Long stay for gardening and maintenance help in Voditsa, Bulgaria




Favourited 638 times

  • rating

    Host rating

  • feedbacks



  • last activity

    Last activity


  • Last email replied

    Reply rate

    95.8 %

  • Last email replied

    Average reply time:

    within 1 day

  • Badges

    Top Host

 Min stay requested: 1 month or more

  • Description


    If you want to settle for a bit and get your teeth into something, this could be for you....
    We've had a lot of volunteers – well over 400 in the last 12 years and we have appreciated all of them and the work they’ve done. I wouldn’t be where I am right now without the help that volunteers have given over the years. Last year was obviously different – I had 5 volunteers all year – and it gave me space to actually think about this and to accept that I no longer have the energy or the patience to have a constant stream of new people coming in and out of my life. However, I do need help.

    My daughter Elly and her husband, who is from the village, are currently in the UK and my son, who also has a house here, is obviously not able to travel. That means that I’m responsible for 5 properties in the village and as well as general maintenance, I’m always doing new things and new projects, usually around gardening and natural building.
    One of our properties is in the centre of Voditsa and has two self contained apartments – a one bedroom flat that I sometimes rent out, and a larger 3 bed place where volunteers usually live. I’m offering one of these apartments to someone, a couple preferably, who will live there and care for the place. This could also work for a small family. This will be mostly gardening work plus anything that comes up really! There’s a beautiful outside kitchen and a big old barn to hang out in plus the garden. We live outside for as much of the year as possible.

    The deal would be that I provide the accommodation including wood and bills plus main food basics – beans, grains etc and veg from the garden in exchange for two days working with me on my other projects and a bit of time each day loving the garden where you'll live.

    I have lots of skills and experience to share and I’m looking for people who have something to reciprocate – this is not for first time travellers who have no real life experience – sorry but I know how much time that takes up for me. I’ve done that for over ten years and now I want to work with people who have some life experience, lots of common sense and don’t need me to hold their hand. You can learn about life in a small village that used to be large and now suffers from depopulation but still maintains the traditions of Bulgarian life. You’ll learn about growing in a climate with a temperature range of -25 to +40 ….. and a climate that is changing drastically and seriously. We build with mud, wood and recycled stuff and I could probably write a book on what you can do with wire and pliers.

    Two to three months would be an ideal timescale for me - it could be longer but if you're a UK passport holder, you're stuck with 90 days.

    Last year we changed the shape and design of the garden at the place with new terraces and retaining walls. This needs to be finished and filled with flowers and plants. I also have a large field that is about to reshaped into a very big vegetable area and the beginnings of a lovely new flower garden. If you know stuff about plants, that's great but as long as you're interested, I'll show you what to do and you can learn a lot about growing.

    There's also all the day to day seasonal stuff. Planting, pruning, harvesting etc. (there's a huge amount of stuff and work disguised as these two short sentences!)

    Just to clarify, 'we' is Elly, Dancho and Kathy (Elly's mother). However, Elly and Dancho are travelling at the moment, so Kathy and the cats are left in charge. Everything you do will be appreciated and remembered and we look forward to meeting you and knowing a little about you. If you're interested, first please read the rest of this profile then get in touch with dates. If you're serious about connecting with us or any host, a piece of advice is, don't send me a short, bland message that has been copied and pasted and doesn't even have my name in it. Thanks.

    Good luck with everything and we hope to meet you.

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    Art Projects
    Language practice
    Help with Eco Projects
    DIY and building projects
    Animal Care
    Farmstay help
    Creating/ Cooking family meals
    Help around the house
    General Maintenance

  • Projects involving children

    Projects involving children

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

  • UN sustainablity goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN sustainablity 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

    Life goes on in Voditsa much as it always has done - farming, growing, wood things, preserving.... just living in an Eastern European village. But development in the rest of the world bring inevitable issues like depopulation - there aren't really enough people in the villages. I guess this is a unique period of time when you get to experience the end of an era... who knows what the village will be like in 50years but right now you can get a taste of traditional life here including dancing and singing with the pensioner's club if you want.

  • Help


    We ask for 25 hours of help a week, in exchange for food and accommodation. We have 2 days off, usually Friday and Saturday - for volunteers to spend how they please, relaxing in the volunteer house or going of to explore the wider area. There are a few towns/cities which are 1-2 hours away and quite do-able in a weekend.

    It's great when people are interested in cooking - we always try to share the food tasks so that I dont get stuck in the kitchen all day.

    Help varies throughout the year - some of the regular tasks are:
    - Gardening - sowing, planting, weeding, harvesting.
    - Wood - collecting, chopping, stacking.
    - General - fence building, garden reclaim, some landscaping and, general maintenance and improvements.
    - Feeding and caring for the animals

    (Maybe you could mention the word 'scrabble' in your message to us so we know you've read the profile.)

    Animals - cats, a dog and a bunch of chickens.

    We'll find jobs for you in relation to your skills and we'll endeavor to help you to learn new skills.

  • Languages spoken

    English: Fluent
    Bulgarian: Intermediate

  • Accommodation


    The project is in the centre of Voditsa and this is where most of our work is. The apartment sleeps up to 6 people with hot showers and a wood stove.

    We eat mostly vegetarian, but some meals may have meat or be vegan. We are quite adaptable - just ask.

    We would prefer volunteers for 2-3 months minimum .

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    We live in a lovely but underpopulated little village in one of the poorest countries in Europe......but dont be fooled by that statistic - Bulgarian culture is alive and well and thriving. If you spend time with us, you'll meet people who have lived through many big political changes....communism, democracy, the EU.....yet the need to grow food and survive the winter here are things that have happened every year, regardless of the current regime.

    People are practical, friendly and relaxed....and often amused at the idea that foreigners want to come and live here. If you express an interest, people will happily show you more of their lives. You could also spend some time at the Pensioner's Club in the village - these people are great and a wealth of knowledge.

    Besides that, there isn't really a vibrant night life here but there are some lovely walks and we're only a couple of hours from the Black Sea or the Danube. There are no main tourist spots around here but if you're reading this, then you're not a tourist! Spending time in this village will probably become a highlight of your trip and we are happy to be able to share our life and experience with you.

  • 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

  • Can host digital nomads

    Can host digital nomads

    This host has indicated that they love having digital nomads stay.

  • Space for parking camper vans

    Space for parking camper vans

    This host can provide space for campervans.

  • Can possibly accept pets

    Can possibly accept pets


  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    5 hours /5 days

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

Accuracy of profile: (4.8)

Cultural exchange: (4.8)

Communication: (5.0)

Host ref number: 333625114737