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Crafting life direction - career in natural building  RSS feed

 
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Hi everyone!

I am Eddie from Malaysia. I am currently 30 years old and in the juncture of crafting my lifestyle and career that involved in Sustainable living. I graduated in Civil Engineering 5 years ago, however during that time I didn't think much about future and don't feel like what I have studied was implemented in my work and still searching for life direction.

During this 5 years, I did working and holiday in Australia for a year. Worked as a Civil Engineer for 1 year and I did even switched my career to Finance and worked in Finance for two and half years. These few years of exploration got me think seriously what I should do for the rest of my life. I started to aware about environmental issues 2 years back after I started to read and learn more about environmental issues and it was that period I started to learned more about sustainable living, so I started to gain more interest in natural building, organic farming.

After that, I started to volunteer in organic farm and last year I went to Chiang Mai to attend Natural Building Course in Pun Pun. In order to start something small, currently I am involved in a small project to turn my mom's house backyard (Tiny space) into small vegetable garden using Ecobrick and Cob to make the raised bed.

I am a very hand on person and I am serious to build my career in natural building. I want to learn the skillset and help others and myself to build natural building. I am ready to get myself to become a builder if there is an opportunity. However, I am worried with my financial situation, as I have some financial commitments (not a big amount but still an amount that I need to worry if I am jobless for 1 year or more). Meanwhile, natural building is not so popular in my hometown at the moment. Attending courses will be quite costly and volunteering without any income will be worrying for my case.

Sorry if it is a bit overwhelmed but I am sincerely would like to seek advices from everyone on what should I do at this point, how natural builder earn money and how to get more exposure in natural building. Thank you so much for your time and looking forward to hear your thoughts.

Best regards,
Eddie
 
pollinator
Posts: 1105
Location: Massachusetts, 6b, urban, nearish coast, 39'x60' minus the house, mostly shady north side, + lead.
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Welcome Eddie!

I can't speak from experience of having solved the problem, but here's some things I think may be helpful:

--divide your activities into "transitional" and "permanent/passion," and make the transitional ones serve the passion ones.  In other words, if you have financial commitments, keep doing what will allow you to meet those commitments while starting to do the other stuff on the side.  If it means volunteering a bit, that's OK, as it serves your longer goal.  Over a long period of time you'll be transitioning from the transitional work to the passion work.

--read the Early Retirement Extreme book or at least listen to Paul's podcast on that.  Lots of good tips there, and ways of thinking.  Some of it may not apply in your situation, but some of it may--if 99% of people around you are on the materialist acquisition bandwagon and don't realize they're shooting themselves in the foot, it's a tricky thing to do things differently or to see all the opportunities to be smarter about where you put your resources.

--do hands-on things wherever you can, but only when it serves your larger purpose.  You're wise not to volunteer too much, or blindly accept all invitations--people will ask you to volunteer for their own purposes, and it's up to you to decide whether that serves _your_ purposes.  Sometimes it will, sometimes it won't.  Are you learning from it? are you getting to test out things _you_ want to see tested out? are you making a real difference or is it just perpetuating the status quo?  your own back yard is a good place to do your own tests and experiments

--obtain a yield--(permaculture principle)--do what gives you some direct, bodily-feelable benefit, so you can sense physically the benefits of the efforts you're making and have strength to keep going.

It's a marathon, not a sprint.  Easy, easy, easy.

Is that helpful?


Eddie Yap wrote:Hi everyone!

I am Eddie from Malaysia. I am currently 30 years old and in the juncture of crafting my lifestyle and career that involved in Sustainable living. I graduated in Civil Engineering 5 years ago, however during that time I didn't think much about future and don't feel like what I have studied was implemented in my work and still searching for life direction.

During this 5 years, I did working and holiday in Australia for a year. Worked as a Civil Engineer for 1 year and I did even switched my career to Finance and worked in Finance for two and half years. These few years of exploration got me think seriously what I should do for the rest of my life. I started to aware about environmental issues 2 years back after I started to read and learn more about environmental issues and it was that period I started to learned more about sustainable living, so I started to gain more interest in natural building, organic farming.

After that, I started to volunteer in organic farm and last year I went to Chiang Mai to attend Natural Building Course in Pun Pun. In order to start something small, currently I am involved in a small project to turn my mom's house backyard (Tiny space) into small vegetable garden using Ecobrick and Cob to make the raised bed.

I am a very hand on person and I am serious to build my career in natural building. I want to learn the skillset and help others and myself to build natural building. I am ready to get myself to become a builder if there is an opportunity. However, I am worried with my financial situation, as I have some financial commitments (not a big amount but still an amount that I need to worry if I am jobless for 1 year or more). Meanwhile, natural building is not so popular in my hometown at the moment. Attending courses will be quite costly and volunteering without any income will be worrying for my case.

Sorry if it is a bit overwhelmed but I am sincerely would like to seek advices from everyone on what should I do at this point, how natural builder earn money and how to get more exposure in natural building. Thank you so much for your time and looking forward to hear your thoughts.

Best regards,
Eddie

 
Eddie Yap
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Hi Joshua,

Thank you so much for your time and your valuable sharing! Really appreciate it, it definitely helps!

 
Posts: 102
Location: San Diego, California
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Get debt free first, then buy some land and build your own house; get debt free again, then buy more land and build other houses or develop property your way; show off your house as marketing to sell (or rent out!) your other houses/properties.

Once people in your area see how economical and viable natural building can be, you'll win some people over, one family at a time.

If you have to worry about how to pay for the roof over your head, you aren't putting your financial and building skills to maximum potential - take care of this first and the stress and worry of life will decrease tenfold.
 
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Posts: 1496
Location: Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5
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Hi Eddie,
Nice to hear about your ideas and plans. I hope they succeed! I like Malaysia, have visited a couple of times.

I'm a big fan of earthen building, but there are just a few places where I think it might not be the best. You said "small vegetable garden using Ecobrick and Cob to make the raised bed" but cob is not great for holding up garden earth, because when it gets wet it's just mud, and a garden has to be wet pretty often. For building, earthen buildings are less than perfect in hot humid climates, I think. Chiang Mai has a chilly winter so probably earthen buildings are good for staying warm there, but most of Malaysia has warm to hot weather all year round. Do you have some ideas on how to keep a building cool? I don't have any experience in designing or building for a tropical climate, but I guess ventilation and shade would be key. Or are you in highlands?

You've got a lot of amazing fruit trees and perennial vegetables to choose from in most of Malaysia's climates, and I envy you those. You should be able to produce some amazingly delicious and productive food there, and polyculture will probably be really successful. Oh my god, now I'm thinking of mangosteeeens....

There must be a lot of people doing interesting things with natural building and permaculture or related things in Malaysia and neighboring areas who you could learn from. I wish I knew some to recommend to you.

Best of luck and keep us posted! And now I'm going to just drool off thinking of all those crazy wonderful fruits you can grow.
 
Posts: 27
Location: Lake Atitlán, Guatemala
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Hi Eddy,
What made it possible for me to have a successful career in natural building was to live in a place (Lake Atitlán, Guatemala) which has the following advantages:
 (1) a lot of people are moving to this place, and many of them don't speak the language well, are willing to pay a professional for a job well done, and are open to natural building in general (pretty alternative bunch here)
 (2) there are no building codes or inspections - anything goes!
 (3) a tropical environment that's fairly forgiving of rustic natural builds, enabling a lot of trial and error - it also has abundant natural building materials, from volcanic pumice to bamboo to clay to local native hardwoods etc...
 (4) a good source of a moderately skilled local labour force
I also was very careful to cultivate a good reputation as a responsible and high quality builder who respected and took care of his staff.

Local politics is always interesting too and needs careful diplomacy at times!

Good luck!
 
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