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Working for Room & Board


I’m still in Florida visiting family. It’s been fun so far. We’re in a bungalow on the beach, which makes me wish I actually lived on the beach the rest of the time. Listening to the ocean –and watching it– is so super relaxing.

My super sweet aunt Linda Collie lives a quick drive from the bungalow we’re renting, and she feeds and lets people stay (for free) at a guest house in Florida and in North Carolina in exchange for gardening help, through a program called HelpX… she just got this review, which is really heartwarming:

“It is hard to explain how much this helped changed our life, but I’ll try my best!

Kevin and I came to Linda’s for what was supposed to be a weeks’ stay. We were treated like friends immediately and were lucky enough to be given Linda’s beautiful guesthouse to stay in on arrival. Linda took us out to show us the area, pointing out the best beach spots and places of interest. She is incredibly knowledgeable about the area and made sure we felt comfortable and knew our way around.

We were given the most delicious organic, vegan food throughout our time there (Linda is a wonderful cook and a great teacher so, thanks to her, I am now equipped with many vegan recipes to take to my next helpX!) and were invited to help ourselves to any of the wonderful produce in her garden (she has over 20 different varieties, including star fruit, quince and arugula).

The work we were given was interesting and varied. Linda made sure that we had plenty of time to explore the area and enjoy the beach. We were always made to feel appreciated for anything we did for her and Linda was a pleasure to work with and for – great conversation, and she is never afraid to really get into a project and get her hands dirty!

Linda’s Mother, Laura, is an incredible woman. A free spirited artist, she has a sharp sense of humor and a wonderful ‘no nonsense’ attitude – I feel extremely lucky to have met her.

At the end of the first week with Linda and Laura, we asked if we could stay for longer and Linda agreed. In the end she was kind enough to let me stay with her for over 3 months (Kevin had to go back to work unfortunately). Our time there completely changed our lives. I have become a vegan and we have both changed our whole lifestyles for the better, eating better food, being more aware of the environment and starting on a spiritual path that we would never have had had we never met Linda. We left knowing that we had made a friend forever and we already have plans to go back and visit at the end of the year. All in all a wonderful experience and a wonderful HelpX – thank you Linda!”

I wish HelpX had been around when I was a teenager or a student, I’d definitely have gone on these sort of free trips! (Although my aunt told me that lots of the people who come to her properties are in their 20’s and even 50’s!)

Love, Hilary

Would you ever consider a free work/vacation trip like this?

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