Combining location independence and sustainability — Economadia Manifesto
By Jorin Eichhorn, last updated Aug. 13th 2019
If you want to want to walk fast, walk alone.
If you want to walk far, walk together.
In the following lines we wish to outline the spirit and basic orientation of Economadia. It is about creating a common mindset and base of ideas and for you to see whether or not you find yourself in those ideas. With the aid of this manifest you can basically find out if you think you wish to meet the kind of people that come to our events, projects and anything that we are going to create in the future.
General speaking, Economadia represents the idea of combining the topics of location independence and sustainability or a sustainable lifestyle in general, with the firm belief that people who can live a location independent lifestyle have the power to be avant-gardists and pioneers of actively pursuing and creating such a lifestyle.
Due to the fact that more and more jobs can be done remotely as work is becoming location independent and a rising number of people are able to fulfill a job online (such as graphic designers, translators, coders and many more emerging) but also offline (writers, artists, etc…) we are having a growing amount of people everywhere on the globe who, limited by visa or other political restrictions, can basically choose where, how and with whom they want to live.
Simultaneously, we are witnessing the phenomena in every corner of the world where more and more people move into the cities because this is where they find jobs. After all, the majority of people are still in a “normal” setting of working in a specific location. Consequently, cities are growing, space is getting less, prices for rent and overall living costs are on the rise, and gentrification is a process that happens in every major city around the globe.
Location independence gives us the power to choose of where, how and with whom we want to live.
With that said, we see the need and chances to re-think, re-invent and re-order life and livelihoods in the countryside or small towns which are not on the radar where especially young people don’t have much to stay for other than that they were born and raised there.
Furthermore, we are facing a time where for the first time in human history we are able to combine both, local and global sphere (i.e. you can make a living online whilst being active and connected locally). This brings along both, great opportunities as well as great challenges.
While all the world is talking about and focused on how to create the future of cities and which things inevitably will have to change (which is of course also very important) at Economadia we see a need in having a look at less exponent places of interest which can be a great alternative to a life in an undersized apartment located in an over-busy city.
Rural areas not only give more physical space but also more space for opportunities for pioneers and avant-gardists to try out new things and projects. How would you create your ideal environment surrounded with friends, family and community that you are having strong connection with on a daily basis while maintaining good and meaningful connections around the world? What would be your choice of living?
We need places where we can truly express our skills and talents, embedded in a community that fosters this creative, playful and purposeful culture and a thriving life is possible instead of falling in the rat-race trap where we simply exchange time for money and deprives us from what we really need.
We believe that there is a growing demand for such places and a growing amount of people will be more sensitized for those ideas and concepts. Our goal here is to create bridges and connections between location independent people and projects/movements/events such as rural or ecological proactive coliving and coworking spaces, future work conferences or pocket city farms (yes, that exists!), with an emphasis on creating socially and environmentally sustainable places and to promote those places and their ideas.
To achieve this we run our own events which bring together experts from different areas to share their expertise and people who are interested in the same topics and have a similar mindset to create and grow the community online and offline. We run workations in selected places where you our participants can get in touch with this lifestyle and meet other members offline.
Our vision is to create a blueprint of the “global village” or the “village of the 21st century” where people of every walk of life are needed and important for a thriving and progressive life for both; the personal as well as the professional one.
Economadia therefore is a platform for both; on the one hand to spread the idea and to promote initiatives and projects of a similar nature, on the other hand to create projects and examples of what we represent such as our Economadia Coworking Farm project that we ran in the countryside near Porto/Portugal in 2017. We consider it as necessary to have both, creating great ideas AND taking concrete action, in a balanced way.
It is kind of easy to come up with great ideas and concepts on a meta-level, however, they are little to nothing worth if no one is acting upon those. Hustling is easy; taking real life action is what really counts.
Or in other words: actions speak louder than words.
Our vision is to combine the best of modern life, i.e. taking advantage of the latest technology and developments, having access to nature while feeling good being surrounded by friends in a proactive, creative and thriving community.
We are not aspiring to work against the system (whatever that might be), to drop out of society or swinging the moral hammer and being the party pooper by constantly making people having a guilty conscience about their ecological behavior. Neither do we the intention to create a hippie cult or something along those lines but places and projects with people who are down to earth and have a good sense of sanity.
What matters is that each and everyone can pursue a high degree of personal freedom while being part of such a community.
We are aware of the fact that we are pioneers in this field and that many people, us included, still need to comprehend the dimension of these ideas. We want to show people that it makes sense to use your skills, experience and expertise that you gain in life to share it with other people and to be part of a community.
In the following we wish to express our vision in crucial areas to better point out what is the pattern for specific topics:
Above all, we believe that nothing can be achieved by a single person because no individual can cover all necessary areas and abilities for more complex projects. Only by collaborating, sharing work and ideas, giving each other inspiration, energy and hope is what can bring us further in a sustainable way. And no project can really unfold its full potential if no feedback is given, no second doubting from external people occurs and a certain procedure of development is taking place. That’s why the concept of a community is essential to the whole idea of Economadia and is basically the first priority.
This point is fairly easy to define and has been outlined already further above, yet it has of course some grey zones and different degrees. Due to your life and job situation you can be partly or fully location independent, from being a single mother doing a part-time home office job to the showcase digital nomad running a remote business with x amount of employees changing locations on a very frequent basis. The common denominator here is that technically as well as mentally you are able to choose (almost) any sort of location to go or live for a while or full-time if you wanted to do so because your job/project/activity allows you to do so. However, just having a big amount of money for whatever reason and roaming through the world or being a lost traveler is not meeting the concept as you will see in the next points.
The crucial point here is: location independence is not the aim or goal itself, it’s simply a very important and powerful tool to be able to pursue your own individual lifestyle — in terms of Economadia this means to be able to live a sustainable lifestyle as it pleases you.
This term is definitely already far more difficult to depict as it can affect many different areas and has become sort of an empty phrase. When talking about “sustainability” or “sustainable lifestyle” many people often think about causing less pollution, using less of transportation which is destroying the nature or sorting the trash in different bins to recycle certain resources. While this is definitely not wrong and a good thing to do, in terms of Economadia we emphasize first and foremost the social sustainability. We’d like to differentiate here into the following categories:
1/ Psychological sustainability
Psychology basically explores and describes how our brain works and why we behave as we do as an individual. In different ways it approaches to categorize our personality. When looking at Maslow’s hierachy of needs we at Economadia are aiming to get closest to the top of the pyramid, the self-actualization which implies that all levels below are sufficiently covered.
Being part of a strong and resilient real life community which in the best case allows you to strive and grow gives you best chances to be in a mentally and psychologically in a strong and healthy position,. Hence, once we as an individual have a firm and proper base which gives this mental power, energy and meaning instead of living isolated in a big city is what we consider or wish to be understood when talking about “psychological sustainability”.
Only when you are in a strong position you will also be able to provide and carry out this spirit into the world, affecting those around you in this positive way. If you can provide properly for yourself and give yourself enough respect and value, so will you be able to do it also for other people and for all the things around you.
2./ Social sustainability
One thing is for sure: the way we are living in big cities nowadays has not much about social sustainability in many aspects. We live in big blocks of 50 units, hardly know our neighbors by only greeting them fleetingly on the corridor if at all, and old people end up dying all alone in their apartment and no one is taking notice of that. That’s of course a bit of the extreme case but they happen — in the midst of hundred of people.
Instead of ending up in social isolation, one of the biggest problems of our modern society, the primary goal is to create those above mentioned resilient and powerful communities.
3./ Ecological sustainability
When the first two points are sufficiently given we believe that this point is kind of emerging more or less automatically, or at least it can find its place in our everyday lives. When you live the good life in a functioning and at best striving community you will have the capacity to contribute or even dedicate to this topic and actively support measures and actions which are needed, e.g. helping in the permaculture garden for a little bit or learning more about earthship building.
Sustainability is not an easy topic and highly subject to have different opinions about it, we totally respect this.
Generally speaking, technological advance is great as this basically opens up new opportunities and new chances — for better and for worse. In terms of Economadia, any technical advance that helps to improve/facilitate our everyday lives is welcome and should be used if it replaces older, obsolete systems or improving the social, economic or environmental livelihood as long as the environmental or social damage don’t outweigh its benefits.
One important point of Economadia is to foster and support any type of entrepreneurship, creativity and unconventional ideas. Entrepreneurship is the backbone for improvement and the further development of any community. It’s not the formula to save the world, yet, at least in the western educational system entrepreneurial thinking is way too underdeveloped and even being defeated in many ways; be it by the parents of a child, the society, the educational system, the media or in general the system; well you can ask rightly ask what the latter is supposed to be exactly. Not everyone is by definition an entrepreneur, however, everyone has (or used to have once) creativity in one way or the other. We are all curious to discover and unravel, to have a meaningful impact to our surroundings.
“The world is a book and those who don’t travel read only one page” goes the famous quote of Augustine of Hippo.
The topic mobility is one of the foundations of Economadia as it is also containing the name itself (nomad = mobility). We cannot know who we are and what chances the world offer us if we don’t allow ourselves to explore. Those who are not able to expand themselves into the outside world, to manifold, deprive themselves from the opportunity to do extended excursions to their own inside world and discover who or what else they could have become otherwise.
On the one hand, ways to get from A to B are rapidly changing in our time; new solutions with less impact on the environment are on the move which we definitely embrace. Any technological advance that is being made in this direction deserves boundless respect.
One the other hand, allowing oneself to change the location for a while, to get out of one’s own comfort zone is highly important to regenerate, to update, to get back on the ground and to reality again, to gain new ideas, to understand and actually feel the manifoldness of the world, to be part of the move. With that said, our vision is to create a lifestyle which enables you to travel, explore, move or whatever you want to call it at (almost) any given time when you need or wish to do it. Therefore, a healthy mix of having a base, knowing where you belong to and where you can fall back upon when needed and being able to travel for the very same reasons is what we promote.
Gardening, not agriculture
We absolutely respect those that are dedicated to agriculture as it is very hard and above all committing work with the risk to end up having no harvest, subsequently no money and nothing to eat. However, for Economadia this is not a concept or at least not a primary goal when thinking about how to have a good life in rural areas. It makes you stuck instead of location independent, obviously. What we want are the tomatoes behind the house that we can put on Instagram or wherever you like and to enjoy on a slice of good bread or in the next salad. People who wish to dedicate more to garden work are of course welcome to do so and in fact are needed. If everyone is sitting on the computer all day long nothing will ever grow and the dog will die starving.
Co-working, co-living, co-choose-yourself
Sharing resources and knowledge is the key for a good life.
Working together on something or the mere fact that you see others jumping on their work and project will make it much easier for you to get yourself swinging up and doing the same. By sharing the same workspace you will get in touch with people from other areas of work and people will inevitably share and hear ideas that you would never have had when working by yourself in your apartment.
By living together you will create bonds and connections and will interact on a day-to-day basis with the people around you and will learn even more about them and their activities. We consider coliving not as a modified version of a standard hotel but it has the power to give you access to many more facilities such as a tennis court or a swimming pool that you would not have on your own — and even if you have enough money to afford it, where is the fun when nobody else is around?
Living together, when done in the right way which requires the right format and design, will help you to build up trust, feel more secure and ultimately will come up with more daring ideas that you might want to test — and you know that you can share them here and get support. A good balance between private and communal space is important to consider here.
By sharing those things that otherwise each of us is buying in a normal urban lifestyle setting (e.g. car, lawn mower, tools you only need now and then) will leave the individual with more money to be used otherwise.
This is important when it comes to a permanent physical location in the future like the “global village of improving people” as we envision it. It is imperative that no private ownership is involved so that no interest of profit maximizing dominates and or gambling investors who are looking for their share. Investing into ourselves is the deal breaker for getting our community into an even more powerful state.
Some final words
This manifest is tied to an ever ongoing learning process so it will always be imperfect and therefore subject to be altered and rewritten where needed. With the creation of new projects we will also gain new knowledge and insights that we will implement here.
Many thanks for your attention,
Your Economadia team