After downshifting in 2000 I had a few hours to spare and thought it a nice idea to start 'a hobby'.
I'd been interested in Computers for a couple of years and thought I'd try my hand at developing a Website, just for family and friends etc.
As time went on, I found that, oddly, it was getting a few visitors from people I'd never heard of, so I further developed it to tell my story of a 'life changing' experience at the age of 52.
For about the next five years I added the occasional page here and there and things trundled along quite nicely, but at the same time it seemed that the downshifting experience brings about other changes to your self, so I decided to expand the Site with more information and as it stands (October 2008) I have 600 pages and a Forum which must be one of the fastest growing in the niche for those seeking a simpler and more self reliant lifestyle.
I wouldn't like to put any specific category type stamp to the website, all bar about 20 pages are written by myself and are only subjects which about which I've experienced or at least know a small amount about.
If I don't know about something, or if I haven't done - I don't write about it.
In 2008 I have introduced two new formats,
'Extra's the Blog' is more off topic comment about just about anything which takes my fancy, usually some light hearted moan about something or other - but there's some serious stuff as well!
'Tips from Down the Lane'
A new 'site within a site' solely for moneysaving, frugal and other tips.
As time has passed, it is getting quite obvious, to me anyway, that the downshifting side of my experience has become more the result of it.
In this respect it's 'what you can do after changing your life' and maybe, how you get there.
Between 2005 - 2008 I worked along side Researchers at the University of Brighton on the 'Learning Lifes' Project.
This entailed them taking four peoples lifes and analysing why they are where they are and the decisions / events which made them arrive there.
This proved to be a quite enthralling result and has made me realise how careful anyone must be in 'helping' someone else in their decisions.
Downshifting and changing a way of life is a major major move and should not be taken as a hobby type phase, once out of mainstream work with comfortable salaries, it's difficult to get back in should it all go wrong.
Down the Lane is now getting over 10,000 hits a day and as the subject matters become more 'fashionable', especially based on economic climate etc. it is rising month by month.
My big thanks go to John Harrison at WebOneUK who not only hosts Down the Lane on his Servers, but assists me in many technical matters (in other words, he gets me out of a mess a lot).