Intercambiamos, Costa Rica

This question on the website was instantly appealing to me, so I wrote a quick email and before I knew it a month of living in the Intentional Community Intercambiamos, Costa Rica, had passed.

  • Community Size 1-7 people
  • Founded early 2019
  • off grid, Solar energy
  • Nearby Creek

Intercambiamos is an intentional community in one of the most diverse jungles of the world in Costa Rica. It’s as much immersed into nature as human comfort allows (took me a little to adjust). Everything is alive, I saw beautiful red Aras, Kakadus, Spider and Howling Monkeys daily, but also leaf-eating ants and mosquitoes where a frequent companion. It feels like if you accidentally drop a seed, a week later a tree will have grown.

Part jungle, part farm surrounded by really loving neighbors, a lot of animals and a rich, abundant eco-system. The goal is to use these strengths, but not to be self-sufficient, but to be sufficient within the local community and live of an exchanged based trading style.

Intercambiamos was founded by Allison, a former New Yorker lawyer with a background in Activism, who followed her intuition by building up this space to explore living in a community and exchange spiritual/ energy work without exchanging money.

Activism is for the collective, restoring imbalances of power. Spirituality is, at it's core, about connection. These two worlds were not communicating with each other, but I wanted to find a space, where they can exist in a full, holistic way, as they don't make sense separated. To use spiritual practice towards activist ends and have past human collective pains in mind in setting up spiritual systems and practices.

Allison on her motivation to leave New York and found Intercambiamos

She envisions this space to be one of many like-minded communities across the world to form a network.

It is encouraged to openly speak your needs, be vulnerable with your emotions and communicate in a non-violent way. I found this created room for deep connections and I feel a strong bond to the people I’ve met during my stay there.

  • Part of the Guidelines of Intercambiamos
  • Clothing is optional
  • Farting is encouraged
  • If your deciding between work and a nap, take a nap

There is generally no money exchanged in the community, you contribute your work instead. But there is no need to follow a schedule, instead in the morning meeting a 8:30 we talked about two questions; ‘How do you feel today?’ and ‘What would you like to do today?’. Some of the daily tasks include Goat herding, feeding bunnies or cooking the communal diner.

Okay, but let's talk about money?

Sadly, the world is not at the Utopy just yet and you need actual cash. Allison bought the area, with money of her fathers life insurance for over 200’000$, since then she has continued to put up money from her savings. Trying out different strategies volunteers currently contribute during their stay:

  • 2$ per week for gas money for the communal car vehicle, the car mechanic helps out in exchange for English classes.
  • Food is grown, exchanged with neighbors or bought individually.
  • A gift (e.g. couch cushions)
  • A project, including the materials, could be a Tile backsplash, a fire pit, a portable bunny cage)

If you liked Intercambiamos so far, consider supporting the new fundraiser. If not, let me convince you more.

Who can come?

Allison explained to me, she selects some people that can give to the place and some people that she thinks need the place to heal. It was amazing to see how everyone’s interests came together to form a whole, functioning place. One tiny women loved to do physical labor and was mostly seen with a wheelbarrow or a machete. Another one liked fixing stuff and thinking up new designs building them into reality. One guy was into gardening (along the moon cycle) and composting. I like organizing, daily and 2 ‘excursions’, driving the car and goat walking (among other things).

Would I want to live

During my travels I’m very grateful to come across a lot of beautiful places, but only on very few occasions I KNOW that I will return. Intercambiamos is one of these places. Even though it’s ever changing (what isn’t), I find a lot of comfort in knowing that I have a home there, which I can come back to and recharge at any time. Thank you so much for having me!

If you liked Intercambiamos so far, check out the website and consider supporting their fundraiser.
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1 year Revision

I’ve been writing this blog every other week for one year, so it’s time to revisit my goal with this platform.

One year ago, I had just gotten into the topic of communal living on a greater scheme than a flat share. My primary motivation for starting my own project, was that there are almost no recources on communal living out there, that describe the personal experiences from people and real life evaluations on how to make it work. Just a page, that tells you whether or not it’s cool to be there.

At the time I was living in my first self converted car, travelling between France and Spain, I went surfing every day, was inspired by people on the way, that were choosing to live life outside a 9 to 5 job. So I wrote about them as well.

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But as my time and mind and also my dreams ( I once dreamt that I had a specific hinge, that I have never owned) were consumed by the van conversion, I strained further from my original goal of making communities more accesible by writing about it and sparking conversations around them and introducing interesting life concepts and inspiring people.

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