On our hike around the coastline of Tarifa, Costa de la Luz, Andalucia, we passed an old house with no roof but with walls still solid and strong. I grabbed a few snaps in passing and was set to explore when I noticed furniture and artwork indicating that someone was living there. I decided to move on and leave them in peace.
On our return I saw three men sitting outside the house; one was playing a flamenco guitar while the other two sat and listened, the roll up cigarettes between their fingers long since gone cold.
I greeted them and then asked if they lived at the house. They all emphatically nodded and invited me in to have a look around. Sadly, I’d been so busy taking picture of everything else on the walk that my camera was dead so instead I sat on the beach with them and talked.
Nico, the guitarist, had been living in the house for four months and didn’t get involved in the conversation much. It was Martin who did all the talking while John offered a few nuggets of info from time to time.
The house has been empty for years and the three present dwellers have been fixing it up little by little. Nico, especially, has been living off-grid for two years during which time he’s had minimal money and still maintains a fairly healthy lifestyle, save for the roll ups that he lights with a magnifying glass.
They want to open the house up to visitors and invite people who can help develop it into a place of creativity and relaxation; a retreat from a consumerist world. And the location is perfect; a beach front property with plenty of rooms, space outside, hills behind and a fantastic view of Morocco out the front.
At the moment they live in three rooms and are growing plants and veg as well as gathering water from nearby fonts. Their project is going to take a while but with the right nurturing the house could well be an excellent place to visit, relax, join some yoga or dance classes, paint and make music. Most of all, it would attract like-minded people who wish to escape the strictures of the capitalist system and live a life more of their own styling, than one dictated to them by government and ever-tightening laws.
Projects like this are the seeds of hope for a better way of life and two fingers up to capitalism which is currently proving just how flawed it really is. Whether they’ll succeed or not depends on how well they handle the local police and politicians in a country which is gripped by recession. It makes sense to try and live that way but those interested in harvesting taxes and euros may not agree with the ‘freegan’ philosophy.
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