In the blur, anxious or simply curious, knowing how a Helpx is going, what will be asked and what is normal can help you be more serene and ready for this experience.In the blur, anxious or simply curious, knowing how a Helpx is going, what will be asked and what is normal can help you be more serene and ready for this experience.
If you followed my advice on how to find a Helpx, you normally have minimal information. However, one answer that often comes up is « we are flexible » whether it is on working hours or on the load. Well, the most important thing for your experience to go well is your ability to communicate and ask questions.
My first advice is that first of all you get rid of that little voice that stops you when you have a doubt or before asking a question.
First of all, no question is worth killing, the ransom would be that the question would loop over and over in your head and make you feel bad for nothing.
Second, none of the questions you are asking yourself is silly. Personally I always think that the person who is stupid is the person who thinks that your question is stupid. Any question deserves an answer. We were all in the dark and we all had questions.
« The fool is not the one who asks a silly question but the one who does not seek the answer. »Pandaterroriste
Lately, your host has his own way of being, culture, philosophy of life or simply habits. And he can’t know what’s going on in your head. So allow him to speak on these subjects you will generally learn more from a question asked than from silence. They also like to help and make you feel comfortable.
How does the arrival at your Helpx host go?
Whether your host offers to pick you up at a bus stop or you arrive directly at his home, having an arrival time allows your host to be present and be able to welcome you.
He will show you the parts that are accessible to you in the accommodation and will tell you what you can and cannot use. If you have a question, don’t hesitate to ask it. A host will always prefer to answer you rather than going to do something that would displease him.
In addition if the house contains animals, it will be good to know what is allowed or not, some bad habits are quick to take.
Finally your space, if it was not indicated in the advertisement or that you did not agree before your space would not be private. your host will show you your room or private space. This can be a room in the house, a bungalow, a caravan, an annex or even a tent but in these cases the host will notify you in advance.
However if the place is not suitable for hygienic reasons or if the host does not respect the commitment he made with you. Talk to him immediately.
Depending on where you will be your host may ask you to work with him or independently on a wide variety of tasks:
- Gardening: weeding, sowing, planting, turning the soil, mulching, harvesting, pruning, watering or protecting …
- Cleaning of the house or a barn, annex, hen house, swimming pools, garden furniture …
- Caring for animals: feed, clean, brush, move, pick up droppings, mow, mark or train if you have the skills …
- Cuisine: Make preserves, jams or sauce, prepare meals …
- Chop wood
- Build: a greenhouse, a hut or any other
- Website creation, video production, marketing …
As you can see the work can be very varied and everything will depend on your skills.
With your host:
Generally this is where you will perform the most farm work or tasks that require special skill.
So I discovered the surrounding mountains by going to pick up blackberries with my host. Then we turned them into jam. Another time I discovered how to take care of the bees or even shear sheep.
How does a Helpx work when your hosts work full time? Well you have a daily task list to do. For my part I find it great because I can organize my time as I want. For example if I want to go hiking in the morning I can just enjoy the cool and work afterwards or if I find the inspiration I can just take a break from work, write an article and finish later.
In this case, be sure to respect the schedules, especially to feed the animals.
Sometimes even if the task seems very simple I like to ask how the host wants it to be done because there are always several ways to do it. And most often it will tell you the fastest.
So the working time often depends on the work provided and the hosts. Generally you will be asked for 4 to 5 hours of work per day 5 days per week. However, if the work is simple, your hosts may ask you to work 7 days a week.
I have already had hosts who judged that the work I was doing was superior to what they were providing and who every weekend took us to visit a new place, go out to the Zoo, visit the Blue Mountains or simply a restaurant with them.
Be aware that in some families that have been working hard for a while, work is a habit and if you do not say anything, they will think that you are the same and will continue to give you tasks. Always indicate your limits and indicate your wish to visit the surroundings, have time to study or simply a time of rest.
Additionally some hosts offer to pay for additional hours of work. These arrangements are often temporary depending on the season and the task at hand.
Eating really depends on culture and habits. Some take the time to sit with the family three times a day while others only meet once for dinner.
Your host will tell you that they are the habits of the house. Personally I like having only a group meal and being able to manage for the rest of the day since I am no longer the customs of eating but what my body tells me.
Generally your hosts will ask you what you want and if you have a special diet. However, some of them will tell you that if you want specific products it will be at your expense.
I like to cook for my hosts dishes that I appreciate or specialties from my country (when possible). Indeed it is always welcomed and generally it is the moment when you choose the menu!
The cleaning of your personal space is your responsibility and is not part of your working time. As well as wash your clothes or take a shower. I say that I say nothing eh!
In most cases you have free access to the washing machine and cleaning equipment. However in some places you may have to go to the laundromat or wash your clothes by hand.
How is learning the language in Helpx?
The Helpx is the ideal opportunity to learn, improve and practice the local language. However, some hosts are reluctant to correct you because they are afraid of offending you. So ask them, they can help you with pronunciation, specific vocabulary and local expressions.
At my first Helpx in English speaking countries, I was shy I didn’t dare to speak ‘, I was afraid of making mistakes, just asking to repeat was difficult for me. Then I came across a school teacher as a host who made me understand that there was absolutely nothing wrong with making mistakes and that on the contrary it was the only way to improve.
In addition the hosts are not on Helpx for nothing, they like to exchange, help and make people discover. Since I am often told that it is better to have someone who tries, it brings a lot of cheerfulness and exchange, than someone who confines himself because he is afraid.
« The only man who never makes mistakes is the one who does nothing. »Theodore Roosevelt
For me the question « how is a Helpx? » cannot have a simple answer because there are as many answers as there are hosts and helpers. However I can tell you this the best experiences are based on good communication and respect.
Little reminder, if you do not feel well in a place tell your host and if you want to leave do it.
Et bien que les problème soit rare. Votre sécurité est importante et vous vous devez d’écouter votre instinct. Si vous sentez que vous êtes dans le moindre danger quittez les lieux.
Here is the link to the Helpx site: