Monte Calma

🌱 A young couple building a sustainable eco-tourism resort in beautiful southern Portugal. 👉 Follow our journey.

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How we will live on our land

If you read our last post, you know that we’ve been thinking a lot about where to live, when we first move down to Portugal in July. Since we are going to build a house on our land, we currently don’t have anything that we can live in. So we’ve considered buying a yurt, a container home or to just rent something close by. After reading all the comments under our video and all the messages we received, we noticed that there was one option, we may have discarded a little too early: a mobile home!

The ones we had seen in the past, were all very expensive and did not really look like something we thought we could feel comfortable in. But then Jack noticed a post in one of the Facebook Groups, someone was selling a second hand mobile home, which actually looked pretty nice. We contacted the owner and a few days later it was a done deal. We are now the proud owners of a mobile home. Well, okay, so far we own 10 % of it. Because of Covid we could obviously not go down to look at it but we paid a deposit to the owner and arranged a pick up date in June. Fingers crossed that everything works out, so that we can go down in June to pick up the mobile home and bring it to our land!

The mobile home is about 30 square meters big. It has a kitchen and living area, one bedroom, a bathroom and a separate toilet. So it is pretty basic but it has all we need. And most importantly, we get to live on the land right away, which is what we really wanted! All in all the mobile home seems to be in a good condition and with a bit of fresh paint we are sure that this can become a comfortable home for us for the next year or two. And at the price of 7.000 € it seemed to be a really good deal.

We are planning to live completely off grid, using solar power for our energy supply and the water from our well for showers, dishes, cooking, etc. This means we have a lot to plan, learn and figure out but that’s what we love to do and we really enjoy to plan out how everything is going to look and work. So exciting! It will be such an adventure to make this mobile home off grid and to live in it. We are so so happy that we figured out a way to live on our land straight away. We can’t wait to experience all the seasons on the land, see how it changes and start transforming the land into a little piece of paradise. Plus, it means we can definitely (finally!!!) get a dog and maybe even chickens! We could not be happier right now!

Should we buy a Container Home?

What a crazy few weeks it’s been! We hope you and your loved ones are all healthy and well and you are making the best out of these circumstances. As probably most of you we’ve been staying home these last few weeks and only left our apartment to get groceries or some fresh air. To be honest, since we work from home anyway, daily life hasn’t changed that much for us. But we do miss being able to meet our friends, going to the cinema and visiting relatives. Fingers crossed we can do all these things again soon.

On the plus side, we had time to create some more content for you. We thought we’d share our thoughts about our move to Portugal with you. We have to decide where we want to live at first, when we make the move down, which (hopefully) will be in summer. If you want you can check out the YouTube Video or keep on reading, we’ll summarise everything here for you.

We’ve spent a lot of time thinking and talking about different options but we still don’t know what the best course of action would be. So far we’ve considered the following four options:

Option 1 – Wooden Shed:  We were thinking about putting up a small wooden shed (you know like the ones you can put in your backyard as a little garden shed), insulate it a little and then live in there for a year until the house is getting ready

 

Option 2 – Yurt: We’ve seen some beautiful yurts on YouTube a while back and always liked the idea to live in one. So we thought this would be a great opportunity to buy one and live in it until the house is ready.

 

https://www.cocoonmodules.com/

Option 3 – Container Home: Initially we thought about a mobile home, which then lead us to container homes. This was funny because when we first started designing the house and the units, we considered using containers. However, when we priced it up, it didn’t made much sense as there was hardly any price difference between building with containers and a regular brick and mortar construction. But in our search for a mobile home, we found a little company in Greece, Cocoon Modules, which makes beautiful container homes and we completely fell in love with one of their modules. At first the prices also seemed very reasonable, although after speaking to them we found out that the prices would be quite a bit higher than initially quoted.

Option 4 – Renting: Lastly we could also simply rent a small apartment close to the land, ideally not more than 15 minutes away, and use this as our base for the next year, until the house is ready.

So here we go, these are the options. Or better, these were the options. Because after checking the law in this region of Portugal again, the wooden shed and yurt are out of the running. This is because we would want to live on the rural part of the land as the urban part is where the house will be built and would need to be kept free. On the rural land, we are only allowed to put up a temporary structure that is moveable (and even that is sometimes debatable). A yurt or a wooden shed do not count as moveable, as they can’t be moved in one piece but would have to be assembled and disassembled. So these two options won’t work, which leaves us with the container home or a rental apartment.

This is where our dilemma is now. We are completely in love with the container home and just love the idea of living on the land straight away. After five years of waiting, we are so keen to just get there and live on the land. Also we really like the idea of living in a very small space for a while. We’ve been minimising our belongings a lot over the last few years and already live quite minimalistic but this would be a whole new experience. But, as awesome as it would be, it’s not cheap and would cost a lot more than renting a place for a year. The Container home is also riskier, as they are a grey area in this region and it wouldn’t be a 100 % legal.  Lastly, it also comes with more stress and headaches. We would need to sort out the transportation from Greece to Portugal and getting it into the right place on the land. Especially the shipping situation is very unclear under the current conditions and there are generally many unknowns regarding the costs, transportation and delivery of the container. On the other hand, we might be able to sell this container again in a year or get a permission for it to rent it out as an extra unit later on. So if everything goes well, the container could end up costing less than renting for a year. But, then again, it isn’t completely legal and if we get shut down after a few months, or if we can’t sell the container afterwards, we are down quite a bit of money that we need for the house.

So this is where we’re at and at this point we think renting a place would probably be the smartest and most hassle-free option. However, it would also be the most boring option. We really really like the idea of living on the land and having a bit of adventure for a year, so our hearts haven’t completely given up on this idea yet. We’ve decided to share these thoughts with you as we always like to hear other opinions and thoughts. Maybe there is something we haven’t considered or another aspect to one of the options we didn’t think about? If you have any thoughts or ideas, please leave us a comment, we would love to hear them.

Stay safe and take good care of yourself,

Hannah & Jack

Welcome to our Blog

Hey there, we are glad you found our blog! We are Jack and Hannah, a young couple who recently purchased some land in the south of Portugal which we have big plans for. But before we tell you more about that, let us tell you a little bit about who we are.

I’m Hannah and I am 27 years old. I was born and raised in Munich, Germany, which is also where I met Jack about 7 years ago. I have a background in Human Resources but decided to go back to University, where I am currently finishing a degree in Social Innovation. But my biggest passion is food and everything related to it. I love to try out new recipes, create new recipes and generally spend as much time in the kitchen as possible. I am also very interested in nutrition and how to boost your health through food. So naturally, I would love to have lots of space to grow my own fruits and veggies. Being active is something that is also very important to me. I love to be outdoors, going for walks, hikes, bike rides and just being out in nature, preferably in the sunshine. Which is funny because when I was younger, I always wanted to live in a big city. But the older I get, the more I realize how much I love to be out in nature and how little I need a big city around me. 

And I am Jack. I’m 34 years old and from the north of England but I left England about 10 years ago to travel the world. This has led me to live in various places, such as Australia, New Zealand, Austria, Switzerland, Canada and Germany, which is where I met Hannah. I have a background in graphic design, programming and project management. Since a few years I’m running my own digital marketing agency, which is a lot of work but I also really enjoy it. When I am not working I love to learn new things and create things, whether it’s design, photography or baking bread. I am always interested in new challenges and our project in Portugal will be the next one. I see it as an opportunity to diversify our income but also to change our way of living for the better. I’ve never been certain about having children but one thing I’ve always known ist that I don’t see the point of having children, nice cars and a lovely apartment but never having time to enjoy any of it. 

Now that you know a bit more about us, it’s time to tell you what we are planning. About a year ago, we bought a plot of land in the Algarve, which is the most southern region in Portugal. The land has 1.6 hectares with a little ruin and a small lake on it. It has been very neglected over the last few years and therefore it’s currently completely overgrown with brambles and rock roses. Our plan is to revitalise it and build a small eco-resort with 4 bungalows to rent out, a pool and a house for us to live in. The aim is to create a little piece of paradise, where people can come on holiday to fully relax and rejuvenate in nature. There is a lot of rental accommodation in the Algarve but most of it is concentrated in the bigger cities such as Albufeira and Lagos. There aren’t many places that offer true peace and quiet in nature to recharge your batteries. This is exactly what we want to offer with our place. 

We are also looking to create an area on the land to grow our own fruits and veggies. Permaculture is something we have been interested in for a while and we would like to incorporate those principles. We want to work with nature, instead of against it. In general we are aiming to build and live in a way that has as little impact on our planet as possible. 

At this point we have bought the land and our pre-planning application has been approved. We are currently waiting for the final planning permission, which is likely to still take a few months. This is why we are currently still living in Germany but we are planning to move down to the Algarve fulltime this August. 

We have started a YouTube Channel, an Instagram account and this blog as a way to capture our journey of moving to Portugal and building an eco-resort. But we also want to use these ways to share our experiences, things we’ve learned and mistakes we made. We hope this can be a useful resource for you, if you are also planning to move to Portugal, are planning to build something similar or also want to dream big and switch up your life.  And maybe we can also create a little community this way. So if there is any information or content you would be interested in, please leave us a comment and let us know. Also check out our YouTube channel and stay tuned for more content coming soon!

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