Creating Quinta da Floresta by Marko

Creating this place and manifesting our vision comes from following a thread that leads from one step to the next. Sometimes I feel I am very much in touch with that thread, I just know that what I/we are doing is the right thing. Sometimes I don’t see the thread so clearly but I still know it’s there and at those times instaed of doubting I am learning to just keep on going and do the next right thing .…

It started when three years ago I wanted to show Laura this really cool place in the woods that I had discovered. When we were there something crazy came to me and I said "I think we should buy this place" and I did not say it then but I thought "We should get married" – and we did six months later.

A lot has happened since then. We have been able to buy the place and we are living on our land in a beautiful, Portuguese-made Yurt. We have installed a water system to get the water from the stream to where we need it 60m above. We have cleaned a lot of the overgrown terraces, planted some fruit trees and thinned out the woods. We cut the bigger trees around the ruins and brought them to the sawmill to make boards. I’ve been cutting and extracting some other logs for roundwood construction and prepare them for building. The actual building work on site started last February and we have made good progress so far. 

What strikes me about the whole adventure is that creating this place and this project is not separated from my and our process of development. It all seems to happen at it’s own pace which is sometimes very different than the pace I think it should be, but ultimately the timing is always perfect. Interestingly we never could clearly say which particular purpose we are creating each building and even the place itself – but we have a vision and then we just know that what we create now will serve that.

At the beginning of the build I was very determined to build a very smart house - a simple, intelligently designed home, very functional, very well insulated at quite low cost. I spend a lot of time figuring it all out …. and then we actually started building and it all changed.

Of course I still hope the place will be functional and easy to heat but rather than being fascinated with smart practical considerations I am getting more interested in the expression and transmission of the place and I am appreciating the whole process in different way. I am discovering more of my passion for artistic creation and creativity and I am deeply appreciating a very intimate soulful relationship to what we have created - I know where every tree for this roof was standing, I’ve debarked every log and I’ve hand cut every lintel myself, I remember everybody who helped out and I’ve seen my own hands change from many hours working with hand tools. For me there is something really powerful to all of this. In a world so full of things that mostly have no meaning to us, where there is no relationship to where things come from, creating in this way is a very healing experience. Using a lot of materials from the forest, processing and shaping them by hand is helping to get closer to the sense and knowing of interconnectedness and complete relatedness that must be so alive in indigenous people. For me it also has to do with really getting in touch how much I love all of this, it has to do with being integrated in the place and environment where I live and feeling at home.

Practically speaking, we have overthrown all plans we had to build the place so many times that we now don’t seem to have a plan anymore, the smart design went overboard with the plans. The building has not been that cheap and of course its much more work and taking longer than planned. It has to be because for someone who has never built before it’s impossible to think of all that needs doing. I now pretty much know how to do everything better than we did … and I love what we have done so far. I am more letting go into the process, still making plans and trying to figure out things but being less rigid when life goes it’s own way, working step by step in an organic way. 

As it is all learning by doing there has been a steep learning curve in many aspects; from learning how to work with people we employ, dealing with money to very practical knowledge of timber framing. At times the experience has been far out of the controlled and planned comfort zone. The “oh shit I have no idea what I am doing here” moments have been many but also the relaxation that there is some kind of solution for every situation has grown. 

Sometimes when I look around and I see all the things that need doing I can get overwhelmed and anxious - “Is this ever going to be finished?”. At those times it’s good to zoom out and see how far we have come. When I think of all of everything that I want to create here then indeed there is no end insight so I better learn how to be happy about that and live life in the moment …

All in all I am very, very happy with everything and I am amazed with how the whole process has led me further into what I want to do and create.  




Practical Ecosystem Restoration
Helping Nature to get back on her feet after years of monoculture and wildfires.
Practical Ecosystem Restoration
Would you like to come and help plant some native forest, learn about ecosystem regeneration and reconnect with Nature and yourself? Then join us on an Awakened Forest Project work weekend.
Quinta da Floresta, Benfeita - Sunday December 1st 10.30 - 4pm

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 - June 2020

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.