Cultivating beauty on a farmstead on  the island Saaremaa

My story

Can I take you along on a little story?

Coming home in nature

Hi!  My name is Laura Brusselaers. 

Growing up I had a hard time feeling at home in the world. The schoolsystem , societal infrastructure, the expectations. It didn't quite fit me. I had the tendency to hide myself in my imaginative little world, pursuing many creative endeavours.

However there was one key experience that brought change. At the age of fourteen my parents send me to a 'naturecamp'. This experience was life-changing for me: I slept in beautiful yurts in the forest, swam in lakes, and found myself surrounded with people that felt connected to the natural world and appreciated the small and beautiful things. In short, it felt like finally coming home in the world and in myself and it left a deep imprint on me. 

Volunteering on farms

During my studies in art university I took all the free time I had in the summers and went to explore similar experiences by volunteering on homesteads, small farms and eco-tourism businesses around Europe.  It was amazing and intense, especially as an introvert, and I gathered much ideas and inspiration along the way.

I also decided to attend a permaculture course. Permaculture is  a design philosophy, which helps you with guiding principles and practical insights into how to design systems, landscapes, farms, .... based on observations in nature. The information and implications for the people and the earth were fascinating.  I dropped out of school and took my time for another year and a half, learning from different projects in Estonia, Norway, Portugal and some rural areas in Nepal.

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A passion for growing, designing & building

In the years that followed I discovered and deepened my passion for nurturing plants and designing landscapes and buildings. I decided to try out a bunch of things in the backyard of my parents. Together with friends we builded a greenhouse with natural materials. a tiny house, a pond... and we ran an airbnb to welcome people in our little creative world filled with vegetables, chickens, plants and beauty. Putting my hands in the earth and making plenty of mistakes  along the way proved the be the best training. 

 

Expensive land

However valuable the experience in the backyard of my parents, my partner Jonas and me became really tired of the suburban, small and noisy environment that the crowded neighborhoods in Belgium provided us with. We looked at many options. I especially longed for openness, for forests to walk in, for silence, and the company of birdsong. Jonas remembered his old dream of living in a cabin in the woods. We also decided that we really would love to build our own little house.  We started to look beyond the borders of Belgium for opportunities.

 

Finding our home in Saaremaa.

Me and my partner Jonas flown out and eventually landed in Saaremaa, an Estonian island in the Baltic sea, on a piece of land I'm tremendously in love with! I couldn't dream of something better, as we have found ourselves some fertile earth in the middle of the forest, (lucky us!) on a biking distance of the sea. The local community is  welcoming to us and we're exploring the beautiful culture and slowly learning the Estonian language along the way.

Viibemaa- sharing the journey

Our Youtube-channel documents our life at the farmstead and features our natural building projects, the  garden process and the art I'm creating throughout the seasons. In this way we hope to provide some inspiration and ideas for other growers and makers alike. 

You can also find Viibemaa on Instagram or  Facebook.

My handprinted artwork , inspired by the natural world and the island-life, is for sale via my Etsyhop.

Thanks for reading my story!

Laura