It’s been a while now that I kept myself busy with communal living projects and eco-villages. The ones I visited so far were all fascinating in their own way but I could never fully identify with the inhabitants there. They were either too spiritual, too old or simply different mentality/life situation. So I was very enthusiastic when I became aware of the first Economadia event and booked a trip from Germany to Spain to find out more.
A special kind of eco-village
The one day event took place in the eco-village Molino de Guadalmesí, a 30 minute drive from Tarifa/Spain. The Mediterranean style and original buildings, for instance the house that had been built without the use of money, made me feel comfortable immediately.
Even more importantly, internet and mobile phones were not viewed suspiciously such as in some other communities I have been to. The founder of the village, Johnny, who accompanied us that day was very familiar with the digital nomad phenomenon and considers the cooperation between the digital nomad and eco-village movement as a win-win situation. To me he seemed to be the ideal intermediary between the two worlds. However, he was not the only interesting person I met at the Economadia event that day.
An extraordinary event attracts extraordinary people. For example, I got to know Ellen, a 49-year old Dutch camper van nomad or Gerry V, who was predicted to not live longer than 30 years. He is now over 30, has largely since overcome his condition and worked so hard that he is now set for life, financially speaking.
An extraordinary event attracts extraordinary people.
Furthermore I got introduced to intriguing methods like “Dragon Dreaming” and “Open Space”, techniques for the realization of collaborative projects and for the collective processing of participant requests respectively. Also discussed with other participants were questions such as:
- How does your ideal digital nomad eco-village look like?
- What are the challenges of a cooperation between digital nomads and eco-villages?
- What other players could be interested in a cooperation?
Within the context of the Open Space session I got the advice not to plan umpteen steps in advance but just to ask “What is step 1?” and then set a deadline for this step. Only then should I proceed to step 2.
The experience to be part of a brand-new movement
For me this event was different from others I attended before. This time there were no “experts” around; everyone, the organisers, the project founders and the participants, were in the same boat and discussed with one another on the same level. The subject was new for all of us thus everyone could contribute something. Also, thanks to the manageable number of around 20 participants we all had a part in shaping the event.
Both organisers presented themselves as students/interested people on this topic just like us. They revealed how they got involved with the organisation of the event and what they had learned in doing so.
Everyone, the organizers and participants, were in the same boat, there were no “experts”
For me they embodied a “start-where-you-are” philosophy. It has showed me that you can get something off the ground in a “lean” way without having years of experience in a subject. Just search for like-minded people and learn on the way.
This has also encouraged me to write this present post. Without any previous experience.