Sunday September 11, 8pm - I turn on the indicator and take the final turn, it's been a long day on the road with Mr. Bojangles (the fabulous home on wheels), but the journey and week away have charged up my batteries. Rolling down the dike I take off my sunglasses, and there it is, my house is still there! New moms, I totally get you now, its tough to leave your baby behind for the first time.
Turning on my computer upon return, I'm happily surprised to see so many new people joined me, so a big welcome to those who recently subscribed! Although my blogs have mostly been updates on projects I'm doing, I decided to take this opportunity to share a more personal side of this adventure, the behind the scenes, and what fuels this journey.
While re-installing the camper I realize how good it feels to be back. How lucky I am to be able to return to a base that has already become so much more than just a house; my new home.
So what does life at my building site actually look like? Well its basic, and life takes more time than the conventional. My base is the campervan, which I rebuilt to fit all my needs; its selfsufficient with two solar pannels and two batteries; a full kitchen with a small fridge and a sink; a water resevoir containing 100L of water and a 20L water resevoir for drinking water which I fill with a hose; and a single bed that can be extended to a double. Its where I sleep, cook, eat and spend rare moments of relaxing (and where I make these blogs :). I absolutely love it! My priority project at the very start of the build was to get onto the grid for water and electricity, which made life a lot easier as I started off fully dependent on neighbours for all my water needs.
Although I have a chemical toilet in the campervan, I don't use it. In preparation of the build I set up a tent to function as my toilet, a DIY built composting toilet with a urine separator. Nothing feels better than going for a #2 knowing it'll be turned into fertile soil! So I built a composting bin in the corner of the garden, initially made up from pallets but soon I decided it'd be better to go in a sealed container (considering the rural setting). The tent is also the perfect place for storing my tools, keeping my bikes dry, and keeping any other things I don't want cluttering the campervan. Plus, I can safely lock things up. I empty the urine container every 2-3 days, and the poo bucket with wood shavings every week or so. It's not a dirty task, you just have to do it in time, trust me, you'll make that mistake only once. Showers and the laundry are the two things I am still leaning on neighbours (and parents) for, though a good ol' washcloth can do miracles on sticky sweat and saw dust skin!
And finally, I have my regular work to do. Leading the development for a nonprofit in Costa Rica, means needing internet fast enough to do several Zoom meetings a day. The first few months were challenging as I didn't have a fixed internet connection. Using my phone hotspot has been my main source of internet for the past two years living and traveling in the campervan, but the reception here turned out to be worse than most camp sites in the forest I stayed at! I ended up lucky with someone in town needing a cat-sitter, and she offered for me to work there too even when she was at home. Being even more lucky, I was connected to fiber optic internet in August, despite it actually being scheduled for October!
Returning home this week has solidified some of my key values in life. It feels right to build my own dream house using only materials that limit burdening our mother earth. It feels right to strive towards and live a circular low impact life. Hell yes, it even feels right to shit in a bucket! And even more important than any practicalities, its the hearts of the people being surrounded by and a general feeling of belonging. During my travels, a neighbour helped waterproof the house, others inquiered about my adventures, and the days after my return I had countles conversations sharing my time away. In addition to all the continued support I'm receiving on so many fronts, this is highlighting again that for whatever we have going on in our lives, we are there for each other!
I'm a believer that a sustainable future for ourselves means going back to how villages used to develop: creating homes together by fully embracing the strengths of all residents; using materials from their immediate surroundings; and living in harmony with nature.
Till the next time my fellow builders! ~ Sarah