Hi there, my name's Kris, I have been hosting now for over 5 years. It has been so enriching to me, and from what guests have told me and the lasting friendships that have formed, it's been a good life experience for the people who have stayed. I've been very moved by some of the reviews I have received.
At its simplest, it is an exchange of help for accommodation and food, but over the years I have realised the importance of connections that are made when people stay. I will therefore tell you a little about the place and myself, and if it appeals to you, get in touch!
The land here is approximately 1 hectare, I have planted over 500 trees and they are just starting to get big. As they grown they've attracted a lot of bird life and deer. Some are grown for nature and some with the intention of using one day for firewood. There is a vegetable garden and a polytunnel (greenhouse). I grow most of my own vegetables and I am still learning about preserving to be self-sufficient for as much of the year as possible. I also have chickens for eggs, a cat that lives outside and a very energetic young dog!
I use waste wood from builders and joiners in the area for heating and most electricity is generated here using a wind turbine, so I tend to wait for windy days for using high energy appliances like the washing machine!
About me; I'm 48, I was a single parent but my son moved out recently (he usually comes home in weekends). My passions are music and crafts. I'm a non smoker and only drink occasionally. I practise meditation and like yoga - although I'm not very disciplined, and I am interested in learning Qigong. It is a quiet place but in summer, my friends and I sometimes organise mini festivals here. We have a rustic bothy/music rehearsal room where sometimes guests have stayed, a workshop for art and creative projects which you are free to use. I like to make things from beach wood, my son is a designer so there are often creative projects on the go.
Around this area is mostly farmland. There are things to see within 15km from here, ancient stone circles, a couple of castles, if you want to borrow a bike. There are other things too, beautiful coastline, castles, mountains and distilleries, but there is no public transport so you would need a car. The nearest city, Aberdeen is an hour away (shops, galleries etc.) and there is public transport to Elgin, Findhorn and Inverness. Some people come here because it is remote, but it is not for everyone!!
Help with Eco project
Help in the house
I am still learning about this lifestyle, and have learned some things from guests who have previous experience. If a self sufficient way of life is something you imagine living one day, this could be a good opportunity to experience it. I have had many guests from overseas and am happy to help with your English if that's one of your reasons for traveling. If you are creative or musical, you are welcome to use the workshop space for your own projects. I have many musical instruments you can try! Maybe we can jam too, I've done a few collaborations with musicians who've passed this way.
Most of the building work is now complete so the help will probably be gardening (planting, weeding, cutting) and building maintenance.
I will try to make your tasks as varied as possible, but please be aware that gardening help is quite physical and would not be suited to someone who does not live an active lifestyle. Where possible, I will work with you, or at least nearby. We will usually work for the same time (eg from 9am till 1pm) so that we are both free to use our afternoons as we wish. I work part-time (2-3 days per week). Either I can leave you tasks to do or you can use them as your free days.
At the moment I have just finished rebuilding an old shed and turning it into an indoor winter garden (we've decided to call it "the green room!). There may be some help still to do here (painting etc.) If you get in touch, I can give you a better idea of what still needs to be done.
Usually we do 4-5 hours per day, five days a week. I can be flexible though, if for example if you preferred to help longer for more days off.
english, very limited french, learning Spanish
Usually I offer a room in the house, but in the past, sometimes people have stayed in a room separate from the house, especially when there has been a few guests staying. This would be discussed if we meet on Skype/whatsapp first. Wifi is available for emails and communication. It can be variable so I can't guarantee a high speed connection.
I provide three meals a day. Usually we have cereals/toast etc for breakfast, sandwiches and salads etc for lunch, and a hot evening meal. For most guests who have stayed, I have provided all the food they need, but if you like to have many extras such as chocolate, beer, wine etc, that will be your responsibility.
The kitchen is vegetarian. I eat eggs from my chickens, I don't usually eat dairy but if you want I can buy dairy for you. Vegans are welcome. I also love it when guests enjoy cooking food from their country! As it is my responsibility to provide you with food, I want to know you will be happy with the food provided. If you think being vegetarian will be challenging, this isn't the right place for you!
It's important to me that you get something of value from this experience, and enjoy your spare time here. In the past people have used their free time improving their guitar skills, researching college work, experimenting with carving coconut shells, painting, we also have a pool table and table tennis.
If you're looking for a quiet retreat, this place is perfect. Public transport is not good, but I have been very lucky with guests I have had here. Because of the time they have given me, I have been able to give some of my time to do some sight seeing. I cannot guarantee this though.
I enjoy kiteboarding so it is likely that I can show you nearby beaches when I go out.
Finally, when you write, please tell me personally, telling me why you want to come to this place in particular. It is much more important to me than the skills you have. I reply to all personally written (not copied and pasted) requests. As you may be coming from far away. I like to arrange a chat via skype whatsapp etc. to give you a clearer picture and to make sure you are happy that this is the right place for you, before you make a commitment to come. If it's not right for you, I prefer you find out before you arrive!!!
Good luck with your adventures!
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week