Working in HelpX the first month of our arrival in New Zealand was a great idea. However, three days before we left Bali , we had not considered this option at all. It will have taken a good alignment of the stars so that we landed in Christchurch in this superb home and family.
Making helpX while being Digital Nomad is a great option to work, travel, and meet, all at a lower cost.
HelpX, what is it?
HelpX is a platform that brings together local families offering punctual missions, with travelers. It is an exchange of good processes:
- Travelers help the family in daily tasks X hours per week.
- In exchange, you are housed for free and sometimes fed and bleached.
The format depends on the host hosting you. The platform accessible for a paltry price of €30 for 3 years. It is not particularly ergonomic but the announcements are up to date, the families are very responsive and the spirit of collaboration is present.
Indeed, behind the proposed missions are the values of sharing, multicultural exchange, openness of mind and discovery of the other. By reading the opinions of previous travelers, you will quickly have an idea of the atmosphere on the spot.
The missions offered in HelpX are varied and sometimes very original:
- working on the farm : cows and sheep are not lacking in New Zealand!
- maintain a garden and do DIY work
- Take care of an inn : make beds, housekeeping and breakfasts of a NBB Air for example
- daughter to Father : the best known of the Travelers jobs (but not the most restful;-) To care for the children of a local family
Another site also offers this type of mission in WWOOFing but it is more oriented “nature”. This platform offers jobs in BIOS farms mainly.
A HelpX mission is completely compatible with a work holiday license, the famous PVT. However, not everyone will ask you so if you have a simple holidays permit, it is possible to find missions.
- The DOC, (Department of Conservation) offers weekly jobs to look after the “Huts”, these refuges completely perched in the mountains (you will have to have your PVT). We met a German caretaker at the Muller Hut in the Mount Cook massif.
- Do you know others? Comment at the bottom of the article! 👍
Digital Nomad & HelpX: the perfect duo!
Ally HelpX and freelance was simply the perfect plan and the working conditions were ideal:
2.5 days HelpX / 2 days Freelance / 2.5 days TourismOUR HELPX / FREELANCE / TRAVELER PROGRAM
On our side, the steps have been done extremely quickly. You’ll understand why:
>>> three days before we arrived in New Zealand, our plans were pretty blurry.
Indeed, we both had a long-time PVT, but without really knowing what we were going to do with it. Above all, we were going to land in Christchurch while we were preparing to arrive in Wellington. We didn’t even have our accommodation for the first night…
>>> 2 days before our arrival in New Zealand, a little surprise came a little complicated things ..
We have realised that Nicolas ‘ work visa has expired (visas are valid 1 year after being issued. We would have had to arrive on 11/01/2019 and our flights were scheduled for 15/01/2019). We are very annoyed…
It is then that we start looking for housing and there we discover a hell of a difference of standard of living (no wonder you will tell us when arriving from Bali!). The smallest hostel in dormitory costs between 30 and 50 euros and the hotels are between 60 and 120 euros…
Quickly, HelpX has presented itself as a solution.
Not too much to start with, we had the (erroneous) image of finding themselves lost in the fields, cut off from the world and talking with Jack, the owner toothless of 70 years. I confess that at the start (and after 4 months of Tour of the world), we were more inclined to meet Neo-Zealanders, to see their way of life and we socialize.
Big prejudices! On the helps platform, we saw offers all more enticing than the others and we quickly became involved in reading these proposals:
- working in a vineyard on the side of Maborough
- Caring for animals like alpacas
- renovate an old mansion that suffered the earthquake of 2011 with 6 other people.
It was the latter who seduced us. Its proximity to the city center, the quality of the accommodation and the size 17.5 hours per week without the meals suited us perfectly. This allowed us to have our housing paid and to have enough time to continue our freelance activities. We then contacted Leeanne.
24h After, we found both our lodging for a month, a part-time job and especially without knowing it… A new family!
Our experience at the Castle
Arrived on January 15th, we had our room at the Castle 4 days later. After reading rave reviews on Facebook, we were looking forward to discovering The Castle. Leeanne, the owner, absolutely wanted to welcome us but we arrived during her Yoga class. So it was Dale her husband of a metre 90 with a warm smile that greeted us. Just arrived, the feeling is directly past. We had before us a sumptuous Georgian-styled Manor House as a new home. Huge open and collaborative kitchen, cocooning lounge, swimming pool and flower garden, all the facilities were there. Dale showed us our room: the Sun room! The panoramic view of the Southern Alps chain at sunset and the small private balcony have finished to fill us!
In this large shared house lives the couple of owners, an English couple and a German-Thai couple bubbling. We then join 4 other helps : Two Germans who got the residence permit and two Chilean friends on a trip.
After one day off, we started the renovation work. Three years ago, the house had suffered enormous damage until it was collapsed several centimetres. So we arrive after thirty groups HelpX to continue this owl works. Masks and goggles on the head, here are some examples of the stains we have done:
- Wallpaper ripping
- Cleaning common areas
- Sanded, sanded, sanded and so on !!!
Finally, we realize that to leave our Mac from time to time for manual work, it empties our head and it makes us good:). The atmosphere is warm and we work in music to the rhythm of the sounds vintage made in NZ ^^
… to the SEO audit!
Seeing that we were as talented for the digital as the sanding ^^, our hosts offered to work on their activity. Delighted to have gained their confidence and to be able to give them a boost, we changed our hat of tinkerers for that of micro consultancy and Development Studio.
We realized in 5 days:
- 2 full SEO audits (Technical/design/content) with search for the relevant key words.
- an SEO optimization of the site of the Château https://thecastlenz.com and the launch of its Instagram
- The total redesign of the KA TAEA E kow site (Design/UX/dev), the Maori language trainer activity of Leeanne. https://kataeaekoe.co.nz
A human adventure
Finally, the HelpX and especially our experience at the castle was an unforgettable human adventure. We had magical hosts and roommates:
- All the time listening to help us progress in English
- Always sharing our best travel moments and giving us good plans for our road trip
- Unforgettable moments spent together in the great shared kitchen (vegan, vegetarian and predatory)
- Always motivated for a Lalaland evening, a pancake meal or an impromptu snack cookies.
Finally, we even shared a hamburger party organized by Leeanne and Dale for our departure. We do not exaggerate by saying that we feel like home and family. This is what made the start of the cocoon frankly difficult. Leeanne and Dale took care of us and told us a lot about their city, their history and the Maori culture.
We recommend this experience and rhythm of work to all the digital nomads in New Zealand or elsewhere!
Ps: Thank you Leeanne & Dale, Angela & Yann, Pui & Dan, Sam & Adam, Nico & Sandra for your kindness and those moments spent by your side at the Castle.