The Early Days: 2002-2006
In the summer of 2002, Christian Shearer sent out about 50 copies of “The Original Proposal for the Baan Thai Project,” to friends and family (this document is available to read if you are interested.) While acknowledging that there are many ways to reach a dream, it pointed out that really making a conscious choice for something different is important; that if we don’t consciously step out of the path laid out for us, then we will remain.
Most of the people that were given the proposal were just graduating from college. This is one of the critical times in our lives when the sky is the limit. At that point in our lives, we are neither tied down to family, career, nor concrete ideas about how life should be lived. We are idealistic and ready to create the lives that we really want. What the proposal was attempting to do, was to remind people that this was the case and to point out that we have the possibility right in this moment to make choices that will affect our lives in an expansive, fulfilling way. We have the opportunity to make choices that will move us toward living in a way that is much more in alignment with our beliefs and much more enjoyable in actual day to day experience.
The original proposal laid out a rough skeleton for the idea of a project based in Thailand, complete with the social feasibility of living in Thailand and the economics of how to make it a reality. It had a four year time frame for getting in the money, as most of the potential members weren’t exactly rolling in dough, with a first installation coming after two years and the remainder coming at the end of four.
While waiting for this time-frame to play itself out, a number of the potential members of the Baan Thai Project met in cabins on the San Juan’s, met in warehouses on Capital Hill, met in grassy backyards of Bow and Bellingham, Washington. They got together to share their ideas and dreams, to help make this dream come a little more alive in the physical realm and to keep the energy moving for the continuation of the project.
A few of the members also traveled to Thailand, searched for land, and participated in natural building workshops at Pun Pun Education Center. During their stay at Pun Pun, Lee Laney and Christian Shearer shared the ideas and plans of the Baan Thai Project with the amazing people at Pun Pun. They told them that the plan was to buy and sustainably develop land in the southern part of Thailand, near the water. Peggy Reents and Jo Jandai, the founders of Pun Pun, mentioned that there was land available right there in Moo Baan Mae Jo and that it would be wonderful to have more people working toward similar goals; that our communities could collaborate on projects and generally support each others’ growth.
And so it was, in December of 2004, with the first installation of money contributed from the twelve founding members, a piece of land adjacent to Pun Pun Education Center was purchased and the first concrete (not actually concrete) part of the project existed. With 25 rai (10 acres, 4 hectares) and 300 mango trees to their name, all that remained was to create their dreams.
And this is what is happening now!
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