The Semente da Vida Story
Our journey of intuition and trust that led us to Portugal.
Semente da Vida found us in November 2019 after exactly 12 months of searching different areas of Portugal and almost beginning to doubt if we were really on the right path.
Stephanie (me) together with my parents Sylvia and Dave left the UK in 2013 to explore another way of living in Cambodia. After selling our eco/vegan cafe in Somerset and desperate to escape the busy rat race, it was time to shake life up a bit and try something new. We very quickly found a run-down river fronted property in a little known (at the time) hippy hangout called Otres Village, located in the south of Cambodia right next to the ocean. At the time there were only a few homes and businesses all owned by international ex-pats doing the same as us. Heaven. The cost of living was extremely low compared to what we had been used to and the freedom we had to build and create was intoxicating. Simply no bureaucracy or red tape to contend with, we could build the business of our dreams. So we did. We set to work and began to develop the space into one of the first vegan restaurants, wellness centres and holiday bungalows in the area. Drawing on all the knowledge and experience we had accrued over the years, back-breaking in 100% humidity but so worth it. In the first months, we rescued two incredible puppies, Sophie and Dude, from a horrific existence not worth mentioning. They soon became our much-loved animal family who still brings us so much enjoyment today.
This is where we met Marta and Gethyn, a wonderful conscious couple making life work, living in Asia. Marta became our Vegan chef and Gethyn was a master at hospitality. We knew instantly that we are all on the same path and connected because of this commonality (and because they are super friendly).
Over the 5 years that we lived in Otres Village, we witnessed so many changes. Our business had evolved into an incredible creative wonderland, well known to the growing backpacker community, the village had expanded tenfold with equally unique and diverse businesses. Otres village was on the map as Cambodia's #1 Backpacker haven.
Although most that visited this place, wanted Otres Village to stay the same, Cambodia continued to become more developed, favouring Chinese highrises and casinos over charming characterful barefooted hippy shacks. Piece by piece the village was sold to money-hungry developers. It was our time to leave. So we walked away from the most special place we could have ever created, only the memories remained.
But where do we go? What should we do?
We now had three beautiful dogs, Mr Moo adopted us shortly before we were due to leave the village. He was in a terrible way, staving, beaten and covered in ticks, how could we turn our backs on such a gentle creature.
We knew we wanted to return to Europe, but where?
You don't always need a plan. Sometimes you just need to breathe, trust, let go, and see what happens. - Mandy Hale
What we did know is that we wanted to continue our life of self-realisation and live in alignment with what made our hearts sing. This only meant one thing.....develop another heart centred space that we could share with other similar souls on their journies of awakening.
Portugal was the only country we could fly to with our doggie tribe from Asia and not be subjected to quarantine. So in October 2018, we headed to Portugal. We knew as much about this country as we knew about Cambodia before relocating there, however, we could feel that this was the right decision. Something inside of us churned strongly. We hadn't figured the what's and how's yet but at least we nailed the where.
We rented small, temporary accommodations in different areas of Portugal, we drove endless miles and viewed hundreds of properties to no avail. In fact, we began to let the doubt creep in, have we got it wrong?
Eventually, we found the perfect property, in the perfect area. The dream was back on. Only this house was for rent, a 12 months contract. O.k, so not part of the plan but at least we could get started on the Semente da Vida project and continue to look for our own place. We couldn't ignore the overwhelming feeling that fed our incredible drive to realise this project. The time was now.
We set the wheels in motion and began setting a plan. Although the property wasn't perfect we could overlook this because at least we are moving forward, right? We made contact with Marta and Gethyn who had left Cambodia around the same time as us and we're now living in Wales with there new baby boy Gael. They both eagerly expressed excitement about the project and without question planned to join us and co-create the same dream.
Time ticked by and finally one week before moving, it fell through. Devastated isn't the word. We were all packed, given notice where we were living, Marta, Gethyn and Gael are on there way. How could we find another place at such short notice, had we come to the end of the road?. I remember deeply questioning the universe and my faith in it. The following day we were contacted by an angel. She had a property for sale only a few kilometres away from the last place. We had to go look, we had nothing to lose.
Driving through the awesome natural landscape and ancient Portuguese villages on the way to view the property, a tingling came over me. Could this really be happening? Bumping down the private track we first saw the house, perched on the side of a mountain with forest views for a backdrop.
We knew instantly, we had arrived home.
And suddenly you just know......
Its time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings - Meister Eckhart
Needless to say, we bought the place and in December 2019 we moved in. Myself, Sylvia, Dave, Marta, Gethyn, Gael and our totally awesome animal family Sophie, Dude and Mr Moo now begin the adventure. We live in gratitude daily for this incredible opportunity that was waiting for us, divinely gifted by the universe.
We have a lot of work to do and who knows if it will ever reach a point that we could say it's finished, anyhow we think that's the point. We are looking to work with and share our journey with people that also want to contribute to the development of Semente da Vida. We will be looking for volunteers and partner with teachers and guides. If this is something you are interested in please contact us to discuss further details and plans.
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Want to know more about the amazing souls that have come together to co-create Semente da Vida and what unique magic they have to share.
Click the button below to read full details of all our permanent and transient family members, including guest teachers, visiting musicians and artists, helpers, Shamans and guides.