Eco Building & typical village responses

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ColinWigan

Eco Building & typical village responses

Postby ColinWigan » Tue Jan 11, 2011 11:01 pm

I'm new to this site and currently feverishly researching a possible future in Bulgaria. We are very much into sustainable living and I've read with much interest previous (now quite old) posts about strawbale building etc in Bulgaria - in particular Leedarkwood's 'blog' (thanks for that).

We are currently looking in the central/northern areas (Veliko, Lovech etc) and want to build either an Earthship or Strawbale house. We are used to living 'off-grid' as we lived on a barge for the last ten years and would like to take that a step further on land. We have two young children (7 & 9) and want enough space for ourselves and to build a small tourism business running specialist courses.

We have many questions but, for this topic area, were wondering how villagers take to foreigners 'moving in' and developing business (& income opportunities) in their area. We are very sociable people and are commited to learning the language and 'getting involved' with the local community if possible.

I'm also keen to find out more about building 'alternative' properties such as I've mentioned but I guess this topic area is not for that.

Thanks very much

Colin & Maria

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Postby fred » Wed Jan 12, 2011 12:43 am

Hi Colinwigan

Where ever you end up the locals will think you are loonys. You will be by far the most interesting thing that has ever happened to them, unless you move into a place where there are already Brits living.

If you are going to do it please don't wait any longer, your oldest kid is fast approaching too old to make this kind of move, trust me I know what I am talking about.

I think I know the sort of thing you have in mind, it just might fly, it has elswhere.

Good luck and if you want to come and have a look at a bit of virgin coast then stay in touch.

Cheers Fred.

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Re: Eco Building & typical village responses

Postby Maverickmemphisboy » Wed Jan 12, 2011 2:24 am

ColinWigan wrote:I'm new to this site and currently feverishly researching a possible future in Bulgaria. We are very much into sustainable living and I've read with much interest previous (now quite old) posts about strawbale building etc in Bulgaria - in particular Leedarkwood's 'blog' (thanks for that).

We are currently looking in the central/northern areas (Veliko, Lovech etc) and want to build either an Earthship or Strawbale house. We are used to living 'off-grid' as we lived on a barge for the last ten years and would like to take that a step further on land. We have two young children (7 & 9) and want enough space for ourselves and to build a small tourism business running specialist courses.

We have many questions but, for this topic area, were wondering how villagers take to foreigners 'moving in' and developing business (& income opportunities) in their area. We are very sociable people and are commited to learning the language and 'getting involved' with the local community if possible.

I'm also keen to find out more about building 'alternative' properties such as I've mentioned but I guess this topic area is not for that.

Thanks very much

Colin & Maria
Hi Colin and Maria,welcome to the forum.My suggestion {for what its worth}try Palmartsa,theres quite a few brit residents there and in particular a young british couple{whos names elude my memory at the moment,sorry..!}who appear quite regularly on bg tv who are doing the whole "Eco/sustainable living shebang"prices there are creeping up accordingly but still affordable.The only downside is{and this is only my opinion..so everyone with first hand experience feel free to contradict}i would think twice about your childrens future and eduacation also about any plans to start a business here.There is so little money floating about in the inland areas you must ask yourself where will your customer base come from.If the answer to this question is from European /uk tourists you may find it a struggle.this is particularly true if you pick the middle of north bg,it means your clients are 120 plus miles either way from an airport,and that just doesnt sell Bulgaria to people.I think its fair to say, have a back up plan,i certainly wouldnt tie up all your money in BG.I dont want to be all doom and gloom,have a word with the couple in Palmartsa they were running a volunteer programme with people turning up from all over to help them build up their set up and business,i would say they are eminantly better qualified to advise you of the pros and cons of it all than i am.someone on here will hopefully give you their names,i think their website is called Bountifulparadise or something like that..lol..my memory gets worse every year..!The very best of luck to you,truly hope it works out for you if you do decide to take the plunge and move here.

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Postby scot47 » Wed Jan 12, 2011 3:23 am

Leedarkwood is your guide here. Look at some of her posts. And learn how to use the "Search" function. You know that your children will have to go to school in Bulgaria ? No "home-schooling" here !

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Postby leedarkwood » Wed Jan 12, 2011 5:38 am

I wouldn't come to Bulgaria with the idea that you are going to build in a particular material. How will you know if it is right for the micro climate you are going to be living in? Come first and do the research for your plot.

I think (having given it a lot of thought recently) that earthships would need concrete or similar load bearing columns to pass BG building code, just as strawbale needs a frame, according to our structural engineers. Having used old tyres on a small scale here I can tell you they are bl**dy hard work to do. Frankly they were brutal to fill and pack down. If I was going to do an earthship, I would want a backhoe and a powered rammer of some kind, plus a good healthy building team.

Why not do a tour of the country and visit those of us who are working with this kind of idea?

Have you really thought through the business plan for 'courses'? There are a lot of people who have tried something similar and failed here. Outside the main tourist traps there are not a lot of people spending money on holidays here of any kind. I would suggest you have something to fall back on that won't need so much time to get going, or a large pot of savings.

Here the locals have cheered us on, delighting in everything we do. Our entertainment value is high, but they are pleased if we success in something.

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Eco Building & typical village responses

Postby PosabinaPete » Wed Jan 12, 2011 7:12 am

Hi Colin.
I live and work in Bulgaria full time. We are now at the end of our second year in business and it is going from strengh to strengh. It has been hard work and we have made a lot of mistakes. We have also been "ripped off" by a few Bulgarians but what hurts the most is the Brits that have ripped us off.
As you can imagine we have had to deal with many goverment officals and in Bulgaria it is one job per person,what would take you an hour to do in England could take a day or more to do here, but that is Bulgarian life.
We employ 3 full time bulgarians who live at the lake on a rota. They have no mains water or electricity, but live quite comfortably using solar and batteries, drinking fresh spring water and cooking on a log fire.
The schools and education in Bulgaria are first class and your children will do better here then in England. As for moving into a village whith many Brits I personaly would avoid it, as with all walks of life there are good and bad you only need one bad apple and every one is tared with the same brush.
If you are ever in Popovo area give me a shout and maybe you could give me some ideas for the lake. All the best. Pete

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Postby Wynx » Wed Jan 12, 2011 11:34 am

Hi!
Try googling Hotnitsa.com. Also Cob in Bulgaria. You should find something helpful and interesting.
Cheers.

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ColinWigan

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Postby ColinWigan » Wed Jan 12, 2011 4:44 pm

Thanks for all your replies - I'm currently planning to travel to Bulgaria end-april early May and hope to set up a bit of a 'tour' so thanks for the invitations to visit - I think those will be of most value to us. We'll be looking very closely at the great advice you've offered and continuing with our research online. If all the ducks (& research) line up and we decide to make the move, it'll be in the next 12 months - hopefully rural property will not shoot up too fast in that time!

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Postby scot47 » Wed Jan 12, 2011 4:53 pm

If you are interested in the area around Shumen, let me know.

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Postby houseman » Wed Jan 12, 2011 9:20 pm

Hi Colinwigan,
The Property Owner Search facility in the Information section (left hand column) will give you access to MyBG'ers who have recorded their base town or village in the Profiles section. There will be some or several in your area of choice.
If you check these out and PM those who appear, you're sure to get some response, and I would think it's likely that one or two at least would be fascinated by your ideas and stand you a pint at the local bar!
Best of luck!
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