happy 3rd birthday to boodaville

en castellano aqui

well it’s only been called boodaville for a few months i suppose, but the seed started growing on the 7th November 2008 when i took the day off work, went over there in a little rental car, signed the papers with Antonio’s ageing parents and a notary to buy a 1.5 hectare plot in rural spain, and cracked open a bottle of cava in the sunshine.


The project has evolved since the original idea and just to clear things up – here’s a summary of what’s going on down at the land:

I am working in parallel on building a comfortable home with rooms for rent (read more here) and developing eco-tourism with a focus on educational workshops about sustainable living, called the “positive impact project”. It’s mainly about fun and adventure, but also aims to show people ethical lifestyle alternatives which could be adopted on a long term basis. If we inspire visitors to make permanent changes to the routine can we can claim that by choosing a boodaville holiday your overall effect on people and planet is a positive one? maybe – hence the name project…

the anniversary weekend was all about bonfire

and hulahooping

more highlights coming up.. as i think of catchy headlines

diary of an arts weekend…

well first check out some photos, including the awesome karate moves of some of the group – not only in the improv class but also when attempting to destroy wood

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in the team photo people were asked to sum up what they learnt over the weekend in a single expression – do you need me to explain more or can you just look at their faces and glean what happened?

overall it was a huge success and i’m pleased with the organisation for a first attempt – which i’m sure was credit to having such a lovely group of people. As predicted it was cold at night and to solve this problem i will be providing hot water bottles in future i promise. the food was delicious and in all about 80% was organic, or locally made or fair trade. the workshops sounded hilarious (i was stuck in the kitchen and could hear them laughing from up top!!) and the walking, river trip and yoga fitted in perfectly.

i completely love it when visitors get as energised and excited about the land as i am – and i thought it was brilliant that Fiona et al decided to get up at 7 on sunday for a silent walk up to a rock with a view to do a meditation.

what guests had to say:

“It was truly an awesome weekend with some truly awesome people and I hope we’ll all do it again someday. Thank you Anna!!” – Scott

“I found the conversation really enrichening and inspiring across the whole weekend and you all took really well to the Improv – it was great fun!” Matt Kemp (workshop leader)

“It was truly a wonderful weekend and unlike anything I’ve done since moving to Barcelona. Thanks to all of you for making it so fun and supporting my first attempts at improv” -Iva

ok – and just in case you think i’m being too selective here’s Brian’s response

“Apart from the cold hellish nightmare bumpy ground plagued sleeps, it was perfect.”

(like i say, i’m getting hot water bottles – and this event took place in October)

my other highlights –

hearing shouting from the workshops where people were loving the empty outdoor space to let rip

people who wouldn’t normally do that sort of thing admitted that they enjoyed the number 2 toilet 😉

matt‘s opening song in the yurt (we took our concert inside and lit a fire – extreme cosiness!)

jumping in the river (let’s face it, i wouldn’t have gone in if i was on my own. i don’t care what you say Brian, it was freezing)

and although i nearly hit stress point on saturday (particularly when the shopping took 3 times as long as expected because of village gossip..) it was a pretty smooth and painless operation, and thanks to Maurice who spent lots of the day cleaning up and making tea.

things i’ve learnt:

the open olive grove next to the red brick house up top makes an awesome space for “defend your castle” type team silliness

the yurt just fits 11 people and a concert in

people eat a lot at snack time after a 2 hour improv workshop

the fastest i can get from calaceite to my place is 3.5 minutes

Matt Kemp is a legend

i want to run the whole boodaville project on donations – that’s to say that people pay enough to cover their expenses, on top of that they give a voluntary contribution they feel comfortable with so people in the future can enjoy the same experience.

problem solving

so we found a common enemy. we will all blame carla, the lady who worked at the main district office for a few months covering a maternity leave. she only approved one of the two buildings, and also classified it as the wrong type of tourist accomodation.

who knows if it really is all her fault, but since my idea to have tourists and myself living on the same piece of land yet in different buildings doesn’t tick any of their boxes describing how country hotels should be, i am now going to live in a shed. no, hang on, i didn’t say that. i am not going to live in a shed, i am going to build one – to make sure i use all the square metres the current law allows me – then sleep in it occasinally and apply for a “change of use” in many years time to convert it to a home. this means the two buildings will be

1) a building for rural tourism/living in

2) an agricultural shed built on the ruins of the original building.

but get this… not only is it much quicker to apply for permission to build a shed, but the valderrobres planning office can give me the permission to build so i avoid any of these ridiculous three month waits. AND i can put a green roof on the shed. AND – get this – i have to become a farmer. that means i am allowed to build an agricultural building. i’m going to go and look at how to register with the local cooperative now

on the downside— we are literally back to the drawing board for two weeks