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, and on the way creating quite a few useful things from old pallets 😉
In February 2019, I flew out to Daruma Eco Farm in Thailand to study for my Permaculture Design Certificate, taught by Neil Willmann. Another amazing experience, and I hope to continue developing upon the things learned during my course.