Their aim is to volunteer with projects around Europe, in order to gain experience in natural building and ecological living – discovering ways of living that aren’t dominated by money and capitalism, where value is put upon gift and exchange to deepen inter-personal connection and equality. They spend 90% of their time doing work-exchange projects, having fabulously rich experiences in different cultures, communities, natural building and self-sufficient living, exchanging their help for food and living space.
Holly and Angus create objects from recycled materials and waste plastic from the beach that they sell on a pay-what-you-can-afford basis. Holly is also a qualified Yoga teacher, teaching classes where she can (also pay-what-you-can-afford) so in general, this amazing couple try to live simply, to explore, experience and to gain a greater connection with communities and the natural world.
Holly and Angus. On Indie.
Hey guys! Let’s begin with your story. So, after graduating from college of arts and getting your degrees in fine arts you decided to trade your flat keys with van keys (Which is, of course, amazing). What was the initial reason that made you start thinking about changing your lifestyle?
Hello! 🙂 Well we definitely had a good few years of fun and friendship in London… But the government was making some brutal funding cuts to many of the things we thought were important, including the arts.
We felt more pressure to be competitive and independent than to be selfless. We wanted to travel to experience how different cultures live sustainably with ecological consideration and more emphasis upon community… On top of that, with what we were spending on 2 months of rent in London, we could buy somewhere to live, rent free, and with wheels!
Suppose that all your experiences in doing work-exchange projects are equally important, but if you’d choose one that really influenced you both, which one would it be and why?
Reflecting on our work-exchange projects so far is quite overwhelming for us, each experience has been one of connection, laughter, learning, sharing, and each inspiring for different reasons! But to mention one that has particularly influenced us:
We recently spent some time in Laheema National Park in Estonia with a young couple, Jim and Maarja, at their project – Projekti Kodu (Project Home). A couple of years ago they purchased some land and a small cabin in the forest. Since then they have built a sauna, a green house, a vegetable garden, a willow bender, an outside kitchen, a duck house, and renovated the cabin into a cosy home, all using natural and reclaimed materials.
An important aim of their project is to combat waste, so they ask factories for stuff they’ve made too much of or in the wrong size, and end up with beautiful big round Hobbit-house windows, or offer to help dismantling a neighbour’s ruin in return for the ruin’s floorboards. They run an NGO and host workshops, teaching others how to do things like build their own photovoltaic solar panels! What Jim and Maarja are doing is perhaps the most similar to what we’d like to do within the next few years. Having the opportunity to share and learn with them really helped us to know how possible it is to achieve our dream.
Tell me a bit more about your work with recycled materials and the story behind it?
We spent a lot of time last November and December walking stormy beaches on the Portuguese Atlantic coast with our newly adopted puppy. All sorts of things were getting washed up (including a disproportionate number of onions…) and we were filling pockets and bags with strange shaped driftwood and pretty shells…
But these were in amongst a huge amount of plastic and nylon netting, which, unlike the driftwood and shells, obviously has a much longer-lasting, more harmful potential. So we begun to talk about what we could make, and started experimenting!
Your plans for the future?
Our goal for the next few years is to use the inspiration and knowledge we’ve gained from our journeys to build a home, and to create a space, from natural and recycled materials. It will be a space for sharing what we have learned, for teaching yoga, for creativity, for living, and hopefully for all sorts of other things we can’t predict yet! And of course, we hope to continue to travel and learn!