From: United Kingdom
01/02/2013 - 31/12/2020
I AM NOT VOLUNTEERING IN 2019. (I'M HOUSE HUNTING IN BULGARIA!) MAYBE SEE YOU NEXT SUMMER.
I have volunteered with over 50 hosts around Europe since I started full-time in 2013. I volunteer because I like to learn new things and help people. I am not a tourist, and I don't treat hosts like hotels.
For the last two winters I have done paid work as a luxury guesthouse gardener/handyman in Saint Tropez. I will be returning there in September 2018. This Summer I visited a cousin in Geneva that I met through my genealogy research, and then went to Paris to collect my Estonian e-Residency.
I lived in the centre of England, in a small city named Derby. I worked with finance computer systems for the National Health Service. Aged 32, I quit my office job and sold all my possessions. Now I own only a backpack of clothes and a laptop computer. I'm the opposite of a hoarder. I used other volunteering websites such as WWOOF and HelpX, but now I prefer Workaway. My route has taken me to England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Spain, Portugal, the Canary Islands, Bulgaria, Greece, and now France.
My university degree is Artificial Intelligence, so I like to eliminate human labour. For example, my favourite job is to organise cluttered sheds or attics so that things are easy to access, and I dig stairs in hills so that people can walk more easily. I also try to be ethical. I have volunteered at an immigrant community in Granada for three months, and self-funded a month at a Syrian refugee camp in Athens. I prefer to travel by land instead of flying, for environmental reasons.
I am mature, respectful, and tidy. I adapt to your lifestyle. I don't smoke or drink alcohol or use drugs. I have no criminal record. I am fit and healthy with no medical problems (except car sickness). I have private global health insurance. I have a sleeping bag and work boots and gloves, but I do not carry a tent in my backpack. Hosts say they like me because I am "uncomplicated".
Some hosts worry that their location is too quiet, or that they are too busy to entertain me, but I am happy to entertain myself. My hobbies include:
*️ Genealogy research. I like being a detective, finding my DNA cousins: https://www.wikitree.com/genealogy/Mills-Family-Tree-7869
*️ Updating Google Maps with local places. Google calls me a "Master Trailblazer" because I work in rural locations.
*️ Moderating a discussion group for 30,000 volunteers and hosts: https://www.facebook.com/groups/OrganicFarmVolunteers/
*️ Modern strategic board games such as Catan / 7 Wonders / Magic. I like computer games, but board games are more sociable.
*️ Donating blood. But Spain and France don't accept English blood.
*️ Calisthenics. I like to protect my body from injury by practising good form.
*️ Language practise. I use DuoLingo, and Anki flashcards.
*️ I do NOT enjoy live music. Please don't take me to see local bands or recitals.
I eat everything. I have no allergies. I drink just tap water, no tea or coffee. If I'm preparing my own food then example meals are breakfast muesli, lunch sandwich, and dinner pasta. If you are vegetarian then I am content to join in, I used to be vegan before I started volunteering on farms. I know that hosts love volunteers to cook for them, but honestly I am bad at it, though I am willing to try making some things if you feel like taking a risk, but it may be better to let me chop the vegetables and wash the dishes instead.
I reply to all messages. I always leave objective feedback about my hosts, to help manage the expectations of future volunteers. My Facebook page contains my recent activity: http://www.facebook.com/philipbroughtonmills
Please do not overestimate my competence based on the number of hosts that I have helped. Each host has different jobs, so I have tried most things only one or two times. I am not a professional. Many hosts give me a list of jobs and then trust me to organise my own time, but I am also happy to work as an assistant. If given the choice, I prefer to work early in the morning while the temperature is cool, and finish at lunchtime.
*️️️️️️️ mowing lawns, strimming
*️️️️️️️ weeding, pruning bushes, débroussaillage of trees, safe bonfires
*️️️️️️️ sowing seeds, transplanting, installing irrigation, mulching
*️️️️️️️ firewood chopping and stacking
*️️️️️️️ harvesting vegetables, trimming, weighing/packing veg boxes
*️️️️️️️ collecting eggs, milking goats and cows by hand
*️️️️️️️ painting with brush and roller, varnishing wood
*️️️️️️️ concreting posts, repointing patios, plastering walls
*️️️️️️️ trench digging, levelling ground
*️️️️️️️ high work on ladders/scaffolds/roofs
*️️️️️️️ straw bale building
*️️️️️️️ housesitting pets, plants, and pools
*️️️️️️️ housekeeping: bed making, bathroom & kitchen cleaning
*️️️️️️️ furniture assembly
*️️️️️️️ serving hot drinks, pot washing
*️️️️️️️ fixing computer problems, spreadsheets
*️️️️️️️ TESOL certified.
*️️️️️️️ I speak clearly, without slang.
*️️️️️️️ Taught immigrants for 3 months, conversation classes for 1 month, and tutored three children aged 8-14.
I have NO experience of:
*️️️️️️️ chainsawing - I've not used one yet, but I have watched safety videos.
*️️️️️️️ plumbing, electricity, tiling
*️️️️️️️ driving (I'm a devout pedestrian)
Cars! I become sick very easily on twisting roads.
Special dietary requirements