180Forward: A Manifesto

Who we are

180forward is a bold experiment in lifestyle design. We are cutting ties with comfort and convention and embarking on a journey to explore a better way of life. Better for us means simpler, more present, more connected, less consumptive. We want to share this vision and incubate ideas for breaking free from the flawed systems of our culture.

We are doing this by building a tourism and education business promoting these values. We focus on the basics – the spaces we live in, the food we eat, the communities we build, and our relationship with the natural world.

We call it regenerative lifestyles. Regenerative, because sustainable doesn’t go far enough — sustainability assumes that we simply need to find a way to perpetuate the status quo over the long run. We believe we can do better. We can’t settle for “do no harm”. Our ecosystems can be improved when we strive to regenerate not just sustain.

Can we live, eat, work, and play in a manner that improves the health of the system, not degrades it? Can our houses generate more energy than they consume? Can our food be produced in a way that leaves the land and soil healthier than it began? Can we enjoy the ‘good things in life’ without the shackles of corporate jobs and bank debt? Can we learn something from traditional cultures without going ‘backward’?

We say Yes!

With 180forward, we’re creating spaces to answer these questions. From unconventional and sustainable housing, to wilderness and cultural experiences and outdoor retreats, we want to create abundance with nature and culture. We reject blind consumerism and unquestioned progress. We are creating places to be. Places to reconnect with nature and core-cultural beliefs; where arbitrary hours of 9-5 have no meaning and days are unstructured, guided by your surroundings. We create transient spaces between indoors and outdoors, old and new, nature and home. They allow you to connect with your surroundings while experiencing the comforts of a modern home. We encourage you to be outside. Experience the wind, the trees, the rain, the sun. Get into nature and out of your comfort zone. Remember your roots, recharge and find new meaning.

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Finding meaning in Nature.

 

Where we come from

As global citizens and intrepid travelers, we have lived privileged lives and gotten unique vantage points on how our modern world operates. Both of us are perpetual “outside observers” — whether it’s living among Aboriginals in the Australian outback, or working inside the ranks of multinational agribusiness and pharmaceutical companies. We come from vastly different backgrounds – communist East Germany and capitalist America, socialist and libertarian. Our personal philosophies have often taken 180-degree turns as well — from techno-utopian to anarcho-primitivism, or from the safe walls of Academia to the wild west of Entrepreneurship.

Perhaps it is the juxtaposition of these many different perspectives, but we have both come to the same realizations about the failing systems of western culture. These very systems, worshiped by the religion of progress, are failing to protect the environment, failing to promote health, failing to foster community and well-being. Is this simply the price of progress?

180forward is our response to a world that has forgone common sense for the abstract idea of progress. “We can’t go back” has become a mantra we do not agree with. In a conversation between the late Doug Tompkins and Yvon Chouinard in 180° South, Doug responded to this statement: “What happens when you get to the edge of the cliff? Turn around and take a step forward.” And Yvon added: “Do you take one step backward or do a 180° turn and take one step forward? Which way are you going? Which is progress?’ The solution to many of the world’s problems may be to turn around and to take a forward step. You can’t just keep trying to make a flawed system work.”

This lies at the core of our beliefs. Progress for the sake of progress is unhealthy. We are embracing old and new ideas, concepts and technologies to help solve our planet’s problems.

What we do

We are using AirBnB to build an unconventional outdoor lifestyle brand that speaks to digital nomads, modern explorers, entrepreneurs, and everyone seeking answers to old and new questions. We are building and sharing a vision for those who do not want to conform to a consumptive lifestyle.

We’ll be using permaculture principles to develop our land with perennial and restorative agriculture, integrating crop and animal products. We strive to break free from the global industrial food supply chain and embrace slow food over fast food. By living in close touch with nature, we acknowledge that our food ought not to be primarily pretty, long-lasting and convenient. It should be nourishing, seasonal, local and delicious.

We will introduce indigenous cultural and linguistic heritage to our guests by offering guided hiking trips and excursions and curating exhibitions working closely with local tribal leaders. Native American knowledge is in imminent danger of disappearing after centuries of persecution and forced assimilation. But we believe that indigenous cultural knowledge can help us understand and reconnect with the land we live in. Modern conveniences have created a disconnect – leading us to expect the same comforts and abide to the same habits in every corner of the globe. Western culture teaches us to tame and conquer nature. But we can learn so much from those whose lives are directly linked to local and seasonal patterns.

In the heart of all of this lies that things don’t make us happy in the long run. People, experiences and choices do. We want to help you find them.

Where we are going

Our places are diverse expressions of possibility in unique natural settings. They combine enticing extremes:

On the Olympic Peninsula, the last remaining truly wild sea shore in the Lower 48 meets the untamed snow capped peaks of the Olympics and some of the world’s last ancient temperate rainforests.

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Mount Baker as seen from the Wood House

 

In New Mexico, where a high-altitude desert is surrounded by the majestic Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the Taos mesa area once attracted Pueblo Indians to establish what is now the longest continuously occupied village in North America and today is a haven for artists, hippies, and outdoor enthusiasts seeking a different and meaningful life.

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Our Earthship in Taos at Sunrise.

The cultural heritage of the Olympic Peninsula and the Mesa region of New Mexico are directly linked to their natural bounty and beauty.

On the Olympic Peninsula we are establishing two unique spaces. The Wood House in Port Angeles, built in 1889 is a historical gem. It was built by Charles Wood who came to the Peninsula to seek an alternative life in the Utopian society of the Puget Sound Cooperative Colony. While the colony ultimately failed, the Wood family prevailed and established meaningful lives as active and respected members of the new community. We are preserving and renovating their charming house on the waterfront to share its fascinating story with our guests. In the backyard a lovely 1927 original Tiny House tells a heartwarming story of romance built by a sailor for the love of his life.
Near the small town of Joyce we are building experimental structures on our beautiful piece of land overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca. We hope our guests will soon enjoy its tantalizing serenity and beauty reconnecting with nature from a timber-frame natural building, a yurt, a treehouse and the familiarity of their own tents.

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Our property near Joyce overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca

 

Our Earthship in Taos is a radically sustainable house that exists in the extreme conditions of the high-altitude desert completely off the grid. Built mainly from recycled and salvaged materials, it provides electricity, water, heating and cooling and even food using only renewable sources and ingeniously simple designs. We invite you to experience a modern life based on regenerative principles.

Please join us as we strive to make our dream a reality.

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