Words by Andrea and F. Firli photos by Andrea
Follonico is a country escape in Val D’Orcia – Tuscany – where to feel in contact with nature and regenerate. An authentic nest I visited earlier this year, and felt so touched by their way of living and the tranquillity released by the place. I interviewed Fabio Firli, owner of Follonico together with his lovely wife Suzanne, to talk about how to have a sustainable lifestyle.
FF : First of all, I would say that it is lifestyle that follows the natural cycle of the seasons, rather than trying to modify it. Having a sustainable lifestyle means to live in harmony with the universe. Living in this way, the benefit comes for ourselves in the first place. Conducting a life following the rhythm of nature brings wellness. You rest when it’s dark, but also when it rains and when it’s too cold or too hot; and you work – hard – when the weather allows it, even if this means working 15 hours a day.
FF : As explained, my biggest suggestion is to follow the rhythm of nature. Working hard only when you can get results and rest while you are waiting for the fruits to ripen. Running in the sun and relaxing in the rain.
FF : We love to work while we breathe the smell of the soil, observing animals and learning from them. Even hens, superficially renowned to be silly, have a lot to teach us! Observing animals through the day, you understand how beautiful life is in its essence and simplicity.
FF : I believe a mindful traveller is the one who tries to leave a small footprint. Any potential conscious traveller needs to have the right mindset, but she also needs to meet the right people while travelling. As hosts, we need to spend time to explain the why behind some of our choices, the logic supporting them and some of our secular traditions.
Let me give you an example. Today almost all hotel rooms have an air conditioning system. If I explain to our guests how to use it correctly in a Mediterranean place over one of those super hot days we experience in summer, maybe they will use it less and more properly. As hosts, we have to explain that in the early morning the windows need to be closed and reopened only after 9PM; that the darkness given by the shutters helps to keep the warm outside as well as helping your mind to relax. Too much light makes the body sweat and it gets tired to manage the temperature, whereas the dim light is relaxing and consequently it helps to feel refreshed. And so on and so forth. What I mean is that, to make it work, it is critical for us as hosts to invest time explaining all this to our guests.
Another key aspect that defines a mindful traveller is for her to truly embrace a conscious travel philosophy, rather than adopt it just to be trendy.