Update November 2020
Due to a water shortage in our village (currently we only have water 2 days out of 7!) We will not be hosting. We don't want to subject guests to these harsh conditions.
Stay healthy and safe everyone!
Joana & Damon
We are a married couple, Damon from England and Joana from Portugal, and we live in rural Bulgaria. The other members of our family are: Leopold (cat), Ron (kitten), Honey (dog), Lola (dog) - currently there are 4 more dogs living with us but this should be temporary as we are hoping to find loving families for them. I (Joana) am 39 and Damon is 47. We both had, until September 2019, office orientated jobs that lead our life. We decided to make a change of pace and life, and moved to rural Bulgaria with our Leopold in September 2019.
We have a beautiful home that has been mostly renovated, finishing touches and decoration is now up to us, we have land and a barn. Our plans are to make our own slice of heaven right here, at the foothills of the Balkans. We want to renovate the barn, create a kitchen/ dining/ party area, BBQ with old bread oven, create a hammock avenue and fire pit, where we can gather with friends, roast chestnuts, sing songs (Damon is working on learning to play the acoustic guitar I gave him 7 years ago ; me ? don't ask me to sing 😂). We plan to grow a wild meadow and build a natural pond pool! Since September, we acquired the extra animals (all lived previously on the streets) and also bought a neighbouring property that doubled our land area. So, the dream list has grown in just a few months...now we try to rescue animals (they basically are dropped at our gates!) and want to learn to rebuild the new - old mud brick house using the old ways! Do you remember that I said at the beginning we were previously office bumpkins? Yes, YouTube is our friend!
Meanwhile, as we are not close to retirement and a fat pension (😂), we also work from home as ESL teachers, me full time and Damon part-time. We need help!
About where we live, it is a village called Rish, about 45 minutes from one of the biggest cities in Bulgaria - Shumen. We are about 1 hour and 30 minutes from 2 airports and the Black Sea coast. Our village has a small post office, a library, schools and 2 small shops. We do go to Shumen at least once a week for all our needs, food supplies and DIY materials, seeing friends and drink espresso.
Most rural villages in Bulgaria are in decline, population wise. Our village is not very dissimilar but, we can see that some improving is happening. But, you will still see a lot of derelict properties, roads not well maintained or the lack of some infrastructure. Most villagers are reliant on growing their own food and raising their our animals. The local shepherds go past our house! The landscape is beautiful, the air is fresh and the water from the fountain outside our house is fresh! We haven't met all the neighbours, but the ones we did are welcoming and friendly! We don't speak Bulgarian but will soon start having lessons to learn the language. We would advise you to do some research about the country, poverty is still present, the care for animals is not the best, you will see many street dogs BUT, the potential is all here!
To add to our ever growing list of things to do, we also want to do things for our village, cleaning river beds, create recycling points, create a neutering programme for street and domestic cats & dogs.
Damon is a smoker but smoking is not allowed in the house. We are not vegetarians or vegan but have no problem if you are.
Our goals are to one day live a sustainable life, be more environmental friendly and leave behind the all the stresses of a modern life. We have a lot to learn and hope that you would like to be part of our journey!
DIY and building projects
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help around the house
Help with Computers/ Internet
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
Between us, we speak fluently 3 languages: English, Portuguese and German. We can help you improve these languages if you wish. We are not masters of any of the tasks we are planning to do and maybe, with your help, we will learn what not do and then do it right! Although our area is not very developed, there are a lot of many interesting places to visit. Sofia, the country's capital is only 4.5 hours away, perfect for a weekend away. The Black Sea with it's gorgeous beaches, is only 1.5 hours away for either day trips or longer stays. We definitely recommend visiting Varna, we do love it! We recommend you to rent a car if you are planning to drive away during your free time, we can help with that as we always use a reputable (and affordable) company. If you prefer to use public transport, we can pick you up from the airport and from Shumen there is a train/ bus station. I don't know the timetables of services (or how reliable) but we can get that information!
We need help with daily chores: looking after the dogs (feeding, walking), cleaning the yard, tending to the garden, clearing the plot of land, demolition and repair work of small outbuildings, fencing land. We have a huge list of tasks and we can agree prior to work commencing, on what to tackle first. You will have 2 full days off during the week and we require 5 working hours 5 days of the week. We will welcome single travellers or couples! We will provide the 3 meals, snacks and drinks. You are more than welcome to share your recipes with us!
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.
You will be staying in a double room, on the ground floor, with view to the garden (albeit there isn't much to see in the garden yet, however, the birdsong on a morning is fabulous. The bathroom is next to the bedroom and it will be shared with us. There is a living room and a kitchen, all on the ground floor. The first floor consists of our bedroom and the office and the house has reliable internet access throughout. We can share pictures of the accommodation.
This is our first time as hosts and we are very excited about this new adventure! We hope to learn from workawayers and think it would be wonderful if you could learn something from us too!
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
We do have wi-fi connection but it is not unlimited. Extra internet packages can be arranged but we would ask for a monetary contribution.
We do have space for off road parking and private parking but it is limited to the size of vehicle.
Maximum 5 hours a day, 5 days a week