A vida Fausto means "the luxury life." This phrase is what Lynn embodies but in a hands-getting-dirty kind of way. She left the city life to move beyond modernist ideas and materialistic visions. Together with friends, she has built a self-sufficient community farm and retreat. Although, she is still in the early phases of this project, she is sharing her story to inspire city people to connect with nature and themselves.
In September 2015, I sold most of my belongings, bought a Volkswagen T4 campervan and left my hometown in Amsterdam. My rescue dog Fausto and I drove into the unknown.
After an incredible trip through Europe, we landed in Central Portugal on the foothills of the Serra da Estrela mountains where we found two acres of paradise.
This area is now a test and demo ground for prototypes that accelerate the transition toward a circular economy. Part of the land was used as a human-made plantation consisting of hundreds of Red Oak and Wild Cherry trees. I plan to transform this area into a Forgotten Food Forest in order to establish a healthy multilayered ecosystem. I need to remove parts of the overcrowded plantation, so I will use the wood to build an off-grid, carbon-positive habitat.
In the summer of 2016, my friend Joao, an incredible natural builder, and I built the Birdhouse, a two-story treehouse with an open kitchen, living space, outdoor shower and bedroom and winter living room upstairs. Except for some screws, bolts and roof plates, we used only natural materials like the roundwood from my land, local pine boards for cladding and floors and cork for insulation.
No fossil fuels were used during the build, because we mainly used hand tools and some small tools powered by the sun. The water is gravity fed from a mine higher up on the land, hot water is fueled with wood and all household water goes straight back to the land for irrigation.
In 2017, along with some amazing local friends, we built two additional tiny wooden structures: an A-frame cabin and a hexagon-shaped one with a reciprocal roof. We used the leftover pieces to build a 5x12 meter platform and five other platforms with small greenhouses on them. Over the summer, they were used by many overnight guests, and in the winter they were inhabited by plants.
Now I live here with four furry friends, two piglets and several people who come to experience A vida Fausto for themselves. This autumn and winter, we will host workshops on the benefits of a digital detox and forest bathing.