As mentioned in my previous blog, after watching a documentary movie called The garbage warrior at 1 am – we just went to sleep with the thought in our heads – well – that’s radical, courages but way out there – even for us. 🙂 And after one week passed – I just couldn’t get this man and his quest out of my mind. To build sustainable, off the grid, self-sufficient buildings out of the garbage(tires, bottles, cans) and natural materials (and the fact that they work for people and in the most natural way) – is a genius way to solve quite a few global problems that we are facing today. We just had to check this one out.
We looked for Earthship Biotecture (EB) online and noticed– that we can apply for the academy (EBA). It was consisted of 3 parts:– 1. Part was participating in Greater world, near Taos, New Mexico; for 6 weeks. 2. Part is internship (one month of hand-on building on an earthship project, possibly anywhere around the globe), 3. Part is an independent study. When your done with all three parts, you get an Earthship Biotecture certificate. The academy cost 2500$ per person. The concepts, and the whole idea of having that kind of experience just amazed us. So we applied and got accepted somewhere in January 2014. The scheduled date for actually going to the academy was 17th May 2014. We tried to collect as much money as we possibly could (and being unemployed– that was a tough task). We needed around 10000$ and were lucky enough that my love’s parents had helped (we are deeply thankful for that ❤ ).
After the longest winter in my life – May finally came.
We invited our friends and family to a farewell vegan picnic a week before our departure for the States and packed our suitcases and tools the night before we left.
Early in the morning we traveled to Austria by car, my father drove. From Graz we flew to Germany. From Munich we flew 13 hours to Houston and than spent 1 more hour on a plane to Albuquerque. It was about 24 hours of airports and flying. It was the first time ever for me – and I just loved it. Hrvoje was more unconformable with it – he was scared of flying back than…. (since then – things changed 🙂 ) I tend to not to be scared of anything. I am trying to embrace changes and trying to observe myself what I am thinking when my mind wants to be scared. And when fear is no longer present – than you can start enjoying the experience(s) itself.
The night when we finally came to Albuquerque (New Mexico) we were quite tired and we found the nearest hotel (Best Western) and crashed. It was warm summer night (I remember feeling the summer – it was surreal – in Slovenia, it wasn’t as pleasant). We went out for a couple of beers, after that, we slept like dead.
The next day Blaze picked us up – another EBA student – with whom we communicated only via email. He is originally from Texas and he gave us a lift on his way to Taos. We connected straight a way and we really enjoyed deep and long conversations that made our journey much more pleasant. When we arrived in Taos, we went to the rented house (rented earlier in the month via internet, by Paul) for 2 days, meet with a few more EBA students (Sean, Tyler, Paul, Thomas). Monday, the 1. day, we went to a “Greater world” where all the magic happens. The scenery is pretty incredible – all that houses with lots of windows facing south, all that magnificent buildings that were like nothing we have ever seen before. Michael Reynolds’ team consists of very versatile and interesting individuals – that have really unique and inspiring stories and experiences of how they ended up here or how they met. Almost all have their own Earthship, and a few have larger numbers of Earthships. 🙂 It was surreal to listen to their lectures and to work with this people. The atmosphere was always positive, open and somehow known.
We had lectures and hand-on building from Monday – Friday. We were in this desert like area with dirt devils (strong spiral winds of sand) in hot hot sun. But hardly nobody complained. We were managing our tasks and were very happy to learn, to be and to feel … everything.
Me and my love stayed in The Hobbit House (1st house that M. Reynolds ever build). It was really cozy and very different from the common accommodations that people usually stay. We loved it.
Meanwhile we had free weekends, lots of sociable time with other students and lots of fun times, as you can imagine. Taos is really special places with snow covered mountains in the desert, with lots of special souls, extremely sweet and polite people, a place where I felt like home. Real home, where I fit in. A real home where I could just be me, you know? Slovenia, unfortunately, does not feel right anymore. And yes, Taos is a beautiful and special place and our journey will definitely take us there again.
We (the EBA students) went on 3 excursions around Taos region, to explore and see the Earthships that people live in or rent out. It was amazing … to see how everything works together – rain water transforms into drinking water with the help of a Water Organizing Module (WOM). Water is used 4 times in the building, for toilet use as well. No waste of fresh water here people.
There are many plants, flowers and foods planted in Earthship and people have some of the foods whole year round. Electricity is generated from solar panels and windmills. The Power Organizing Module (POM) than distributes it throughout the house. All the Earthships are very artistic and personalized. They are very colorful and they, somehow, feel alive. We were also in Earthships around the Greater world community and met the people who have been living there for decades.
They all look pretty happy – I suppose that that is how you feel when you are free … free from utilities, also, a bit free from the greedy mouths of government. We also went on The Reach – another community of Earthships that were build high in the mountain area, (about 3.000m, 9.000 ft. above sea level). You need a 4×4 vehicle to get up there and the people of EB built all of Reach with their bare hands and tools due to the remoteness and the steep slope. Yes, no crains, no concrete mixers, and yes, no trucks or diggers. It was a lot of trouble, but I can understand where the desire to build something like Reach comes from. It’s all about the view. It is amazing … breathtaking. It makes you feel alive. Fortunate are the people who can experience that view on a regular base. Hope they are aware of their fortune.
These buildings can be built anywhere and they don’t need electrical cables or water installations to the house. They are self-sufficient and they don’t need any heating or cooling devices. All is thought through carefully, presented with such a detail in construction. It makes you feel kind of humble, when you realize how human minds and nature can work together and create something beautiful and lasting .
M.Reynolds travels the world to spread awareness of today’s problems and he presents a few solutions. He, his team and volunteers have built many homes and Earthship structures around the world as a part of humanitarian projects. He also builds housing for clients who understand how important it is to start living differently. Or sometimes just for people who want something very different.
Being in Taos and New Mexico was just an awesome experience, it stole our hearts and we will definitely visit this magical place again. We will build one of our own in the future, but the time before we we settle down is decades away. Meanwhile, we will obtain EB certificate and hopefully find a great team of people, who believe in the same principles about life and believe in similar ways and concepts, and we will build Earthships together for people around the Europe or world. 🙂
Why not? 🙂
Everything you wish to know about their projects, academy and everything else about the topic – http://earthship.com/academy .
Here is a video about the ES academy, students and teachers- Earthship biotecture academy volume x.
And here is the famous movie from the mind and hands behind the Earthship idea – The garbage warrior.
That 6 weeks in New Mexico passed by quickly, that is always the case when you live in the now and having fun. After that we went to Colorado for 2 weeks. We had our first workaway experience there and the feelings about the experience were confusing. Life was giving me exactly what I need and I was wondering – what does Life want to give/tell me with that experience.
We found a family through www.workaway.com. Their profile seemed lovely – A married couple with 3 children, forth on the way, home-schooling, lots of pets in the house, safe and nice part of Parker, Denver, no TV in the house. They sounded perfect for us and we could relate with them with our believes – at least we thought so. The reality was different. They were a typical American family with tons of stuff lying everywhere, with screaming children that had too much of energy and no idea how to properly channel it, with an overprotective pregnant mother that never stopped any of the madness, with a hard working father that was absent most of the day – everyday, but he was home when it was church time. They were also very religious and firm believers – that they are a nice, normal, loving family. They ate all the wrong foods; everything was from boxes with tons of chemicals and no real, fresh, raw food.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not judging anybody – it is their life, their choices, and their consequences. I (as an observer) just felt so hopeless and sad – sad for the innocent little souls that parents were corrupting with their false love and wrong teachings. And it’s not parents fault either – they were raised the same way and were doing what they were thought was right. If they only knew, that life can be different. But that is not the case, in this case. There are 85%-90% people like that out there – they never question anything that they were taught. They firmly believe that they are doing the best they possibly can for their loved ones, and well, they couldn’t be more wrong. I often hear the parents say – we must leave a better planet for our children, but what about leaving better children for our planet???
Our part in this family was to clean their house and garden for one or two hours a day, for exchange of free accommodation and food. Nothing serious or tough. Weekly they gave us some money for our food and the rest we bought with our money (we ate vegan and went in organic stores – no compromises there. Luckily, there are plenty of excellent organic stores all over NM & CO). We could use their car and their community swimming pool which was amazing during the peak of the summer. We went on trips to Denver, the Denver Aquarium, Boulder and surrounding parks.
We had fun every time when we stepped outside of the house – and when we returned – chaos and drama all over again. We could not be ourselves there, no place to balance out the odd things that were happening and we finally had enough after 2 weeks. We started to look for couch-surfing hosts somewhere in Albuquerque (from where we had our flight back home).
We found a 72 year old woman named Janice – she was willing to take us into her home for free for one week. We were desperate and just accepted the offer. It turned out – that it was the right choice. We traveled to ABQ by bus, which took us 8,5 hours. Janice picked us from the station and gave us a 20 minut ride home. She took us into her lovely New Mexico style house. We had our own bedroom with bathroom, no stuff lying around. 🙂 She was such a sweet personality, such an open person, we adored her. She was very sharp minded, still a parliamentarian, with interesting stories of her own. We had a good time, great conversations and I have cooked for us lovely vegan dinners with wine, candles – which were very much enjoyed on the terrace. We spent there 5 days and for the weekend we went a few miles away – to another EBA student – that just came from Taos. Dan the man. He and his girlfriend welcomed us in for the weekend and we went on Sandia peak with highest or longest tram in the world (I can’t remember which one). 🙂 The views was awesome, you could see the whole 600.000 people city bellow. So beautiful. On Sunday Dan took us to the airport and sadly, flew back home.
After the USA experience, we were home for 3 weeks, after that went to the Croatian sea-side for 2 weeks. So after holiday season it was time for Hrvoje to finish his degree, which he did. After an experience like Earthships and after a year like we had and with our mind sets – we just knew, that the life in Slovenia is just over for us. There was nothing there that would really excite us. There was nothing there that could challenge us or lift our spirits. There was nothing there except ever-growing apathy in young people and idiotic government – bringing flowers to EU string pullers. There were no jobs that could satisfy our needs and no future for us here at home in Slovenia.
After being back from USA and Croatian vacation, we made a plan to actively look for jobs in UK as a live in couple. We arranged a workaway situation for us in mid October for two months. And once we would arrive in UK, we would continue to search for a job that we wanted, from a “safe” point (safe in terms of money spending – we arranged free accommodation and free food for exchange of 4-5 hours of help).
So we packed our car, took our dog Gaia with us, with a 1000€ in our pockets and we hit the road. 🙂
And that is the story for another blog. 🙂
Greetings from England.
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
More pictures from this amazing experiences are here (for facebook users); https://www.facebook.com/manuela.leskovar/media_set?set=a.10203613644957164.1073741838.1097163940&type=3