Get a new direction in life thanks to our coaching, in the beautiful Pyrenees mountains

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Get a new direction in life thanks to our coaching, in the beautiful Pyrenees mountains

  • Marker details
  • DescriptionHi there,

    we are Kim and Katrin, a couple running Existo, an inspiring vacation & retreat center overlooking the foothills of the Pyrenees mountains in the wonderful countryside of the historical Cathar Region, in the very South of France.

    In our domain at the edge of the forest, we're hosting a small campsite, eco-lodges, mobile homes and rental cottages. We have a beautiful swimming pool and a wooden sauna next to it. Some cats and a few free-roaming chickens will to greet you regularly (no dog). In spring, horses roam on the domain (and they're never far away in summer).

    The surrounding area is great for nature lovers, it has an abundance of medicinal and edible herbs. There are many exciting walks awaiting you: through the local natural labyrinth, to the lakes, to the Cathar castles and into the Pyrenees mountains. On your way, you'll easily stumble over lively markets and beautifully flowered medieval towns all around you. It's a mysterious land of old celtic and Kathar legends speaking of hidden treasures that are waiting to be discovered.

    On site, trough our non-profit association Existo we - Kim and Katrin - provide educational & therapeutic vacations healing broken bonds within couples and families and are coaching people into making new choices for a more meaningful life. We also provide time-outs for people in difficulties.
    We often have guests staying for several weeks, and occasionally we host an entire group for a workshop. As a herbalist Katrin creates natural cosmetics, herbal remedies, teas and non-toxic cleaning products.

    During your stay you'll have plenty of good conversations, you'll make new friends from all over the world, you may get to know more about woodwork or about herbalism, you'll get a lot of inspiration and maybe even pick some herbs with Katrin.

    There is a lot of work to do here, but we will help you find a balance.
    E.g. cleaning, to make all things shiny, can be a meditation at the same time ;-)
    If you like to be in the outdoors, we have a lot of garden maintenance to do, like grass mowing with our sit-mower, watering plants, tending the chicken-run. The pool needs it's maintenance too.
    When there are no visitors, we're doing outdoor maintenance (wood painting etc). From now onwards, new eco-toilets will be in the making!

    In Summer, this place is bustling with fine people. If you get your energy from being surrounded with plenty full of people, we recommend you to come and help out during this busy and lively time.

    If you recover from being alone and enjoy the calmness, come enjoy the quietness during spring and after summer. We'll have more time for personal contact and Kim can give you a few free life-coaching sessions if you want that.
    Moreover, if you are the only volunteer, you may notice a kind of 'personal reflective process' that starts naturally here after a while, and it can be beneficial to have more exchanges and even some therapeutic support about that if you want :)

    We're looking forward to getting to know you, and to be able to show you this magnificent place!

    very warm greetings!

    Kim & Katrin

    Existo association

    Currently in our paradise retreat, we are looking for helpers in different area's:

    - garden maintenance: (bush mowing) grass cutting (sit-mower),
    removing horse manure, watering plants & fruit trees,
    - outdoor maintenance (wood painting, wall painting, fences ...)
    - swimming pool maintenance

    - cleaning of the accommodations of visiting guests
    - communally cooking together for the group of helpers and us

    For more experienced helpers: (from now onwards up to the end of june)
    - wood construction work (dry toilets),
    - natural fence building
    - masonry work,
    - electricity repairs
  • LocationFrance, Occitanie, Aude, Nébias

  • Work
  • Type of work Building
    Cooking / Shopping
    General maintenance
    Help in the house
  • Hours per day * Help expected: 25 hours a week
    (those are the 'on the job' core task hours)
    + the daily shared communal household chores: workplace ranging, dishwashing, kitchen and sanitary cleaning (adding max.12h per week ,the total being a light full-timer)
  • Work requirements: ! Please take notice before your inquiry:

    * Minimum stay 28 days - maximum stay = 6 months. We open from mid march till mid-october
    * We are looking for non-smokers and non-drinkers.
    * you need to be self-motivated, seeing the tasks that need to be done yourself (participative)
    * Bringing your kids or pets is not possible, sorry!
    * Volunteering hours expected: 25 'core' hours a week
    (those hours are 'on the job', excluding breaks, preparations and clearing away )
    and the daily shared 'corvée' consisting of preparing, cleaning up
    and household tasks (maybe including cooking amongst volunteers) totally averaging 6d x 2h = 12 hours a week (the total including your own household will feel like about a light full-timer)
    * Basic food is included, during the season we try to buy locally cultivated food from the wider Occitan/Catalan region.
    Not included: 'comfort food': personal snacks, sweets and (soft) drinks
    * For visa-free travelers, EU-citizens or holders of a Schengen visa before applying with us please
    (we do not send out invitations or facilitate obtaining a visa for other nationalities unfortunately)
    * The daily language in use is English – no opportunity to learn French on the domain unfortunately
  • Host's preferences
  • Availability: Send a message to inquire.
  • Duration of stay: Minimum stay 28 days - maximum stay = 6 months
  • Maximum number of helpers: 5
  • Last minute requests: Okay
  • Host
  • Languages:English, Dutch, French
  • Has pets? Plenty of cats and chickens roam around the house :-)
    Horses at the nearby fields
  • Smokes at home? No
  • Accommodation: during high season (june-september):
    you may stay in a sturdy storm-resistant 'Canadian type' sleeping tent placed on a wooden base.

    If you're staying longer, or the season gets a bit colder, you sleep in a caravan (limited heating, depending on the availability).
  • Additional info
  • ~ What have we to offer to you:

    Outside the high season: spring (and after summer)
    - Stay in a moderately heated caravan
    - Fully equipped kitchen to prepare meals in turns
    - High quality 'me time'
    - Quality time for yourself and / or each other if you come here together: lots of rest, in an inspiring environment
    - many possibilities for recreation in nature: hiking, mountaineering, horseback riding, biking, sauna
    - Opportunities to recharge your batteries and relax in a beautiful landscape where silence is real silence,
    the air pure and the sky shows so many stars :-)
    - People-centered volunteer-work supervision so that you as a person get the best personal experience out of it
    - or 1 weekly personal life coaching session if you like that
    - or 1 weekly therapeutic session if you prefer that.

    During the summer:
    - Stay in a sturdy Canadian sleeping tent with wooden floor,
    or in a caravan if you're staying longer than a month
    - Cozy dining, Tasty and varied healthy eating (prepared among volunteers)
    - regularly enjoying the campfire in the evening together
    - Inspiring exchanges and encounters with others
    - Nice opportunities for recreation in nature: swimming, sunbathing, sauna, hiking, mountaineering, horseback riding, biking, ...
    - Being surrounded by the Cathar history: castles, medieval towns, legends ...

    ~ How will you benefit as a person and what could you learn?

    You'll come in touch with a different way of working together, as equals, being part of a team caring together for the wellbeing of all involved.
    You'll learn to observe yourself better, learn to know what kind of work you really like and work from the heart for the benefit of the whole.
    You'll learn to communicate your needs and ideally to match them with the needs of others.
    You'll learn to give and receive feed-back when you're ready for it.
    You'll get to know the 'French way' of how to handle things, allowing yourself to take a good rest or siësta when needed, and catching up by working really hard when multiple guests arrive.