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

To build a dry-toilet in Spain

Inside the toilet door we put an instruction of how to use the dry toilet. Follow link to see PDF.

Eco toilet at Rayo del Sol, built by Vivi and Nils 2
An old window was installed diagonally in order to fit in. It’s nice to have a view out from the toilet.

This blogpost shows photos of how the dry toilet in Spain was built by Vivi and Nils with help from other volunteers.

This is how the toliet looks like from the outside. We used the cheapest MDF board on sale
This is how the toliet looks like from the outside. We used the cheapest MDF board on sale

To see all photos: Continue reading To build a dry-toilet in Spain

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.

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.

Är jag Katy Perry i djungeln?

Några skolelever diskuterade Vivecos blogg och volontärresan jag genomför. De tolkade situtationen efter sin världsuppfattning. Jag tar det som en komplimang att de ville referera till musikvideon ”Roar” där en populär popstjärna nödlandar i djungeln.

Since we have no car we walk the 3 km to make grocery shopping in town.
Since we have no car we walk the 3 km to make grocery shopping in town.

Det handlar om att leva efter de premisser som ges.

…Att inte fastna i avsaknaden av det jag är van vid att ha tillgång till.

…Att hitta nya lösningar på de utmaningar jag står inför i vardagen. Continue reading Är jag Katy Perry i djungeln?

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.

Varför jobbar du?

Vissa jobbar för att slippa vara arbetslösa.

Vissa jobbar för att kunna ta semester.

Förstår bina vilka stordåd de uträttar när de flyger från mandelblomma till mandelblomma och pollinerar. Foto: Helena Pietik
Förstår bina vilka stordåd de uträttar när de flyger från mandelblomma till mandelblomma och pollinerar. Foto: Helena Pietik

Vissa jobbar för att ha pengar så att de kan finansiera sin livsstil med hemmet, resorna, maten, kläderna och prylarna.

Vissa jobbar för övertygelsen om en större mening med det hela.

Svårt att tro hur små små frön och plantor kan växa upp till mat som mättar magen. Foto: Helena Pietik
Svårt att tro hur små små frön och plantor kan växa upp till mat som mättar magen. Foto: Helena Pietik

Varför jobbar du Nils?

– För att utmana mig själv. I mitt jobb finns ett inslag av äventyr som jag gillar. Jag testar gränser.

Varför jobbar jag Vivi?

– Jag ser mina enskilda uppdrag som delar i en helhet. Jag drömmer om en godare värld. Ni som känner mig vet att jag lever i villfarelsen (?) om att vi människor kommer lära oss att leva som om vi bara hade ett jordklot som vi tillsammans delar.

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.

Att resa med barn

Under vår första månad på resande fot har vi redan hunnit känna på fördelar och nackdelar med att resa med barn.

Barn gör stora kliv i utvecklingen under resor. Här har treåringen börjat rita huvudfotingar.
Barn gör stora kliv i utvecklingen under resor. Här har treåringen Rebecka självmant börjat rita huvudfotingar.
  • Små barn älskar sina föräldrar. Känner vi oss lugna och harmoniska smittar det över på våra barn. Vi håller huvudet kallt och litar på att saker och ting löser sig.
  • Planering är bra. Ännu bättre är att ha planerna öppna för förändringar. Detta gör det lättare att ställa om när saker inte går som man först tänkt sig.
  • Turas om att ta hand om barnen. I Sverige är vi vana vid barnomsorg som avlastar föräldrar. På långresa får vi njuta av våra barn, dygnet runt.

    Lustfyllda (och småfarliga) lekar utomhus.
    Full fart! Lustfyllda (och småfarliga) lekar utomhus.

Treåringen frågar mycket och vill förstå sin omvärld. Jag märker att det också hjälper mig själv att förstå mitt sätt att leva. ”Mamma jobbar”, precis som vanligt … bara i en annorlunda miljö.

Födelsedagskalas med tårta och gäster.
Födelsedagskalas för Stig Love med tårta och nya vänner som gäster.

Vad har du för erfarenheter av att resa med barn?

Vad är workaway?

I utbyte mot arbete, ca 4-5 timmar om dagen, får vi mat och husrum hos värdar som finns via en webbsida vid namn Workaway.

Vivi och Nils målar hos Vivis föräldrar.
Vivi och Nils målar hos Vivis föräldrar.

Vanligtvis är det ungdomar som gör en sådan typ av resa under ett sabbatsår. Vi är lite ovanliga som familj med två små barn, men hos rätt värdinna fungerar det perfekt.

Pilar, vår workaway-värdinna i Villalonga i Valencia.
Pilar, vår workaway-värdinna i Villalonga i Valencia.

Pilar, vår värdinna, bor utanför småstaden Villalonga på Spaniens östkust i ett litet vitt hus med blå knutar, solpaneler på taket och utsikt över bergen. I trädgården hjälper vi henne med att laga staketet som håller hönsen, katterna och hundarna utanför grönsaksodlingen. Vi beskär fruktträd, rensar ogräs tex. i form av björnbärssnår.

Vi hämtar hästgödsel till grönsakslandet
Vi hämtar hästgödsel till grönsakslandet

Efter gymnasiet gjorde jag en liknande resa tillsammans med en av mina bästa vänner. Då använde vi oss av World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, WWOOF, och plockade apelsiner i Andalusien i södra Spanien.

Sommaren 2014 testade vi att vara värdar via Workaway vilket gjorde oss sugna att själva bege oss iväg på resa. Här en länk till ett svensk-finskt radioprogram i Sveriges Radio där jag blir intervjuad med anledning av volontärjobbet.