Peter grew up in the Northeastern United States, and, from a young age, always had an interest in growing his own food. After earning a university degree in jazz piano performance, he worked for several years in Connecticut as a professional pianist and teacher. The cold and expensive life soon lost its appeal, and Peter joined Robert Fulop in Florida at the “Banana Sanctuary” project—a five-acre polyculture farm. After eight months of learning the ropes of tropical living and farming, Peter departed the U.S. for Ecuador, where he, along with his friends Jason Kvestad and Jay Kaiser [a.k.a. Jay Yogi], formed the growing community of raw vegans: Terra Frutis.
Not to be content with just one success, Peter went on to spearhead the nearby “Fruit Haven” project and continues to organize, consult and do “boots on the ground” work for additional raw vegan communities. Visit the Terra Frutis website and connect with Terra Frutis on Facebook and YouTube. Visit the FruitHaven EcoVillage website and connect with it on Facebook and YouTube.
1. Diversify your work and income. So, you have a full-time job. Investigate Internet options. Investigate freelance stuff. Look for investments in your friends’ business schemes or even alternative currencies. Try to get to the point where moving would be a financially realistic endeavor rather than an instant 100 percent drop in your annual income. Get creative and talk to other people who have done similar things.
2. Research your destination—and I mean really research. A lot of people fall in love with places without learning much. They read about the romantic and community aspects of places like Hawaii and Costa Rica (which are both great places, by the way) and set their sights on a destination without really knowing that much concrete information. They may end up deciding on a place with too-stringent residency requirements, too high a cost of living, expensive land prices, crime or other factors that don’t fit their personal situation well—and so they end up staying in their present “Babylonian” living situation for years and years.
So take it seriously. Look into rainfall, climate, elevation, topography, crime rates, immigration requirements and the language spoken there. Research land prices online and from people who are on the ground there (often the two can be quite different.) Research laws and the government present there. Look into which fruits grow there—you might be surprised to learn that there are many different tropical climate zones, and, for example, a place where durian grows may not be a place where cherimoya can grow. Look at the community there—is it popular among raw foodists? Maybe it’s not, but it’s still a very promising location that raw vegans haven’t discovered yet. And are you the type of person who can go there alone and gradually attract more or do you need to go where the community is already present? These are all great things to consider when you are doing your research. The more you learn, the easier it will be to manifest this as your reality.
3. Learn to live frugally. I thought I was living frugally—until I lived with my friend Robert on his fruit farm in Naples, Florida, for seven months. I canceled my cell phone plan and got prepaid. I sold my truck and got a motorcycle, with minimal insurance. I stopped buying new clothes and other useless things. I watched Andrew Perlot‘s videos and finally got it into my head that most “organic fruit” is still grown in giant monocrop plantations and sprayed with “organic” fertilizers and chemicals. I bought food only from a local wholesale produce distributor and Costco. A good rule of living frugally to save money is, if you think you’re minimalist and simplistic but somehow can’t manage to save much money, find someone who actually is and let him or her teach you a few things.
4. Get together with friends! Either move with friends or find friends who are already living the life you want to live in the tropics—and join them.
5. Reject the invisible chains of society. This may sound cliché and pretentious, but it’s a real struggle for many people. They get the cycle and routines of modern living so stamped into their brain that it’s hard to imagine a different existence. Try to look beyond your programming and appreciate a beautiful, simple, natural life—and imagine how all the things you think you might miss, can still be provided in perhaps an even more fulfilling way.