Welcome to our blog! We decided to start writing about our trials and tribulations since uprooting our life in the UK and moving to Nicaragua.
We are a family of four from the UK, myself Alex, my partner Danny and our two sons Vedder 6 and Bodhi 4. Our dream is to live off the land, grow as much as we can for ourselves, trade with the local community, live sustainably and do what we can to help others too.
The world needs change and fast, we need to all make small changes to live more sustainably, to live more in harmony with our fellow beings in this world and with nature. We have decided to make a big change in our lives to make a little change in the world as a whole and to try and teach our children by example.
We decided Nicaragua was the place for us to achieve this dream, we travelled the pacific area of Nicaragua over the past year seeking land. We visited the beautiful island of Ometepe on Lake Nicaragua and fell in love, this amazing island made up of two volcanoes is tranquil, fertile and did I mention beautiful?
After looking at a number of pieces of available land and meeting some lovely people, Dan went off one day with our eldest son on an adventure and on their return said he had found the dream land! We were staying with a guy from the US who had very kindly allowed us to stay in our truck for free on his land, on speaking with him it transpired that we knew the owner of the land, ‘Go speak to him’ him told us and so we did.
Arnaldo is the man, the head of the family who works the land, he is frail and unfortunately has not been able to go to the land for a long time, but his son Armando tends to the land most days. On speaking with them, it became apparent that the land was not for sale, they know that the land is worth more than any amount of money someone was willing to pay for it, to them.
After discussing our vision, they explained that they have a similar vision, but need help, they have around 20acres and Armando manages it predominately on his own. They went on to explain that they have never used pesticides or fertilisers on their land, need help to develop the land and expand what they grow. They required both practical help and educational help, ideas and dedication.
The decision and plan
In return for our labour and support, we are able to build a house and a small business to generate an income for us and them. Our plan is to create an eco tourism business that will enable us to fund an education centre, focused on a number of sustainable elements. These areas of interests include permaculture farming techniques, natural building techniques, courses on energy harvesting and building wind turbines etc. We also want to offer courses on natural plant medicines, optimal nutrition and much more. Our idea is to offer these courses on an open source theme…..free or for minimal donation. We recognise the struggle many of the locals have and feel that offering education in this area will help immensely, but most can not afford the costs that comes with wanting to gain this knowledge. We believe this will enable them to help themselves, but alongside this we want to offer it to tourists and travellers too.
Our plan is to tap into the vast knowledge and education many travellers and tourists have and are willing to share. We have met many people who, when we have discussed our idea, have immediately said they would be willing to help, to offer their services, do some volunteering, help us build and develop the dream.
Giving is most definitely more rewarding than receiving!
The major setback
We decided to proceed with the plan and in November 2017 we started to build our house, using a wood frame, adobe walls and bamboo for the upper floors. The build has been slow as the area is isolated but we are three quarters built, we also have built one cabin that will be accomodation for future tourists.
In April 2018 a socio-political problem arose in Nicaragua and violence in Managua and a few other cities errupted. The island has always remained peaceful and trying to remain positive we plowed on with the build. In May things were becoming more difficult, petrol and diesel were harder to come by and food was a little more scarce. Tourists disappeared and so many businesses had closed temporarily. By mid-June we made the difficult decision to stop the build, with no petrol on the island, food becoming harder to come by and our personal funds running low we could no longer progress and employ the local guys to continue. We had planned to make the cabin available to rent, to enable us to continue, but with no tourist there was no market.
We left Nicaragua, with a heavy heart, stayed with a friend in Costa Rica, we remained positive to return to Nicaragua and continue this dream. So whilst there we were seed collecting, we managed to source durian, acai, mangosteen, Columbian sapote and lucuma.
We made the decision to return to Nicaragua; as stability has returned. We wanted and needed to do everything we can to proceed with our vision. We have been back in Nicaragua a week and have been to the land and planted the seeds, I have started to teach English online to try and earn some much needed funds and now we have decided to start this blog (something many have told us we should do) to tell people about our journey and hopefully alongside that we can gain some support and awareness for what we are trying to achieve.
We had been planning a Go Fund Me appeal for some time and it just so happened that when we were ready to launch it, our timing could not have been worse as it was at the beginning of May just after the problems arose, but we proceeded with a positive attitude. Please take a look at it here:
If you are interested in what we are trying to achieve, would be interested in volunteering with us or just want to share some information, knowledge or support please do not hestitate to get in contact with us. We firmly believe in community support and helping one another to ensure we can all thrive in life. We are not business people, but we do know that what we have achieved to date and what is possible with our dream will be of great benefit to all those involved, to the community here on the island and quite possibly further afield.
This is our first blogging experience, so please be patient with us! Much love to allXX
Thank you for taking the time to read our story and please hit the share button!
Many thanks and shout out to Trent for the fantastic header photo @trentcamera