Bay Area Beauty
My home has great access to everything awesome about the Bay Area. Right next to a regional park for hiking, easy access to San Francisco, Sonoma and Napa.
House is an amazing place to be and do work, with epic views of the entire bay area.
It's likely an innovative place to be for a short while where you can make a difference, have fun, and even build your resume!
I'm an entrepreneur, running a holistic and mindful education company out of my home. I'm from NYC and am a bay area transplant with a dream home.
The following is a write-up based on the dozens of volunteers and other travelers who have stayed with me and what works best to have a successful time. I've been told it's detailed and even intimidating, but the intention is to find the right fit.
When volunteers have stayed with me they typically reap the benefit of a beautiful place to chill. My space is serene with off-the-hook views, so it's a great place to land. Pre-Covid, it was a social hub, since friends of mine come by and visitors can get a full taste of the culture that you don't typically get as a tourist or traveler. I can point to off-the-beaten-path places to go and various experiences, not typically found in a travel book or on a website. I am in close proximity to San Francisco, Napa, Sonoma, Oakland, and Berkeley, all were able to soak in the Bay Area - at your leisure, discovering the area and all the beauty it beholds.
I want to describe the volunteers who have been an ideal fit for the place and at this point what I've come to expect if you want to stay here. I RARELY accept volunteers who are US citizens, locals, are under 24 years old and/or have never lived out on their own.
The work schedule is about 5-6 hours a day in the spring, summer and fall and then 1 - 2 extra hours of work per week in the winter (Dec - March). Folks get 2 days off. We decide when you get here when you can work, and the only real requirements are morning and evening dog walking if that is one of your tasks (about 8 - 9 am, then 7 - 9 pm). I'm extremely flexible about the time and days you want to work.
Since we're cohabitating, visitors additionally share in the overall functioning of the household which includes keeping the COMMON space clean (ie. sweeping, keeping kitchen counters clean, garbage/compost/recycling out, dishes out of the sink and washed or put in the dishwasher, upkeep of bathroom, sweeping floors, dusting- - things you'd ordinarily do if you were living in your own home and which I do as well: we live in the same space so this is just co-living stuff, including stocking back up on toilet paper, letting me know if we run out of things, putting things away that you use, letting me know if something is broken, or if you don't know where something goes, etc. This is simply adulting. This is not an airbnb, hotel and I'm not your parent.
To clarify - if I ask you to clean my bedroom or bathroom this counts towards your overall work hours, NOT contributing to communal household hours. If, however, I ask you to clean the bathroom you use, the den and kitchen which are shared spaces, then it's 'communal' time. I also clean the common spaces, it is not solely your responsibility.
While here you are in charge of your own space. Typically you'd arrive at a clean room, and you leave it that way as well: clean sheets, a cleaned room and bathroom - fully ready for the next guest. SO all bedding needs to be washed and dried (Yes, I have a laundry area). Guests clean up after themselves and at no point, do I expect to clean up after volunteers.
Type of Work:
As far as the 'work', it varies. Some people come and do handy-man work, and help with things I just don't get to, like spray painting metal chairs, treating wood on the cabin, changing fuses in my car, defrosting the freezer, organizing, gardening, etc.. Others help with their own skill sets, like revamping my website, marketing, social media, writing/editing, and video work or helping me get the house together for an event - and during an event. PLEASE NOTE: Since COVID, it is extremely rare that I need event/gathering help and we're not a hostel so that isn't something either. If this is all you see yourself doing, we're not a good fit. I typically don't have kids here, so no childcare is needed. I do have a dog, and often multiple foster dogs, so I this responsibility is often with the visitor(s). Most often they're walking the dogs, especially in the morning.
That said - - the dogs are big and wonderful, and you'll need to be comfortable with that.
Also, the space sometimes changes. I rent out the cabin to guests and if that's the case it needs to be vacated for a day and we set you up in the house. You won't have ultimate privacy but you'll have a very comfortable space. Sometimes no one extra is staying here but sometimes I'll have a guest or two, then I function that space like an airbnb etc.
Please note: My place is gorgeous, and there 'is' public transportation but it's definitely not convenient or super close- - the bus is a good walk away (about a 30 minute walk downhill/uphill) which can take you to the BART. An uber/lyft to the BART is about $8 USD.
Who is not a good match:
What isn't a good match is if someone doesn't clearly communicate, they are not comfortable letting others know that they don't understand English, they don't follow instructions, or aren't detail-oriented. If a job, any job, is not complete (ie. cleaning) tell me that. A pet peeve is discovering that your job is only partially done when you said it was finished or if you do the task (ie. weeding) but leave the compost in pail for some imaginary helper to finish the job.
I don't want to have to remind you of things needed to get done. I also want the status after your shift is over so I know where we are with a project. It might be that the person doesn't know what/how to do something (please ask!) or that they aren't detail-oriented, but if you can't do something or know how to do something, I'm happy to share HOW to do it, rather than a lot of back and forth, being told it's done, when it hasn't been.
As an example of what I mean: I had someone alphabetize several hundred vinyl albums, which took them about 4 hours. I discovered when I checked it, they weren't correctly alphabetized and it took me another 3 hours to fix their work and put them in the correct order.
If you are local to the bay area, and looking for a housing solution, temporary or otherwise, this likely isn't a great option. It's also not a great solution if you are working full-time on your own projects.
If you are a massive introvert, a drifter, have a prison record (for something other than civil disobedience/political), a drug user or heavy drinker, a smoker, or are using this to save money b/c you need to get out of debt, work locally but don't have reliable housing, those who have a chip on their shoulders, are self-proclaimed gurus, starting your own religion, are running from the law, or need a place to host romantic meet-ups with the locals, please do not apply to stay here. These are all types that I've hosted before (or have heard about from other hosts) and this won't work.
Two People Travelling Together:
If it's your account, and you're traveling with someone NOT on the site, know you are responsible for how they show up for the experience. A recent workawayer's guest (male) did not clean up after himself regularly, and the volunteer (female) wound up picking up his slack. As a host, I appreciated she took care of things but it wasn't pleasant to observe this dynamic.
IF you don't like dogs this is not the place for you. There is currently my dog and two to three foster dogs living here. Also: if politically moderate or to the right, this isn't your jam.
Visitors who are coming here with good computer skills and plan to do computer work, should have their own laptop.
Why the Bay Area?
In general: if you're still interested please state specifically what you'd like to do while here and i you already have a schedule, let me know.
Many many nice people apply so please consider what you want to get from the experience and what you'd like to contribute based on the opportunities listed here not just what you want from me/us. Most important are:
Personal Assistant/Social Media
I am open to hosting those who are communicative and enthusiastic about the opportunity to share in cultural exchange, but please know I work a lot so this is not a highly social environment.
If you do apply for things that could be demonstrated by photographs or videos, writing samples, etc., then please send links.
Having hosted quite a few workers, I know what typically works, and communication and listening is key. If this (still) seems like a good fit for you let me know!
Each volunteer will typically have a 3 -5 day trial period so if you're looking to stay longer than 2 weeks, plan on my only allowing 2 weeks to see 'how' it will work out. Typically I like people here about a month.
Open to questions but this about covers everything.