Co-create an off-grid Garden of Eden in the Alentejo province of Portugal




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  • Description


    Hi all,

    We are Ties, Shirley and our 2 kids Eliana and Joshua (4&7).

    After a career as scuba diving instructors in Thailand we came to Portugal 3 years ago to find a place where we could make a garden of Eden for our family. A place where we could build a healthy and sustainable, self reliant life that we could share with others.

    This spring we became the owners/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 has not been habituated in about 25 years and nature has taken it´s own hand. In a way 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 and sharing it with others would be the summit.

    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 ;)

    As we are starting from scratch, at this point we are living in our camper on the property. 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!

    As we are not completely set up yet on the land we also still rent a small apartment in town and shuttle up and down every few days for laundry and an occasional shower ;). Besides this we are maintaining a garden near the apartment and as we are rich in tomatoes, courgettes, aubergines, paprika, cucumber and more, most meals are made from produce from the garden.

    The list of things to do on our project is pretty long so we take it one day at a time and try to tick of things here and there 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.

    We are momentarily working on designing and building a temporary outside bathroom and kitchen and to remove the many, many brambles from the areas we want to hang out in.

    There is a beautiful well that needs restoration so we can enjoy running water at some point.
    There also is a small ruin that we will be preparing for a new roof and restoration.

    Every second day we go to town to water our garden and do some quick weeding or planting etc.

    The current time is particularly exciting as our life here starts to take shape and we are behind the wheel during the process :)

    We welcome anybody who wants to come and join us in this process with a good head on his shoulders and a positive attitude.
    Off course we would welcome skilled carpenters who can help set up a solar shower, outdoor kitchen, put a roof on our ruin or permaculturists with design skills, but if you are happy to come pull out some brambles a few hours a day while camping in a natural and peaceful environment then that´s fine too :p

    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 Zumba, Ultimate frisbee, BJJ and percussion etc. 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 :)

    As we are very basic at this point, our place would , be most suitable for people, couples or families who appreciate a back to basic and natural stay. think compost toilets, bucket 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 are situated in a rural area called Lameiros that is a part of Sao Luis with the most typical, nostalgic small cafe just 1000 meters away. You can buy some bread and eggs there too and enjoy a cold beer or local Medronho with the locals.

    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 and Zumba there!

    Within 20 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 :)

  • Type of help

    Type of help

    General Maintenance
    Cooking / shopping
    Help with Eco project

  • 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.

  • Help


    At this point we can use any help from digging up brambles and making pathways with a weed wacker.
    There are about 20 olive trees and several fig trees that are completely overgrown by brambles. They would love to be free again and breath and catch some sun.

    We welcome help designing and building our systems like a temporary outside bathroom, Kitchen and greywater system.

    We also want to hook up a solar pump to the well to have running water AND set up a bigger solar setup to give us plenty electricity.

    There is an old stone pig stall that we want to turn into a tool shed with cob or earth bags.

    The ruin also needs restoration but has to be to be cleaned out as it is filled with debris.

    If you are good with kids or can cook a nice lunch then this would also immensely help :)

    Making a platform for a bell tent and pergola´s etc is also on the activity list.

    And the list goes on and on and on :)

  • Languages spoken

    Languages spoken

    English, Dutch and working on Portugese

  • 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 warm water bag for showers and a composting loo. All very basic at this point! Every few days we drive to town to water our garden and have a shower at our apartment.

    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 :)

    Ideally you can come with your own camper or tent but we can accommodate you in a bell tent on the property also. It has a bed with mattress and bedding etc.

    From our garden we currently have organic potatoes, onions, garlic, beetroots, chard, salads, cucumber, courgette, tomatoes etc etc.
    We are open to be creative in the kitchen and welcome input or ideas for awesome taste experiences.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

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

    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.

    In Villa Nova De Milfontes you can enjoy more restaurants and in the high season even some night clubs. Oh and .... ice cream :)

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

    You can join us for a morning meditation but in Sao Luis town you can also go and do yoga, thai chi, zumba or percussion classes.

    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

  • 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

Host ref number: 182721639799