Richart Sowa, 61, spent the past seven years constructing a home out of 150,000 recycled bottles. Christened “Joyxee Island”, this floating, three-story eco-paradise is located near Cancun, Mexico and comes complete with a hot tub, running water and Internet connection.
“Living on my own floating island has been my dream for over two-decades,” said Sowa.
The artist, who hails originally from Middleborough, Yorkshire, has always had a passion for the “island lifestyle.” In fact, Joyxee Island is Sowa’s third attempt at the project; the previous two were unfortunately destroyed by hurricanes. Undeterred, he began his third after retrieving 10 bags filled with bottles from the second manifestation of paradise, called Spiral Island.
But any island adventure can be lonely without a companion, “I’ve always wanted to share my life’s work with a soul-mate,” he said.
“It’s not the same as having that one special person in my life to share my island sanctuary with.”
As such, Sowa decided to invite a former model, Jodi Bowlin, 47, from Tennessee to live with him on his island. The two met each other on Facebook last year, and agreed to live there after her first visit – as long as she could add a feminine touch to the décor.
The island, however, needed a lot of sprucing up, despite Sowa’s claim that it had all the modifications a woman needs. Bowlin’s first impression of the Joyxee, for instance, was that it was an upgrade from camping. Just a few days after her arrival, parts of the island began to gave away, and uninvited guests made themselves at home because parts of the house had not been sealed. Luckily, with Sowa’s carpentry skills and Bowlin’s intuition, the couple have been able to work together to perfect the island.
Now Sowa makes a living from his art and music, and by showcasing his private island to patrons in exchange for voluntary donations. To carry them to and from the shore, he uses a ferry that he also constructed out of plastic bottles.
His ultimate plan, however, is to become self-sufficient. He is currently growing a variety of plants on the island that he eats and stops by the nearby local shop every now and then.