Here is a collection of questions we get asked quite regularly.
How did it all start?
Artur and I came back from a year-long trip through South East Asia and realised we wanted to somehow live differently to the way we were living before we left. Artur read about how there are many vacant houses in Brandenburg, due to the aging population and the fact that the younger people are moving to the cities.
The plan was initially to buy a house with some friends of ours – another couple – and use the place as a sort of ‘weekend house’. We visited about five houses together- this one, our last. We fell in love with it immediately, but our friends did not. We were then faced with the decision of whether to buy the house alone or not. We felt we would regret it if we didn’t, so our decision was made.
We were positively surprised at the amount of people interested in helping us renovate and rejuvenate our humble home. Datscha Fröhden is constantly evolving and we love the community that has emerged around our house. It’s something we never expected but now we can’t imagine it being any other way.
Aren’t there Nazis in Brandenburg? What do the villagers think of you?
We’re actually really lucky because all our neighbours and everyone we’ve met in our village are extremely welcoming and friendly. They all seem genuinely happy that we’re here and invite us to their birthday parties and weddings.
Do you have heating? Do you have hot water?
Yes, we do.
Isn’t it a lot of work?
Yes, it is, but it’s work that is fun and rewarding. We much prefer working on our house or garden than sitting in front of a computer all day.
Do you ever get bored?
No, we have so much to do here and have guests here regularly that there’s never a dull moment. When the guests are gone, we enjoy the downtime.
How much time do you spend there?
We’re lucky that we are location independent, so we can choose to be where we want to be. In 2019, we’ve been spending about 70-80% of our time in Fröhden, and the remaining amount of time in Berlin. We had a lot of garden work to do when we got back to Germany in April, and then with friends coming to stay and summer, it made sense to spend more time here. It’s much more enjoyable to spend the warmer days here, rather than in the city.
Do you have animals? What happens to them when you’re away?
We have twelve chickens and a cat. Mateusz, our good friend, lives at Datscha Fröhden full time, so looks after them while we’re away. Sometimes if we’re staying in Berlin for a longer period of time, we’ll bring our cat back with us, but we see that she much enjoys the freedom of countryside living, we normally let her stay at the farm, even when we’re away. We also have neighbours that love looking after our chickens.
Did you already have experience with living in a village?
Artur spent his early years on his grandparents’ farm whereas I only knew suburban Sydney life, before moving to Berlin. Everything I know now, I’ve learnt from Artur and just learning by doing.
Do you miss the city?
No, because we still live part time in Berlin. The first time I spent two weeks straight in Fröhden, I was itching to go to a bar. Now I can spend two weeks in the village without thinking about the city at all. I find myself thinking about our farm while I’m in Berlin, but not the other way around.
Do you think you’ll eventually move to the farm full time?
It’s very likely. Though probably not for at least a few more years – I can’t imagine giving up city life just yet. Maybe when Berlin starts to get really full and dense, like Barcelona, will be the time.