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NJ retiree builds off-grid Wood Tower homestead in remote Andes

Wendy Green had spent most of her life in suburban New Jersey long days as a yoga teacher, so when she turned 50, she sold her house and used the proceeds to buy remote land in the Andes. Wendy became an advocate of the Financial Independence, Retire Early movement (FIRE) before it even existed —and also a yoga master of sorts along the way.

In her new homestead, she built an all-wood, tall and narrow home, installed solar, a gravity-fed water system, and planted a large garden to live as self-sufficiently as possible.

Her property sits at the end of a road outside Mindo, Ecuador; she bought it from an American couple who had hoped to start a bird-watching retreat, but left it unfinished. Despite being in a cloud forest, there’s enough sun in the morning to power the home at night. Early on, she discovered a natural spring on her property and used it to create a gravity flow system to provide tank-filtered water for the home.

To help pay the bills, she hosts overnight visitors in her treehouse cabin and retreat guests for yoga and fresh food from the garden and hiking on the hundreds of trails she and her team have built through her property. Now at age 70, she still teaches yoga, but she feels far removed from the grind. She says she feels her hours are her own and her guests often become friends. She has plenty of time to stay focused on eating well and exercising, important for her goal of achieving a long “healthspan.”

“It’s a small life, but it’s a healthy healing life. You know some people want fancy trips, nice cars and jewelry and all the trappings that come with a modern lifestyle. I’m just really happy with my house, my water system, my trails, my employees and my guests.”

Wendy runs yoga retreats 7/14/21 days and visitors get to experience life with their host:

“We do yoga, hike, eat local food. They [visitors] feel transformed. Trails go for hours around her property, but they are just a few.”

* Video credit: Luis Felipe Lalama