I am currently doing a workaway, which is a 40 minute bus ride from Taipei, Taiwan, just outside a small town called Jiaoxi, famous for it’s natural hot spring spas. I’m not really into these, in the UK its very normal for even the most poor of homes to have a bath, plus candles, bubble bath, duck and whatever else you like to enjoy during a private hot bath, at your home, so I don’t feel it’s so much of a luxury to have one with loads of other people, minus a rubber duckie. It’s rare to see a bathtub in homes here in Asia, I saw almost none in Vietnam, China and I guess here in Taiwan too, so it makes sense that spas are more of a special thing here, they are quite popular throughout the above countries, it seems.
Jiaoxi is sandwiched between the mountains and sea, yesterday we went surfing, which is why I’m a bit roasted today, and on Friday I’ll take a bus to the mountains.
This is our host Cheng-Han Tsai , his dream is to make this community project Homgoo Village successful. It is a grass roots venture, supported by his family, they provide the space, though on tender hooks, as everyone is intent on him earning more money, but Cheng is determined to keep going and with the help of workawayers, build his project into a self sustaining community enterprise.
Here Cheng is pictured next to his father’s workshop, with a door and window fixed to the wall, I’m making a sign to go in the window, (he likes to reuse as much as possible) he has been given half of the space for a 5 year period, to try and pull off his project, very good luck to him!
Right outside the workshop is a garden, one of many in the area, where the locals, mainly old aged residents enjoy farming, we (workawayers) can help ourselves, to chives, spring onions, leeks, sweet potato leaves and beans, all organic, Cheng makes sure that his grandmother doesn’t use chemicals, though it’s difficult to grow crops successfully without them. Actually eating the ones which have been sprayed with chemicals is the same as buying them from a supermarket so I guess, same same, when organic isn’t an option.
Cheng took us around the local urban area, to visit some old buildings and streets, this lite up traditional building used to belong to an important government official, but maybe no longer, a few generations have passed and it seems the wealth may have been squandered by the following generations of family.
Back to the Homgoo village after a short ten minute walk, through the village into the mountains and we are at a waterfall, called Houdongkeng, I’m really happy to be this close to nature for some time, I would like to try and spend more time outside of large cities, as long as there is a cafe or two to write and be in a dynamic and comfortable place, away from home for a few hours each day, it feels good and helps me focus and get things done, writing in a cafe (the office), sometimes I do digital media work here also, but that will often happen at home, (all subject to change) and then nature, where it’s great to relax, get inspired, create and just have a regular reminder and connecting to the world I live in as well as that which allows me to survive, the elements, air, water, earth and fire (the sun I guess is the fire in our everyday).
Thanks for reading, Sam.