We’ve signed away to the Help Exchange website, opening the way to a colourful list of organic farms, non-organic farms, farmstays, homestays, ranches, lodges, B&Bs, backpackers hostels and even sailing boats looking for volunteer helpers to stay with them in exchange for room and board. In my mind it’s a pretty good deal, a damn good deal… yes I am a thrifty man, and the idea of not having to spend money on food and accommodation appeals to me, but of course there’s a whole lot more to this work exchange thing that I am looking forward too. You’ve got to take a look at some of these places! Here are a couple examples of HelpX spots we’re looking to volunteer on in Norway:
Organic Status: Newstarted Permaculture-farm. Our farm is situated close to the ocean, 1 hour by car to the north of Bergen. The farm is in a starting-fase for permaculture and organic farming. We have begun cultivating vegetables on a small scale and plan to expand gradually. We also have several breeds of wild-sheep, goats,chicken, geese and turkey roaming the farm freely. A horse is wanted.
The farm livingroom is newly renovated. With 5 bedrooms, two bathrooms, communal kitchen and livingroom. The main house also features a sauna and hobbyroom. In addition we sustain ourselves by fishing from rowboat, freediving for mussels/scallops and spearfishing.
We offer several courses based on outdoors activities. Among these are archery, finding food in nature/self sustainability, freediving, sailing and sea kayaking.
We also wish to establish our farm as a centre for permaculture. We serve meals at regular intervals and meals can be adapted to suit individual needs.
Work on the farm is very varied and includes; Caring for animals, clearing pastures, repairing fences, vegetable and herb gardening, repair of farm buildings/boats, fishing etc.
Having to face my busy life, with too much work, with training and teaching the martial arts, having two dogs to take care of- I see that it would be ideal to have a person here who could help me with household duties. I have a fairly large space at my disposal; and you will of course have your own private room with high speed internet connection. There are several terraces and a garden. Probably also the best view in the city.
What I can offer is free accommodation in exchange for approximately 2 hours of work a day, 5 days a week. Your work will consist in general household duties; washing, vacuuming, laundry, and just be of company to my dogs- play with them etc. So the first prerequisite for staying here is that you love dogs, and have experience with them.
The house is situated about a 25 min walk from Bergen city center, or a tiny bus ride, still it lies perfectly situated on top of the line of houses, with just the mountain and forest behind. Feel free to add me on facebook if you consider Bergen and Norway as your next location.
You will of course be welcomed to join me on the plentiful trips I have with my dogs in the beautiful Bergen area. There is a very nice lake a brief walk from my house, so perfect for swimming until at least September. You’ll also be welcomed to join me for some self- defense/martial arts training if that is one of your interests.
I’m very fond of languages; so if you speak a language different than English we can definitely make an agreement where I teach you Norwegian/English and you teach me your language.
ORGANIC FARM + ORGANIC BOAT (sort of)
Interested in self-sufficiency? Want to help build a community? Love the sea? On an organic farm a few hours north of Oslo, our collective is for anyone keen to learn, share ideas, and work hard. We are building a sailboat and when she is finished (we aim for 2012/2013), we want to sail the world, visiting other eco-villages, collecting knowledge and traveling in the most eco-friendly way possible. Anyone who helps us out will have the chance to join our crew. We also work on the farm, building up the infrastructure to create a stable base for our community. We live with our dog, the farm cat and some (very) free-range chickens. We keep bees and make jam; this year we harvested our first crop of potatoes and planted next seasons raspberries. Eventually we hope to grow all our food. We want to create a place that will continue to flourish, where crops, thoughts, adventures, and of course boats, can grow!We ask for a minimum commitment of thirty days, with a week-long trial period. We welcome anyone as long as you are happy to work hard and help out where needed. There are enough beds for eight volunteers and the schedule is Monday to Friday, with approximately eight to nine hours of work a day. Please bring your pets if you can! Boat work is predominantly during the winter and jobs include welding the deck, installing the engine, sewing the sails, constructing the mast and fitting the interior. If you have any particular skills in these areas, please let us know. On the farm you may be asked to do anything from plowing and harvesting to jam making, roof building, beekeeping, digging, painting, or grinding the barley for our morning porridge. It is guaranteed that you will be asked to cook; our diet is vegetarian and we try to eat only seasonal food, grown as locally as possible. On the weekends there are forests and mountains to explore, and we have skis, tents and bikes available for those who want to go adventuring. Come help us out and join our tribe of sea-gypsies!
So as you can see, there appears to be no end to the variety of skills you can learn and the experiences this organization has to offer. You can basically live someone else’s life for a while, trying new things and learning about a new way of living. That is what I am looking forward to the most when it comes to our Europe trip; it’s this kind of travel experience!
Watch this interview with a HelpX host where she explains the opportunities and rich experiences this type of travelling has to offer: