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Help Exchange

All Year: no
Area (ha): about half a hectare
Persons: more than 2
Category: Other
Host ID: 49003
Country: Croatia

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Last Updated: August 30, 2017

FALL 2017

I’ll be accepting helpers on the following SATURDAYS:

OCTOBER 7, 14, 21 and 28 (take the 11 a.m. ferry from Split, arriving on Vis at 1:20 p.m.)

The fall work season ends on Saturday November 4, so all helpers need to leave by that date.

I do NOT provide food: just drinking water, camping gas and a tent if you don't have your own. There are no lights at night, so please bring a good headlamp or flashlight. You'll also need your own camping mat and sleeping bag.

The reason I only accept new helpers on Saturdays is so that we can all walk up the hill together, you can set up camp and get to know one another, then explore the island a bit before the work week starts. It’s best when a team sticks together through the whole work week, rather than people coming and going whenever.

IMPORTANT: please be on the 11 a.m. ferry from Split! I only make the trek up the hill once a week to show new people the way, and if you miss the boat you create a huge inconvenience for me and your teammates. For the first trip up the hill with your backpack you can definitely count 45 minutes, but without a heavy load it's about a half hour. There’s a grocery store in town for anything you may need before we head up.

We work two and a half hours per day, Monday through Thursday. Weather permitting, the schedule goes like this: Mondays and Wednesdays we work late afternoon / early evenings (the actual hours depend on what time it gets dark), Tuesdays and Thursdays we work mornings — so your work week is finished on Thursday before noon and you have Friday free. If you really want to leave after work on Thursday you may, but you're welcome to stay the full week or even longer if there's room.

What kind of work will you be doing? You'll be helping to clear some agricultural land on the beautiful island of Vis, in Croatia. The land hasn't been cultivated for over 50 years: when I first started working on it I had to hack paths through the "jungle" with a machete! Now there are clearings, a small shelter, and trees have been planted. My goal is to create a permaculture center here someday. Once in a while there's a construction project that requires a little heavy lifting, but mostly it's just land clearing and maintenance. In the fall we spend a lot of time processing what was cut over the summer: leaves are collected, big branches are broken down into smaller pieces, and trunks are set aside for hugelkultur.

Fall weather can be warm and sunny one day, then cold, windy and rainy the next. Please be prepared for that. My exchange in general but the fall season in particular is a bit rough, as far as the material conditions are concerned: you have to be up for a rugged experience. Self-sufficient people who travel light, have a good attitude and are considerate of others do best here.

As for me? I'm from the US and got my first taste of living off-grid at Burning Man (2002-2006). Once I saw the possibilities, I was hooked! I love the challenge of trying to make something from nothing, and of bringing this magical place back to life. I'm also a bit of a hermit, so I hang out alone a lot when we're not working and have my own separate place to sleep.

The pros of this offer: nature, nature and more nature. A great off-grid experience. You'll have access to a small solar panel for recharging as well my phone hotspot if you really need it: otherwise there's good wifi at most cafés in town. Your spot also has a tank that collects rainwater for washing up, and there are free showers in town.

The cons: there's no house. It's tent camping all the way, and no plumbing either: the toilet is a bucket with a box over it. If you're still interested, begin your message with "Yes, please!" so I know you've read all this. Also, please tell me on which of the Saturdays you'd like to arrive, for how long you think you'd like to stay (you can change your mind later) and whether or not you'll be bringing your own tent. Walking to town takes 30 to 40 minutes on a path through the forest. Walking to the sea takes about the same amount of time. The sea is gorgeous. So's everything else, for that matter.

Anyone who wants to come help would be able to have a great vacation in exchange for some yardwork. Clearing land and staying on top of jungle weeds is hard work, but fun. I have all the tools we'll need, so you just need to bring good shoes for walking on rocks.

This is a "come help at your own risk" situation.

You camp for free and I have tents, so you just need to bring a sleeping mat and sleeping bag. Since the workdays are so short, I don't provide food, but I do provide drinking water, a little camp stove and basic kitchen gear.

You'll meet me and my neighbors, a young family with a farm and "table d'hôte" restaurant. You'll see what life is like off the grid, and will leave with a new appreciation for running water, wifi and electricity.

The island of Vis is a nature-lover's delight.

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