Why I’m Moving to Africa or Becoming Amish {Part 1}

For about 10 months now, I have been ready to pitch it all.

Give away all my stuff, pack my bags (and the kids), and hop on a plane to Africa.

You think I’m kidding.

My heart has been pulled in that direction for a few years. I’m still trying to convince my husband that I feel “we are being called” to go and open up a medical clinic for Amazima or an organization like that. I don’t think he’s feelin’ it (yet).

Yes, I want to go to Africa to love on some orphans, and help the needy, but honestly my motives are way more selfish than that. I don’t know how much I want to go to serve as much as I want to escape from here.

What?! Why do you want to escape?

And then you ask, “Have you lost your ever-loving mind?”

Um, maybe?

I want to escape the chaos. The busyness. The distractions. The noise. It makes me crazy (and we all know I’m plenty of that without any extra help!).

For all the years I was lost in a fog, I realized I have very few memories during that time.

Recently, I looked at a video on HJ’s* phone of him taking our littlest one down the slide for the first time (he was probably about six months old). I watched it but couldn’t remember it. And I’m the one who recorded it!

Even though I’m healthy now…we hope ;), with all the chaos around, I sometimes still feel like we are all living in a fog. Floating through the day, passing by one another, yet not really seeing each other.

We are distracted (mostly by online/social media). Never fully present. And I’m afraid these precious days, weeks, and years will slip away without the sweet memories they so deserve.

Last week I watched a documentary on PBS about the Amish. I was glued. Absolutely awed at the lifestyle they have followed for so many generations.

The funny thing was…I was kinda jealous.

Their life was so simple. They kept the focus on what is important to them (family, community, faith) and kept out the modern day distractions.

When talking about the telephone, one man explained how the telephone took away the opportunity to go and visit your neighbor or your friend. It didn’t really allow you into their home, to actually see the person face to face.

I’m sorry, what? Takes away the opportunity to get out of your house? No thank you. He must have been forgetting about the awesome ability to multi-task. Oh wait…no he wasn’t. He didn’t want to multi-task. He wanted to be intentional about his time with the person he was talking to.

I have been reading the book, Upended by Jedd Medefind and Erik Lokkesmoe (fellow Westmont College alums – somehow I went to a college filled with smart people…I was not one of them). In Chapters 3 & 4 they discuss the idea of being present – all there.

Presence conveys value to another like nothing else. It affirms that she, and not anything else in the universe, deserves your thoughts, gaze, and listening at that moment. Presence is the wellspring of influence, for it is the first step to loving well.

Isn’t that the truth? How do you feel when you are talking to your husband or friend and they are looking down at their phone scrolling or texting? Don’t worry, I am sooo guilty of this too…so guilty!!!

How have you felt when you visit with a friend and she looks at you the entire time you are sharing, fully engaged…listening and asking questions?

Don’t you feel listened to? Valued? Loved?

I have a friend who is an amazing listener. I wish I were more like her.

I’m a blurter.

If there is something in my head, I just want to say it. My husband is that way. I have another friend who is that way. Sometimes I just feel like we are talking at each other and not really listening to one another.

If it’s not natural for you , like it’s not for me, it’s going to take work. Practice. Discipline.

And I guess that’s why I just would rather move to Africa (yes, I know there is technology in Africa so maybe this won’t work) or become Amish (I’m pretty sure it would work in this community). Because I stink at discipline and forming good habits and all that junk. I want the distractions removed completely.

I want the easy way out.

Because it’s simple, really.

That’s why. I yern for a simple life.

Less of [stuff]. Uncomplicated. Less choices. Less distractions.


Now don’t get simple mixed up with easy. Simple isn’t always easy, but it still is (pretty) simple.



Stay tuned for Part 2….yes, there is even another reason I want to be Amish or move across the world.

*HJ is what I’ll be calling my husband on this blog from now on. Just because. OK, not just because. This is what his extended family called him growing up which I thought was totally odd. Now I think I’m going to jump on the bandwagon.

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12 Responses to Why I’m Moving to Africa or Becoming Amish {Part 1}

  1. Chantel says:

    Oh I TOTALLY understand this feeling! (The Africa part, not sure I could ever be Amish, though it might be nice for a bit, but I am afraid I’m not domestic enough)
    Chantel recently posted..be stillMy Profile

  2. Pingback: women of influence |

  3. Hayden says:

    Just discontinued our cell ser…

  4. Courtney says:

    I’m so glad that Robin O’Bryant gave this a shout out on Facebook, because I clicked and can definitely relate. My first thought was, “She must have read Kisses From Katie” – then I saw the Amazima reference and smiled. That book rocked my world and has changed my perspective on many things. I’m trying to make better choices so that my modern life is more “simple” – am curious to read your Part 2!
    Courtney recently posted..WFMW: Four ThingsMy Profile

  5. Lindsey G. says:

    I can SO relate! I have actually done some pretty extensive research on the Amish. I am also into those cheesy Beverly Lewis novels about Amish love stories. I think it’s easy to see their life as more simple and maybe better, but I agree with the gal who commented above that people are people no mater where. The Amish have their own issues. Did you know that many aren’t allowed to read an English bible, but read from a german bible that most can’t understand anymore?
    Since it doesn’t look like we will ever become Amish I guess the next best thing is to evaluate the lives we do live and try to simplify what we can and try to improve our bad habits. Easier said than done though. Thanks for sharing your heart Amber!

  6. I think that desire for peacefulness within, for serenity, is a pretty common human experience. It is why people seek out communes, intentional communities, look into “off the grid” living and homesteading, or, becoming Amish or dumping all of your possessions and backpacking across the world or living in a primitive culture. You hope by doing that you will be forced to be more peaceful because there aren’t as many options. Except, there are, they are just in a culture that is different enough from yours that you are blind to the hassles and internal politics that cause the same desire to escape in that culture.

    The trick, I think, is to try to find the peacefulness when surrounded by chaos. Figure out what is the most stressful for you. If decluttering and paring down your possessions helps, and it often does, do that. If streamlining your cleaning routine helps, do that. Figure out what things actually reduce stress and what adds stress, and make those small changes.

    I have been close enough to Amish culture to know that it is not as peaceful as it appears on the outside. It is sort of like the New Yorker that thinks that everybody in the South is just super nice all the time, and not recognizing that when you call somebody “difficult” it is the same thing as calling somebody “a ripe b****** M***** F*****”. People are the same everywhere, it is just the outside wrapping that is different.
    Jennifer Schrag Zaccagni recently posted..Autumn GloryMy Profile

  7. Kim says:

    I totally get it! I never feel like anyone listens when I talk and I find myself interrupting people all the time. I need to work on my manners. :-)
    I have had the same thought, but I think I’m a little more selfish than you because I want to move to the country in Italy or Tuscany where there are no dishwashers washing machines electric ovens. (why do I want to go w/out those) I think it’s because of what you said for a simpler life. Because in my head living in the country in Italy I don’t have to worry about what million activities to put my kids in or how my house and way of life looks to the neighbors and I want to ride a bicycle everywhere so there goes the pressure of what car to drive. At least you want to help orphans! :-)
    Love this post and your blog and you.

    • Amber says:

      I could move to the Italian countryside….sounds like heaven! But i think i would still want a dishwasher ;) Thanks for your kind words, Kim.

  8. candice says:

    I was seriously just considering becoming Amish last night! I must have seen the same documentary! You’re hilarious, raw and real. I love it!
    candice recently posted..No More Simple Sunday Church!My Profile

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