So this instalment marks the middle of the 12th month of this journey of exploring eco-communities. A year ago this journey felt like a huge leap into the unknown, I had no idea how it could happen. Somehow, with a community of support and the help and inspiration of so many people and places along the way I leapt and have kept stepping into this journey… and what a journey it has been!
The initial idea for this project emerged from my belief that communities hold a key to the creation of a more beautiful world for us all. For many years I had a strong sense that this was true and would say this to friends and family but it was a feeling, and was not based on experience, so I wanted to really find out for myself and go and visit these communities that I felt so drawn to. I knew I was stepping into a journey of trust: in life and in community.
My journey was initiated by time in Findhorn last summer, then to Cloughjordan Eco-village in Ireland, to Newbold in Scotland, to Eco-Dharma: a small Buddhist community in Spain, to Glarisegg, Switzerland for the Eco-village Design Education course, then way up into the Alps to Schweibenalp, to the wonderful Svanholm community in Denmark, I spent a gorgeous month in the wonderful community of Los Portales near Seville Spain, the summer was spent on the festival site of Ängsbacka Sweden and then with strong heart tug I travelled to Colombia in the beginning of August where I spent my first month in the community of Aldea Feliz outside Bogotá, and now I am on stop number 11 at Fundación Viracocha in Huila Southern Colombia.
The last few months have been almost unwielding in challenges, it’s been the toughest part of my journey so far and in the last few weeks with more challenges I was contemplating giving up. I sent out a request for moral support; for cheers to hearten my spirits.. and what an incredible response I received! Over a hundred of you responded with messages of love and support… I am definitely not doing this journey alone, it isn’t possible to do this alone. This is very much a journey into the heart of what community means: in that moment when I was contemplating giving up, community meant having something far greater than myself to lean into… knowing that I am loved and cared for and that it is actually ok to stop if that is what serves. So with all of your cheers I decided to do what was right for me and leave a place that did not nourish me, I took some time off and relaxed with some lovely new friends here and gained some much needed perspective.
I finally decided to continue my journey in Colombia and am now volunteering in Viracocha: a foundation focused on practical education in sustainable ecological management of agriculture, forestry and agroindustry. I am volunteering in their lovely gardens that provide for their food and education programme and I am also working on the design of a new multifunctional educational building. I have been learning about many wonderful projects in Colombia and I plan to stay here for the 6 months that I intended, still writing and sharing my experiences as I go.
So I said I would travel for a year exploring eco-communities, I now see that it is the first year of a greater project. My crowd-funding campaign for my first year is still live, and will be for the coming few weeks. After this I am going to close the crowd-funding campaign and look for new ways of funding this evolving eco-community project. So far I have reached €4,125 of my €5,500 goal and I need to make up the balance to cover travel expenses as I go. You can donate to my crowd-funding campaign here: https://www.gofundme.com/LetsCreate or directly to me by email or Paypal, and also if you would like to contribute by purchasing some of my prints of paintings you can look at the art work I have for sale here: http://www.sineadcullen.com/index.php/for-sale/
So, I continue with a wealth of interesting communities and projects laying in wait over the coming months in Colombia and with the evolution of this project bubbling in my mind and heart. I don’t have details yet of the coming iteration of this project but I will let you know as it emerges. In the meantime you can keep following my current experiences here on my blog
Con amor y abrazos de Colombia