On my recent trip to Costa Rica we were driving to the treehouse community where we were to stay for the next three nights. I was happily telling my teenage son about Matt and Amy. Quickly I realized I had fallen into the quicksand of teenage cynicism in my attempt to engage him in conversation. “Mom, you got ripped off. Those Indiegogo campaigns are never real. They just take your money. ” My heart started sinking.
I met Matt and Amy two years ago at Finca Bella Vista, a 600-acre Treehouse Community in the southern Osa area of Costa Rica. It was a challenging trip where I unexpectedly ended up arriving there alone and unhappy. Amy and Matt were kind and everyone staying there gathered at the Rancho each night at Basecamp for cocktails and conversation as we sat perched high within one of the most beautiful places I’ve even been.
Matt, from England and South Africa, arrived at the site in 2012 and fell in love with the property. He became the Property Manager and watched as others bought sites and built wood treehouses. The jungle rules here, and after just a few years several of the treehouses had deteriorated in the ruthless conditions of the hot, wet jungle. But Matt had a dream. Not just a dream but a passionate vision.
Amy, a Spanish teacher from a small town outside of Boston, came to Finca Bellavista in 2014. It seemed a good place for adventure and meaningful work during her summer break. But then a chance to teach English to the local employees opened up and she stayed and eventually became the Reservations Manager and Volunteer Coordinator. Matt and Amy’s relationship blossomed and began fueling the dream and gathering the energy, and action, to make it real. The Fusion Home was to be a house that could withstand the conditions of the jungle AND be completely self-sustainable, as in cost O to run. Hmmm…this was a provocative idea.
My rational head said to keep my money in my pocket. But my heart whispered otherwise. This was the beginning of my learning to listen to that inner voice and be okay with the unknown. It wasn’t a huge sum of money. An easy “You go guys!” did not seem to honor my heart’s urgings or this bold vision. I wanted to give the kind of support where they needed it. Money to get started and buy the steel.
Matt had designed and redesigned the house’s structure, researched materials and solar panel systems and a multitude of ways to track the energy usage of the house. It was to be a simple structure that responded to the site with its long views of the Osa Valley below, breeze-catching porches on each level and the modern essentials of the internet, beautiful interior materials and a full-sized sleek refrigerator.
As our car climbed the steep and bumpy dirt road up to Finca Bella Vista the conversation with my son fizzled. Bummer I thought. I had emailed Matt a few months earlier when we were making our plans to visit but had received no response. Maybe Amy had returned to teaching in the US. Maybe their relationship had fallen apart. Maybe Matt had given up and gone back to London.
We parked and the smells and incredible juiciness and sounds of this jungle reminded me why I was back. So much has happened since I’d arrived here last time. I’ve gained a more solid footing in my life since and I loved being able to bring my two teenagers back to this magical place. I walked into the registration cabin. Matt was at the desk. I held my breath as I asked about the house.
“Yes, we built it! How about Sunday morning for a tour.” Matt quickly called Amy on the walkie talkie to say I was there with my kids. He told me of the upcoming visit of their families for their wedding at the house. I melted into that moment and the joy of having heard my heart’s whispers.
We toured the house, and I was in awe. It was even more amazing than I had expected. Matt and Amy’s passion and belief in the possibilities had fostered relationships with manufacturers and other vendors donating materials and support of every flavor. They had used the plans and yet at many junctures they had to go with new solutions that the jungle’s wisdom revealed. It’s a finished home with systems still being tweaked and adjusted and the inner pieces, like a full-scale kitchen, being filled in. You can check out the house here on their blog, The Fusion Home, and even book it for a stay.
Yet, this story is not about building a house. It’s about creating a life, seeding possibilities, being clear but flexible with the vision, working hard and not giving up. It’s about working WITH the reality of life, and the jungle, with an attitude of deepest respect and awe, and flowing alongside it with ease. It’s about believing in ourselves and each other.
Matt and Amy, my courage to let my dreams unfurl has been fueled beyond measure. I’m sending a wedding toast on the winds blowing through your beautiful Fusion Home —-To both of you beautiful souls, my deepest appreciation for dreaming and making it real. Skies upon skies of best wishes for all that is still to come.