Join my off grid project in beautiful mountainous Raíz do Monte, Portugal

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  • Last activity: 20 May 2024



 Min stay requested: at least a week



  • Description


    Hello and welcome to co-create this dream that hopefully with your help and skills will become part of this reality.

    My name is Wouter, a 37 y/o human being who changed an office environment in The Netherlands for a simple and quiet lifestyle in the countryside of Portugal.
    Last year, after travelling for a while, I descended into the beautiful mountainous Raíz do Monte.

    I am the proud owner of a 3200 M2 plot of land, surrounded by two little rivers that converge (picture of the map in profile to give the idea about how it looks, I think might be beneficial)
    On the land you will find three ruins of watermills and a ruin of a house. All the buildings are within 30m2, and perfect to renovate them into tiny houses when the permits allow it.
    My vision is to create a small, intimate retreat place where different teachers can teach their lessons in the space of mindfulness. My greatest personal interest within this work lies in the use of plant medicines.

    However, the project is still at a very early stage. Because the place is so wild and mountainous, only attention has been paid to infrastructure and safety.
    Apart from a few bridges, you will not find any other structures there, yet. But this may change with your help. In addition to renovating the watermills, I want to create a number of tent spots. Because there is almost no flat ground on the entire site, wooden decking must be created for this. This would be one of the projects I could use help with.
    I am looking for people who are adventurous, as the land is mountainous. Having fun with a bit of climbing and scrambling is required, as are a pair of mountain boots and working clothes.
    If you like working with your hands in nature and want to express your creativity, brainstorm ideas and bring your set of skills, this might be the place for you.

    Feel free to reach out if you have any questions!

    *Update about the land environment: The area has recently suffered a fire in the summer. Unfortunately, 30% of the land was affected by the fire, mostly the area where I want to build the entrance, but the most beautiful spot between the rivers is still untouched.
    It opens up many new possibilities and I am grateful that much of the country is still as beautiful as before. But it can affect the planned activities.
    If you never saw what a burnt forest looks like, I have to say it is a bit ugly and shocking the first time, then you get used to it after a while. (I feel is a good heads up to inform)
    Also, as a consequence of the fires after the first heavy rains, the loose soil from the rivers was flooded over the land, taking away the little bridges they were placed before.
    Now is the time to observe how these circumstances are affecting the environment and keeping in mind the safety around building the structures, platforms and bridges.

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    Art Projects
    Language practice
    Help with Eco Projects
    DIY and building projects
    Help around the house
    General Maintenance
  • UN sustainability goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN sustainability goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN goals
    No poverty
    Zero hunger
    Good health and well-being
    Quality education
    Gender equality
    Clean water and sanitation
    Affordable and clean energy
    Decent work and economic growth
    Industries, innovation and infrastructure
    Reduce inequality
    Sustainable cities and communities
    Responsible consumption and production
    Climate action
    Life below water
    Life on land
    Peace, justice and strong institutions
    Partnerships for the goals
  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    -I come from an office job myself so I’m not a super handy person. Although I’m slowly learning and becoming creative with tools and machines in my workshop, especially with wood. Also I reuse and recycle different materials.
    -I’m learning about plants and trees in the area, mushroom foraging, mindfulness, neuroscience, psychedelics and nutrition. You are welcome to explore and be part of this quiet place and a bit of social experiment where people from different settings can co-live and become more connected with nature, appreciate the simple lifestyle and slow down from the fast paced city life.
    -I also expect that we can learn together from books, from locals and youtube. Solve one problem at a time.
    -If you speak Portuguese and want to learn Dutch, we can do a language exchange.
    -I practise Wim-Hof breathing and meditation daily, also cold water exposure several times a week. I invite you to join me in these practices. Especially on my land, there are beautiful spots for that, where nature is very wild and untouched, where birds, frogs, dragonflies and water striders feel at home.
    -The land is a perfect place to relax, hang out in a hammock and read a book if the weather allows it. Having a picnic next to a little fire is a beautiful experience that I’d love to share with you.
    -There are possibilities to go exploring the area, sleep in the car-tent and have a night outside, visiting other projects and getting to know friends.
    -At home there’s a little set up for workouts and yoga mats available if you want to exercise. My mountain bike is ready to pick up and go for a ride.

  • Help


    “Winter is coming”. That means, it will depend on the weather.
    If it is raining, the rocks becomes a bit slippery on the land so it will be the perfect time to do indoor tasks like:
    *Chopping wood and organising it by size.
    *Woodwork (cutting and building decks for placing tents, bridges, more structures, etc)
    *Painting walls and furniture.
    *Sort out goods in a container and organise them.
    *Brainstorm ideas, go shopping for materials.
    *Practising language exchange.
    *Cleaning and rearranging the workshop.

    If the weather is good:
    *Collect wood.
    *Place the structures, bridges and decks on land.
    *Make new paths, clean areas.
    *Rebuild a compost toilet.
    *With the right help, start to rebuild the ruins into tiny houses.
    *Build a compost container with pallets for the organic matter.

    As these are new tasks for me and I’m still learning, I’ll give priority to applications from people with experience in woodwork and construction, using tools etc.
    Once the project is ongoing, I’ll gladly open the place for people to come and learn and bring other skills.

    Besides the requested help, I expect from you to feel at home and help to keep common spaces and the kitchen clean, also take turns to cook.

  • Languages spoken

    English: Fluent
    Dutch: Fluent
    Spanish: Beginner
    Portuguese: Beginner

  • Accommodation


    The land is 10 min away driving or a 30 min walk from Campo de Jales where I’m renting a house.
    The upper floor has all the facilities you will not find on land such as a kitchen, shared bathroom, washing machine, and WiFi (portable modem with 4G data)
    The workshop and workout space is on the lower floor.
    There is a bedroom with a double bed available (see/post picture) so I can host one person or a couple or two good friends who feel comfortable to share it. There is also a possibility to place a single mattress in the living room but it will be used during the daytime as a place to hang out, meditate, do yoga or have lunch/dinner so it doesn’t have privacy. I can only recommend it for a short stay. There’s an extra room that I use as a walk-in closet and storage without windows that could be used too, but is not cosy. Eventually I could give my room for a longer stay but that will be considered upon agreement and given skills for the project.
    Something important to consider before applying is that in this area of Portugal it gets cold in winter: most of the old houses in the countryside don't have a central heating system and aren’t well insulated. The only heated room is the living room and it has a wood burning stove. Is simple to start the fire but it takes some time to heat up the room and every day wood has to be carried from the lower floor up to the living room.
    So please, make sure to bring extra layers to stay warm, wool socks, indoor grandpa shoes, lol.
    The bathroom has a little electric wall heater to turn on before a shower.
    During spring and summer time, you can also sleep near the land in a large tent. It has a bit of glamping vibes because of a real mattress and you can stand in it.

    Food: Breakfast, lunch and dinner is included. Nourishing and healthy food will be available. I mostly eat vegetarian food, adding eggs and cheese. Occasionally I buy red meat or chicken. At the moment I have only a single gas burner stove so one pot meals like stews, curries, risottos, soups are efficient to cook and at least one warm meal a day is appreciated during autumn and winter. Once I sort out the container with your help, I’ll have access to a big stove with more burners and an oven included :-) I’m the proud owner of an espresso machine so good coffee is guaranteed. Also I have a powerful blender.
    Alcohol is not included. There’s a small supermarket in the village where you can buy drinks and other snacks as you wish. I don’t drink alcohol and don’t smoke tobacco.
    If you have any dietary restrictions, please let me know in advance.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    Campo de Jales is a tiny village, with a small supermarket, there are one or two bars where the locals meet to drink and eat. It used to be a working place for many years during the golden time in mines, but that period is over. You will mostly see old people around this area or a few kids.
    The closest bus station is Vila Pouca de Aguiar, which is 15-20 minutes away driving, where I could pick you up. There is also a bus station in Vila Real which is 30 minutes away. Porto airport is 90 minutes away by bus.
    You are always welcome to join me to visit friends or them coming for dinner, or go shopping with me. Or take the ride to go visit other cities on your own.
    Lastly, I just wanted to mention that this is a perfect place for those looking to get away from city life, noise and polluted places, if you enjoy time alone and probably better if you can entertain yourself in your free time as there is not that much to do around here.
    Also I think it is a good place for people searching for lands to start their own project, where we can share ideas

  • 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

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?


  • ...

    Hours expected

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

Host ref number: 227882626469

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