17th June – Day one of the build

I had a wonderful night last night. I actually slept on the roof of the Earthship. It’s flat, so I took my sleeping bag up there and enjoyed the immaculate view of the stars! I’m happy to be away from Sydney’s light pollution!

I woke up at 2am to a little rain, and helped the owners cover some of the recently done concreting with a tarp to prevent any water damage. Although I hadn’t been building for a long time, there was a fair bit of waterproofing done in my absence as the previous job had allowed a lot of water to enter into the hempcrete roof and dribble down into the walls. Fires were lit on the grounds in the two domes to help evaporate the trapped water.

I did some dishes this morning and watched an incredible sunrise.

00250624-100749.jpg

A site tour

00250624-101009.jpg
We were first introduced to the garden ๐Ÿ™‚ there’s a lot of permaculture concepts throughout the space, attempting to replicate some of natures systems, rather than just dosing the veggies with chemicals, matching plants that compliment each other so they can survive without much maintenance.

00250624-101816.jpg
We started our walk through the house.

00250624-102748.jpg

Space at the front, leading into the two rooms. You can really see how large it is.

00250624-102318.jpg
Here you can see the top arch, you can see the hempcrete at the base of the dome, you can see the aluminium cans used to add space in the concrete,
Hempcrete has been used as it is easily grown, has great insulative properties, is anti mould, a fire retardant, and deters mice. A wonderful addition to the home and removes the need for putting insulation in the walls.
The empty space within the cans creates a “honeycomb matrix”‘ the shape of the structure that bees make, adding strength and saving money on unnecessary concrete.

00250624-102816.jpg
Here’s another great shot of the hempcrete. You can also see the sky lights. They are PVC pipe inserted into the dome, and actually arranged to follow a constellation called the Phoenix ๐Ÿ™‚

00250624-102842.jpg
Here is an image of the tyre wall ๐Ÿ™‚ the tyres were pounded with sledge hammers, and a large amount of dirt was inserted into each.
Tyres have a thick layer of rubber, which is insulative, and when pounded full of dirt, the dirt is very compact and also helps insulate the house. Inside the tyres is a steel band (inserted by the manufacturer) which helps the tyres keep their shape. Once the tyres are pounded, they weigh approximately100kg and are very tricky to move around. A lot of insulation ๐Ÿ™‚

Please read the “About the house” page to learn more about the previous build in January 2013 and some of the steps. (It isn’t completed yet, but will be soon).

Today we were divided into groups, and I decided to take it easy by making bottle bricks and chatting amongst the different members within my group ๐Ÿ™‚

00250624-103735.jpg
We have a quota of about 2500 bottle bricks to make, and today we knocked over at least 500 bricks ๐Ÿ˜€

Some deep thoughts:

00250624-101353.jpg
During bottle brick making, I met Sam E (on the left) an amazing guy I’ve taken a shining to. It all started when I saw a tattoo of his on his wrist. It was a tattoo of a wrist watch, and on the face was just the Japanese character ไปŠ meaning “now”. I really liked the thought behind it, and it got us into a deep conversation about life between Japan and Australia, and “time” and other interesting topics.
I think this watch caught my attention because it’s so accurate. We do try to track the time of the day, and we do accurately, but in reality time gives us the opportunity to do things “later” by making the assumption that the future exists. Rather than doing things now, you do them later. I do believe that time is convenient, especially when I don’t want to wake up in the morning, but what is the cost?

00250624-104902.jpg

Floundering. This is a word I have often used in the past to describe the way that I have been living my life. I feel like I am floundering right now after a few days of wonderfully present living.

What I have come to realise is that I will have an urge, a desire to do something, and it is my mental and logical mind that will tell me I shouldn’t do something, but in my heart, it is what I knew I wanted to do. My example is today I wanted to go for a 7km run to a beautiful beach, but I didn’t go because I thought it might be too cold, or I’d be home late for dinner… So, I floundered, procrastinated, avoided making a decision, and the decision was made for me. As a result I was in a bad mood for the following 6 hours because the opportunity was there and lost, and it was something I felt that I needed to do.

If I listen to my mind, and allow it to convince me not to do something, that is when the floundering starts. I wander around, not knowing what to do, because I’ve ignored what I really wanted to do, then the opportunity has gone, and because I haven’t been doing what my heart really wants I’m upset and unsure of what to do!

That is my floundering! And that is my autopilot!

This to me is actually a big discovery, because I’ve wondered what has caused this lack of attentiveness to the present moment for several years. Wondering, is it the food I’m eating? Is it a blood problem?

But remember Aaron, the things you truly desire in life are actually your life’s purpose. It’s God’s wonderful way of directing you to achieve your life’s purpose. We each have our dreams for a reason, and it is our responsibility to fulfil those dreams to fulfil our life’s purpose.

“When a person desires something, all the universe conspires to help that dream become a reality.” The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho

00250624-104401.jpg

Advertisements

16th June – Settling into the Earthship Site

A wonderful early wake up and a brilliant sunrise. I started my daily sunrise ritual, finding a lovely point on a hill where I can see it and the ocean ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m so relaxed and in my rhythms here. It’s nice to be away from the rushing of cities and just live life for what it is.

00250619-212031.jpg

<a

During the day, I started introducing myself to some of the new arrivals. there are a handful of returning builders, but most are new. a conversation that really stood out to me was with Ange, a really cool woman, a teacher. She's all about helping children find those "click" moments, where the kids have a big realisation and the direction of their lives changes.
I was dwelling on something a little too much, and she shut me up and asked me, "well, what do you really think, do you want to go or not?" I hesitated… "Yes or no".
"I don't know."
"That's a load of crap, what's the first thing that comes to your mind". "Well there's a couple of reasons."
"So you know".
You know, I think I really didn't want to admit the answer. We often get ourselves worked up about something when maybe there's something deep inside us that's embarrassed or ashamed of what you really want. We know deep down what it is, but our mind reaches a state of denial to prevent us from feeling the pain and rawness of understanding why we were really so upset.

00250619-212048.jpg

<a
This evenings's beach walk was amazing. I wasn't sure why I was going, but I realised once I arrived. Nature blew me away with her beauty. The sunset was incredible. The beach here is spectacular. The majestic patterns of the ripples in the waves, the tips of the waves running along the sand up onto the shore, the incredible colour of the sunset, the vastness of the sea and its beautiful colour in the sunset. Unfortunately the photos could never do it justice. But I just stood, feeling the beautiful energy of the place, doing tai-chi with my feet in the water, letting go of all of my worries and just enjoying the moment and the sunset.

I wandered around the shops after the sunset, wrote a little into this blog, and found myself gazing into the stars. There is so little light pollution as the more major cities are about 130kms away. Gazing into the sky, finding various constellations, and just having to stop along the way, taken aback by the beauty of the stars. Their magnificence makes my little problems here just fade away. It really reminds me of a friend's postcard to me,

I casually walked home and arrived at the perfect time to meet Rita in the driveway, who had been listening to Bashar the whole way up. She saw me walking, I asked if she was from the Earthship, she was, I led her up to the site, where we were both perfectly in time for dinner and the chat about our project hasn't started yet either ๐Ÿ™‚ perfect ๐Ÿ™‚

00250619-212101.jpg
The chat around the campfire tonight was wonderful. Yet another gathering of like minded people, from so many different backgrounds and walks of life – fathers, mothers, teachers, builders, students, farmers, to trained town planners, practising architects, all quite genuinely concerned about the current state of the world and the relationship they want to have with her. Deciding now to follow the heart and live a lifestyle more in tune with nature.

A big topic of conversation was community, and being together as one. Working for a common goal, looking after each other and loving and supporting each other. It doesn’t happen much where I’m from in the city. Many don’t know who their next door neighbours are and really don’t care – I find that a very sad reality indeed.

Danimal tonight reminded me of what inspired me with the first build. Humans are very disconnected from their homes. Just as we are with our food. We work, collect money, and exchange that money for food. We have no idea where the food came from, what chemicals were used, nor the owner of the farm, nor his conditions of work, we know nothing. I personally haven’t grown any food since I was in junior school, having grown a carrot or two. But as I’ve moved into the city, there’s been less participation in my sustenance. I’m totally disconnect from my food – a cake, where was it made? what ingredients? etc – all I know is the cost, and can’t really make an educated decision as to whether it is worth it or not.

Danimal specifically mentioned how humans are disconnected from our homes. That we are living in these structures that we have no participation in Building. I don’t know who put in the tiles in the bathroom floor, or who tiled the roof, if they were having a bad day. Something special about building this house is that it is completely customised and designed by the owners with the builders help, and together we worked on it’s completion. Having participated in the initial build, I know exactly who pounded dirt into which tyres, I know who helped install the electricity, I know who did the carpentry, and these people are all my friends, and we joyfully made this home together. In the future, I won’t be buying a home and hiring random people to do the job, I’ll be maki it myself and inviting my friends to come and help me ๐Ÿ™‚ that would have a much warmer energy than a home made and designed by strangers. Would anyone like to come and help me build my home? ๐Ÿ™‚

15th June – Arrival in Bundaberg!!! I’m back!!!

Big Apologies! I had some camera problems over the first couple of days, and despite seeing some of the most beautiful sites along the East coast of Aus, the photos failed… Anyway! Lesson learnt! Thank you all for you patience ๐Ÿ˜€

Wow… What a wonderful feeling it is to be back home. About 30 minutes away from our destination, I became full of excitement ๐Ÿ˜€ recognizing all the old roads, running up the driveway barefoot to greet everyone! And immediately meeting Rachel who got me working ๐Ÿ˜› stomping mud in a bathtub to use the mud for a render.

There’s a couple of things that popped up immediately, making me realise why I feel at home here. I’m free to be me here. Free to be the Aaron that walks around bare foot, enjoys his cold showers with views of the bush, can go and pick plants that are nice to eat, walking to beaches, and just exploring the person that I am while receiving a massive amount of influence from all of these beautiful people around me who have all experienced so much, be it in life and on their path of growth as adults, or as environmental activitists taking a stand for what they believe is true.

As soon as I arrived though, there also came a negative feeling of “I’m here again”, and I think this comes from spending a month longer than was originally anticipated in construction which left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth. During the previous build, I forced myself to stay on, which was a good thing because we good stuff done, but I prevented myself from getting home and doing other things that needed to be done. I don’t regret staying here and getting the job done, but my mentality needs to change. And with that thought I’ve constructed myself a to do list for while I’m here. Some of the items include:
-Watch the sunrise each morning and relax into my day
-Go for a run everyday and head to the beach to relax
-Head to a cafe to post about my adventures and learning ๐Ÿ™‚
-Visit some of my friends here and catch up
-Be a part of as much as I can each day to learn as much as I can about the building process and document it ๐Ÿ™‚
-Say thank you everyday, for my life, family and be truly grateful for this opportunity ๐Ÿ™‚

This is a beautiful place where we are building the first Earthship in Australia, an incredible home mimicking nature’s cycles. This is an extremely positive step forward ๐Ÿ™‚ and one I am proud to be a part of ๐Ÿ™‚ although it took work and time, it was a pleasure to pour energy and love into this home ๐Ÿ™‚
There are so many wonderful things about to happen, so I’ll now make some goals to get done ๐Ÿ™‚

I saw a beautiful sunrise this morning ๐Ÿ™‚ just watched it gently rise and meditated as it did ๐Ÿ™‚ watched the surfers from a distance, but found myself plagued with thought this morning…

So Clive Palmer, one of Australia’s richest mining tycoons has entered politics and started his own party. Unfortunately, he s probably going to do well. So Australia will soon have one of its richest members running the country, or at least having even more lobbying power to allowing more mining to occur. Why are some of the biggest players in politics seemingly those the most detached from the effects of their destruction?

That aside! I had an amazing day and was so happy to reunite with my old friends ๐Ÿ˜€

14th June – Day two of drive

Big Apologies! I had some camera problems over the first couple of days, and despite seeing some of the most beautiful sites along the East coast of Aus, the photos failed… Anyway! Lesson learnt! Thank you all for you patience ๐Ÿ˜€

Burnt down house in Forster, Indian Restaurant, Star Gazing (4 shooting stars)

What an amazing place to wake up in this morning. After experimenting with no pillow (preparation for travelling light in Japan), I discovered a semi-comfortable makeshift pillow.i woke countless times, and ended up sleeping for 12 hours! A new record! I woke up very well rested and quite thankful for the sleep. And that was when I decided to open up my tent door and wow…

What an amazing view! I’m a bit upset that I slept in! I’ll wake up early tomorrow morning to take in the sunrise ๐Ÿ˜€ after slowly getting up and leaving around 9:30am after a little wander, we headed to a small local cafe. To our surprise, they were stocking superfood food smoothies and mueslies ๐Ÿ˜› delicious breakfast ๐Ÿ™‚

On our way up through Forster, we had to stop as there was a traffic block and smoke coming from 200m ahead. I felt a little nervous so I grabbed my first aid kit and ran up the road to be safe. To my surprise there was a completely burnt down house… The house had had some small explosions and had knocked a fair bit of rubble onto the road a head of us… It was a rather amazing sight. A small one storey home completely burnt to the ground as the fire department was obviously a bit of a distance away. It would take them 2 hours to clear the rubble, so we decided to back track one hour, take a different turn off and head back on our way ๐Ÿ™‚ we couldn’t risk any further delays as we had a destination to get to on time. This would surely set us back…
It was quite amazing to see the house on the ground. I was sad that there wasn’t much that I could do. I can’t imagine losing everything, all of my cherished possessions conserving memories… We humans do become attached to too much and struggle then to let it go.

We had perfect weather all day, and there were so many spectacular views from inside the car ๐Ÿ™‚

I had a number of great conversations with Harry today ๐Ÿ˜€ The great conversation started from, “what was your most interesting job?” He then followed to tell me a story of how he worked for 3 weeks in a chicken factory where the chickens are killed and put on conveyor belts and packed and sent off for their meat. He mentioned an amazing farmer in the US who deals with growing the chickens and killing them on the same property. First growing a crop, then putting cows on the paddock, then pigs, then chickens. Never killing more than a hundred animals at a time. The farmer kills a batch on a single day and sells them on site also. People who purchase the meat can also watch how the animals are killed to show it’s humane.
I was excited to hear this because it means other people, not just me, are having these awesome thoughts to go and make a difference in the world, even if it is only a little step at a time.

Harry also told me about a gentleman who was a management consultant, who really wanted to make vegetarian fast food targeted at non-vegos as well, that also used local produce. Despite ridicule and job security, he left his job, started flipping burgers at Maccas and KFC to get an understanding of how fast food places run, and then used a food truck, selling food out of the back of a truck and asking people if they liked the recipes. He took their feedback, and with that, opened restaurants, but people also demanded that he should keep the food trucks ๐Ÿ™‚ cool.
Here’s an amazing story of a man who knew what he wanted, and although others wouldn’t believe in his dream, he made it happen. Although others may not understand his dream, he saw value in it and grabbed it and became successful ๐Ÿ˜€ the restaurant is called Clover.

I got a lot of inspiration from a conversation i had with Harry about his partner doing various, sometimes unrelated, courses all around the world. i’ve been doing this for the las few years, 2 trips to china for language and science, but I didn’t know it was sustainable and could be done into ones later future. They work enough to save their money to get out of the country and go explore for some 2 months at a time. They can have something to work towards. Making the expenses work, sometimes working overseas, just experiencing a completely different life to what most are used to! So many career changes and experiences and just following your heart!!!!

After a lovey Indian dinner, a quick chat to Mum, we headed out on the road to camp on another beach and lay out on the stars ๐Ÿ™‚ a number of shooting stars fell before us ๐Ÿ™‚ how lucky we are ๐Ÿ™‚ what a beautiful ride up to Bundaberg this is becoming ๐Ÿ™‚

13th June – Drive up to the site

Big Apologies! I had some camera problems over the first couple of days, and despite seeing some of the most beautiful sites along the East coast of Aus, the photos failed… Anyway! Lesson learnt! Thank you all for you patience ๐Ÿ˜€

So the start of another wonderful adventure begins ๐Ÿ™‚ I wonder what this one has in stall for me. I always go up expecting to just be building a house, but last time we had a cyclone, a test of courage and perseverance and some big tests of character in my personal life! An incredible experience is certainly waiting to be had this time around ๐Ÿ™‚

I learnt something before even getting into the car with Harry heading up to Queensland. I needed to do a passport renewal before I head off to Japan, but I had an odd feeling in my gut telling me don’t stress, there’ll be time, relax and it’ll fall into place. But I kept stressing and tried to rush through it but I had hiccup after hiccup until I listened to my stomach. It said, go to the passport office tomorrow, so I went to bed, and did and the whole process took me 30mins max, when it had taken hours of mucking around before that. Today’s lesson: trust your gut feeling!

The drive in the car with Harry was really cool ๐Ÿ™‚ He picked me up from Ultimo, and as soon as he arrived, the wonderful conversation started flowing. that’s the benefit of coming to experiences like these. you meet so many like minded people that you very quickly brush over the small talk and jump straight into the good stuff! He’s a really lovely person, from Holland (Netherlands), and what inspired me about him was his many trips around the world. His girlfriend also inspired me as she has had 3 careers so far, just following her heart with want she wants to do, and succeeded all the way through everything she gets started on ๐Ÿ™‚

Harry has recently bought a property, some 40 acres, with a mud brick house and he is interested to learn how to convert the home to an Earthship ๐Ÿ˜€ This experience is sure to be wonderful for him. The people he’ll meet will have had so much experience with so many construction methods and building materials.

The build hasn’t really started to sink in yet; but my totally relaxed attitude has come after spending a night out on the beach camping. I’m still in stress mode, trying to control everything, when I should just be letting it all happen ๐Ÿ™‚ within a couple of days, it should become a bit better ๐Ÿ™‚ especially waking up on the beach tomorrow morning, and I’m in a tent tonight!!! Living in the moment is going to get a bit easier over the next few days ๐Ÿ˜€

Good night beautiful people, for tomorrow, we drive!!! ๐Ÿ˜€