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I am Ian, a retired psychologist from the UK, age 61. For the last two years I have been living for part of the year in a simple stone cortijo house surrounded by 1.5 hectares of olive and almond terraces in the beautiful valley of the Alpujarras, in the mountains south of Granada about an hour from the city and from the sea. During this time I have hosted at least 60 working visitors (from Workaway and other websites), many of whom have left feedback which you can read below.
From late autumn of 2020 and onwards, I am looking for a small number of experienced volunteers who would be available for a long stay (at least a month), looking after the house and taking a lead on garden and land maintenance, particularly strimming, pruning and clearing, landscaping, stone wall building, olive harvesting and care of the vegetable plots. Due to Covid I may now have to be away from the cortijo on a regular basis myself, and so I am unable to accept volunteers who need a high level of supervision or are only able to do light tasks around the garden.
I would be most positive towards older and skilled Workaway travellers who are looking for a more stable lifestyle for a period of time, contributing meaningfully to life at the cortijo and enjoying the benefits of the local town. Potential volunteers will be asked to discuss their application via webchat in the first place, and an initial trial stay of 1 week can then be arranged, which can then be extended if all goes well.
One further point... this is a gay friendly place, so those with homophobic and conservative attitudes would not fit in well.
DIY and building projects
Help with Eco Projects
Help around the house
This is a fascinating area, both historically and geographically, and the main benefit of a stay here is to get to know the region, and experience living in one of the most beautiful and relatively unspoiled parts of Europe. The oldest olive trees on the land were probably planted by the Moorish (Islamic) population who settled here in these valleys for centuries, up until the final ‘reconquista’ of Spain by the Christians in the 16th century. Their ancient ‘acequia’ watering system still works here, making it possible to grow vegetables and fruit trees as well as olives and almonds. The views of the valley and the distant mountains are beautiful, and there is an atmosphere of complete peace and tranquility in the natural surroundings, with wild animals also inhabiting the land. The traditional white villages, established by the Moors throughout the southern slopes of the Sierra Nevada (the area known as 'Las Alpujarras') can be seen on the distant hills.
Looking for help on a variety of projects around the land, and maintaining the vegetable plots. I now am particularly looking for help with construction of compost toilets and an outdoor kitchen, and preparing plots for new tipi accommodation for visitors. The land is spread over seven terraces of olive and almond trees, with rough and sometimes steep tracks in between, so I am unable to accommodate visitors who are not able to manage this easily.
Volunteer accommodation is in the house, which is very simple and basic but equipped for reasonably comfortable living. Visitors will probably have their own room, although the house is quite small and open-plan in the arrangement of rooms, so personal space and privacy are limited. A separate wooden cabin may be available for a long-term helper to live independently. As owner, I also have a separate cabin away from the house.
Meals and meal preparation are shared, with food provided as part of the exchange, and housework in the cortijo is also shared. A vegetarian diet is the norm although we occasionally eat meat or fish, and vegan and other diets can usually be accommodated. Enthusiasts of naturist (meaning clothing optional or nudist) living are also welcome here, and any volunteers here should be aware of this, and be open-minded.
At the moment there is no wifi (although 4g coverage is good) so it's an opportunity to break free from internet addiction for a while.
The Alpujarras is a popular area for visitors throughout the year, and there are many interesting sights in the various white mountain villages, and possibilities for hiking and other outdoor activities. With a car, several beaches (including three nudist) can be reached in under an hour.
The local market town (Orgiva) is only 15-20 mins walk away, so visitors are able to be fairly independent without a car here. There are buses from there to the local mountain villages, the coast, and to Granada city (75 mins). Malaga is a 3 hour direct bus trip away, although can be reached by car in about 90 mins.
It is important that all visitors have their own arrangements in place to access healthcare (European health insurance card or private insurance), and are prepared to accept liability for their own safety during their stay, including only taking on work tasks in which they feel skilled and confident. Copies of identity documents and emergency contact details will also be asked for.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
This host has indicated that they love having digital nomads stay.
This host can provide space for campervans.
This host has said they are willing to accept those travelling with a pet.
More than two
5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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