Casa Federico Guatemala

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Casa Federico Guatemala

Today I want to talk to you about something not really related to photography but it's a very important topic to me.

I am currently traveling in Guatemala - as I have every year since 2016. Only this year, I got lucky and bought a piece of land (the view on the picture is actually from my piece of land onto lake Petén Itzá). This has been a dream of mine for a while now and it finally came true - which still feels unbelievable to me at this moment.

However - long before even thinking about buying property in Guatemala, I had this idea of building a container home for myself. I want it to be affordable, ecofriendly, sustainable and reduced to the minimum I need for a lifestyle far away from capitalism and excessive consumption. My dream was to live in nature and close to a lake. When I saw this piece of land, it was all I could have asked for and so I bought it.

A bit of history

Having lived and worked in Germany for my entire life up until now, I have never really thought about a different lifestyle. I took it all for granted and just went with it. This doesn't mean I'm happy though. During the last couple of years feelings of stress, pressure, the lack of happiness about how things work in Europe, frustration about the work/life ratio and the climate have made me flee Germany for a couple of weeks at a time to latin countries. The language, the climate, the landscapes, the people, the music, the lifestyle...all fascinated me and I extended my stays each and every time to the longest possible.

When I first visited Guatemala, my heart told me something. It felt right, it felt like home. I am not a person who easily gives in to such feelings. So I did an experiment and I went back to Guatemala a second time in 2017 - just to see how it would feel. And it was even better than the first time. I met more amazing people, went on adventures, had the time of my life! So I decided to go back a third time in 2018 - to again prove a point: I didn't feel like a tourist in Guatemala anymore. I had fallen deeply in love with this little country and so I slowly started wondering what it could be like to one day live there. This year my plans were to work as a volunteer for an extended period of time in one place - just to get to know the locals even better, learn more Spanish, get a feeling for actually living there and not just traveling around.

Flores has been one place I particularly liked from the start - the lake, the surroundings, the vicinity of the jungle and the mayan ruins - all felt like paradise to me. On my second day in Flores a friend of mine asked me if I would like to go see some properties one of his friends was selling and so I agreed to go with them. The first three were nice but not exactly what I was imagining - I wanted a view of the lake. I wanted to be surrounded by nature. And I didn't want to be in the middle of the town. The last piece of land instantly gave me goosebumps: I was standing where I shot the photo and saw this view - and fell in love with it. After the owner of the land made me an offer, I couldn't but accept it! The following 2 weeks were a rollercoaster of emotions: appointments with lawyers to do contracts, sorting out the bureaucratic side of things and going back to the land several times to shoot pictures as a reference for architects, starting to imagine a house and planning how things could work out there...it was exhausting but inspiring at the same time.

Image

The future - a container home

I never bought land, I never built a house. But I'm a photographer, designer and I did my fair share of home improvement projects to be confident enough to say that I could take on a project like this - with help.

I want to put all I got in this project - my heart, my mind, my work. If I can do something, I will do it. If I don't know how to do something I will try to learn it or hire someone to do it WITH me. I wanna be there for every step along the way. Everything that happens, will happen according to my plan. Having said that, I definitely need help. Help from designers, architects, builders and people who have already experience in container home builds.

That's why I created a Patreon page. I would love to create a video series covering the whole process from the start to the end. I know, this is quite ambitious but I know I can do it!

If you are someone who thinks he could help, please feel free to drop me a line at mail@umbertofederico.de or support my patreon page to help me get this project going.

I appreciate every form of help - information, contacts, monetary support through Patreon or donations. In return I will provide inside knowledge of every step of the project, videos, photos, plans, designs, building information, materials, how building in Guatemala works etc.

THANK YOU in advance and I'm gonna keep you updated on the next steps!

Humberto & Umberto


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