“Imagine The Alternative” suggests the tagline for upcoming TV and online documentary series Roads Less Traveled. Launching on March 24th at The Gladstone Hotel in Toronto, the multi-part series is set to give viewers a glimpse into the other ways that people live.
When I first met Natalia Kantor, producer and director behind “Roads Less Traveled”, in a café in Toronto in the summer of 2010, we clicked immediately. What she was referring to – the existence of sub or counter-cultures and communities that offered alternatives to the conventional life – was something that I had already been exploring.
For some time I had felt that the familiar, conventional lifestyle that involved getting a degree, and then a salaried job, and then married with children, just did not work for many people. I’d seen evidence of this in my own life – with friends, work colleagues and family. As you may have also experienced “the formula”, does not guarantee happiness.
Roads Less Traveled aims to present alternate lifestyles that many people may or may not be aware of, or have considered too underground or unconventional, through a series of personal stories shared by amazing characters and their interaction with Natalia on her remarkable journey.
Below is my interview with Natalia Kantor about the Roads Less Traveled.
Vidafine: How did you come up with the concept for “Roads Less Traveled”?
NK: I had an epiphany while I lived in Scotland in Edinburgh studying film:
“Why don’t I write a script into my life, with all the things I ever wanted to see, experience, taste, be and instead of just filming it, go out and live it just the way I want it to, not the way everyone else feels I should.”
Then I thought, well how am I going to do that? First I needed to find people who are already doing the same thing, consciously creating their own stories, and in turn unique lifestyles, to get a better sense of how to start my own story. The idea for Roads Less Traveled was born.
I then traveled to Nevada to attend the Burning Man Festival in the desert where I broke all my assumptions about what is possible. That’s when I decided to add the ‘unconventional’ element to the project.
I began realizing that I don’t want to sit behind a desk until I’m 62, until my life equals a bigger house in the suburbs and more consumer junk. But what did I want? While looking for answers I ended up in Killarney National park in Ireland, filming the first piece as a test run, about a shaman who lives on top of a mountain in an abandoned bus, walks barefooted all year round and eats flowers. I always wanted to meet a shaman and participate in a shamanic ceremony. And so I did.
My own script was beginning to be lived, accompanied by a camera.
Vidafine: Why do you think this is an important story, or set of stories, to tell and why now in 2011?
NK: An interesting book fell into my hands a year later, Counterculture Through The Ages by Ken Goffman a.k.a R. U. SIRIUS and Dan Joy. This book opened my eyes as to why people, who think outside the box, historically are a crucial source of change. The essence of counterculture is characterized by the affirmation of the individual’s power to create his own life rather than accepting the dictates of surrounding social authorities and conventions. Counter-culturalists and their stories are CENTRAL to understanding how and why the rebellious spirit is a crucial source of change.
Not only did I want to showcase unconventional lifestyles, but categorize them according to the current counter-cultural trends, to understand what are to be “the big ideas” that will set the precedent definitions of a new era.
It’s 2011 and it is evident that we are at the ripping point that will change the way North Americans live their lives. Until recently, an unconventional independent lifestyle seemed impossible. Difficult to envision and too exotic for most of us, it was something that only a few people dared to attempt. Today, it seems we all dream of getting away and finding the secret to a better way. Maybe it is the threats of climate change, environmental disintegration and global chaos but there are a growing number of people who have struck out and believe they’ve found the answer, and many more who are getting ready to join them. There is social change taking place and observing the lives of those ordinary people who chose differently is what we need right now to show us the way.
Vidafine: In the series you profile various characters, representative of different alternative lifestyles. Could you give examples of these alternative lifestyles?
NK: “Digital Nomads” are those who work digitally from anywhere in the world. They are the fans of the ultimate in mobility and digital communication.
The “New Rich” (as coined by author of “The 4-Hour Workweek” Timothy Ferriss) are those who abandon the deferred-life plan and create luxury lifestyles in the present using the currency of the New Rich: time and mobility.
“Eco-Warriors” are individuals who care for our environment through their activities and decision-making.
“New Radicals” (as named by author Julia Moulden) are those who enjoyed success in their chosen careers and get the call to do something more with their lives, such as reinvent themselves and their work, and earn a living by giving back.
We’ll also explore the Digital Nomadic Family, Cyclists, Permaculturer, Burner, TEDster, Seeker, Futurist, Couchsurfers, Social Entrepreneur and more in the series.
Vidafine: What is your vision for Roads Less Traveled?
NK: My vision for Roads Less Traveled is to inspire, to connect, to get people involved, and to prepare and encourage the audience to look at the alternative possibilities that lie ahead, and in turn create a community focused around alternative living.
Vidafine: What can people expect at the launch party on March 24th in Toronto?
NK: EXPECT THE UNCONVENTIONAL! EXPECT A LOOK AT A WHOLE DIFFERENT WAY OF LIVING.
Thanks Natalia for taking the time to share your story and inspiration for change! The rest of the Vidafine team is looking forward to meeting you at the launch party! We’d also like to invite our readers to join Natalia Kantor and the Roads Less Traveled crew, at the official Launch Party in Toronto, March 24th, at the Gladstone Hotel. (Say hi if you come by!) Follow the series and get more info on the launch at Roads Less Traveled TV.
Here is a sneak peek of what can be expected with Roads Less Traveled. Enjoy!
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(This interview was originally posted on My Positive Change)