Starting a new, simple life in Spain

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Starting a new, simple life in Spain

Post: #224396 peat
Mon Feb 21, 2011 1:40 pm

Hello folks,
This is my first post on the forum. I thought some of you might be interested in my plans, and be able to offer me advice/thoughts.

I am reaching an exciting new chapter in my life.
In just under 2 months I am moving, with my girlfriend, to a piece of land in rural Spain. This is going to be a great opportunity to get out of the city to somewhere where we can focus on doing the things we love - working wood, growing veg, making, living simply and being surrounded by trees and beautiful countryside. We are moving onto the land of a group who are renovating a big old farmhouse, growing food, making their own natural medicines and cosmetics and many other things, all without electricity!

So at the beginning of April we set off with a van loaded with tools, canvas, rope and some other essentials. Our plan is to live in a bender a bit away from the farmhouse. However, I have no experience of living in a canvas structure in a Mediterranean climate. My plan is to insulate it with blankets between the wood and the canvas, as I would in this country, and have it easily ventable, probably with sides that can be rolled up without too much hassle. Does this sound like a good arrangement? Also I am not certain that the piece of land has suitably materials for making a bender. There are plentiful trees on the site including Almond, Olive, Cork Oak, Pines and Sweet chestnut, but I don't know if the latter has been coppiced, and I am not sure of the suitability of the others for bender building. I have also learned that is some sort of Salix, although again I don't know whether it will be suitable or be weeping willow, or what...

I am currently in the process of assembling a bicycle generator to provide us with the small amount of electricity we will be using. This will provide us with a few LED lights, occasionally a laptop, and music/audio books from a small speaker and mp3 player. Fortunately I am good friends with some guys who run an alternative energy workers co-op, making wind turbines, bike generators, and other bits and bobs. So I have their expertise while I am in the UK.

One of the major challenges we will face (one of many i'm sure) is that our only transport, after our friend with the van has left, will be bicycles and trailers! We have been getting around like this for years, but it is a lot easier in the city than miles away from anywhere up a bumpy track!

So, I don't know if anyone here has any experience of the trees of Spain, or living in a similar structure in a similar climate, but I am just looking for any advice that anyone might be able to offer... on bender life, Spain, or anything else you think might be relevant.

Thankyou in advance.
Pete

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Re: Starting a new, simple life in Spain

Post: #224397 Berti
Mon Feb 21, 2011 1:42 pm

good for you and good luck with making your dreams happen!
Niknik on this board sure will chime in here, she's english and did exactly that....went to live in spain.

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Re: Starting a new, simple life in Spain

Post: #224399 southeast-isher
Mon Feb 21, 2011 1:54 pm

Sounds perfect! Nice one.

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Re: Starting a new, simple life in Spain

Post: #224401 contadina
Mon Feb 21, 2011 2:11 pm

I live in southern Italy and we put our helpxchangers up in a canvas tent with sides that can roll up for ventilation, and during the height of summer it's cooler than the house. If rural Spain is anything like rural Italy I personally think you'll struggle getting around solely by bike. If that's your only option, make sure you get some serious tyres as they puncture really, really easily on country roads.

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Re: Starting a new, simple life in Spain

Post: #224404 okra
Mon Feb 21, 2011 2:15 pm

Good luck but one thing to bear in mind is that occasionally winter nights in the Mediterranean can be very cold and frosty.

For some details on trees in the Mediterranean and information on growing vegetables organically have a look at our website as we are in Cyprus.

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Re: Starting a new, simple life in Spain

Post: #224412 peat
Mon Feb 21, 2011 2:31 pm

Thanks for the quick replies folks.

Contadina, this adventure has come about through a trip the two of us made on bikes around France and Spain. so we have a fair bit of experience living on and with bikes, and both of us have kevlar protected tires. But, you are right, it will be difficult. The community we will be living with/near, have some cars, and there is also the vague possibility of us buying a vehicle if completely necessary, although we can't really afford it...
Cheers
Pete

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Re: Starting a new, simple life in Spain

Post: #224415 greenorelse
Mon Feb 21, 2011 2:38 pm

Good luck Pete. A brave move but you'll benefit, surely.
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Re: Starting a new, simple life in Spain

Post: #224417 contadina
Mon Feb 21, 2011 2:45 pm

That sounds sensible. Just give it a go with your bikes and see how you fare. A blogging buddy in Liguria cycles, if my memory serves me correct, 15kms to his land in the country each day.

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Re: Starting a new, simple life in Spain

Post: #224431 pelmetman
Mon Feb 21, 2011 6:18 pm

How exciting, I really hope it goes well for you.

Just a thought but has the land got a good water supply? The reason I ask is that we have recently returned from touring Spain in our trusty old campervan and were shocked to come across so many wide river beds that were completely dry.

Sue
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Re: Starting a new, simple life in Spain

Post: #224459 TheGoodEarth
Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:42 am

Sounds like a great adventure, I would invest in a little second hand moped for getting around. How do you plan to make a living in Spain?
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Re: Starting a new, simple life in Spain

Post: #224461 peat
Tue Feb 22, 2011 10:44 am

Fortunately the land has a great water supply. A fairly sizable river runs just below the farmhouse, there is also a spring for drinking water and large concrete irrigation tanks that are filled from the spring.

A moped sounds like a good idea.

In terms of money, Initially we will be living on money we have saved, working with the others on the land for our food (they are completely self sufficient in veg and exchange work for cereals with another farmer) while our beds get established. We have become very accomplished at living with almost no money. Ideally we would sell our crafts at local markets for money, and do seasonal work, but we'll see.

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Re: Starting a new, simple life in Spain

Post: #226152 lorrayne
Mon Mar 14, 2011 7:10 pm

Hi just going to add my pennyworth - - speaking from experience a tent is ok but remember that insulation also helps keep out the noise, a word of warning as cute as they are stray dogs they bark and when you are trying to sleep in the middle of the night . . . need I saymore.
Something else to think about is what if you have an accident or fall ill altho you may have the E111 (?) card you have to make allowances. I had a fight with a palm frond and the tip ended up in my leg, so a trip to a & e with a bill. The other thing to remember is that although you are aiming for a simple life there are always taxes to pay, whether it a moped, spanish style council tax, even selling your crafts at a market.
Plus how would you get back to the UK if you needed to - always keep something to fall back on.
But I would say go for it - enjoy you only live once
see the world in a grain of sand - and heaven in a flower


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