We are Tim and Nicola (Nic but never Nicky!)
We have had numerous travel experiences which we hope to continue and be able to share our stories with others.
We have both spent many years working overseas from inside the Arctic Circle (in winter) to Northern Kenya, and many countries in between. Our philosophy is simply "life is too short". We are resilient, resourceful and are told we are great company. We have been happily married for the last 10 years.
We also have a very naughty puppy, a kitten and quails!
We are qualified and well practiced first aiders!
DIY and building projects
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help with Eco Projects
Help around the house
If you have a creative flair, there are many other projects that we can do and we are always delighted with people who bring fresh ideas to our project. Carpenters are always welcome!
We are firm believers that helpers and hosts should share skills and ideas for the benefit of both parties.
We have a wood burning hot tub!
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
Our current project is to renovate a very old ruin in Central Portugal. It is situated in lovely woodland, on the banks of a river, overlooking a Roman weir.
The area is very rural and we are totally off grid. We have solar power for lights and recharging phones and laptops but NOT for hairdryers/vacuum cleaners/microwaves etc! We have composting toilets and drinking water is collected from a natural spring on our land.
In summer, volunteer help starts at about 8am as it is often too hot after noon. In autumn, spring and winter, timings are much more flexible. Currently, We are clearing paths through the woodland, making steps and clearing trees back from our land so we are not a fire risk! There is also plenty of gardening work to be done as we try to grow a lot of our own produce, organically. All the terraces have been over grown and many of the walls that hold them back are in need of repair. We also have our kitchen to finish; building units and pointing the walls. There are 2 other ruins on our land and we hope to start renovating them both this year.
There are a number of accommodation options for you;
We have a bell tent which sits on its own elevated platform, overlooking the river and we also have several other tents. If you have a camper van, there is space for you to park it at the top of our driveway. Alternatively, the night sky is amazing with no light pollution so feel free to sleep under the stars! Hammocks are available :)
Washing is done in the river and we have a couple of solar showers which you can use, so eco soap/shampoo is essential. If you do not bring these, we know a few shops that sell them but they are quite expensive.
Food: We will provide food for you and although we do eat meat, it is not on a daily basis. Breakfast is usually fruit, cereal and toast; lunch is a mixture of bread, cheese, salads, pasta and we always try to cook a hot meal in the evenings, taking it in turns. Alcohol is not provided but we are happy for you to enjoy a drink after work if you wish to bring some. And the village shops sell local wines and beer but not spirits.
Shopping: We try to limit our journeys into the main towns (Castelo Branco or Fundao) to a maximum of twice a week however this rarely works out! We are happy for you to join us on these shopping trips and are always grateful for the help.
Shared tasks: Aside from our normal working day, there are a number of 'communal tasks' which include; watering the plants, fetching drinking water from the spring, cooking, washing up and cleaning the hot tub :) You are also responsible for emptying your composting toilet but we will always empty our own toilet!
Time off: The area is remote but there are tracks and dirt roads throughout the area, surrounded by stunning scenery, which you are free to explore. There is a multitude of wildlife including deer, wild boar, pine martins, Egyptian Mongoose and enormous wild foxes not to mention Golden Eagles and other birdlife. Sometimes we will take a trip to explore some historic villages or just drive to the top of the Serra da Estrella mountains for spectacular views. You are free to do as much or as little as you like on your afternoons and days off. The nearest village is Atalaia do Campo which is about a 20 minute walk has 2 small shops and several bars. There are also regular busses from the village to Fundao or Castelo Branco and further afield.
Internet: We have internet connection but it is slow and not suitable for downloading/streaming films or for uploading dozens of photos. We do not turn it on every day but you are free to use it when it is on for checking emails and browsing. There is a café in the village which has free unlimited internet (provided you buy at least a drink) and we are happy to drop you there on our way to town should you need to upload all you travel photos or it is a 20 minute walk!
We also have a wood burning hot tub which is wonderful to unwind in after a hard day but as it takes about 6 hours to heat the water; it is something we use for special occasions! But all our volunteers have had a dip at least once!
Weather: From October through to May, it can get cold both at night and during the day so please make sure you have warm clothing. It can also rain and very occasionally we get frost! There is always heavy snowfall on the mountains around us but not at our level. There is also a small ski resort which is usually open from December to March. During the summer, temperatures can exceed 35 degrees. When it rains, the ground becomes quite muddy so please make sure you have shoes suitable for outdoors and indoors! As the main house is progressing, the dog is the only one allowed to have muddy feet inside :)
Onward Travel: The nearest train stations are Soalheira or Castelo Novo which both connect to Castelo Branco and Fundao. Both have trains to Lisbon. There is also a bus from Castelo Branco and Fundao to Lisbon which is the same price and journey time but more frequent.
THINGS TO BRING: A torch is essential. If you want to use our sleeping bags, please bring a sleeping bag liner. As we try to recycle grey water, eco soap and eco shower products enable us to do this and without them, you will not be able to wash yourselves!!!! And most importantly, please don't leave your sense of humour at home or at your last Workaway hosts!
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
Maximum 4 hours a day, 5 days a week