So after we get off the ferry in Dieppe, we will wind our way down through France, Spain and into Portugal towards our first hosts, in the region of Pedrógão de São Pedro.
Another couple of similar websites are Workaway and Helpx, and while these all charge a small annual subscription, of course now with social media such as Facebook, there are plenty of groups that are free and easy to use to allow potential volunteers to hook up with potential hosts.
The basic premise is that any hosts looking for volunteers to help them with a project, offer a place to stay/park up, food/water and the use of whatever facilities they have ie internet, washing machine, communal car etc in return for normally 4-5 hours work per day, usually over 5 days per week.
There are of course various other perks, like learning new skills, meeting new groups of people, sightseeing, learning new languages and of course enjoying new surroundings and even going to a few parties if your lucky!
Most hosts are looking for people to help out with farming, gardening, building, cooking, feeding animals, babysitting... in fact anything that is needing done, everyone chips in and helps out like a community.
Portugal has become popular for this due to the cheap land costs, relaxed building regulations and with more and more people escaping the rat race to live an alternative lifestyle, I must admit I see the appeal and wouldn't rule it out in the future!
I've spoken to a total of 3 hosts, all in Central Portugal and within easy distance for us to visit all 3 over the 10-12 weeks we will be away. Normally you can stay for as short or as long as you like with a host, as long as it suits both parties, and I feel 3 weeks is a good time to get to know them, get a feel for the area and means we can maximise our experience and locations too.
Our first hosts are the wonderful Noelia & Lief, who have some land in a beautiful area where they hope to use to create a self suficient home and community site, and after speaking to them, they seem perfect for our first volunteering role.
The Riverside Community by clicking the link and they are also on Workaway.
So I guess we are going over for a few months to see how it all works, meet some new people, learn new skills, network and get a feel for the place... who knows where it will take us!