Co-create an off-grid garden of eden in the Alentejo province of Portugal



Favourited 195 times

  • rating

    Host rating

  • feedbacks



  • last activity

    Last activity


  • Last email replied

    Reply rate

    96.0 %

  • Last email replied

    Average reply time:

    within 3 days

  • Badges

    Top Host
  • Description


    Hi all,

    About us:

    We are Ties, Shirley and our 2 kids Eliana and Joshua (7 &9).

    After a career as scuba diving instructors in Thailand we came to Portugal 6 years ago to reinvent ourselves and find a place where we could grow a garden of Eden for our family and extended tribe. A place where we could build a healthy and sustainable, self reliant life that we could share with others.

    Now we are caretakers of a wonderful, small property in between cork forests, meadows and farmlands located in a Nature Reserve in the Alentejo province of Portugal.

    The property had not been habituated in about 25 years! As nature had taken it´s own hand we have to pioneer and make things work again from scratch.

    It is our aim to create a place where we can live in the rhythm of nature while also living in balance with her. A future where we can be mostly self reliable and sustainable really appeals to us.

    Creating a place to receive people and invite for nourishing gatherings to happen is something that really appeals to us. Men and Women circles, meditation or chanting gatherings. Perhaps breathwork and medicinal ceremonies to aid personal development and well being :)

    Ask us for a video for a small impression of our place.

    This crazy "Corona Episode" made the confirmation more clear than ever to work hard on establishing our "Normal"

    - Not with GMO and pesticide ridden food but A normal with organic fruit and veg that we share with neighbours
    - Not with laboratory grown burgers but occasional organic meat and healthy free range eggs
    - Not with pharmaceuticals and chemicals but herbal and natural remedies, cures and prevention.
    - Not with an overdose of social media and online presence but real life face time with people that matter :)

    The crazy events lately where quite the roller coaster for us all but they did make us more determined and centered onto a path of love rather than fear.

    Like mentioned, it is our mission to live as healthy and sustainable as we can but are by no means dogmatic or anything like that. We compost our toilet business but at the same time don´t mind to drive 20 minutes to have icecream on the beach ;)

    Just recently we have done up a part of a larger ruine and are now living in it. (Thanks to people like you! Yay!)
    Signing off in the night time with shooting stars in the sky and hearing the owls hoot in the night time is an experience that makes us sleep with a smile on our face. This is what we where looking for all this time!

    Things to do:

    The list of things to do on our project is pretty long so we try not to waste time while having fun in the meantime :)

    By no means are we experts in anything and we are trying to figure most things out by ourselves. We strongly believe in being students and teachers at the same time and welcome anybody who´d like to come figure things out with us.

    That said though, our time is valuable at this stage of our project and we especially welcome people with a good head on their shoulders and a positive attitude who are motivated and a little independent.

    Off course we would welcome skilled carpenters, permaculturists and professional chefs but if you are handy and motivated that is awesome. Gardening and building experience is a nice extra.

    A lot of the work we are focusing on right now needs a bit of muscle and stamina.

    Depending on your skills and abilities we are offering the following jobs in order of priority:

    - Building an awesome, cute kitchen building from an old pigpen. We use natural building methods like cob, slipstraw and pallet and scrapwood. Let´s get muddy!
    - Prepping and maintaining gardens Like madmen and women. Food independence here we come!
    - Building a bathroom building with natural building methods
    - Making a playground for the kids
    - Building a chicken coop & a dogg shelter

    Some other less sexy tasks:

    - Using weedwacker to cut down weeds and brambles
    - Building a shed from recycled and natural materials
    - clearing a small part of the ruine
    - Digging trench for irrigation lines and drainage around house

    And other things :)

    We try to make sure you can do the stuff that makes your heart sing but sometimes some stuff just needs to happen :p
    People who love cooking and tidying etc are always scoring karma points here :)

    The term of your stay:

    Although we can find simple jobs for short term people who want to have minimum input, we appreciate and prefer to connect with people who are genuinely interested in this kind of lifestyle and want to stay for a minimum of 2 weeks. Long termers welcome

    We try to live healthy and sustainably but don´t take things tooo seriously and like to have fun.
    At this point in our lives we appreciate people who live from the heart and can be them selves. We are all a work in progress :)

    In our time off we like to do Brazillian Jiu Jitsu, Tabata and percussion etc but were also working on a small yoga and meditation platform. We try to find our way into raising our kids somewhat "unconditional" and like to share experiences with this also. We are all teachers and students at the same time :)

    Most of all we appreciate human connection and sharing this amazing life :)

    What we can offer:
    As we are very basic at this point, our place would , be most suitable for people, couples or families with own transportation who appreciate a back to basic and natural stay. think compost toilets, solar heated showers, shooting stars and many birds and trees. Oh and nothing but the enchanting sounds of nature (and of course our kids jumping on the trampoline and running amok :)

    We offer meals or in case you don´t always want to hang out with us. at least the ingredients and amenities to whip something up yourself.
    We offer a place for you to park your van or camper OR when the weather permits it a comfy bed in a tent or caravan.
    We have filtered water always available.

    The area:

    We are situated in a rural area called Lameiros that is a part of Sao Luis. Just 1000 meters away there is a most typical, nostalgic small cafe where you can buy some bread and eggs and enjoy a cold beer or Medronho with the locals. There also is a super nice pop-up pizza restaurant there on Sunday! And once every month we have the Amazing Azula Market right next door :)

    The small town of Sao Luis is only a 8 minute drive away and here you can stock up on some small town life and visit more cafe´s and small supermarkets and local markets. You can even do yoga, Thai Chi, BJJ and Zumba there!

    There is also the regular gypsy market in Brunheiras and the Feira de Alegria in Sao Luis.

    Within 30 minutes you find yourself on one of the pristine beaches of the Atlantic coast where you can do surfing, stand up paddle boarding on the river estuary, walk the "rota vicentina" or just enjoy the sunset with a regional wine and olives :)

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    Help with Eco Projects
    DIY and building projects
    Farmstay help
    Babysitting and creative play
    Creating/ Cooking family meals
    Help around the house
    General Maintenance

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    You will stay in a very natural and quiet place and can learn hand on how a family is creating a healthy, sustainable life from the ground up.
    We enjoy learning as well as teaching and welcome you in our process.

    Besides this we love making and sharing meals together and hear stories from your side of the world.

    You are welcome to come and co create and share the magic in this wonderfull piece of earth.

    Shirley loves baking cakes from pumpkin to apple pie. Ties like all kinds of things from making home made probiotics, Kombucha, fermenting things untill making toothpaste and soap etc. You can also join us for a morning meditation.

  • Projects involving children

    Projects involving children

    This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.

  • Help


    What kind of help do we REALLY need?

    Help in construction:
    We have about 80m2 of ruin that we are trying to clear and rebuild :)

    People with golden hands and or experience with natural building or general building and carpenter skills would be extremely welcome :)

    Help in the garden:
    We love fresh veggies etc but in this stage we resort to lazy gardening because housing and infrastructure take up a lot of our time.

    Help with tidying and general maintenance

    Help in household:
    For many years now we have lived abroad and raised our family without much external help.

    At this point though with 1001 things to do and not enough hours in the day it would be incredibly wonderfull to have somebody who could take charge of meal prepping & cooking, caring for the kids and general household tasks.
    This way we could chip away at our to do list and not have to worry about what to cook for lunch 🙂

  • Languages

    Languages spoken
    English: Fluent
    Dutch: Fluent
    Portuguese: Beginner

    This host offers a language exchange
    This host has indicated that they are interested in sharing their own language or learning a new language.
    You can contact them directly for more information.

  • Accommodation


    Our project is suitable for people who enjoy being in nature and back to basic.

    We have filtered spring water for drinking and have solar shower and a composting loo. All very basic at this point!

    It is most suitable at this point for people, couples or families who appreciate being away from WiFi zones but have better connection than ever :)

    Particularly in the autumn and wintermonths we can only welcome people that have their own accomodation in the form of a camper or van etc. The winters are just too cold for camping.

    In the summer we can accommodate you in a caravan or a tent on the property aswell. It has a bed with mattress and bedding and mosquito net etc.
    In the winter and autumn months you´d have to come with your own camper as it is too cold to camp in tent etc

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    In your own time you can do many things here but most are outdoor activities.

    Natural treasures:
    - You can go for a swim in nearby fresh water canyon lake called "Pego das Pias" which is about 15 minutes away.

    - Perhaps surfing or stand up paddle boarding is more your thing , then you can go to one of the beaches or river beaches like Villa Nova de Milfontes or Malhao. These are about a 20 minute drive away.

    - There are walking routes from the "Rota Vicentina" that go either through inland villages with beautifull scenery or passed the coast.

    For "City Slickers":
    - In Villa Nova De Milfontes you can enjoy more restaurants and in the high season even some night clubs. Oh and .... ice cream :)
    - In Odemira you can do some sightseeing. It has a Chocolaterie a "Harry Potteresque" library, a cinema with one theatre, a nice river and ofcourse narrow old Portugese streets and houses.
    - Sao Luis is a sleepy little town but bubbling under the surface. There are local and hippie markets, Sunday Artisanal Pizza Event, a positively Crazy Ultimate Frisbee team but also yoga, capoeiera, Zumba, Tai Chi, percussion classes, BJJ etc

    If you need transport to our place then we can organize a pickup from the bus stop in Sao Luis, Cercal or Vila Nova de Milfontes.

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

    • Can host families

  • Space for parking camper vans

    Space for parking camper vans

    Small vans and bigger campers can have a spot but we can only host about 2 of them or 3 max. As we are trying to close all the waste loops on our property in an appropriate way, we cannot facilitate emptying camper toilets with the blue chemical stuff in them. Happy days :)

  • Can possibly accept pets

    Can possibly accept pets

    quiet pets are welcome. We have 2 playfull young dogs ourselves.

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week

These are extra optional ratings when members leave feedback. The average rating left for each option is displayed.

Accuracy of profile: (4.9)

Cultural exchange: (4.9)

Communication: (4.9)

Host ref number: 182721639799