When Richart Sowa completed working on his free-floating eco-paradise made up of more than 150,000 recycled bottles, he only wanted one thing.
No, it wasn’t a spot to dock his new home. He had that near the Mexican resort city of Cancún. Nor was it a hot tub or high speed Wi-Fi – his recycled home had that too. Instead, all the lonely man wanted now was a soul mate.
Now, however, thanks to Facebook Sowa has found the person he hopes to spend the rest of his life with on his idyllic, handmade Joyxee Island: 47-year-old former model Jodi Brown.
The 61-year-old Englishman, who has been married twice before and has four kids and six grandchildren, met Tennessee-born Brown on the social media site and pretty soon after she had moved onto the island.
"Living on my own floating island has been my dream for over two decades," Sowa said, according to the Daily Mail. "I've always wanted to share my life's work with a soul mate. But I've avoided any relationship with anyone which I thought wouldn't be the real thing."
Sowa added that he isn’t forcing his former model girlfriend – who spent time posing for ads in Japan during the 1980s – to rough it off shore. Despite being docked 30 yards from the shore and feature a base made from air-filled plastic bottles, wood pallets and sand, Sowa’s hand built home has not only a hot tub and wireless Internet, but also two bedrooms, three shell showers and a full kitchen – all surrounded by palm trees, mangroves, fruit trees and edible herbs and plants.
The home is connected to the shore by a 100-foot long rope and solar energy provides all the power to run the electricity, water system and Internet.
When Brown moved into the floating home, she decided that some of Sowa’s lassitude as a bachelor needed to go and applied her woman’s touch to the place.
“I've been able to motivate Richart to fix the place up,” she said. “The toilet works perfectly now and solar panels now provide electricity.”
Brown added that it was tough getting used to life on the floating island, especially after living a life in the high fashion circles on Tokyo back in the 1980s.
“My first impression of the island was that it was an upgrade from camping – luckily, I've always liked that Swiss Family Robinson experience,” she said. “Living on the island looks like a carefree lifestyle, but there is a lot of physical labor involved in keeping it up especially in the early years before the mangrove roots weave through the base and strengthen everything.”
Things have not always been so easy for Sowa and his island paradise. This is the third incarnation of his environmentally-friendly home, as the first two were destroyed by hurricanes.
Sowa, however, is undeterred by these natural disasters and continues to make a living from his music and art and showing visitors around his private island in exchange for voluntary donations.