about the author

sumi hollingworth

dscf1867

I am an ex-Londoner, ex-academic, mother, partner and sociologist who researches and writes about community and identity; environment and sustainability; parenting and education for social justice. For ten years I worked in university academic research, where I also did a PhD in sociology of education. I then supervised London teachers in their doctoral studies. I’m interested in social relationships and how we attempt to connect across difference, and try to find alternative forms of value under western capitalism or beyond it.

We left our London lives and built an off-grid campervan, and set off, traveling West to East, through Europe, Morocco, the Balkans and Turkiye. Through daily routines living and growing on the road, with my partner and then toddler, living in a small space with minimal stuff, we learnt a lot about ourselves, partnership, parenting, real work, and our privilege.  Experiencing first hand the slowly homogenising cultures of Europe, vis a vis the majority muslim countries of Turkiye and Morocco, we experienced the various stages of erosion of community, faith and connection. But mostly, through driving from country to country we witnessed the very real threat of climate change.

We are now in the mountains of Andalucia, in an ancient olive grove homestead, living in connection with the weather, the rainfall, the seasons, the crops we grow (the crops that fail) the food we eat, the waste we make, the energy we consume.  Here, is a growing sufi muslim community, families from all walks of life, all with their own baggage, also seeking a more simple life, connecting with nature away from the distractions and trappings of urban life. While I want to be studying and learning about natural farming, permaculture and regenerative agriculture, I am mostly learning about parenting a neurodivergent family, forced to learn everyday about patience, gratitude, and submitting to forces beyond our control.