden, it’s very easy to start.

You know, I’d maybe recommend that you watch a few videos about no-dig gardening or permaculture. And, yeah, just start. If you live in more of, like, a town or a city setting, then you can definitely reach out to local organizations that are already doing this.

Like, they already have the knowledge, they already have the skills, there’s a lot of seed sharing. And that’s another thing I love about permaculture and the regenerative community, is that we share everything. We share knowledge, we share skills, we share seeds, we share plants.

We just want as many people to grow their own food as possible. And it’s not a secretive, like, oh no, like, you need to pay me for this. It’s like, no, like, come on, let’s do it.

So, I would reach out to your local community garden, your local NGOs that are about the environment, the planet, growing food. There’s so many resources online. And there’s actually something new coming out, which I’m super excited about.

It’s called EarthED, E-D at the end. And it’s an app, which is coming out super soon. And it’s going to be for free.

And you can learn about anything you want. If you want to learn about growing food, or beekeeping, or how to clean a waterway, so many different things. But also, the social side as well, because permaculture is not just about gardening.

It’s got people care in it as well. So, you can learn about non-violent communication. You can learn about so many cool things.

So, yeah, really use the internet. We are this era of information, and it’s all at your fingertips. And you choose, you make a choice every day when you go on your phone or your laptop, what you want to ingest into your brain.

And so, choose something where you can actually learn. Like, don’t just scroll on social media and feel depressed or upset because that person looks like they’re living a better life than you. Like, learn something.

Like, go on YouTube. YouTube is amazing. There’s so many videos out there.

Or if you like to read, if you like to watch, or go and visit the local garden and really push yourself. Go outside of your comfort zone and ask people for help. Like, it’s okay to say, hey, I have no idea.

I have no idea. Can you please help me? That actually, like, if someone says that to me, I have so much respect for them.

[Host: Caylena Cahill]

So, let’s shift gears a little bit. I want to talk a little bit more about the international experiences and sort of the process of finding people and organizations to work with and how you’ve chosen your destinations and just a little bit more about all of that. Because that’s sort of the journey that I’m on right now.

I mean, I can totally relate to your story of, like, how you wound up in the Dominican Republic. I was like, I also found a super cheap flight to Puerto Plata. I love that.

Come to Puerto Plata everyone. But then I found my way to Cabaret, where I’ve been for a couple of months. So, yeah.

[Guest: Harriet Daisy]

So, I finished university and I wanted to travel with my best friend at university, Hannah. And so, we made a little pact that we would work for about a year and save up as much money as we could. And we wanted to go to South America.

Like, I remember learning about South America in one of my geography classes and I was like, wow, that’s really cool. Like, the carnival. And so, we looked at flights to Brazil and we looked at accommodation.

And it’s so expensive during carnival.

[Host: Caylena Cahill]

That’s like if you’re going to go to New Orleans during Mardi Gras.

[Guest: Harriet Daisy]

Exactly. Like, I’m sure it’s an amazing experience and I would still love to go. But we were on a budget, right?

Like, I think one thing when you’re traveling, like, it’s really important to figure out, like, what is your budget? Like, how much can you spend in a week or a day or a month? And, yeah.

So, I looked at alternatives and I found that the second biggest carnival outside of Rio de Janeiro is in Colombia. And it’s in Barranquilla. And that’s actually where Shakira is from.

So, that’s where we went. We booked our flights to Medellín. Pretty cheap, actually.

We did a… Back then, we did a round-the-world flight where you could, make up your own flight destination. So, we flew to Colombia.

And I’ll tell you about the flights later on where we went next. But we went on the Caribbean coast of Colombia. We went to the carnival.

Five days of dancing. It was amazing. Tried something called fire water, agua de viento, which is pretty strong.

Reminded me, like, of a moonshine. And that was my first experience outside of Europe, was in this completely different culture where people would be dancing on the street. Like, not even in the carnival.

This was just on a normal day. Dancing in the local shop, dancing everywhere. I was like, wow, these are my people.

I loved it. It was so cool. And then, yeah, then we carried on.

We went south. So, we went to Ecuador. We went to Peru.

And we just kind of just, like, followed South America continent down and made our way to Argentina. Because that’s where our second flight was on our world flight. We went from Argentina to Australia.

Oh, wow. And so, I chose Australia because that’s where my sibling Bobby lives. And they’ve been there for about 15 years now.

Kind of crazy. And it was super cool. So, you know, when you’re on a plane, maybe you don’t if you’ve never been on a plane.

But some planes, they have, like, screens. So, you can watch movies or you can watch the map. Oh, yeah.

[Host: Caylena Cahill]

That’s what I always do.

[Guest: Harriet Daisy]

Yeah, I love So, I was watching the map. And I actually flew over the Antarctic. So, we went from Buenos Aires and we went under the world.

And we came up the other side to Australia. So, I was like, whoa, we’re on top of the Antarctic. So cool.

And I was there for a year. I did a working holiday visa where you do three months of farm work so that you can get a second year visa. And I didn’t use my second year visa.

So, I can still go back and work, which is super cool. And I stayed there for a year. And I actually went traveling to New Zealand during my Christmas break because it was right there, right.

And that’s actually where I met my partner 10 years ago in New Zealand. And then I went back to Australia. And then from Australia, I actually went back to Columbia because I’d fallen in love.

So, I went back to Columbia and I started to be more visiting farms, like beginning to understand more about permaculture and this more natural way of living. And that’s where I really began to learn Spanish as well, was when I was in Columbia. And then fast forward nine months, I left Columbia, flew back to England and was trying to find a job.

And within…

[Host: Caylena Cahill]

How long was that travel period?

[Guest: Harriet Daisy]

Maybe two and a half years. Yeah, about two and a half years. And I was back in England and I was trying to find a job, but nothing was exciting me.

I didn’t want to go back to the pub work that I was doing before I’d left to go traveling. I wanted something a bit more fulfilling. And I found this internship in Spain, but from…

It was a British company, but it was Erasmus funded. So, funded by the EU, which England is no longer in. So, it’s probably not running anymore.

But it was an internship with a local cooperative of women that had an education center. And they also grew their own food. They had an observatory.

And so, I applied for it and I got an interview and I got the job. So, I flew to Spain. Within three weeks of being home from Columbia, I was on my way to Spain.

And I was there for three months and it was so cool. I got Spanish lessons. I got paid very well for an internship.

And there were other people from England that were working at different organizations. Most of them were like NGOs or cooperatives. So, that was really cool to be in a place I’d never been before in Sevilla.

And yeah, I was completely well in love. Oh my gosh. I fell in love so much with the country of Spain and especially Sevilla that after my three-month internship, I decided to learn how to be an English teacher just so I could stay.

Because the cooperative, they weren’t looking for paid employees. They didn’t have enough money to keep me on. So, I started to teach English which actually is a really good option for anyone listening that wants an easy option to travel the world.

Because teaching English, people want to learn English. Like it’s such a universal language that as long as you are maybe creative and organized and whether you like kids, you could choose to be a teacher to adults. Like I had a mixture.

Like I earned quite a lot of money from doing private lessons teaching English. So, I would highly recommend that to anyone. And yes, then I started to teach English and I started to get into summer camps and being around children.

And I’d always loved children. I think they’re hilarious. And so, from this moment, we’re in 2015 now, I was around children a lot more doing really cool like nature adventures, summer camps.

And that really opened up a lot of doors for me knowing that I could be around children. Because I think some people, they find it difficult to be around children, especially all the time. Like hats off to all the teachers out there, guys, because they are incredible.

Like dealing with 30 plus kids on your own, that’s a superpower. That is a superpower. Like just how teachers can co-regulate students, how they can be creative and support these young next generation.

Like I’m so impressed by teachers. So, thanks to everyone listening who’s a teacher. Or if you know teachers, like this week is actually Teacher Appreciation Week, so shout out, saying thank you to all the teachers that you know. But actually this is kind of like a bittersweet thing because I was in a Spanish school, now I’m in Madrid, moved to Madrid, and I’m teaching as an English assistant in a Spanish public school. Oh, I did that in France.

Wow, cool. So it was such an interesting opportunity and I loved it because I only taught 15 hours a week as an assistant and I got paid really nice. This is part of the British Council.

So again, like all these opportunities, all this privilege is from, it’s from being English and the repercussions, I mean this would probably be a whole different podcast, but the repercussions of this colonial area where England really took over the world and stole a lot from a lot of different countries, like I’m living my life knowing that and knowing that where my ancestors have come from and all the damage that has been created and the knock-on effects now and how I, how I live my life, I’m trying to give back. But yeah, that’s a whole different thing, so I just wanted to address that.

But when I was in Spain in this public school, they like, my first week, they like tested me, right, they wanted to see what I was like, how I was like with the kids, and I had this class to myself for 40 minutes whilst the teacher was watching me and on reflection I should have probably toned it down a bit because from that moment I wasn’t an assistant anymore, like they gave me 34 kids, I was on my own and I was leading the class. I was like, oh wow, I mean I’m still getting paid as an assistant, but oh well. So I was there for a whole year, a whole school year, and then coming to the end of the school year was this exam period and it broke my heart to see all these kids freaking out, like the acne on their faces because they were so stressed and just seeing, I mean back then I didn’t know much about my nervous system but I felt it, right, I felt their nervous system, I felt their stress and it was horrible. I was like, wow, why do we put kids through this?

Like, why do we do this? There must be another way. And I think as soon as you’re able to like have enough of a situation, like you hit a rock bottom or you just even question that, there must be another way, like there is, there really is other ways, millions of other ways, so many different alternatives to the status quo.

And then so yeah, I decided not to go back to that school which was paying me very well, I had a really nice apartment and I was working 15 hours a week and I said no. So again, I’m trusting myself, knowing that there’s something better for me. And I really wanted to go back into environmental work or something along those lines where I’m more connected with nature, I’m not inside all day.

And so I just like typed in a few things, I remember like things I liked, you know, like the environment, the planet, nature, growing, yoga, and I just typed these random words into Google and see what came up. And I found this thing called permaculture. And I found a course in permaculture in the south of Spain that was really reasonable, it was like 300 euro for a two-week course, super reasonable, and I included all my food, I’d be camping, so I was like yeah, I’m totally doing that.

So that, I think it was in August or September, and it completely changed my life. Like the way that I think, the way that I am, what I do, it’s all stemmed from those two weeks of meeting the most amazing people and having the most incredible facilitator, Ras John from Supernatural Permaculture, highly recommended, near Granada in Spain. Wow, like I actually felt really overwhelmed, like there was so much information from those two weeks, but my brain felt unlocked.

And I was like, wow, like people are really living the solution, you know. I was doing a lot of activism and I was fighting the problem, and it’s really exhausting. You use a lot of energy at protests or boycotting or like chaining yourself up to trees, like you use a lot of energy and it’s really tiring and exhausting.

And so learning…

[Host: Caylena Cahill]

It’s questionable what effect that actually has.

[Guest: Harriet Daisy]

Yeah, depending on what it is for sure. So learning about Permaculture, it really gave me an opportunity to live the solution. And that, I didn’t even know that’s what I was looking for until I found it.

It’s really amazing.

[Host: Caylena Cahill]

I love that idea of going from being an activist to more living the solution. I think like that is a great idea that more young people should hear about, because there’s a time and a place, I think, for protest, but we don’t want to live our lives in a state of anger all the time. Like that’s sort of been a theme in this conversation, like not living our lives in survival mode, but also not living in a state of anger all the time.

That’s just not helpful for like living a good life. So like I think a lot of these things, like yeah, there’s systemic issues and there’s like perpetual issues as well, but I think like changing your own lifestyle, it like starts with changing your own lifestyle. I mean…

Starts at you, with you.

[Guest: Harriet Daisy]

Right. Yeah. And just what you said, it reminded me of that phrase, like be the change that you wish to see in the world.

Yes. So like really define what your values are, what’s important to you, what matters most to you. Define your values and then take a hard look at your life and see does your lifestyle align to your values or is there a big gap?

Like figure that out first. If there’s a big gap, then maybe start to think like, how can I, how can I look for different things? How can I change?

Like that, if you’re so unaligned, like you need change in your life. So what can bring about that change? Also, it’s going to be terrifying.

It’s okay. It’s okay. Breathe into the fear.

Like I think that’s another thing that I’ve actually been thinking about this past week is like how we all feel uncomfortable and unease and how we run away from that unease and that uncomfortability. And we, right, so flight is avoidance. And so how we’re all like either drinking alcohol or going on our phones or going shopping or smoking weed.

You know, there’s so many things that we do that means that we avoid feeling that unease and that uncomfortability within. So the more that, and I teach this to my students, the more comfortable you are being uncomfortable, the more resilient you are. And the more resilient you are, the more you’re able to deal with change.

And so if you need change and risk, so the more that you need change in your life, like think about that. Like think about being resilient and thinking about your values and really choose a life that you want to live and be that change in the world. Like live that solution because what we’ve been fed is not okay.

Like it’s not normal to buy food in plastic packaging. It’s not, it’s normal, but it’s not normal. Yeah, exactly.

Like it’s been normalized, but really like nature has packaging.

[Host: Caylena Cahill]

Like the same thing with, um, like health issues, like things are being normalized, like, um, pretending that being obese is okay. Or like taking 20 different pills a day is okay.

[Guest: Harriet Daisy]

Right?

[Host: Caylena Cahill]

Like these are, these are like, they’re normal because a lot of people experience them, but it’s not normal. Yeah, it’s not actually okay. Yeah.

Beautiful. Well, I think we’ve covered a lot.

[Guest: Harriet Daisy]

Yep. We’ve gone around the world and we’ve touched on many, many interesting points.

[Host: Caylena Cahill]

Do you think there’s, there’s anything that we’ve left outside that you want to make sure that we put out there? Hmm.

[Guest: Harriet Daisy]

Yeah. I really like, I don’t know who says this, but maybe you could add it and who says it, but it’s like, it’s not you who, it’s not now when, like we’re really being asked by the planet to step up. And I really just want everyone listening to, to just be truthful to themselves.

Like be radically honest with yourself and ask yourself, like, how can I be more environmentally aware? Like, how can I live my life more in tune to nature and her cycles? Because I’ve learned so much from nature.

She is so intelligent. She’s had 4 billion years to figure out life and she does it so well. So yeah, I guess I invite you to go outside today, take a walk outside, take your shoes off if you can, and really just observe your surroundings and observe your ecosystem and just take some deep breaths.

And just remember that you are nature. You are nature. Not that you’re a part of nature, but you are nature.

Like human beings are nature. And we are an integral keystone species. And really what we do has a huge impact on our planet.

So please, I’m asking you to do a little more. Do a little more for yourself. Do a little more for your family.

Do a little more for your own nervous system. And do a little more for the planet. Because we really need to step up and take responsibility and try to make sure that humans do not go extinct.

Because I really believe that we’re pretty cool. And it’s pretty nice to be here. So how can we, how can you as an individual or a family, take a little more responsibility for the food that you buy or the food that you grow, the material possessions that you buy, the type of things that you watch on your screen?

Just take a little more responsibility.

[Host: Caylena Cahill]

Great. Well, thanks so much for taking the time to chat. Thank you so much for having me.

[Guest: Harriet Daisy]

It’s been very fun.