So. I moved to Taiwan in 2010. Always liked the idea of building an eco home here, and like many others, found myself attracted to the East Coast which is beautiful.
As the kids got to the age where they were starting school, that idea gathered momentum & I began researching pretty intensely on topics such as Earthships, rammed earth, natural building materials such as bamboo, clay, cob, as well as all the engineering issues that seemed pertinent in Taiwan – typhoon & earthquake survivability being top of that little list.
I got back in to some Sketchup shenanigans, remembering some 3D drawing skills long unused. And learning how to render those models out with Twilight Render. Very satisfying.
In early 2018 I heard rumour of an eco home being built of rammed earth, or cob, somewhere near my home city of Taichung.
Finding the 4 Person Eco Home took me another 4 months of perseverance, bad Chinese, excited interactions with a random lady about her toilet wall (?)…it was cob / earthen – and the help of many kind strangers on a wet day traipsing from place to place through the mud.
Getting some hands-on experience at the Eco Home (part of the 2018 Taichung International Flower Expo) from June to November 2018 was amazing. In a previous life I was a business partner in a construction / property company back in the UK for a few years, so I know which end of a hammer to hold – but natural building techniques can be slightly different.
Along the way I’ve driven down to Taitung on the East Coast, helping with Steve’s Earthship Style Mountain Cabin for a week, getting some invaluable experience ramming tyres. 40°C & nigh on 100% humidity. Ramming tyres. This, teaches humility. Carting the earth down the mountain in Steve’s rope-powered purpose built railtrack (Temple of Doom!). Great memories, and ingenious.
I’ve had a lot of great experiences so far in Taiwan, including helping the guys at the Datong Community Garden, setup workshops at the MountainLab and the 4 Person Eco Home, and on the way creating quite a few useful things from old pallets ;-)
In February 2019, I flew out from Taiwan, to Daruma Eco Farm in Thailand to study for my Permaculture Design Certificate, immediately following which I began work setting up the website and courses (PDC/NBC), working as course coordinator / apprentice Permaculture teacher.
Through 2020 and into 2021, I also got involved as webmaster for the Global Ecovillage Network, setting up the Australia, and the Oceania & Asia websites.
In January 2021, I re-relocated back to the UK, settling in the New Forest again in Hampshire near family. After a decade in Taiwan living in a hectic Asian city, it feels good to be near the coast & the forest again. No doubt I’ll find some ecovillage and permaculture projects here to get involved with. Fingers crossed – the local Community Garden Project has the go-ahead from the local authority, and June 2021 is slated as a meeting to allocate land for the project.