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Former business leader settles into new life as a Baltic homesteader

PUBLISHED: 15:39 29 January 2019 | UPDATED: 15:56 29 January 2019

Gary Dickenson, his wife Gita and their daughter Nora, four, at their homestead in Latvia. Picture: COURTESY OF GARY DICKENSON

Gary Dickenson, his wife Gita and their daughter Nora, four, at their homestead in Latvia. Picture: COURTESY OF GARY DICKENSON

Archant

A former north Norfolk business leader has given up his desk job to become a homesteader in northern Latvia.

Gary Dickenson's homestead in Latvia. Picture: COURTESY OF GARY DICKENSONGary Dickenson's homestead in Latvia. Picture: COURTESY OF GARY DICKENSON

And since Gary Dickenson, 45, moved to the Baltic country to join his wife Gita and their four-year-daughter, Nora, in early December, he has experienced a winter where the temperature rarely gets above freezing and snow is a constant fixture.

He said: “It’s a wrench to leave, but the joy of being reunited with my family and starting a new, exciting adventure together in another corner of this world is far greater.”

Up until last year, Mr Dickenson had lived in Cromer for 10 years and worked in marketing. He was the president of the Cromer Chamber of Trade and Business, and was previously an officer with the Federation of Small Businesses.

He said they now lived in the same home as Gita’s parents on their homestead.

Mr Dickenson said: “We have a section of the house, much like you might think of a UK farmhouse. There’s been family on this plot of land for over 200 years.”

Homesteaders aim to live life sustainably, growing the food they need to feed their families and often producing crafts and other items for household use or sale.

Mr Dickenson said they were working out a plan of what animals they wanted to keep, what crops to grow and what maintenance/renovation projects to undertake.

He said: “The homestead is already here but had been run down so we’re building it back up.”

Gary Dickenson's homestead in Latvia. Picture: COURTESY OF GARY DICKENSONGary Dickenson's homestead in Latvia. Picture: COURTESY OF GARY DICKENSON

He said he had quickly got used to the colder climes, having once lived in Latvia’s capital, Riga, for three years.

“We had to be settled in time to beat the real winter, Lativa gives proper seasons,” he said.

“People just get on with it. Life goes on, it’s tough but you acclimatise and change your thinking.

“All cars have winter tyres that help. You perhaps have to think more shopping, there’s no next-day Amazon.”

Getting around by sled near Gary Dickenson's homestead in Latvia. Picture: COURTESY OF GARY DICKENSONGetting around by sled near Gary Dickenson's homestead in Latvia. Picture: COURTESY OF GARY DICKENSON

Mr Dickenson said he would miss Cromer, where the community had become like a second family.

He said: “That’s the kind of place Cromer is - a happy place, a place that gets under your soul and we had a purpose. But a new adventure starts.”

Mr Dickenson is making a YouTube vlog called Baltic Homesteaders to document his new life.

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