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6/28/2011

EcoVillages, your alternative work and play vacation

I live to travel and become incredibly antsy when I am confined in one city or town for too long. I try to spread my wings at least once every two months to parts of the country I have not yet discovered. Depending on my financial limitations, I will plan a short trip by car or book a last minute plane ride to an exotic patch of land in a foreign country.

TripAdvisor use to be my go-to vacation directory when planning my quick getaways to various parts of the world.  I realized over time that thoroughly researching plush hotels and the best 'tourists' traps was not my style and that this type of directory was not conducive to the types of vacations I was seeking to to feed my soul.

My first experience at an intentional commune was in Winkleman, Arizona. A self sustainable, down to earth and communal living space,  I realized that this was the vacation I had been craving all along. Intentional communes are an inclusive term for ecovillages, cohousing communities, residential land trusts, communes, student co-ops, urban housing cooperatives, intentional living, alternative communities, cooperative living, and other projects where people strive together with a common vision. At many communes people live off the grid in a self supporting community that welcomes visitors and people who may want to contribute to the philopshopy by providing a work/trade agreement.

Depending on the commune, the accommodations are modest, the food is hearty and the people are full of life and spirit (perhaps because they are so in tune with the earth).

If you are interested in researching or staying with a commune, a directory called http://www.ic.org/ can help you narrow down by state and country to find a commune that appeals to the geographic location you are seeking. Most of the intentional communes have their own website that lists the type of land they reside on.Many communes are open to establishing a work/trade agreement where you can visit the land for a few days, eat and sleep for free in exchange for designated chores around the commune. The work can consist of building, cleaning, harvesting, gardening or if there are any animals on site, helping to feed and clean their cages.

It can be a wonderfully rewarding and relaxing experience. If you are looking solely to relax, that's okay too. Most communes only charge a small donation to stay on the land and soak up the environment without having to lift a hand. It depends on what you are looking for.

I plan to travel to a commune in Vancouver, Canada for my next mini vacation. The commune is called 'Lightwork Ecovillage' and is located on Hope Point, Gambier Island.  The property is about a 20 minute water taxi ride from Horseshoe Bay which is 40 minutes north of Vancouver, BC. The commune supports environment that cultivates spiritual wholeness, a sustainable lifestyle and a rich, loving community.

If you are seeking an enlightening and affordable next vacation, I encourage you to browse through some of the opportunities available on communes around the world! It's easy to become involved and you may find it to be a great alternative way to spend your next vacation. 

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