About the project
Create Your Own is a project in which we would like to inspire and empower YOU to take the first steps towards a different life that actually MAKES a difference: food from your own garden, your own drinkable water source and electricity from your solar panels. That is what we call “off-grid, low-cost, low-impact natural living”.
We want to do this by sharing all that we have learned since our journey on this topic began in 2012.
In the years that we’ve lived in rural Spain since 2013, we learned what it takes to start over somewhere new trying to live as self-sufficiently as possible. Sometimes we had to learn the hard way, watching weeks of hard work go down the drain in a matter of seconds. For the most part though, we enjoyed our new life and loved to find ways for making it even more pleasant and simpler.
We’d love to share our knowledge and experiences with you if you’d like to follow in our footsteps but need help, inspiration and a map of where the pitfalls lie, or if you’re curious about exploring a whole different way of living.
A few words about Jasper & Steph
In 2012, Jasper and Steph embarked on a special journey that would turn their lives around. They visited many places where people lived in harmony with nature in a different, self-sufficient way. You can find information about their trip and the movies they made along the way here.
Before this life-changing journey, Jasper had been an independent entrepreneur working as director, cameraman and video producer for broadcasters, companies and governments. Check out some of his work here.
Jasper: “The skills you need to direct and successfully produce a television program came in amazingly handy when we got here: solution-focused thinking, getting the most out of a limited budget and especially not giving up: continuing and adapting after disappointments is very important here.”
Steph had been working as manager of events, tours & musical acts before her life changed completely. She has always been a family girl who wanted to raise her own children close to nature, a dream that sprang from her childhood under the communist government of former East Germany, where her grandparents, passionate gardeners and flower farmers themselves, taught her the importance of happiness while living behind the Iron Curtain.
Steph: “It’s the tiny moments in life that change you and make you smile. And life is always better with a smile on your face … and birds singing in the morning.”
About the Land
When we made this (fairly impulsive) decision to move to Spain in March 2013, there was nothing on the land except for a ruin and four chestnut trees. The plot, located in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, had not been inhabited for forty years. The soil was depleted, eroded and stripped bare by the neighbor’s goats and cows.
Perhaps not immediately very inviting. But nevertheless we fell in love with the view and everything else about it when we first walked around here in May 2012.
As a result, the 2 hectares of land was like a blank canvas for us. First off, we had to create all basic necessities like a compost toilet, a potable water supply, and places to sleep and cook.
And then the things we think of as luxuries, such as hot showers, places to relax, vegetable beds and a pizza oven.
In the six years we lived there, we build many things, we planted a lot of trees, dug new terraces and created watermanagement systems.
And now, to finish the story, in 2019 we sold the land to a family seeking new adventures. Why? Of course the answer is multi-layered, but the main reason was for our children to have more playmates around. That’s why we finally decided to swap the land for a camper van and once again go explore what’s out there. And maybe, who knows… start all over again in a different place, but until then we’re really enjoying our life on the road.
About the Region
The Sierra Nevada features the highest mountains of the Iberian Peninsula. The highest peak, Mulhacen, rises to 3578 meters. The winter snows that fall on the peaks melt slowly during spring to give the region its gorgeous green colors. The southern side of the Sierra is called ‘Las Alpujarras’ and is characterized by small white villages.
Chaparraíso is located at about 1200 meters above sea level, in the ‘Sierra Nevada Natural Park’.