About Marko

Marko Maitz

in love with nature, self learning carpenter, builder and woodsman, yoga teacher in standby mode

Seeing how much has changed over the last years I feel I cannot write about myself as something fixed but rather as a work in constant progress. Yet it is amazing how I can look back in time and clearly see a thread with continuous central themes running through all past adventures: 

I grew up in Austria and I was fortunate to travel a lot, to see many countries and places. As soon as I began thinking for my self I began to feel very constricted and suffocated by the culture I was living in and, like so many of us, without knowing exactly what was happening, I started to look for more. Always being a lover of nature I came to see many amazing places which all were either overrun by mass tourism or in some way exploited, which made me feel and think deeply about the state of the world and where things are going.

Growing up I was an A+ student who abruptly turned into a young adolescent completely uninterested by what a conventional school had to offer. I experienced a lot of depression and started what I would call “self medicate” with cannabis. I went on to study biology - I wanted to learn about the forests and nature in practical and deeper (philosophical and mystical) ways but of course I did not find what I was looking for at university.

Eventually frustration was big enough to leave university behind and to go and live for a while as a scuba diving instructor spending many totally blissful months on the reefs of the Red Sea. Living by the Sea in a holiday and beach lifestyle was beautiful and offered a certain freedom but ultimately was not fulfilling. I discovered Hatha Yoga which served my hunger for mystical insight and gave me a replacement for smoking cannabis. I began to be more interested in interior and subtle dimensions of life while at the same time learning about permaculture which addressed my urge to do something about the environmental degradation I was so painfully aware of. For a few years I dedicated myself to my yoga practice and teaching and gardening work around permaculture 

At some point I came to a deep personal crisis which, in combination with the awareness of interiority that I had, resulted in a radical letting go of fear and separation - the kind of letting go that people often experience on longer meditation retreats. I experienced a profound and totally life-changing liberation from my small sense of self, my mind and the world  - it was like falling out the world while still being in it - radically liberating but also confusing to make sense of. Eventually as weeks passed the experience wore off and I found myself with the same problems, desires and egoic movements. But something had changed - in some way I really was different…  

Some months later I packed my bags to check out which possibilities Portugal had to offer. Not by chance I came to find Quinta da Mizarela and the Awakened Life Project, where I found Pete and Cynthia Bampton who could help me to understand and find my way with what I had experienced. 

The next 4 years I spent living in community and working at Quinta da Mizarela, growing up spiritually, practicing meditation, enquiry and contemplation, working in men’s groups and discovering my deepest passions. 

At Quinta da Mizarela I met and married my wonderful wife - Laura Williams who also is my companheira in following a common thread that is leading deep into the love and heart of nature. 

In 2014 we bought the farm next to Quinta da Mizarela which we call Quinta da Floresta  - a wild, beautiful and powerful place which is the hub for our project - the Awakened Forest Project, which is dedicated to deepening intimacy with nature, practical work around sustainability, resilience and reforestation and finding out how we need to change and develop on the interior to create a future in tune with nature .

Currently I am working on basic infrastructure to get our place ready. We are rebuilding the buildings with roundwood timber frames and learning how to best use the materials available on site and from the surrounding woodlands. 




Thursday 14th of February 8 - 9.30pm (GMT)

It is well known that the priceless honey bee is facing a crisis world-wide.

Quinta da Floresta, Benfeita Saturday February 23rd 10.30 - 5pm

I am very happy to announce another opportunity to begin to learn the art and science of foraging in our beautiful valley in the Serra do Açor.

Quinta da Floresta, Benfeita - Date TBC 2018

People have retreated to wild places for millennia to find inner peace and a greater perspective on life. Nature, in it’s simplicity and beauty, supports a profound relaxation in body, mind and soul.


It has been a long time since I have written a blog post because so much has been ongoingly changing in the last year. I wanted to wait until the dust and ash had settled and I knew where I would be before I wrote.

Many of the plants and trees the bees and other insects thrive on have burnt in the October fires and will not be flowering this year and some not next year either if they recover at all. Here are my suggestions on how to help the pollinators through these lean times.

God these are heartbreaking times. Rain that was so longed for in the summer is now pouring off these hills taking soil and stone and track with it onto the terraces and into rivers.

Many people have asked us how they can help in the wake of the fires and all we have lost. We are very touched and grateful for these offers of support. Here are some ways you can help:

We have started building the second floor of the workshop!! This will be our last major build here and will provide a dormitory and meditation/workshop room which will increase our capacities for events and hosting people, especially outside of the summer months.