Practice yoga, permaculture and eco-building in Sarzades, Portugal




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 Min stay requested: at least 2 weeks

  • Description


    *As December approaches the weather is getting wetter and colder. I have space for one volunteer in a large tent with a single matress, bed frame, 4-season sleeping bag and blankets. People with their own campervans are also most welcome.
    ** I am seeking people who can manage 4-5 hours of physically demanding tasks each day.

    Olá! I'm Adam, from the UK. I'm seeking people who are interested in off-grid living with the opportunity to practice yoga, permaculture, eco-building and cooking with seasonal ingredients. The project is based on a rustic piece of land in the green heart of Portugal, a riverside paradise 20kms west of Castelo Branco. It is the beginning of an exciting, explorative and hopefully an extremely fulfilling project. The long term goal is to create a small non-profit school of yoga and permaculture. My vision includes:

    🌱 building geodesic yoga dome and superabobe tiny guest houses using as much locally sourced materials as possible;
    🌱Integrating renewable and free energy techniques and technology;
    🌱 Growing a food forest of colour, fragrance and edibles and encouraging wild foraging of food;
    🌱Giving back to the community of local people and volunteers, through tree donations and scholarships and subsidised training on our courses.

    Before I go any further, please take the time to read all of this profile. It will give you a good understanding about if this is the kind of project for you.

    I've been teaching yoga and giving Thai massage professionally for quite a few years now. Three years ago I completed a PDC and have worked on a few permaculture projects since. This will be the first of my own and I'd be delighted to teach others along the way.

    The project is in a very secluded area with both a river and a seasonal stream along it's border. In India, the place where two bodies of water meet is said to be a very special place. It's also got both flat and sloped sections of land with existing fruit trees. It all needs a lot of love and attention.

    IMPORTANT: I am making efforts to live as close to zero waste, and consuming as little electricity and water, as possible. Composting, washing in the river (during summer and autumn), going to bed and waking up with the sun are all things that I value practicing. In my experience, living this way helps me become conscious of the impact of my actions as well as appreciating what I have. I ask that workawayers take the opportunity to see what benefits this way of life provides.

    The first project activities are orientated around making habitation possible:
    🌿 converting the agricultural building;
    🌿 building a temporary kitchenette;
    🌿 making platforms for tents;
    🌿 building a compost toilet and outdoor shower, and;
    🌿 starting off a veggie garden.

    July to August are dry with temperatures reaching 40-42⁰C. Luckily, in these early days we have the river and nice shady trees. Spring and autumn are the most pleasant times for the manual work. This will be my first winter on the land and so far temperatures during the day are between 13-22⁰C. At night the temperature can drop to -2⁰C as the project is in a valley. But, we are making every effort to stay warm with an abundance of wood to burn.

    Then there's a whole host of permaculture and sustainability type work that I've got planned for this project beginning with a site survey. Other things include fruit tree pruning, digging earthworks, constructing a retaining wall using tyres and eco-building. The help is diverse (see the list below for more details). Sound exciting?


    Most importantly, I need people who are:
    1. Willing to bring positive energy and responsible attitude to the project;
    2. Capable of doing several hours of physically demanding tasks for up to five days per week.

    The project would be especially interesting for anyone who has a keen interest in developing experience in permaculture and eco-building with superadobe. If you have a great work ethic, good communication skills and don't mind sharing a tent (you may have one to yourself or be sharing with another Workawayer) until the building has been make habitable, then it would be great to hear from you. If you have your own camper, you're very welcome. Also, any Portuguese speakers are also most welcome as I would love to practice. Unfortunately, due to the demands of the project, I am unable to offer exchanges involving children. Also, I'm creating a clean environment with a zero waste initiative so no smokers please.

    I believe in fairness and a good team effort. We'll aim to work a maximum of 5 hours, 5 days a week. If we run over when a job needs to get done, we'll then work less the next day. Right now, our schedule looks like this:

    0700 Yoga & meditation (optional)
    0900-1000 breakfast
    1000-1300 help
    1300-1400 break
    1400-1600 help
    1700-1900 dinner and cleaning up

    Please note: just like being at home, cooking breakfast and dinner plus doing the dishes and cleaning are not included in the 5 hours of help. We all chip in together on preparing meals and doing the washing up (even on days off).

    Sarzades is about 2h15 by car from Lisbon (via the toll roads). If you don't have a car I can arrange to pick you up from Castelo Branco.

    The closest airport is also Lisbon Portela Airport. From there, there is the options of both buses and trains to get to Castelo Branco.

    By train from Lisbon Airport is real easy. Take the airport metro to Lisboa Santa Apolonia train station. You need to buy a metro card, it's simple and cheap.
    At the train station buy a train ticket for Castelo Branco (I've read that online systems are unreliable).

    If choosing bus, take the 509 bus (operated by Comboios de Portugal) from the airport to SETE RIOS STATION. Tickets for Castelo Branco can be bought from the ticket office. I understand that Citi Express is the bus company.

    Other ways may include car-sharing apps like BlaBlaCar, although I have not used this app in Portugal.

    Long sleeved clothes and hat for sun protection;
    A good waterproof as rainy season is approaching;
    Good shoes or Wellington boots;
    Water bottle (fresh spring water will be provided), and;
    Warm clothes as the nights are getting cooler.

    If all this appeals to you, then drop me a message. We'll arrange to have a virtual chat and go from there. This is a wonderful opportunity for you to be part of an entirely new and ambitious project, immersed deeply in the abundance of nature.

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

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

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    You'll learn a great deal about permaculture. Plus also daily yoga. By the way, if you are also a bodyworker, treatment exchanges would be most welcome.

  • Help


    The biggest goals for the rest of the 2021 are (* the ones we are currently focusing on):
    *Create several platforms from wooden pallets for bell tents and a yoga/meditation practice;
    *Build a temporary kitchenette;
    *Construct a compost toilet;
    *Cultivate a winter vegetable patch;
    *Build a retaining wall using old tyres rammed with earth;
    Conduct a site survey and design the permaculture plan;
    Rebuild the ruin into a living space;
    Create a greywater distribution system;
    Construct decking for the river;
    Install a polytunnel plant nursery;
    Prune the existing fruit trees and harvest their fruit.

  • Languages

    Languages spoken
    English: Fluent
    French: Beginner
    Portuguese: Beginner

    This host offers a language exchange
    This host has indicated that they are interested in sharing their own language or learning a new language.
    You can contact them directly for more information.

  • Accommodation


    Food and accommodation (spring, summer and autumn) included.

    During spring, summer and autumn I offer glamping-style accommodation. You'll have a single bed in either a bell tent or our regular large tent on the land.

    During winter, it's too cold and wet for the bell tent so I can only host people in their own campervan, or their own tent if they have very good equipment.

    I offer the essential and basic ingredients for two vegetarian meals a day plus lots of fruit for snacks. If you have any special dietary requirements, please bring your choice of product with you. If you need to buy more whilst here, we do a food shop in Castelo Branco once a week where I can help you to source it locally.

    Please note, this is a vegetarian project and we are very much look forward to cooking the most delicious and healthy meals with you. However, if you are a meat eater, Portuguese cuisine is highly meat orientated with some friendly local restaurants in the area or a bit further away in Castelo Branco. You are welcome to dine out at your own expense if you wish to do so.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    As well as the river on my land, there are three 'river beaches' all within 5km distance. There are two small villages with local amenities, both 3kms away. For horse lovers, we collect manure from a friend's stable twice a week, where you can spend time around five beautiful horses and a pony. We'll also do a fortnightly trip to the city for Monday's market. The Garduhna and Estrella mountain ranges are to the north, about an hour drive away. The historic village of Monsanto and the Spanish border are a little bit further.

    There will be daily yoga practice which is orientated towards increasing our inner fire during winter. Plus, if you wish to have a traditional and professional Thai massage, you can book one with me.

    I hope to create a space which attracts diversity of like-minded people who enjoy cooking, eating and laughing together with respect and generosity.

  • 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

  • Space for parking camper vans

    Space for parking camper vans

    The parking space is down a track on a flat terrace suitable for a medium-wheel base campervan.

  • Can possibly accept pets

    Can possibly accept pets

    I do accept pets but they must be obedient, friendly with other animals (and that means that they leave other animals alone) and relatively quiet.

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?


  • ...

    Hours expected

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

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Host ref number: 549714443349