May 11, 2015
BY: CONNOR BRIAN
Often a sense of struggle settles in when we find ourselves surrounded by the daily routine of urban life. Crammed into a sea of vacant faces in the early morning rush hour, sometimes I can’t help but wonder if I am just another moving part of an engine. Though each of our roles is instrumental to the functioning of the larger wheels of society, we’re left wondering where this old machine is headed.
High up in the mountains of León, Spain, an eco-village thrives where someone who has experienced urban frustration might be able to realize serenity.
The town is completely isolated, inaccessible by roads, and only reachable through a rocky path that weaves through the Spanish foothills. Here the houses don’t have electricity, water, appliances, or any of the comforts handed out by modern society.
In the town of Matavenero “most of the houses are very small, and are full of little details that explain the moral values of people,” says Photographer Antonio Guerra. He travelled to the one-thousand-metre-high eco-village to explore these people’s alternative motivation for living. They have created a more participatory social system defined by a harmonious relationship with nature.
Here, personal satisfaction cannot be based on instant gratification. Luxury is forged with your own two hands. In relative isolation you learn a lot about yourself, mostly about how to live with personal conviction.
How much does environment shape the man? Away from the competitive world of media influence and professional salary, you begin to lose your definitive social identity. You begin to define yourself by how you respond to the circumstances of scarcity that nature imposes.
Though they may not realize it (mainly because they don’t have long enough to stop and think), perhaps living off-grid is exactly what the apathetic ghosts of early morning rush hour need.