Smallholding in Brazil

I lived in Brasil for almost 4 years from Early 2000 to Late 2003. It was a grand experience and these pages describe some highlights . . .

During a weeks break on a friends land close to Extrema in Minas Gerais state then with my partner at that time Cris we decided to checkout what land was available and for what prices. We were not thinking about buying anything at that time – we just wanted to have a look. We were sick of Sao Paulo with 14 million people living in a shoe box. We wanted somewhere that we could breath that we could make our own. Somewhere that we could be content, relaxed and live as we wanted to.

So while visiting Extreme we wrote down exactly what we wanted. It must have a stream with waterfalls and a drinking spring, areas that are forested and other areas level for building and proximity of services. Cris had always talked about having some monkeys which we don’t think would be easy. To our surprise the very first land we looked at was fantastic, there are no building on it and the vegetation so dense that it was difficult to get close enough to the stream to even see it. It has been abandoned for years and there were monkeys living there – we could not believe it.

monkeys in the trees

There turned out to be 2-3 troops of local monkeys that regularly came through the land and right past the chalet. They were very curious about us and would spend time watching us watching them. Eventually they came within about 5 meters of us. We did not encourage them or leave them food as we were told that they can become pests.

So, we bought this land a whole 6 acres located in a tropical forest at about 1500 meters altitude in the hills of Minas Gerais Brasil in February 2002. We then moved to the local town and started to plan what we were going to do with it. In all we have spent 2 years building, landscaping and otherwise preparing the 6 acres of land that we had there. One of the locals Jeames worked with us one or two days a week, he did much of the heavy work on the land, the rest we did ourselves.

This is a map of the land.

map of land in brazil

At the point where we were almost finished and were thinking of starting to be open to people coming we had a shock. We suddenly realised that this place had not been about manifesting somewhere either for ourselves to live or for others to come but that it had been about providing us with the experiences needed to get us in touch with ourselves to deeper levels, resolve what we found and move on. As this was always our true focus then it should not have been a surprise, it was though. We had been so focused on making it work that it really did take a shock to make us realize that we were now finished here – that there was no more reason for us to continue rather in fact it was now our greatest limitation and it was time to get out. We realized this one day, thought about it a second day and had a buyer by the third – confirming to us at least that this was the right move.

So, we sold the land and left it in early June 2004. We then travelled the south of Brazil for 2 months, visited friends and relations for two more and then decided to wander around Europe.

For more details of the time here read the self sufficiency and construction pages.