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I require a video chat interview from everyone before accepting someone to stay. This makes sure the vibe is right for the community, expectations are set, and gives you the opportunity to ask questions and learn about what's going on at that very moment. Due to my current crazy schedule and our increased demand, I am only doing interviews Tuesdays and Thursdays between 8 am - 10 am (Arizona Time). They typically take about 15 minutes and are done through Google Meet.
While construction experience isn't required, a basic understanding of tool usage and safety is a big plus. We are looking for people who are inspired to create, actively want to put in the time to learn and better themselves, and keep a positive attitude toward off-grid living. If you are just looking for a cheap place to live and have someone take care of you, no judgment, but we're probably not the best place for you.
We are not currently focused on farming/growing, but do have a small hydroponic system if someone with experience wants to tinker around with it. Our main focus at this time is sustainable natural building. If you want to learn about off-grid living, building, using reclaimed materials, and things of that nature, we have a lot of experience and knowledge to share. No prior experience is required, just a willingness to work and learn.
Our homestead is a tiny house, eco-friendly, educational community near the amazing small town of Bisbee Arizona.
I (Richard) own and run the community. After building my first tiny home in 2015, traveling the country in a Honda Element, building a second tiny home in 2017... and hiking halfway across the country on the Pacific Crest Trail in 2019... Hiking 650 miles across the country of Spain, I finally settled down and purchased land to build a community of like-minded individuals who want to live simply, sustainably, and happily out in the desert.
I'm 3 years into our homesteading journey and finally at a point where we are comfortable and can work on more fun projects. I purchased 100% raw, undeveloped land in Mid-January of 2020 and have been working to build it into a beautiful community.
Currently, I'm able to house 6 people, but the end goal is to have a self-sustaining community of 5-8 full-time dwellers and a regular flow of travelers coming through. We are also big fans of Van lifers, Tiny Housers, and BYOD (Bring your own dwelling) travelers.
The community is a completely non-profit community and we are not building properties to sell or rent. Rather we are looking for people to help build up the community space so we can host more travelers and like-minded individuals.
We are Vegetarian and do ask that community members keep at least a vegetarian diet while on the land. This is not just because of our ideals, but it also helps significantly with keeping away pests, dealing with black water, and dealing with waste since all trash has to be either burned (cardboard/paper) or packed out.
We love board/card games, campfires, good conversations, learning things, plants, and sharing meals and drinks with other people. The main goal of this community is to have people around that we can both learn from and teach and enjoy each other's company.
We are a nudist/naturalist/clothing-optional friendly community. There is no requirement to participate, but please know that others may and to be respectful of everyone.
KNOW BEFORE YOU APPLY:
We do live in the desert and off the grid. We are at 4,500 ft elevations, so while mid-day in the summer is hot, the days cool off quickly. We do have a ton of wildlife including rattlesnakes, spiders, scorpions, bobcats, coyotes, bees, wasps, and javelina. We are in no way responsible for any injuries that may happen out here and we do have a waiver for all new members.
The purpose of this community is to be a happy, healthy, and sustainable place for everyone involved. If you don't fit the community vibe, you will be asked to leave.
Types of help and learning opportunitiesArt ProjectsHelp with Eco ProjectsDIY and building projectsCreating/ Cooking family mealsHelp around the houseGeneral MaintenanceHelp with Computers/ Internet
UN sustainability goals this host is trying to achieve
Cultural exchange and learning opportunities
Where we are, it is rare to hear the noise of a car... people... or anything but the birds, locus, and other creatures around us. This is a great place for someone who is looking for time to themselves and a peaceful place to work on themselves, learn a new skill, read a book, and just escape from the world for a while. You will for sure connect back with nature out here... we live outside. And if you've never seen a full moon in the desert, you're in for a treat.
You are surrounded by mountains and we are happy to teach about all thing things the land provides. While I am new to it all, it has become a personal obsession to learn about how native people thrived on these lands hundreds of years ago.
Depending on when you come, you'll have a totally new experience of the desert. December - March is perfect sunny days and cold nights... April - May is perfect days and nights.... June and July are hot, but the nights cool off... August - November is the rainy season. The whole landscape and feeling out here changes completely every couple of months, which is really fascinating to witness.
If you are interested in learning about going off-grid, construction, recycling, wood working, carpentry, permaculture, harvesting water, producing energy, desert plants, and animals, this is a great place to be.
For those interested in building a tiny house on wheels or a van/bus conversion... My success in the tiny house world came largely due to the kindness of strangers. I would love the opportunity to pay that kindness back. If you are looking for a spot to build and the tools to build with, I would be happy to share what I have to the right person. Let's talk for more details.
This land is our playground.
PROJECTS & WEEKLY SCHEDULE:
We do ask for the standard 20-25 hours per week of our volunteers. While there is some flexibility in the schedule, our typical week goes as follows:
Big Build Day - 8 Hours - Saturday or Sunday
Big push day on our hyperadobe tiny home build. The projects will vary depending on what needs to be done.
Class Day - 4 Hours - Saturday or Sunday
I’ll put some time into teaching you what sounds of interest to you and/or what needs to be done to prep for the next steps in our build. Much of these classes revolve around natural building or the use of recycled products in the construction/art world. We work a lot with discarded pallets for woodworking, glass bottles for decorative features, recycled cardboard pulp for decor and art, rockwork, natural building, concrete, and more. When possible, I'll tailor classes to your interest.
Solo Build - 10-12 Hours - Monday - Friday
I work from home full time during the week, so Monday - Fridays are typically solo build times. I’m typically around to answer questions or provide guidance while you work. You choose when you want to work during the week, some people like to get it all done in one day, or a few hours each day. As long as progress is being made and hours are hit, I’m happy to work with you. The solo build time is a great time to listen to music or podcasts and just move.
Most of the mid-week work consists of prepping materials and “building inventory” for future projects. Using natural and recycled materials is 80% prep work and 20% execution.
The biggest thing that I ask is for people to be responsible adults and good community members. I do not enjoy feeling mooched off of or babysitting adult children. I’m looking for people who are resilient and can help independently without having to be managed daily.
CURRENT MAJOR PROJECTS:
Hyperadobe Earthbag Water Cistern:
We will be breaking ground on an 8000-gallon water collection tank to work closer toward full off-grid independence this season. The project will start with building a small swimming pool "test cistern" and then we'll move on to the big one! With this project, you will learn earthbag work, plumbing, plaster work, roof framing, metal roof installation, excavation, and leveling
Hyperadobe Earthbag Tiny Home:
We are in a big push to get this project in a good place which means a lot of fun learning opportunities for people interested in natural building. This project you'll learn:
• Natural Lime Plastering
• Cob and Bottle Wall
• Pouring an earthen floor
• I'll be demoing and happy to let people who want to learn and work alongside me with our electrical planning and installation, plumbing work, concrete countertops, and carpentry skills.
We currently have 4 dwellings for volunteers on the property. A 32 ft RV split into two units, a 54 sq ft tiny house on wheels, and our school bus "bunkhouse" that accommodates overflow and has one full-size bed with a curtain and two twin-sized beds.
All dwellings require water to be hauled from the main tank for the time being. They both have electricity. The RV is equipped with a kitchen and a small fridge, the tiny house has an outdoor community kitchen and cooler.
We also use a composting toilet system for the community, it is simple and works well, and have a community shower house. We have laundry on-site, but highly encourage people to conserve water when possible and only do full loads when absolutely needed since water is very expensive here.
We provide food for our volunteers. The food options are simple but sustainable. We provide basic staples (eggs, rice, dry beans, spices, oil, coffee, almond milk, peanut butter, bread/tortillas) and get fresh produce once a week. We don't provide "convenience meals" and you can expect to take time to cook from scratch. (Soaking beans the night before, making bread, things of that nature). You can absolutely live fully off what we provide, but if you would like specialty foods, cheeses, vegan meat/dairy substitutes, chips, soda, beer, or things of that nature plan on a small budget to purchase on your own.
Foraging around the property is always welcome and encouraged. We have a ton of edible plants that are native to the area depending on the time of year and I am happy to show you what you can and can not eat. We even have a book going through all the edible plants of our area and how to prepare them.
What else ...
ABOUT THE AREA:
Our community is between Bisbee, Tombstone, and Sierra Vista Arizona.
Bisbee (20 minutes drive south): Bisbee is an amazingly small, artsy community tucked away in the mountains. It has a handful of great dive bars, a brewery, regular live music, cute shops, and an all-around great vibe.
Sierra Vista (30 minute drive west): Sierra vista is where we get all of our supplies. They have big grocery stores, home depot/lowes, Walmart, a good library, UPS, co-op, chain restaurants... etc. There is also a large hospital 20 minutes away.
Tucson (1:30 hr drive north): Tucson is close enough to be accessible. They are a large metropolitan city with an international airport. There is free camping near town and makes a great spot for a weekend getaway.
Hiking/Biking/Outdoors: Our property touches BLM land which is accessible for cross-country hiking literally from your doorstep. The Arizona trail southern terminus is a 45-minute drive away. There are TONS of mountains and hiking trails very close to us.
Other Cities: We are within a one day drive of Colorado, Southern Utah, San Diego, New Mexico, and only 45 minutes from the Mexican border. The Grand Canyon is about 6:30hrs away, Phoenix about 3hrs.
TRANSPORTATION TO AND FROM THE PROPERTY:
You are responsible for getting yourself to and from the property. We HIGHLY recommend people have their own vehicles.
We are 2 miles off of the paved road and about a 30-minute drive from the nearest town. Our road is accessible by standard 2-wheeled drive vehicles, but it can get muddy and slick during rains. There is no public transit out here, you will need a car to get around.
If you plan on flying in you are responsible for your transportation to and from the property. A taxi ride from the Tucson airport to our property at the last check is between $100-150. Please keep that in mind before applying.
We are happy to take international travelers, but we can not help with the Visa process and can not provide legal residency for foreign travelers.
A little more information
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
Can host digital nomads
We use Starlink Internet service and have a strong cell signal with the major providers. Camp does not have internet, but you're welcome to bring a hotspot. Our bus is set up with a small community office space with internnet. This is a great place to get away from distraction and live inexpensively.
Space for parking camper vans
We have plenty of room for RVs/Vans/Etc. We don't have hookups though. Water can be hauled from the tanks a short walk away. For power, you would need solar (no generators please). If you are interested in investing in a solar system, I can give some advice on setting up your own system.
Can possibly accept pets
Pets that are people and animal friendly are welcome. Just be aware that we are in the desert, so keep an eye on them and I wouldn't let them roam free. We have snakes, mountain lions, javelina, scorpions, and all other sorts of desert creatures. All pets must be friendly with other dogs and people.
How many Workawayers can stay?
More than two
25 hours / week
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Accuracy of profile:
We wish you the best Richard and thanks for all the inspiration! We were glad to be your
I really enjoyed the simplicity of desert life and the outdoor kitchen and being outside all the time. Also being off grid and no next door neighbors was great. Very peaceful. Sunsets and sunrise are spectacular.
The hyperadobe was
Dickie is an organized, understanding and accommodating host who I now view as a lifelong friend. In my two months in the desert, I was able to slow down, appreciate the nature around me, and feel like a
He also knows the surrounding area very well and is great at recommending fun things to do in
In his couple week's stay, Alonso was so much of a help around the property. He was always incredibly eager to learn and caught on quickly to every project we had. He was self-reliant and happy to explore on his own, but also enjoyed hanging out. He is open-minded,
Richard is exceptional. He is knowledgeable, talented, kind, practical, flexible, creative, fair, and goal oriented. He offers excellent instruction with projects and learning with him is fun. Over my six month stay I watched him spend time with each visitor ensuring they/her/his own unique interests are
"There’s no final goodbye… I’ll just
Madi was a great part of the community, got along
Richard & Katie
We were lucky to have him and I recommend him for any one. He is certainly welcome back anytime.