The bold life

By Nils:

The last six months of volunteering in Spain and Belgium as a builder has given me a new confidence in my ability to create value, also when I charge an hourly rate and not only work for room and board (voluntary working).

We are now in the process of transforming Vivi’s personal company Viveco into a “limited” enterprise.

Nils Båvner ecobuilding
Nils Båvner ecobuilding

This will create a more flexible way of making business regardless of where in the EU we are located.

We have decided to full heartedly embrace the EU principle of free movement of people and services.

Join us as we see how far this road will take us. Please share your experience of migration and hopefully more people will try their wings in a new context

Why do we store stuff?

Since the large forest fire outside my village in Sweden in 2014, I have re-calculated the value of stuff.

My vision: It's better to give or sell stuff instead of storing them year after year. When you finally need the stuff - you can easily buy it or get it for free. Easily said than done.
My vision: It’s better to give or sell stuff instead of storing them year after year. When you finally need the stuff – you can easily buy it or get it for free. Easier said than done.

Most of our things are replaceable

I’d love our society to develop in the way where we use our stuff instead of storing them. So many storage rooms are full of things families store “just in case” they maybe would need it, or:

-“I don’t want to throw it away because it was a gift from someone 20 years ago.”

My children received a bike from a family who is related to us. I think they had inherited the bike from me in 1992. All their three children used the bike in the 1990s. But since 2004 the bike had been stored while waiting for a new inheritor. Ten years later the bike was given to my child.

What had happened to the bike?

It had gotten old. The plastic parts were dry. It broke.

I think it is a showing example.

We like to keep our belongings within the family. We tend to store them years after years without thinking of the fact that parts get old. Fashion change. Probably we keep stuff because we don’t know whom to give them to.

Of course, if we store the stuff long enough it becomes fashionable again as retro style.

Ideas for your remake workshop

In this blogpost I present some of all photos I’ve taken of ideas you could use when planning a remake workshop.

Plastic cups arranged as manets, bottles remade into fish. San Miguel de Salinas, Spain 2013.
Plastic cups arranged as manets, bottles remade into fish. San Miguel de Salinas, Spain 2013.

It’s important to use waste materials. Otherwise there is no environmental awareness building.

T-shirts and other fabric can easily get a new life.
T-shirts and other fabric can easily get a new life.

Up-cycling is when you make something more valuable out of your less valuable work materials, for example something broken and unrepairable. Continue reading Ideas for your remake workshop

Why encourage youth entrepeneurship?

Projektledarna träffas för att lära sig skriva, projektplan, handlingsplan budget och söka projektpengar.
During the EU funded “My Summer Project” (2010-2012) the young project leaders learned how to write applications, project plans, activity plans and budgets.

Before

There were companies looking to hire you after graduation

Today

Young people have to create the jobs themselves

I was one of them

As a writer

I can write both longer reports with references and figures

as well as catchy blogposts on my website

As a communicator

I can engage thousands of people to work for the common good through my project Bjussa.se

as well as have one-to-one discussions about pros and cons about EU policies.

I value

collaboration and cooperation

knowledge

and the attempt to do your best.

 

To build an eco bathroom in Spain

This is an eco bath with sun heated water in two outdoor showers.
This is an eco bath with sun heated water in two outdoor showers. Nils and Vivi build the inner wall and the stone wall.

Photos of how the eco bathroom took shape. Step by step.

This is how the space looked before. An empty space next to the garage. A suitable spot, since it was flat, already had two walls, and there was a water tap with cold water nearby.

This is the plan we made for the eco showers. Foto: Maria Santolaria
This is the plan we made for the eco showers. Foto: Maria Santolaria

It was a challenge to build something since we did not have a car. Fortunately a woman from the village could provide us with contacts to get the building materials To see all photos: Continue reading To build an eco bathroom in Spain

What is wellness?

Old useless cables are turned into useful sustainable bags.
Old useless cables are turned into useful sustainable bags. The winner in a re-make handcraft competition in Västerås, Sweden 2012.

I feel rich

I don’t earn money for my work right now. I use scrap materials and stones from the roadside as working material. I pick flowers to put in a vase to make our home cosier. Still I feel rich.

Repainted chair, new stuffing and some knitted decoration.
Repainted chair, new stuffing and some knitted decoration.

Shabby chic or just shabby?

The other day we saw the American film Winters Bone (2010). Very poor people with no money, no food, living on the contryside in a wore down house.

I couldn’t help myself thinking how the house would look nicer with just some new paint and a vegetable garden.

Soda bottle lids nicely arranged as a lamp shade. Shabby or chic?
Soda bottle lids nicely arranged as a lamp shade. Shabby or chic?

It’s like the eco project we work with right now here in Spain

If water is a scarce resource, then we must think of solutions how to recover the waste water and use for watering the vegetable garden.

If there is plenty of sunlight, then it might be clever to invest in your own solar panels instead of paying electricity bills to someone else.

If the floor tiles for the bathroom costs over 100 euros but the stones at the roadside are for free, then it’s worth using all these hours to pick the stones, one by one.

When you arrange and organize your scrap materials it's more useful and inspiring. This large scrap store I visited in Glouchester in England 2014.
When you arrange and organize your scrap materials it’s more useful and inspiring. This large scrap store I visited in Glouchester in England 2014.

Why all these chemicals?

The other day we were dicussing why people use bleech and all strong cleaning detergents, even if they know it’s not good for the environment.

I brist på  tvättmaskin får vi handtvätta i hinkar. Det ser roligare ut än vad det är i verkligheten.
I brist på tvättmaskin får vi handtvätta i hinkar. Det blir inte riktigt lika rent som vi är vana vid, trots att vi har tvättmedel i.

I think it’s easy to think that ”I use so little, it doesn’t matter … And there are good ways to clean the waste water. Aren’t there?”

I sometimes need to clean myself, wash off all this super-eco-thinking-envinmental-friendly-shabby-chickness. Fully aware of the consequenses.

Skrubba bort shabby - fram med chic
Skrubba bort shabby – fram med chic

I claim there is a differences between doing bad things unaware of the consequences, and to do it with all the knowledge. But which is worse?

Maybe it’s the same as blaming all people who fly instead of going by train when they travel. Even if I know about the consequences of my behaviour, how on earth am I supposed to take responsibility of all this?

Does the world become cleaner if I find other solution than flying or using bleach?

Go out and see the world

Living the dream?
Living the dream?

We met a British couple travelling around Europe and Marocco in a van. It’s their home and includes all they need, like a kitchen, bedroom, sofa, toilet and a heater.

What makes us the people we are?

The girl explained that she grew up in a bus, lika a hippie community. Maybe living in a van is more ”home” for her than an apartment in a city.

The oven and fridge are hidden behind the doors.
The oven and fridge are hidden behind the doors.

I think you can choose how to live your life, but many times it’s easier to follow the stream and do as you think you are supposed to do.

To be here and now

Listening to music from a sheep herd, beeing here and now. This is one of the experiences my 3-year old girl can have during these weeks in the mountains of Valencia.

Sheep herd wandering around. Harmonic music from their bells.
Sheep herd wandering around. Harmonic music from their bells.

Away from city life, cars, Wi-fi. Even the tablet and the smartphone are hidden in a cupboard to rest. In the evening we usually bring it out to watch a movie.

Can you hear?
Can you hear?

Gifts from nature

To use what nature has to offer. Maybe you think of wood, stones, sand, plants… In this case I mean rubbish. Waste materials lying around, leftovers from people thrown into the woods.

Waste in nature. Soon to become mosaique.
Waste in nature. Soon to become mosaique.

Where ends us and nature begins?

I think that we are part of nature, even the waste we’ve thrown in nature are in that way natural.

This is what recycling is all about. Organizing materials so that they can be reused in new things. We’ve gathered stones and tiles to use in an eco-bathroom.

white tiles found at the roadside and brown leftover tiles received as a gift from the hardware store. Add some cement and you can create som nice walls.
white tiles found at the roadside and brown leftover tiles received as a gift from the hardware store. Add some cement and you can create som nice walls.

Dreaming of world peace

I can’t change the world. I realize that. I will continue living my life only developing myself, the person I’m 100 % in charge of and responsible for.

Children are our future. Here Rebecka Leone is playing on an almond tree field. Foto: Helena Pietik
Children are our future. Here Rebecka Leone is playing on an almond tree field. Foto: Helena Pietik

I think you wouldn’t start a war or fight against a person you have a good relationship with. By making friends with new, different people, I believe we can make world peace.

Understand and appreciate the differences between us

Voluntary working can be a part of that process. The past summer our family was hosting volunteers from all around Europe and one from South America. Experiences  that give me the chance to look at things from a new angle.

The Aleppo natural soap

To grow her small incomes, our hostess Pilar makes her own natural soap for sale. The Aleppo soap is 100% natural and is made from olive oil and the laurel tree that grows in her garden. The Aleppo soap can also be used as schampoo, shaving foam and shower gel.

The Aleppo soap and other home made items are on sale on this website.
The Aleppo soap and other home made items are on sale on this Facebook site.

She has also realised that her home suits perfectly for tourists who wants some peace and quiet on the countryside. She opens her home for Bed and Breakfast service through the web page Airb’n’b.

Absolutely nothing is wasted at Pilar's house. The milk containers are re-used for soap production.
Absolutely nothing is wasted at Pilar’s house. The milk containers are re-used for soap production.

A typical day as a workawayer

The sun rises and the light wakes us up. We have a typical Spanish breakfast, café with tostados, and get dressed for the day.

After 10 am we get working and work until 2 pm, with a break for almuerzo, the word for a snack. Usually we eat loads of oranges, freshly picked from the tree.

Nils at work with the fencing and Vivi takes care of Stig Love who's been taking a nap.
Nils at work with the fencing and Vivi takes care of Stig Love who’s been taking a nap.

Lunch and siesta time is between 3 and 4 pm. Before sunset we have time to work some more.

Sun has set and around 7 pm it’s time for shower. Around 8.30 we have dinner and the day ends with a movie on our travel laptop.

Time to calm down and watch a film. Bambi is a favourite.
Time to calm down and watch a film. Bambi is a favourite.

Our host provides us with food and accomodation. Some days she takes us by car to the mountains for a hike.

Are you interested in working as a volunteer?

Both Workaway and WWOOF are popular websites to use. You get to read peoples’ profiles for free, but need to pay if you want to have the contact information.

Moving planet – what’s your move?

Think global – act local

“Moving planet” is a good example of glocalism (think global, act local).

On September 24th people from over 150 countries take part in a global action campaign addressed to minimize the use of fossil fuel.

The local actions are small if you look at them one by one – but when they are put together and advertised on a global scale the impact is bigger, a synergy effect.

What’s your move?