Guys! I have big news!
(Definitely big enough news to break my radio silence in this space!)
We did it! We bought a farm! Almost four entire acres of fertile volcanic land in the highlands of Lake Atitlan, Guatemala! OUR FARM! We’re overwhelmed. And excited. And grateful. And so many feelings have run through us over the last month. And I’m just so excited to share it all. Like, not only did we buy a completely off-grid farm property— but get this: the property is at the base of a volcano! Across from two other volcanos… one of which is active. And if that doesn’t sound adventurous enough– the property is only accessible by boat. The nearest road/village is about a 40-minute hike away. We’re nuts, right? Haha! Maybe! But man, we are so very excited for this next adventure.
The power of manifestation.
I’ve mentioned it a few times over the last year or so (maybe on here, probably on instagram, and definitely to any deeper than surface-level conversations I’ve had in person), but I truly believe in the power of manifestation. When covid hit, I knew this was the optimal opportunity to go inward to work on our deeper selves– but also outward to create the changes needed in our own lives and in turn on the planet as well. Change yourself, change the world, right? Well, everything I was hoping to accomplish– while it all seemed so completely and totally out of reach a few years ago has, step by step, unfolded and will continue to unfold in front of me.
First with us leaving the country and living in the jungle of Costa Rica. Then with our big move to Mexico. Then letting go of all our things in the U.S. To now: having my ultimate dream be placed directly in arms reach in front of me— I just had to take a 6-day bus journey to the property and make the ultimate decision: do we risk absolutely everything and dive in? Or do we say: “No, we’re not ready yet.” If the 16+ months have shown the world anything, it’s that life can change in a matter of hours, minutes, seconds. You can have everything and more taken away from you (even your own bodily rights) in an instant– so why not step out of the (often restraining) habits of our days and comforts of our lives and take the plunge in?
Over the last year and a half I’ve casually looked at properties and chatted with friends, but the same words and ideas kept coming to the forefront:
“I want to be in Guatemala. I’ll probably end up there. I love Mexico, but Guatemala keeps calling.”
“The lake is the most beautiful place we’ve been. The land is so lush”.
“If I can and could afford it, I want to create a healing retreat space. Preferably in Guatemala.”
“This land is beautiful, but it’s not Guatemala.”
“I want to live off-grid in Guatemala. It feels like home.”
“I’m not sure how it will happen, but I plan to live in a dream home on a beautiful property in Guatemala once Marlowe Paloma grows up and leaves me.”
Etc etc etc.
My dreams becoming reality.
In my head, I had no idea how or where– but I was hoping that in a few years I could make this dream my reality. An off-grid self-sustainable farm. A retreat space. A place to heal, teach and grow. Well, in March of 2020, I knew there would be many changes in front of me. For years we knew we wanted to move to Mexico or Guatemala. You guys know that we tried and failed years ago— we weren’t ready yet– we needed time to grow. We thought, “in two to three years.” I feel must’ve needed all the steps and emotional growth to get us here today. Well, this “pandemic” helped push everything forward, much sooner than we imagined. It was a smooth transition– one I am incredibly grateful for. In March I let go of all emotional and physical restraints and boxes. It was the first stepping stone to getting us here.
There is so much in between– so much I need to share– like how this property appeared in front of me at all, or the fact that we had started other processes in Mexico that we threw to the wayside. But the point is– again, we have been pushed closer to our dreams, quicker than planned– and instead of saying, “No, the plan was for later.” or “This feels impossible or crazy.” We’re saying, “We don’t know how, but we’re going to make this happen.”
This is happening!
We are now the stewards of an organic permaculture farm in Guatemala. It has brought me to tears many times– the thought of being protectors or ancient land. Ancient beautiful land. Land that holds more power and energy than I could ever imagine. We get to protect the land, care for the land, heal bits and pieces of the world with this land, and grow with the land. I feel so much gratitude for this beautiful abundance we now hold.
We’ve been back and forth to the property a few times. Again, it’s not the most accessible location, but we’ve visited often in hopes to lay out our future dream process. We have ideas and how we will grow our space in small stages. There are some structures there now, but it’s far from the completed vision we have in mind. There is A LOT of work ahead of us. But so much potential. We get overwhelmed sometimes. And we certainly have fears– that’s human. But overall, we’re so ready to put the work in.
The first stages of our off-grid permaculture farm and homestead.
Are we moving to the property now? No. not yet. There are a few structures (like a beautiful temazcal!) but as of now, the living situation is a bit rustic. We need a functioning kitchen first. That’s phase one. Bathrooms are stage two. We do have toilets in place, but I still want to fix them up a bit. Is there a house, you ask? Sort of. I don’t think it was built with the intention to be a house. And it’s damp, and cold, and smells a bit too musty for my liking. So phase three is removing walls from the current building that is there to make it a communal space for all that visit. Where will we live, you ask? Well, in a tent until we can afford to build a house. But tent living doesn’t bother me as long as the kitchen is beautiful, the communal space is comfortable, and the bathrooms are functioning. The shower on the property is solar heated and quite warm– so that will feel like a luxury, I’m sure. And we have more tents… and will be building more structures to welcome in more families once that season is ready 🙂
We’d love to jump in a build a house now. I’m really trying to manifest the idea that a home will be built sooner rather than later, but there are other financial priorities in place that come first. We must mindfully move forward until we are up and running and bringing in a further income given that we’ve put much of our savings into this farm. We have a full-time caregiver of the land. His payments come first. The finances for the other phases come next. And once those phases are complete (and all the details in between)— we can further our dreams into fruition.
Our new home. Our new business. Our new restaurant. Our new retreat center. Our new way to break out of the system and build something better. Our new sustainable life. Everything we wanted and more: Alex and I both look so forward to smaller day events like a true farm-to-table lunch and dinner experience. Tour the farm, experience a chef-led cooking class, hands-on harvesting experiences. And bigger, longer events to join in on. Like– retreats. I want a space to show people (families encouraged!) that they too can step out of the system and live sustainably within nature and see they too are one with nature, not separate. And I want a space to gather the amazing healers I’ve met. And share healing techniques I’ve experienced through this last decade. A place for others to come, step away from their constrictive boxes and patterned mindsets, so that they too can initiate their own healing journeys. Cultivating nurturing meals, feasting on abundant organic raw produce, exploring textiles, living in art, connecting with nature, and so much more. This place will encompass so many of the very hands-on ideas I have been wanting to express and share for far too long.
If you can’t tell, I’m excited. My mind is exploding with the beautiful possibilities in front of us.
More about the land.
I’ve mentioned this, but we’re on the base of a volcano. I imagine that Marlowe Paloma will enjoy telling her friends and family that we now own and protect part of a volcano. The farm produces more or less maybe 1,000 pounds of coffee a year. Due to the microclimate nature of the lake– we can grow anything from bananas (there are dozens and dozens of banana trees) and yuca to citrus, apples, and tea tree. We have about a half dozen beehives that are home to a rare and endangered stingless bee called melipona. Their honey is more used as medicine than for its culinary features. We’re loaded with avocado, papaya, guama, and guava trees. We have meters of squash, sweet potato, and kale plants. And so much space to plant more. About half our property is flat and the other half is a solid butt and thigh workout climb up the volcano (aka our *fuel forest* for your permaculture buffs). We have full sun all day long, except when a cold and powerful fog rolls in overhead. And we have the most beautiful view of two powerful volcanos directly in front of us.
We’re in the Mayan territory of Pachococh– look it up and you won’t find anything about it. We don’t have direct neighbors, but there are a few houses nearby. Mostly empty as vacation homes. Many of the neighboring properties are covered in corn or tomato crops. The nearest village has a small church and bodega, and not much more. You’ll be lucky if you find a handful of people who speak Spanish there. The official language of the area is called Tz’utujil. In our experience, the Mayan people are hands down the kindest and most hardworking people we’ve ever met (part of the reason my heart has always pulled me here).
The other nearest town, Santiago is a few-minute boat ride across the bay (the town you see in the image). It’s pretty large and also predominately Mayan, though you will find more Spanish speakers here. There are very, very few tourists in Santiago. And just a few older hippie ex-pats that live within the small city/large town. There are no large groceries, but there is a large central outdoor market that takes place daily for shopping needs.
We are pretty secluded, but each day you see old Mayan men in traditional wear canoe over to our land, park on our “beach” shore, and make the hike up the mountain to gather their firewood to sell in town. As mentioned, we have a caregiver for our land. And lucky for us, while we don’t really have a common language yet, he has three sons and they are the sweetest kids and the perfect age playmates for Marlowe. We’re very grateful for the opportunity to learn from such an amazing, strong, and beautiful culture.
The plan from here.
We are beyond excited to get started. If we could, we would have started already. But given that this is Guatemala and that the property is only accessible by boat, we know this will be a long building process. For now, we’re in Guatemala for a few more weeks. We’re staying across the bay and visiting, back and forth to the property (by boat), enjoying the quiet nature that it provides.
We plan to head back to Mexico maybe around the end of August. Though she will miss her friends, Marlowe Paloma is also beyond excited about this new adventure. She does want to finish up a few more months of school and circus before we officially move our entire lives again. And so we will definitely honor that. We offered her another year in Mexico before we move, but she’s content with moving much sooner. We’re hoping that Alex will fly back to Guatemala a few months later to start the building process and Marlowe and I will be in Mexico a bit longer. The three of us are hoping to do yet another big-move road trip come spring– driving further into Central America and moving further off-grid 🙂
More more more!
There are so many more details I want to share. I look forward to watching everything unfold and come to life. I can’t wait to physically share such an amazing space with other like-minded people. It’s surreal really. Letting go of everything and watching your dreams come to life in front of you. I truly believe the universe will provide if you’re open and ready for it. Even posting this news has made me that much more overwhelmed with emotions– in the best of ways. I’m here for it and so very excited. Volcano farm life here we come 😉
Pst. Thanks again for being here. I hope you guys are excited too. And I hope we get to connect in real life in this magical volcano space soon!
Pps. I turned my old house account into our new farm account on Instagram! You can follow us along there if you’d like!
Pst again. I still have more news and changes for this space that I can’t wait to share! I was busting my butt every day working on it, but then this all happened, so I took a mini-hold. New blog news coming soon-ish! 😉