Have you ever had a dream? Something you’re so passionate about that you think about it all the time, even waking up at night, and just can’t get it out of your head? Then you must follow it!
I have my very own, personal dream. It all started last year, when my husband and I decided to buy a holiday home in Bulgaria. It was a rather spontaneous decision. We had been looking for property in Ireland, but then this beautiful place in a country we knew nothing about flashed up for sale on Google and we fell in love. Four weeks later, we were the proud owners of our own place in the sun.
I went over to Bulgaria to complete the sales documents. It was quite an adventure, taking the train to get to our place instead of hiring a car with not a single word of Bulgarian to my name in a country that unlike many other places doesn’t speak English very much. That was the first time I started to really appreciate Google Translate!
After a short stay last summer, we got rather fascinated by this country that was just a white space on our own personal maps. We started investigating it online and found a rich, colourful and intriguing culture, lots of castles, Roman remains and plenty of old-world charm. And the food and weather are pretty decent, too. The perfect getaway from rainy old England.
Then, one day last summer, I was sitting and wondering what our place would be like as a retreat centre. It was just a fleeting, silly thought in the beginning, but somehow it started to burrow itself into my brain and just wouldn’t let go. This little voice at the back of my mind just wouldn’t give me any peace. I knew that our house wasn’t really the right place for a project like that. The access isn’t right, there are neighbours on three sides and the village is very original and rustic but not really retreat or tourist material.
So I started, just for fun as I kept telling myself, to look for other properties and soon hit on the perfect match. Totally on its own, away from neighbours, only an hour’s drive from the Black Sea, Bulgaria’s main tourist region. I emailed a general enquiry ─ still for fun, as I kept convincing myself ─ and the estate agent confirmed that the place was available for a ridiculously low price and on top of that for monthly hire purchase.
It took about three seconds and a skipped heartbeat to put in the offer. I had never seen the place, but the photos showed me that it’s entirely perfect for building my dream. A huge piece of land, water supply, even electricity to get started and its own access road ─ it’s all there, ready to be transformed into the retreat centre that I carry in my head.
So for the last year, we’ve been raising cash by selling off surplus stuff and paying off this wonderful new place. And this May, we’ll finally be off to Bulgaria for three months, sorting out our existing and new place, finalising all the paperwork and starting to plan my eco retreat project in earnest.
At first glance, it still looks like a utopian fantasy. Where does the money come from? How can I get the legalities sorted without knowing much Bulgarian, a language that is turning out to be much harder to learn than I anticipated? But I strongly believe in the law of attraction and positive energy. Things will work out just fine if you only believe strongly enough that they will. And since I started this project, things have been falling into place one by one. I’ve been talking about this plan of mine a lot to many people and in return had several great ideas presented to me. There is crowdfunding for the money. Volunteering and workaways for the labour. Alternative building methods that won’t break the bank and use recycled materials, thus being the eco-friendly alternatives I am looking for. Ideas and new connections just seem to be flooding in.
I now have upped my plans from the original restoration of the house to an eco village made from Cal-Earth-style huts. Look it up ─ Cal Earth Institute ─ it’s an amazing organisation that builds huts in disaster regions on this planet from the simplest of materials, but highly effective. Ten lovely huts with all the mod-cons placed around a large meeting place with camp fire in the middle. Eating house and yoga and dance structure to the side. All self-sustaining and uses as few resources as possible. Gentle use of our Mother Earth. Great vegetarian and vegan food to die for. A beautifully landscaped garden with labyrinth and lots of hiding places to relax and bliss out in nature. And nature is so colourful and abundant during the Bulgarian summers! Going by the pictures, which were taking in the depth of winter, I can just imagine how green it’ll all be!
I can see it now and it’s all a real picture in my head already. This summer will be simply amazing. Once I actually hold the keys to this magical place, my dream will start taking on a shape and form, a reality all of its own. And I can already see the first retreat in my head when it all launches in 2021. Some people try to tell me that this is all still just a pipe dream, a fantasy. But I know deep within my heart that it’s not. I have asked the Universe for help and guidance and it has literally paved the way for me. And with enough determination, ingenuity, spit and elbow grease, this dream will become real. In a year from now, I’ll be sitting here planning the every minute detail of the first ever retreat to make sure it’s perfect. I know because I believe. If you have a dream, I hope this story has inspired you to go out there and grab it and work towards it. There is nothing more satisfying, trust me! If you want to stay in the loop and find out more about my Bulgarian eco retreat project, sign up to my blog below and also like my Facebook page, www.facebook.com/silkeharveypage. If you’re interested in participating in this exciting project or know of someone who might, email me at email@example.com. I’d love to hear from you.