John P, I understand exactly where you are coming from with your initial post. I’m from Ireland too and became completely disenchanted with the focus on money and possessions and the narrow-minded notion of “success” being a large salary and a couple of fancy cars. I left my job and possessions and went travelling around the world for a few years, working and volunteering in various continents.
Travelling wiped me of all my stresses. When you spend some time living in a jungle in Borneo you quickly realise the importance of cars and televisions in life.
On my travels I came across New Zealand…and I haven’t left since :o) I seem to have found my utopia and it offers all the lifestyle choices you are craving.
I spend my week working in a large corporation (gasp!) but it affords me the ability to make environmental and sustainability changes within the corporation.
NZ still honours many of the values which used to be important in Ireland – work-life balance, focus on mental-wellbeing, access to natural resources. I spend approx one weekend every two months tramping/hiking in the wilderness, giving me two days away from the grid, eating food caught/killed/harvested by my friends and listening to nothing but the birds in the trees and my friends’ chatter.
To achieve a better quality of life, seek your own utopia!
P.S. I don’t work for the NZ tourist board ;oP
Written in August 2008