We are Shahnaz and François, aka The Cramooz. We met on a rooftop in NYC what feels like a few lifetimes ago, when we were both still working corporate jobs - Shahnaz in health, and Francois in luxury watches. As we fell in love (it took a little while), we discovered our mutual appreciation of nature and our passion for sustainability. We dreamed big and then took the leap! First, we traveled the world working on farms to hone our skills, and since 2017 we have been in Portugal. We bought an old farm in 2018, and are turning our biggest dream into an unforgettable farm / nature / disconnect-to-reconnect experience we’d love to share with you.
As for our nickname, it's a contraction of “Cram” (Francois’ family name is Cramer and his nickname is Cram) and Shnooz (Shahnaz’s nickname). Because if Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie could go by Brangelina back when they were an item, then we can have our own couple name too.
We met in September 2011 in New York City, got legally married there in 2013, and organized a big party in Mallorca in 2014.
In May 2016 we left NYC, and embarked on a belated and extended around-the-world honeymoon that lasted almost a year. During this adventure, we did a lot of volunteering – mostly on farms and through WorkAway, but not only. As of April 2017 we relocated to Portugal where we volunteered on glamping (“glamour camping”) projects until we found our own little piece of paradise.
That’s Casa Beatrix. Twenty-two hectares of wild, terraced, forested land with a view of the Serra de Estrela National Park. We have been living here – in a tiny house that we lovingly refer to as “Chateau Cramooz” – since March 2018. Our vision is to turn it into a farmstay where people can disconnect to reconnect (cheesy but true).
You can read about our around-the-world adventures alongside our farming adventures on our blog.
Shahnaz is Bolivian-Iranian-Swiss, and has a background in health and communications.
With a degree in Biology from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA in healthcare management, she is an avid bookworm and equestrian, and has wanted to live on a farm since she was little. Thanks to her older brother she is a die-hard fantasy and Dungeons & Dragons fan which is one of the reasons she is a sucker for challenges and loves problem-solving. She hates raw tomatoes. When she isn’t playing with animals or in the saddle, she works freelance from Chateau Cramooz. (Yes, that’s intentionally vague, because she does communications advisory work, project management, and is a Wedding Celebrant! Never a dull moment.)
Francois is Belgian-Dutch, and grew up in the Belgian Ardennes (near the town of SPA if you like thalassotherapy, and near the town Francorchamps if you’re into Formula 1).
He is a third generation watchmaker who finished a Masters’ in Sustainability Management at Columbia University in May 2016. He has been gardening since as far back as he can remember, loves music (Foo Fighters, Mark Knopfler, and Red Hot Chilli Peppers are some of his faves, though his playlist changes with his mood and the seasons), and is a self-proclaimed cat person even though he now also loves dogs (how could he not, have you seen Mojito and Castanha!). He loves DIYing, and is thus really good with his hands (TWSS!).