The Idea to become more self reliant in what I do and how I live probably stems, from being brought up at a time when Felicity Kendal and ‘The Good Life’ were at their peak. More than that though as a young child I spent many a summer holiday staying with my grandparents. My grandfather was an allotmenteer, whose onion growing ability I am still in awe of. I am sure that the weeks spent with him weeding planting and harvesting, as well as eating all the things he grew on his numerous allotments has be ingrained in me somewhere.
Now I should start by saying that I am not some Gurdian reading ‘Trustafarian’ who has given up nothing to adopt this life syle, and there are things that obviously I still have to pay for, but by moving to Bulgaria in 2008, I have reduced my monthly out goings to quite a modest £200 a month. Which is probably less than my brothers council tax bill. (You can help him pay this, and feed his children by visiting his shop here)
Planning Is Essential
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and in planning this upheaval and change of lifestyle I thought I had planned for most eventualities. We (my long suffering girlfriend Annie) had some money in the bank, we had bought our house with very large garden in Bulgaria. Put our house (with mortgage) on the market in June 2008 and moved out. (At the time RBS was still a respectable name in the banking sector) That was in August 2008. At the time of writing (June 2010) we have yet to sell our house and are still paying for it!
Enough of my sob story though, if like me you are thinking about becoming more self reliant, you will need to plan months if not years in advance or you can do what I have and try and learn everything along the way. It is a very steep learning curve, but just like a rollercoaster, the higher it goes the better.
What Have I Achieved So Far
In our first year here, I have grown about three quarters of the food we eat, have had chickens, have lost chickens(fox), and have started bee keeping. Now that might not sound like a great deal, however, I am a computer engineer by trade, and my Maths & Physics degree has still to find its value in my new lifestyle (much to the dismay of the student loan company). So I really have started this from the lowest point possible.
Why The Website
As well as keeping a record of my progress, I would like to share with anyone who is interested, the mistakes and triumphs that I have had, if that can inspire just one more person to plant a row of potatoes – mission accomplished.
Why not? We had originally planned to go to Tanzania, and we even attempted it once. However due to hassles with immigration, and corruption on a scale that would outrage British MP’s we thought it best to remain in the EU. Bulgaria joined the EU on 1 Jan 2007. Although where I live you would not believe you were in Europe. If you are interested where I live you can find it here on google earth (41° 25′ 52.65″ N 25° 19′ 42.66″ E ) I have uploaded a picture of our house in during winter.
There are many plus points to living in (Rural)Bulgaria. They include:
- Low Council Tax (mine is 15 Euros a year).
- Very Affordable housing (10,000 Euros for a 4 bedroom detached house with 1300 sq m garden).
- They really are in the EU.
- Proper seasons, hot in the summer, cold in the winter, instead of different tempreatures of rain like the UK.
- The people in my village are the friendliest I have met.
- Has a poulation similar to Scotland, and a land area of 75% of that of England.
- The rural parts are Chav free zones
- A trip to the dentist won’t require a mortgage
- Bulgarian politicians don’t pretend not to be corrupt
There are many other positive reasons for being here which I shall elaborate on in later articles. I shall also list some of the neagtives though to give a balanced argument.
- The document is King, a hangover from there not to distant communist leaning
- The roads are terrible, I really do mean terrible
- There is no NHS
- Bulgarian Politicians are openly corrupt
- Actually that is about it
So now you know why I am here, instead of working a 40 hour week in the UK, discussing X factor with imbeciles!
I will be adding a new article every day or so (the world cup is coming up though). So check back to read the latest triumph or disaster.