Meet Chloe Jo Davis, founder of eco-site girliegirlarmy.com. She also is a mother of three kids and four rescue rescue pets. A lifelong New Yorker, current events have made her decide to leave the city that had been her forever-home in search of greener pastures.
Like many New York and big city families, the current health crisis has forced her to reckon with the realities of life during a pandemic in a cramped apartment with no end in sight.
“When COVID-19 got real, I took our rescued dog Calypso for a final walk on the last day of school. The following 50 days were me, my husband, three children, and four rescue pets learning life without sky. Staying indoors with 3 little boys under the age of 10, 4 rescue pets, and a work at home husband became no longer interesting, and more so like jail for all of us. The nature cravings hit like a ton of bricks.”
Chloe found her passion for environmentalism and sustainability in her 20s, which inspired all of her work in the green commerce and fashion movement. When the quarantine began, she coped by delving deeper into some of these environmental issues she is passionate about. These included volunteering for animal rights groups, buying plants to take over her living room, and learning more about climate change.
“We bought what I call a COVID-19 purchase and got ourselves a car, with my husband doing online research, negotiating, and a very socially distanced purchase in an empty dealership wearing masks and gloves. This led to far-away hikes every few days after two months indoors. The trees gave me more confirmation that nature is greater than a currently diseased city. Even Central Park, our forever raison d'etre, provided no escape, with its sea of mask-less, sardine-packed people.”
After a lifetime in the city, and a lifelong passion for the natural world, Chloe and her family decided they wanted to feel more a part of the world she was trying to save.
While searching for a new home, Chloe is still looking to be close enough to New York, where her and her husband can still take occasional meetings in the city once it reopens, but far enough away where her family can have a couple of acres of land, rescue more animals, and have space for a walk and backyard garden.
Before the crisis, they had no intention of leaving - but life in the cities these days has changed her mind…. maybe for good. When asked if she would choose to move back to the city once a coronavirus vaccine is developed, she said couldn’t imagine wanting to!
There will be things she knows she will miss though: walking her kids to school, downtown nights out with friends, discovering new neighborhoods, and the culture and excitement of the city. The practical realities of a lifelong urbanite leaving the city also remain: she will have to learn how to drive, her family cannot afford the house they would like to own, and the rental market in top school district neighborhoods have been obliterated in the escape many are making from the city.
As has been the experience of plenty, she found her values and priorities shifting since the start of the crisis.
“Nature was always at my core - but I felt fulfilled living here since my position was always an environmentalist advocate in the urban tornado. Now I've realized having some grass under foot is the most basic human right, and to keep my kiddos from that is just contrarian to humanity's more basic core.”
In terms of how she imagines the world will change following all of this, Chloe thinks and hopes we will all begin to embrace the more simple joys of life… supporting small, family-owned business, and a resurgence of the homesteading movement for more and more Americans.
I've been gently preaching conscious living for decades - in the press, in print, during speaking engagements. We are knee-deep in a catastrophic state of affairs - world wide- with our treatment of Mama Earth and her creatures. Hopefully we will vote in someone who will protect these precious gifts. And in the meantime, perhaps - with all this urban flight - people will feel more connected to the earth when it's truly at their back door. It's easy to ignore the earth's pleas from a skyscraper.
You can read Chloe’s in-depth Business Insider piece on her journey to leave the city here.