About three months ago we decided to register as HelpX hosts as a way of having some extra help with the building project. Since then we have had a few people come and stay, and our experiences have been really positive.
HelpX is an online portal to match up travellers who want to volunteer time or skills in return for accommodation, with hosts. HelpXers are generally expected to volunteer up to 20 hours per week in return for accommodation and meals, and to have some time off to enjoy the local sights.
Our HelpXers so far have included people from Montreal, New Zealand, United States and Singapore. It’s been cool that some of the people who have come to stay have been really interested in owner-building – one of our guests Johannie benefitted from her stay in the library, checking out all our books on building and getting some ideas for a future house project.
Our most recent HelpXers have been a group of five guys from Singapore, who have just finished their National Service. Their stay with us in the Blue Mountains was only for a week, and during that time they helped us move logs from a felled tree, do a bit of heavy lifting, and some digging on the site of the future shed. While they were here they took in the Grand Canyon and National Pass walks, even seeing a lyre bird! Five people do make light work of things with a bit of teamwork, though the catering logistics do get a bit complicated.
HelpX turns out to be a pretty cool system. We’ve learned to choose HelpXers who are genuinely interested in building or landscaping work, and it’s good to have 2 or 3 people staying together as its socially interesting and more fun for us. HelpX as a system can help match up HelpXers who want to help with child care, gardening, cooking, cleaning and so on, so if you have room and like the idea as a form of cultural exchange, its worth checking out.