Shirley & Ties

Work and travel

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Shirley & Ties

  • Marker details
  • DescriptionHi all,

    We are Ties, Shirley and our 2 kids Eliana and Joshua (5&7).

    After a career as scuba diving instructors in Thailand we came to Portugal 3 years ago to find a place where we could make a garden of Eden for our family. A place where we could build a healthy and sustainable, self reliant life that we could share with others.

    This spring we became the owners/caretakers of a wonderful, small property in between cork forests, meadows and farmlands located in a Nature Reserve in the Alentejo province of Portugal.

    The property has not been habituated in about 25 years and nature has taken it´s own hand. In a way we have to pioneer and make things work again from scratch.

    It is our aim to create a place where we can live in the rhythm of nature while also living in balance with her. A future where we can be mostly self reliable and sustainable really appeals to us and sharing it with others would be the summit.

    Like mentioned, it is our mission to live as healthy and sustainable as we can but are by no means dogmatic or anything like that. We compost our toilet business but at the same time don´t mind to drive 20 minutes to have icecream on the beach ;)

    As we are starting from scratch, at this point we are living in our camper on the property. Signing off in the night time with shooting stars in the sky and hearing the owls hoot in the night time is an experience that makes us sleep with a smile on our face. This is what we where looking for all this time!

    As we are not completely set up yet on the land we also still rent a small apartment in town and shuttle up and down every few days for laundry and an occasional shower depending on the season ;).


    The list of things to do on our project is pretty long so we take it one day at a time and try to tick of things here and there while having fun in the meantime :)

    By no means are we experts in anything and we are trying to figure most things out by ourselves. We strongly believe in being students and teachers at the same time and welcome anybody who´d like to come figure things out with us.


    We are momentarily working on designing and building a shelter for a small caravan to host volunteers and visitors with an outside bathroom and kitchen and to remove the many, many brambles from the areas we want to hang out in.

    After this is done we will convert an old pig pen into a shed with a living roof.

    There is a beautiful well that needs restoration so we can enjoy running water at some point.
    There also is a small ruin that we , at some point, love to restore and rebuild.

    The current time is particularly exciting as our life here starts to take shape and we are behind the wheel during the process :)

    In the meantime we have planted a nice amount of small indigenous trees aswell as fruit and nut trees.

    We welcome anybody who wants to come and join us in this process with a good head on his shoulders and a positive attitude.
    Off course we would welcome skilled carpenters who can help set up a solar shower, outdoor kitchen, put a roof on our ruin or permaculturists with design skills, but if you are happy to come pull out some brambles a few hours a day while camping in a natural and peaceful environment then that´s fine too :p

    We try to live healthy and sustainably but don´t take things tooo seriously and like to have fun.
    At this point in our lives we appreciate people who live from the heart and can be them selves. We are all a work in progress :)

    In our time off we like to do Zumba, Ultimate frisbee, BJJ and percussion etc. We try to find our way into raising our kids somewhat "unconditional" and like to share experiences with this also. We are all teachers and students at the same time :)

    Most of all we appreciate human connection and sharing this amazing life :)

    As we are very basic at this point, our place would , be most suitable for people, couples or families who appreciate a back to basic and natural stay. think compost toilets, bucket showers, shooting stars and many birds and trees. Oh and nothing but the enchanting sounds of nature (and of course our kids jumping on the trampoline and running amok :)

    We are situated in a rural area called Lameiros that is a part of Sao Luis with the most typical, nostalgic small cafe just 1000 meters away. You can buy some bread and eggs there too and enjoy a cold beer or local Medronho with the locals.

    The small town of Sao Luis is only a 8 minute drive away and here you can stock up on some small town life and visit more cafe´s and small supermarkets and local markets. You can even do yoga, Thai Chi and Zumba there!

    Within 20 minutes you find yourself on one of the pristine beaches of the Atlantic coast where you can do surfing, stand up paddle boarding on the river estuary, walk the "rota vicentina" or just enjoy the sunset with a regional wine and olives :)
  • LocationPortugal, Beja, São Luís

  • Work
  • Type of work Building
    Cooking / Shopping
    Gardening
    General maintenance
    Help with eco project
  • Hours per day This depends a little on what we can offer at the specific time and is flexible.
    If you want to help gardening etc 3 hours a day to pitch your tent or camper then that would be great :)



  • Work requirements: The area we live in is extremely quiet and peaceful.

    At this point in our project we welcome people who are a little self reliant like couples or families. But anybody with an open mind and heart is welcome.
  • Host's preferences
  • Availability: Send a message to inquire.
  • Duration of stay: flexible
  • Maximum number of helpers: 6
  • Last minute requests: Okay
  • Host
  • Languages:english, dutch, working on Portugese :)
  • Has pets? No pets yet but a puppy could be added to our tribe at some point :)
  • Smokes at home? No
  • Accommodation: We have a small caravan that could house a couple with a small child. You can also pitch your own tent or park a camper.
  • Additional info
  • We are located in the area of Sao Luis, about 10 minutes from town by car, with quite some beautifull spots and things to do. Pego Das Pias ( a fresh water lake/canyon) and the beaches of Villa Nova de Milfontes are only 20 minutes drive away.