From the beginning with SPOR – Maria & Alex Icleanu
They moved to the country to raise their little girls in nature, among horses
When I first stepped into the yard of Maria and Alex Icleanu from Izvoru commune, Argeș county, it was as if I entered another world. The gates opened and behind them, everywhere, horses. Free, calm and friendly, together with the family’s three puppies and two little girls, they didn’t even mind our presence.
Their story began on April 8, 2021, and Maria told us briefly when registering for the „From the beginning with Spor” contest, the project through which we try, together with Lovedeco, to find out what makes the townspeople leave the city behind and move to the country to start a new life project. The Icleanu family decided to join the campaign, through their story.
„I somehow wanted to give confidence to other people that it’s possible, it’s possible with a little, it’s possible with nothing, you can do something if you really want to,” she explains.
They were living in Bucharest when they made the long-awaited decision to move to the country. She was an educator, he was a cook, and the stages of relocation followed their natural course from the beginning: „On our first date, we played a game called ‘Where do you see yourself in five years?’ and we both said the same thing: in the country, with a fire in the stove, with me working in the garden and taking care of the children, with him riding horses and in the fields,” says Maria.
With the help of family and friends, Alex and Maria laid the foundations of a place straight from the stories. They found the land and the house through a mutual friend, who has a stud farm in Câmpulung. The wide open space, with springs and forest, surrounding the cottage also encouraged Alex’s passion for horses and made the two realize their dream, albeit at an early stage. The unfavorable conditions in which the house was found presented a challenge, but the two were determined not to miss the opportunity to raise their little girls in nature, free. They worked together and built a place worthy of the wishes of their first meeting:
„Many people tell us that we had courage, that we left everything, we came here, we didn’t even know what we were going to do, what we were going to live on, what we were going to eat, and everything settled down so nicely,” says Maria Icleanu.
Their days in the country begin with planning work for the events and camps they handle. And after he finishes with the organized, he turns to household chores. The animals take up most of their time: I feed them, give them water, take them for a walk sometimes. Especially on goats, who stay in the chicken coop normally, but they also need exercise sometimes. The horses are permanently free in the yard and they always walk from one side to the other, sometimes in front of the house, sometimes through the forest on the estate, they graze in the garden and drink from the springs.
Currently, horses are their main occupation and source of income. In the warm season, they organize events and camps for children in their „sanctuary”, activities that encourage the connection and friendship of the little ones with the animals, more than the experience of riding lessons. And they manage. Maria says she doesn’t miss anything, even though she didn’t grow up in the country, while Alex relives every moment her fondest childhood memories.
They have also integrated well into the community and don’t feel cut off from the world at all since moving. Besides the constant stream of people visiting them during the camps, they have also made friends with the villagers, their neighbors.
Their advice to those who would like to move forward with their dream of relocation is to simply do it.
„You must have this need before you make the decision. You have to feel, to remember your childhood”, explains Alex.When they moved, he didn’t even tell Maria beforehand. He just started packing and bagging everything, and when she got home, he just said, „We’re moving.”
You can watch their story in short, captured by the Lovedeco team, in the video below.