Long term project / sustainable living / looking for like-minded people

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  • Hello All,

    Apologies if this is in the wrong section, in my defence there are a lot of sub forums! Bottom line is I am looking for like-minded people to start an adventure/project with for self-sustained living, growing food, off grid as far as possible, in a nice, clean, natural environment.

    There will also be a post on diggers and dreamers when the functionality is up and running on that site again, I will link to that here when I have posted there.

    I’m not too sure how to structure this post, so I am just going to type a few notes and thoughts about more of what I want to do so anyone interested can see if this might be something they want to pursue.

    The end goal is to buy some land, anywhere in Europe, however I am thinking Bulgaria is a good option as it is very cheap. I am looking for people to pool resources and/or skills. I don’t have an idea on numbers, 6-8 maybe. This is a low budget project, so although I would expect us all to put some money in (not necessarily a prerequisite), we are not talking silly amounts, I don’t own a house so you can imagine we are talking smaller cash sums – hence why Bulgaria seems a good option. We will need some initial cash to purchase land, perhaps some equipment, set up costs, perhaps stuff to build / renovate some houses/house – perhaps there will be camping initially, who knows at this stage. We would need some cash for us to fall back on also, especially as we take time getting fully set up.

    This will be a long term project as it would take a fair bit of planning. I am currently in employment, so the timeline for me would be starting now over the next 1-2 years is the goal, most likely 2+ years when we are actually out there living. The sooner we start the better. I do not have that many practical skills, I am not looking for anyone with skills, if you have skills, great, but the idea also is that this project will be an adventure of a lifetime, it will involve lots of learning, initiative, hard work, obstacles, DIY, experiments and risk - and all this will be part of the allure, as well as the end result.

    I am a 32 year old male, non-smoker, not into drugs, and not interested in a “Kumbaya” stereotypical orgy environment. I am not saying that’s what being a “hippy” is, I am guilty of using media stereotypes there I accept, however there are people who perhaps fit that mould and they need not apply. Of course this process will start with people being interested and they need to be the right kind of people for me, and I need to be right kind of person for them. I envisage an environment where we are social, support each other, work together, but also have our own space as well.

    I am open to different kinds of people, it doesn’t matter if you are spiritual, religious, male, female, sexual orientation. Although I am looking for people of similar ages give or take 5-10 years. I would not reject people who are out of that range. I am straight and single and as this is a long term project it would be nice to find some companionship along the way and find someone special to spend my life with and that would be something that I hope to find but certainly not a prerequisite and won’t be basing any decisions on that. This means I am open to couples wanting to join also.

    What I am looking for in people is some common beliefs, for me this project would be organic, living in harmony with the land as best as possible. We would have to work out the details together, I have a lot more notes on the details but as this is a flexible project and we all will make decisions together I won’t put them here as it’s something we would all discuss. The only things that I set in stone would be organic farming, low impact in as far as we can be, off grid as far as we can be (this doesn’t necessarily rule out mod cons), non-polluting and putting the environment first where we can.

    The first step is to find interested people. Please think very carefully before registering interest as it’s a big big project and a very very big decision to take in life, especially if like me, you are from a typical town/city background. I would like to avoid any time wasters.

    If people are interested the plan is to spend time getting to know each other, to meet up and to ensure we are on the same wave length, this is to ensure going forward is in all our best interests. As we meet we will discuss details and plans of the project and go from there.

    If anyone knows... any other forums/websites where I can post this on so as many people as possible can see it please let me know I would appreciate that. Also, if you have any questions just ask as I have probably missed quite a few things out, and like I said nothing is really set in stone at this stage!

    Many thanks if you read this far! Bye for now.

    TLDR: Looking for like-minded people for a long term adventure/project for self-sustained living somewhere in Europe, most likely anywhere with cheap land – if you are remotely interested – read the damn post!

  • Hi, I am pursuing the same goal, however I would like to achieve this in Italy, ideally in between Tuscany and Emilia. There are abandoned villages that the local authorities would be willing to lease for free for three years, provided you improve the territory. I'm in my late 40s, too old? I also have a timeline of 12 months. I am not in continuous employment, so for me it's more of a necessity than a choice.

    What I would like to do is to buy/rent or as stated above "scrounge" a small piece of land, put some caravans or prefabs, set up solar/thermal panels for heating/electricity, water could come off springs or wells, enough land to grow veggies and the remainder could be sold at the side of the road (quite common in rural locations in Italy) or at local markets.

    If you take advantage of Italy/EU financial incentives this could be a profitable business.

    I also would like to have motivated partners in this adventure and this is probably the bottleneck, because very few are willing to live in a rural location for long time. I have previous (20+ years ago) political experience in Italy, so that could work out as a bonus in terms of getting along with the locals.

    The OP or whoever is interested can always contact me. I'm in the UK right now, so we could meet up.

  • Thanks for the reply schadenfreude. Is there a way to send private messages?

    I am open to all of Europe, the only reason I picked out Bulgaria was cost of land, however if there are possibilities for leasing land for free, there is certainly less risk over a time period and if it all goes to crap then there is some get out. Of course define "provided you improve the territory" or rather what do the authorities define that as?

  • I might be interested in something like this so I will watch this thread with interest and contribute where I can. At the moment I am trying to learn as many skills as possible so I can start a new low impact life abroad. I am just about to start an online permaculture course and I would advise anyone thinking of living this kind of life to look into permaculture. It is not just about growing food. It is a complete design system for low impact high yield living. The course is not too expensive and is modular so you could just take the modules you need.
    Search for Patrick Whitefield online land course.


  • Aman/Paul

    Thanks for the message and thanks for the tip. I never fully understood what permaculture meant but after a quick bit of research it sounds like working with nature and natural processes/cycles to grow food and keep soil in top condition rather than stripping the land and needing to replenish regularly, all with minimal input - sounds too good to be true!? Also sounds like something that would work with a more limited land space I would assume - but what are the downsides!?

  • It depends what you call downsides really. Permaculture is a shift in the way we think, the way we grow, the way we treat others, the way we work, the way we deal with waste.

    It is a continual process of improvement and every time you find a problem the fun is designing a process to turn that problem into a plus.

    There are no waste products in permaculture because we either try to design them out of the system or make use of any waste streams you can't remove.


  • I'm in my late 40s, too old?
    Only if YOU think so!

  • Wow, the above interest has surprised me! I wish I had more of an update for you all. Firstly, its just me on board. I have had a few people express interest, but no serious interest. What I would say, since I posted this message I hadn't realised how important it is for me to find a soul mate to do this with, so I have stepped up my search on that front - which is damn hard to find :-( I think more than anything I want to find someone to do this project with. That's not going to stop me finding like-minded people, or going it alone, but I am not yet ready to give up the search before I do anything - its also giving me more time to save which is only a good thing.

    Recently I thought I had found a perfect person to move forward with, a potential soul mate, but ultimately we just fundamentally wanted a different future and it was very disheartening for me because at a different time in both our lives I believe it could have been exactly what we both would have wanted. C'est la vie.

    So here I am, still saving, still searching, taking the hits, but I'm still staying positive (trying to!). While I am in solid employment for the time being I will keep saving, so this project is still alive. I will continue to update when I have something worthwhile to add. Many thanks for the interest :-)

  • I would get involved in something like this, do not care where, but I want to put the effort into something for my long term future, not some here today gone tomorrow unrealistic dream. Has to be off grid self sustaining and self supporting. I can bring a lot to the project but green fingers and funds.

    But I have seen a lot of communal projects failover the years, so I would like say a communal area you " buy" into, either labour, goods or cash, (library, meeting room, kitchen, skills share area etc, and that stake could be "sold" onto others if people drop out, and then individual off grid "homesteads" around that.

    Community without the commune.

    I am no "all property is theft" Hippy. If I spend a bunch of work making a nice vegetable plot, I do not want everyone taking what they want from it willy nilly, I am happy to freely share surplus though with others. The difference to me is important. I am happy to support someone who is I'll or incapacitated, but not the lazy, drunk or stoners.

  • I had high expectations of being in a similar project a few years ago and although lots of interest and enthusiasm emerged, it was impossible to get anyone to solidly commit to anything and there was always the issue of funds and perceptions -some had funds and resented having to carry those who didn't,those who didn't have funds feeling uneasy about being seen as 'scroungers' or freeloaders or inadeqaute and all the other issues like purchase of land,who makes decisions what happens if theres no unanimous agreement to direction, what happens to someones share if a member left etc etc...certainly not easy maintaining motivation and enthusiasm, especially over a long period of discussion and preparation.
    However, that has to be done and at the end of that period the people who are still firmly attached to the idea are the ones who will stick with it.
    I would still love to be part of somethig like that but Im getting a little long in the tooth and definitely not in Bulgaria despite its cost advantages.
    I had been looking into a communal thing but because of the difficulties of long term cohesion and the fact Im gay and most communities want straight singles and couples so to eventually become a community of families, Ive been looking at accomplishing what I want -living on the land sustainably and self-sufficiently off grid more or less on my own either in Italy- as I speak Italian- or Spain or Portugal(neither of those languages I know well but willing to learn and have begun them so to possibly move there when Ive accumulated suficient funds...ah the perennial funds issue again lol.
    I would actually like to do something in the UK, but land prices,the exhaustive and obstructionist /prohibitive planning process and the general populist animosity towards those of us who dare to choose to live an alternative lifestyle and generally regarded as weird drop-outs,scroungers, druggies,stoners, la la land dwellers and all the usual unwarranted stereotypical negative descriptives, mean Id rather invest my efforts into something where the self- determined, self- sufficient off-grid lifestyle culture is easier to accomplish and more welcomed ,appreciated and supported so that ultimately means moving abroad.
    There is a self sustaining eco community project in west wales the Lammas community http://lammas.org.uk/ which despite the odds is succeeding and the Pembrokeshire planning authority is actually allowing that to work but its under its total oversight (control) and its a hard battle.
    Thers are a few other similar community projects around the UK notably in Leeds (straw bale housing village) and in Somerset and Southern Scotland under LILI (low impact living initiative) and of course Earthship in Scotland but on the whole there is little positive forward movement despte the huge interest in permaculture and sustainability in the uk and due solely to the intransigence of government and planning policy alike.Government of whatever persuasion is more interested in chaining us to the system they control than allowing free thought and expression and Ive lived too long to be hopeful that attitude is likely to change in the UK.

    I am a member of Hartwood and we had a similar community project proposed in Scotland called Solas but that folded due to inability to fund the huge land purchase costs.There is however a new nucleus of a project in Northern Spain- in the same area as another unrelated community project, but who share the same principles and ideas - that some of the original Hartwood members and some newer members have began a year os so ago and you may or may not be interested in getting involved with that, or at least learning about it and see for yourself if its for you.
    Info on the Hartwood Spanish project can be found here http://hartwood.info/projects/ecoaldea/ if you like the idea join the forum and read more about it there.I am not involved in that project but if If it is of interest let me know I can put you in direct contact with the project leader.
    You may or may not know about LILI, but if not then take a look at their site and current projects http://www.lowimpact.org/ and you might find this site of use http://ecologicalland.coop/low-impact-development and this resource site http://oneplanetdevelopment.pb…w/page/29111454/FrontPage

    Best of luck with whatever you do and stay determined...as the old saying goes -nothing worthwhile in life is easy. :wall::D

  • NomadicRT ,

    forget about doing that in Italy. I tried that last year and it failed miserably, leaving heavy psychological scars on me. If the local Council in Italy knows you are into a sustainable project, they will blackmail you and persecute you. The only so called sustainable villages in Italy (that I know) are indeed commercial companies with the political backing of the whichever is the ruling local party.

  • Thanks for the advice,sorry your experience was not a wholesome one but having Italian family background I have some knowledge of how corrupt most of the sytem is there and few if any places you can escape it and not surprised at what you say,so despite my language advantage Id kind of settled on the idea of Northern Spain or Portugal as preferred destinations.However the Spanish right wing govt slapping taxes on solar installations smacked of the Italian way of doing things-interfering for their own agenda-so I hope with their losses in recent elections they will eventually get kicked out and things will go back to being more sensible....who knows. :/

  • I am also interested to invest in land in Portugal or Spain late this year or early next. I would be up for that.
    I still want to chase the mobile vanliving lifestyle however I would be keen to look into community ideas, somewhere i can come back to, Plant grow, build and fix broken motors lol. :S

    My interests are historical building skills and low impact technology. Ive built hurdles, helped to build strawbale and cob buildings.
    I have kept all manner of goats, sheep, poultry, water fowl, domestic animals.
    Ive have cheese making and dairy produce skills.
    Im keen to build a life in another country as the UK just doesnt feel like my home anymore.

  • I had high expectations of being in a similar project a few years ago...
    Best of luck with whatever you do and stay determined...as the old saying goes -nothing worthwhile in life is easy. :wall::D

    Thanks for a detailed and valued contribution to this thread :-) will check out the links you provided also. I constantly have to force myself to stay positive and determined, that is definitely sound advice.

    You do make some good points, especially the long in the tooth comment - I think that's why I have become less interested in communal and more interested in finding a partner in crime - id rather I and/or partner made the decisions. I did always see myself as a dictator of my own land! :-D I'm still open to people coming for the ride and I am open to all opinions and compromise but ultimately it will be mine and partners project. That's the dream anyway!

  • Thanks for a detailed and valued contribution to this thread :-) will check out the links you provided also. I constantly have to force myself to stay positive and determined, that is definitely sound advice.

    You do make some good points, especially the long in the tooth comment - I think that's why I have become less interested in communal and more interested in finding a partner in crime - id rather I and/or partner made the decisions. I did always see myself as a dictator of my own land! :-D I'm still open to people coming for the ride and I am open to all opinions and compromise but ultimately it will be mine and partners project. That's the dream anyway!

    Yes well if you read a lot of peoples experiences of their attempts at creating their very own Nirvana, that are dotted around the internet, there are stories that would possibly put you off for life and thats before you start including all the laws and regulations that make living an alterntive community lifestyle hard work to achieve.
    But people do succeed and live happily and the ones that failed have often done so because theyve not done their homework or had unrealistic expectations of what theyre planning to do, or more importantly, of themselves and their ability to cope mentally and physically for perhaps a long time to see a project through and with interacting in close quarters with other people sometimes in less than sane or sanitary conditions.

    I used to be really keen on a kind of shared, sustainable community project but its always seemed that the more people that become involved,the harder it is to satisfy everyones expectations and needs and the democratic decision making progress becomes more complex, problematic and slower.If you happen to be involved with something that requires moving quickly or construction times are dependent on narrow windows of opportunity then this can be extremely -and sometimes impossibly- frustrating.

    As much as I like the idea of sharing everything in a likeminded sustainable community Ive done some tough jobs and seen some horrible things in life that people didnt oughta see and the very worst of human nature so while I have an altruistic view of the world and generally try to be optimistic that most people are generally good, I do not see the world through the same rose tinted spectacles that many do.
    I know as well that there would be things Id seriously resent about communal arrangements or times I would even resent having people around at all.Both of which Ive experienced already.

    Ive concluded the idyll I want to create is one I am totally responsible for and I alone will live and its possibly or probably unlikely I will find one- let alone a few people- who see the same view of the world I do ....maybe thats possibly selfish or some would say egotistical (thats not me at all) but I am just being realistic.

    So I totally understand when you say you want to be 'the dictator of your own land'..unfortunately thats often the best solution and if we're all brutally honest here, we all do that to a varying degree on a micro-scale, living in our vans,buses yurts benders or whatever.
    We all have our own style of living, we want our vans, trucks, buses,caravans, benders the way we want them and to be an extension and reflection of our own personality,how we live is a rejection of how others want or expect us to live, something we are able to control without undue outside interference or permission.
    What we do with our homes and how we use them is down to us and no one else-even if paradoxically we are collectively a big like minded community of hippies and alternative livers with shared values.

    Its worth remembering if youre ever in any doubt, the less you have in life the more youre in control of it. :)

    And dont dream for too long,you may wake up and its getting too late.Theres many of us here in that boat.
    If you can't find anyone to build the dream with,then you just go do it anyway,dont put it off until you find them.
    Someone most probably will arrive in your life to share it with when you least expect them to, if its meant to be.
    I know that much to be true.

  • And dont dream for too long,you may wake up and its getting too late.Theres many of us here in that boat.
    If you can't find anyone to build the dream with,then you just go do it anyway,dont put it off until you find them.
    Someone most probably will arrive in your life to share it with when you least expect them to, if its meant to be.
    I know that much to be true.

    Excellent words, thank you. Its important to always keep this in mind :-)

  • Well.... as i suspected... ideas, talk, but no action....
    Im not having a dig at those who have contributed to this thread but I am pointing out that talk will get no where.
    Tis action thats needed...
    How many years has UKHIPPY been going? Diggers and dreamers? intentional communities? etc etc.
    How many folks have registered an interest in communal ideas and living?
    how many times has this topic been brought up and nothing done with it?
    Many... i tell you many
    and Ive come to accept this as being life, people dream big and do nothing with it.

    Some years ago in Scotland, Myself and one other person got the paper work ready and registered as a housing co-op, we didnt have funds to buy property so our intention was to rent a big rural property to the said co-op and live together as one unit.
    We held meetings that nobody could be arse to attend, in later years we hosted meetings online via social media and skype - still nobody could be arse to put any effort in.
    We eventually ( on two occasions) got a property lined up with 5 or so members ready to move in and Hey guess what - once it became reality to those folk they backed out last minute.
    What ive learned from this 7 year "waste of my fecking time" was that you need a good core team of people - 3 preferably 4 folk.
    Who are prepared to put in some serious hard work at the beginning... attend the meetings, contribute to the paper work.
    I watched Paul Wimbush over the years set up Lammas ( yes he did have help eventually ) Mostly though it was his efforts that got that show on the ground and it took him over a decade not 6 years - OVER A DECADE to get Lammas up and running.

    I am all for hearing peoples ideas but there are an awful lot of people out there who are not committed to seeing an idea through to its end, spouting their hopes dreams and bullshit and then jump ship just when you need them.
    Thats life.

    So has anyone actually achieved anything since you guys last spoke???

  • HI, Anji here, really interesting reading and some great points made.... I can't start off by saying, we have the land, we have the permissions, we are starting building....but we are getting very close to all those. We have been planning, plotting, researching, dreaming and meeting for 2 1/2 years here in LIncolnshire....and we are starting to see a flicker of light at the end of the long tunnel. I meet with all the stakeholders 4th Nov (2015) at the Local Authority offices, and we either get the green light again (had one meeting already, but hadn't finalised the site) or its back to the drawing board.... We are looking to self build sustainable homes in various styles and materials (to test the build/living appropriateness of each) from shipping containers, to straw bale, to earthships, to even Hive House type structures. These are for rental only, I totally want to get away from the ownership model which i believe (personal opinion, not that of the group necessarily) that housing ownership and multiple ownership for rentals, has contributed greatly to the financial mess we see today - but as a coop, the tenants will be members of the coop and together will decide on an appropriate rental - along with things like a rule book for compatible living. There will be a community facility for communal eating/socialising and also to share cultural and therapeutic workshops etc with the wider community along with shared growing spaces for food production. There is lots more to tell, but if this is something you might be interested in, please do get in touch, I will be happy to send out more info. And if any wants to help us to build/develop this site, then again, please get in touch.... I am not sure if there are rules to this site, but apologies if i break any by posting our email address : aec.lincs@gmail.com

  • Hi Anji, and Welcome to UKH.

    That is a very interesting and inspiring post, and I'm sure there will be lots of folks on here who will be interested in your progress with this project, and hopefully some of them will be able to help and/or join the project.

    Every good wish with it!

  • Thank you oldkeith.....I hope so, we like to share all we do, and encourage others to engage with us - to learn from them and to share our learning....its being the change we wish to see.... x

  • HI r3ubs - both I guess....we are all living in Lincs, and the site we hope to be building on in due course is in rural lincs, about 20 mins out from Lincoln. Once we get the Local Authority support and the local community are aware of our plans through consultation, i will share further information on its location.

    I am however, working on another project along with others that will be based somewhere within the East Midlands, but that site has yet to be finalised. It will may well include a centre for health and wellbeing - with a focus on tackling health issues connected to stress, cancer and other debilitating illnesses along with mental illness prevention and support (areas we have direct interest in/experience of delivering)