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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Vision of the Nicaragua Gulch

I was recently asked, "What is your vision? Are you trying to attract talent, anarchists, NVC devotees? Are you looking to actually build a community? I’m interested to hear about your plans."

There are so many ways that it could go. And we excited about all of them!

One way it could go: A worldwide network of free micro cities. A micro city has 100-1000 people in it. It is situated on a (largely) self-sufficient off-the-grid farm. Some people have full houses on the outskirts but most people live in "the city," the town center. Most people live in kitchen-less apartments or bungalows. They are stunningly beautiful and built pattern-language style. There is a "restaurant" or dining hall per 25 to 50 or so people. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, desert and snacks are served at regular times. Meals are designed to be not just organic and healthy but nutritionally perfect (providing every single vitamin and mineral) and as tasty as any gourmet restaurant. Maids do laundry and keep rooms clean. This sharing of the cooks and maids keeps cost-of-living down and yet enables life to be luxurious.

The micro-city network makes it easy to move--whichever city you travel to your basic needs are met. These cities are an incredible place to get work done if you work online and an amazing place to  raise a family since the cooking and cleaning are taken care of. You can commit to one location and live there all year or you can be like hunter-gatherers and move when the desire strikes and see your current bedroom as an Uber-home. Each community has a NVC community manager whose full time job is similar to that of a therapist or priest or moderator. We were all raised in ways that damaged us so for our generation especially it's important to set the tone of good communication and emotional health. Living with others in freedom isn't possible without these skills. 

Regardless, wherever you go in the world, there is a city of freedom lovers waiting for you. Each one will probably develop its own culture, and you will find the one thats right for you. 

Most of the initial movers work on-line, are retired, or are entrepreneurs and provide a service in the community. Most likely each city will develop a certain business and end up with a specialty. I want to live in a community of entertainment-makers, the "film industry" micro-city, where everyone works on some aspect of the making of entertainment for freedom lovers, NOT conversion entertainment, but rather, entertainment for those who love liberty. The gulch we are building in Nicaragua may be "the foodie" gulch or it may revolve around a spice company. In Nicaragua we are growing cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, black pepper, vanilla bean, and we have more wild turmeric than we know what to do with! Maybe that will turn into a business that can employ 5 to 50 people.

But maybe none of that happens. Maybe what we are building is just our family farm. We enjoy living there. We turn it into our very own paradise. People visit us. Maybe they come every year for the summer to attend the Roslyn Parenting Seminar and Family Summer Camp. Maybe our farm is the place where we have an annual Masked Pirate Ball for the winter solstice. Maybe our farm is the site of an annual Firefly and Harvest Festival. We are open to many possibilities. Right now, we have to build it as if it's just for us. Because other people may not come.

At first we thought the farm would be open to anyone who called themselves an anarchist. We had people come to stay--we had people buy rooms! And we learned that just because you are a peaceful anarchist does not mean you are enjoyable (for us) to live with. There has to be some element of choosing each other. Maybe no one is ever invited to move to the farm until they have stayed for a month or two so we can feel each other out and make sure we can live together well.

We have thought of making it secret, like a secret society. You hear that it exists out there but without an invitation you don't even know how to get there (is that possible in this day and age?!) 

The entrepreneurial spirit has been schooled out of most Americans, we learned. At first we thought we would get a wave of entrepreneurs, but now we realize that most people just want a job and security.

I don't have full an answer to the question. Our dream is people, a community, yes! But the hardworking, successful freedom-lovers we know would rather devote their lives to fighting in their home-country than leave. It's mind-blowing to us. I will be at Freedom Fest next week, surrounded by thousands and thousands of people who only want to talk about how to turn statists into libertarians. I am grateful to them, but really I wish they would all just opt out with me--devote your life to your own joy! Devote your life to your fellow freedom-lovers! It's like the religious fanatics who can't just enjoy their religion, their life purpose is to convert other people, and so their lives revolve around the very people they can't stand. In the liberty movement that is what I keep finding. So... maybe all I can hope for is a paradise for my own family. And freedom lovers will come down and join us for a holiday or two and then return to their lives in service of the cause.

Maybe they will do it like us--they will visit repeatedly and then one day, two or three years later, they are ready to sell their home in the USSA and head out for good. I'm not all that into self-force. Tom used to stress about whether or not we "should" move to the gulch full-time and I would always say, let's do recon. Let's go there and see how we feel. When the time is right, we will know, and moving there will feel right and not like force.

At this point I don't know. What I know is that I love farm life. I love fresh, healthy, gourmet, organic food grown on land that I know is healthy land. I love the luxury of not cooking and cleaning. I love beautiful buildings! I love gardens and fountains! I love love love what we are building! And I especially love the low cost of living in Nicaragua. It is glorious to be able to live such a luxurious lifestyle and have it cost so little comparatively. I love all the free time it provides. I love farm life for my son! And I love that this choice of where to live frees up money for travel.

And it's not even built yet! The main building has taken its shape and gets more finished every day (perhaps we will be ready to start taking visitors in 2017). The difference between now and last January is that you can feel the beauty. When you stand outside in the courtyard (that doesn't have its fountain yet) it's beautiful. The beauty brings me joy, peace, and makes me feel inspired and energized. It's hard to explain, but... it's gotten pretty exciting down there in the last few months. 

I would say that even though we may take visitors in 2017, it won't be truly glorious for five to ten more years. All those rainforest trees we planted will shade the property then and instead of being 80 degrees all year, it will be 75.

Anyway, I really hope that everyone comes to visit at least once! Get a miles credit card now and stay in touch :)


  1. Roslyn,

    Your posts raises many interesting philosophical questions for me to ponder further, such as how and why communities are built, how to think about timelines extending far into the future, strategies for seeking reform (in one's own life or without), and more. It certainly has got me thinking!

    I will be interested to follow future updates as the project progresses.

    How are the cacao trees growing?

    1. Glad to hear you got some interesting things to think about from my post! The cacao is doing a lot better now that we have our well! But they are still 2 or 3 years away from bearing fruit--and they are no longer the primary crop. We do have many cacao tree/shrubs, but now we have just as many spice trees and tropical fruit trees and rainforest trees planted just to be beautiful.

  2. Very cool vision, sounds kind of like a cruise ship, only on land, and much healthier and more fun, especially your entertainment micro-city. I think I would love to split my time between living in a place like that, and then traveling, and then also a Monadock valley type micro-city, where everyone had their own separate full houses, pools, tennis courts, machine shops, food production, and wouldn't have to see or hear anyone, unless they wanted to, and then it would just be a short walk to the country club kitchen in case they got tired of cooking... or just have the food delivered, house service; and then still have maid service though or robotic servants, still organic food and healthy menus; for construction, I would build everything out of organic materials, with no VOC paints, no formaldehyde outgassing, minimal safe plastics or some of that german Arboform moldable wood, no government mandated PBDE flame retartdants sprayed on everything; plus would have organic mattresses like the Intellibed and organic sheets, and maybe build the houses with 3D printers using basalt fiber strands instead of rebar for improved strength, durability, and easy of construction. And since I am off in fantasy land, it would be great to have some power generation methods to pull electricity right from the Birkeland currents in our atmosphere, or a device using sunlight to create EZ water (purifies the water and generates electric at the same time!), or just capture lightening bolts, and then store the power instantly in some sort of plasma capacitors (haven't been invented yet), for virtual unlimited storage capacity and instant retrieval (gets rid of the need for 10 year lithium batteries, and long charge times!) And 3D printers in every room so if you see something you like on the Interenet, you can just print it.
    That Roslyn Parenting Seminar and Family Summer Camp sounds cool too!

    1. Way to take it up a level, Ray! We are trying to make out gulch as non-toxic as possible :)

  3. Thanks for the update! Love hearing success stories of real transitions like yours. I'm really encouraged by the realism in your current "plan". What are the biggest limitations you've found in growing the Cacao community? Is it a people issue?

    From your post, it seems there may be a limited number of "hardworking, successful freedom-lovers" (or just very few with a developed enough vision and courage).

    Are access to construction materials, skilled tradesmen, etc. an issue? Regulatory issues?

    1. Hi Brian,

      There are two types of community members we envision. The first is fellow entrepreneurs. Of this type we have not found many in the anarchist community. But we have found many entrepreneurial expats here in Nicaragua. On the plane yesterday we met a family of 5. They opened the Kiss Me Ice Cream Parlor in Matagalpa a few years ago. Opened a second store in Leon last year and will open a third store in Managua this year. They have found incredible success here. No red tape and no competition. They are not anarchists (or maybe they are, they just don't realize it) but they have the anarchist spirt. All entrepreneurs do to a certain extent. Entrepreneurs hate taxes and regulation.

      I wish anarchist entrepreneurs would buy the farms next door. I wish anarchist entrepreneurs weren't so stuck in their various US cities. I am studying Third Culture Kids right now and have learned that if you have lived in one city your entire life, the chances of you ever moving are slim. Yes, you go away to college, but you don't move to a new country (most likely). I have noticed that among the anarchist entrepreneurs, they are trapped in the cities they grew up in, unable to leave even if they want to, happier dealing with all the regulation, intense competition, red tape, and lack of opportunity than in dealing with moving. So, we have given up trying to get anarchist entrepreneurs to move here and are enjoying our relationships with the industrial Americans and Canadians who are arriving by the day.

      The other type of anarchist community member we envision is a resident. They live here a few months of the year or all year, but they don't get their income here. Perhaps they work online or they are retired or they are taking a year off and living off of their savings or they work in the US for three months and that supports them here for the other nine. For these people to move here I need to have rooms for them, guest rooms! And--they are not done yet.

      Access to construction materials is easy--there is construction everywhere in this country. Finding skilled tradesmen was hard a few years ago, but we are not struggling with that any more. We have had zero regulatory hurdles.

      Sorry for the late response! It have been so busy!


  4. I'll definitely keep an eye on that offer when visiting is possible. I think this could be really fulfilling way of living a healthy life! Both physically and mentally :)

    1. We would love to have you visit! Maybe you could be the pastor of the church we are starting, The First Capitalist Church of Fiscal, Emotional and Physical Prosperity? :) JK, we are not really starting a church right now, but ... wouldn't that be awesome?!