This is a small harbor due west of Uddevalla on the west coast of Sweden, where we rent out boat spaces by the season. We've been hosts before, and love sharing this special place with others, because it makes us go out and discover the hidden gems of the area all over again!
And, of course, we've had the great fortune of hosting some wonderful people here, too.
The Harbor is owned by a multi-generational family, many of which might be here at any time, whereas sometimes you'll be here alone with me.
I just want to mention two things before you read any further:
a) we have a one-to-two week trial period, to see if this is a good fit for both you and us, and
b) we seldom make plans more than about three months in advance, due to my work schedule.
If you're writing eight months in advance to stay for one-two months, we won't be able to accept your request at this time.
Here is what to expect if you come to The Harbor:
We work hard, and live well.
We’re about 30 minutes by bus from Uddevalla, 90 Minutes from Gothenburg, with countless nearby picturesque fishing villages, gorgeous landscapes, and ample opportunities for rowing, paddling, fishing, diving, windsurfing (boards from the 70’s and 80’s), swimming, saunas and more. Some of our volunteers haven’t liked big bodies of water, but some of those have still had a really good time here. If you require hot showers every day, please note that we don’t have running water, so that would require you to boil sea water or rain water and use a bucket solution, which some have very happily done. I love the contrast of a hot sauna and cold water, so I swim/dip year round, and it’s a great rush!
It's absolutely lovely, especially on dark nights when you might get to swim in the Sea Sparkle (bioluminescence). Regarding drinking water, we carry it in 6 gallon containers, or pull it on a little wagon. Working here does require some heavy lifts, and many of our previous helpers have bulked up a lot while here.
When we have time, it’s fun to take volunteers out to see the sights, we’ve got petroglyphs and sculpture parks, gorgeous natural and man-made stone formations. If you are comfortable traveling by bus, there’s plenty more to see, and we head into town semi-regularly, so you won’t be totally isolated! However, The Harbor is at the end of the road (and the beginning of the world!), so right here is a rather quiet corner that suits people comfortable away from the constant distractions of modern life.
When my aunt and mom are here, meals are just a little bit better than if I am solo – working all day and cooking in between is hard to do. We have had great volunteers who have taken turns cooking too, and you’re welcome to if you want. When I cook, it’s usually spicy, but I am used to modifying that for others. Right now we’ve got about 10 different kinds of home made jams and marmalades, if you help scavenge for berries and apples, we’ll keep those coming. It’s been a good fall!
Please let us know about dietary requirements before you come, we will try to accommodate these as best we can, but since we shop a lot but seldom, it helps us to plan ahead. We all help with setting the tables and washing up afterwards.
Unfortunately, we cannot and do not provide insurance for volunteers (or ourselves).
We assume you've got travel insurance, either through World Nomads or other such excellent sites.
If you're an EU citizen, please make sure you've got your EU Health Insurance Card (EHIC) as well, available for free at (http: //ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=559). If you have it, you'll only have to pay what locals pay if you have to visit the hospital (this varies from country to country). In Sweden, you pay ~300 SEK instead of <3600 SEK without the card. We just had an incident where a helper was sick, and hadn't renewed their card - so please make sure to have it and that it's up to date.
Due to allergies, we are not able to host smokers.
Sometimes one of our friends stops by with dog/s, though we don’t have any ourselves.
If you've got allergies, please let us know before you arrive, so we can rearrange visitor schedules!
Help with Eco project
We speak English together, so if you want to practice or learn that language better, this is a good place. Multigenerational living, fishing (many of our helpers have headed out with our boat guests for fish, crab or lobster fishing), water sports, we do celebrate a number of holidays such as Walpurgis Night, May 1st (join a demonstration if you want), Midsummer, July 4th (Independence Day in the USA), August 1st (Switzerland's National Day - yes, Switzerland, not Sweden), lobster premiere in September, as well as games of ping-pong, campfires, and singing around the kitchen when we do dishes.
Since this is a multigenerational place, we do expect a certain understanding for respecting older generations, so general table manners are appreciated and language learned from action movies is best left at home. We aren't super up-tight, we just have had a number of mainly younger helpers who have not known any boundaries, so this is something we have to mention now.
We provide three solid meals each day, helpers are expected to help set and clear the table, wash dishes, occasionally maybe cook, and not take seconds before everyone's been served firsts. We eat mainly organic and free range, and if you have food allergies or intolerances, please let us know in advance so we can plan for it. We will not cook separate meals if you're just a fussy eater or a sugar junkie :) . This is a drug free environment, but we do sometimes drink alcohol and will share wine with dinner when we have it. No working while drunk or hung-over (no lunch-time booze), and if you want beer or cider, you buy it yourself!
The main thing we need help with right now, is renovating beautiful old buildings from the 1890's. Many of the tasks are heavy, but I try to set work up so that you have a few different things to choose from, and don’t lift bricks for five hours in one day! We also take a nice 1-2 hour lunch break, longer if you want to go for a sail or swim and continue with work later. It is important though that you bring good clothes for physical work - things that can withstand rough handling, dirt, soil, oil... and some good work shoes. We have some old clothes laying about, but you won't be stylish, so we always recommend bringing your own.
Here’s an example of some of the work we do: brickwork, roofing, floors, walls, doors, renovating windows (linseed oil and putty, learn to use a glass cutter), and mixing and carrying concrete. You might find yourself carrying lumber, building frames, using various hand tools and, if you're able to use them, electric tools (we will teach you), pushing heavy wheel barrows and getting the satisfaction of seeing a job well done.
It really is a lot of fun.
Some of the lighter work includes planting, painting, sorting, weeding, and cleaning, for example washing used flower pots. While we won’t ask you to do something you’re incapable of or uncomfortable with (like working on a roof), what we need help with is sometimes physically demanding. If we're digging a ditch, we're digging a ditch. When we need to get something done, we do expect you to help out, even if it's not your favorite task in the world... but we also try to have very open communications so that people dare speak up and say they’d rather do something else if it also needs to be done… and we really want this to be a fun, safe place with a good exchange for you, as well!
Even so, the work we need help with is tough, so if you're best suited for indoor activities such as taking care of kids, housework or being a receptionist, then there are soooo many really great hosts here on WorkAway that would be a better fit for you. Sometimes I want to run away and go visit those hosts myself, their profiles are so cool!
Spring starts with repairs on the docks, there's a chance we'll be fastening lag bolts on floating docks in some roughish waves. Then we'll go back to working on buildings, after we finish a roof, we'll be painting boards, hanging gutters, changing wood paneling and perhaps even fixing windows.
You will in all likelihood be asked to work on weekends, though no more than your 5 h/day 5 days/week. We have to work while we have the weather for it, and you will notice very soon that I work more than those 5 hours every day, which is why it's great if you're able to take initiative to go places/do things in your free time. I'd love to show you around more, but this year, I am just not able to take as much time off as I'd like to.
Speaking of weather, please remember that it varies in Sweden... so you might work/play in rain as well as sunshine, which we've found has been a new experience for some people.
English, Swedish, some of us speak German and some know a very little bit of Spanish.
Depending on how many family, friends and other volunteers are here, you might or might not have your own room. We have an attic dormitory, single, double and triple bed rooms, as well as plenty of room to tent, if that's your style.
I mention yet again - we've got electricity, but not running water. No hot showers, just the sea, whatever time of year it may be (we only take volunteers during spring-summer-fall, depending on projects and weather).
Also, as mentioned above, we are not able to accept smokers due to allergies.
There are plenty of things to do in your time off, especially if you're open to taking the bus.
Climbing (granite & ice)
Petroglyphs (rock carvings)
Sailing (got a dinghy in this summer, no big boats)
Diving (snorkeling, and gorgeous for scuba if you rent or bring the gear!)
Good meals with great views!
The nearest bus stop is 1,5 km away, the bus takes roughly 30 minutes in to Uddevalla, where there are good connections by bus and train to anywhere you want to go from here. The Gothenburg airport is roughly 90 minutes (2h by bus) away. Uddevalla lies right on the E6 throughway which runs between Oslo, Norway, and Copenhagen, Denmark. There's a very nice museum, multiplex cinema, cafés and such. Plenty of picturesque fishing villages dotting the coastline, and they're wonderful to stroll through any time of the year.
We do have internet access here, but also encourage a conversational climate IRL.
I got my Permaculture Design Certificate a few years ago, and have started restructuring with some earth works and planting fruit trees/berry bushes for our future food forest. I've got a good collection of permaculture/gardening books in English and Swedish which are available for you to read during your stay here.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
Maximum 5 hours a day, 5 days a week