Workaway at Finca Natura near Malaga

Laura Viluma Photography

Laura Viluma Photography

When my first Workaway experience in Jerez came to its end in May, I found myself free to move again and explore a different area of Andalusia, volunteering in a completely different setting.

I decided to venture into the hospitality area, at first wanting to work in one of Granada’s many hostels. After a few days of searching through endless Workaway opportunities and sending applications, I found Finca Natura and made a Skype interview with its owner Andy. Although the place was not in Granada as I originally planned, and although it wasn’t a typical hostel, but rather a naturist guest house, Andy and I clicked quickly during the interview and something within me yelled out loud that this was the right place to go.

And so I packed by backpack and my small suitcase, leaving my guitar and the rest of my luggage safely stored in my friend’s house. I set out into new adventures, wide-eyed, excited by the unknown, full of new energy and motivation that only comes with new beginnings.

What is Finca Natura?

Finca Natura is a naturist guest house near the small town called Alora, half an hour train ride from beautiful Malaga. The private property of this typical Andalusian 300 year old house occupies nearly 70 acres, situated in the picturesque hills decorated with orange, lemon, olive and almond trees. The apartment complex reserved for the guests is fully renovated, and the central terrace area equipped by a 4×8 meter swimming pool, hot tub, outdoor bar and dining area, and a gazebo providing shadow for those hot Andalusian siesta times.

Laura Viluma Photography

Laura Viluma Photography

The owner and my Workaway boss is Andy, quite possibly the man with the largest smile on Earth. He welcomed me to the Finca with his arms wide open and a warm heart. He is in charge of everything in the place – organization, renovation, management, volunteers, guests, delicious food cooking, grocery shopping, transportation, … You name it, he’ll handle it!
Andy
Such a fun person with a young spirit and many, many kilometers of traveling around this globe in his feet – I didn’t have any problems becoming good friends with him. I knew from the start that this was the person I could learn so much from, and count on him if any problems emerged, regardless of whether they were of professional or personal nature. And so it was – Andy was there to reassure me every time I had any doubts. Moreover, he was kind and friendly to everyone who visited the Finca, but above all to the volunteers. He made sure we made ourselves at home, felt comfortable and safe, and we had everything we could have possibly wished for, even more. Andy’s character and attitude are most definitely among the highlights of my experience as a volunteer in this place.

Wanderlust Photography

Wanderlust Photography

Except for Andy, permanent residents of the Finca are also two adorable dogs, Billy and Dino, both very playful and loving. I still can’t help but smile whenever I remember Dino, size of a small pony, happily prancing across the terrace to greet us, his tongue out and drooling, inadvertently slapping our thighs with his long, strong tail, only looking for cuddles, completely unaware of his size.

Laura Viluma Photography

Laura Viluma Photography

Volunteer Experience and Work

As far the work itself at Finca Natura was considered, it really wasn’t too hard nor too much. Depending on the number of volunteers and guests at a given moment, we had quite a lot of time to ourselves, to explore nearby towns, cities, and nature, or just to relax and hang out around the swimming pool.

If the guests were staying in the house all day long, some of the volunteers had to stay as well to be of service if needed, while the rest would venture out to indulge their wanderlust. As Andy was preparing all the delicious food we ate there, cooking was not a part of our day-to-day responsibilities. Being a poor a cook, this was a major plus for me! Our tasks included preparing the table for the meals, serving food and beverages during meals, working at the bar, general cleaning and maintenance of indoor and outdoor areas, taking care of the dogs, socializing with the guests and entertaining them.

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Laura Viluma Photography

Every volunteer I met there was a truly interesting person, and being around such people can be very motivating and rewarding. Everyone had some kind of a hobby – mine was writing and singing, but two other girls I met there were doing photography, and one of them made a promo video for the Finca. One girl used to work in a bar and developed a habit of preparing delicious awesome cocktails for everyone, someone cleaned and touched up the dog house, and another one gave great advice about healthy food and lifestyle, accompanied by pretty awesome massage skills. Some girls had a good eye for drawing and decorating the walls, and some helped with ideas regarding management. Everybody found an additional project to do while we were there, their own way to contribute to the Finca, aside from doing the daily chores.
Poke Ya Nose In
Many times we had great fun eating together, playing silly games and telling funny jokes, drinking after dinner, singing karaoke and dancing, or watching movies under the stars. Andy would sometimes even invite his neighbor Paul to join us with his own volunteers, and we were such a happy crowd. The sunsets we used to observe in silence from behind the house or from the rooftop terrace were breathtaking. Sometimes, in the quiet nights when it was just us volunteers in the house, Andy’s favorite thing was to turn off all the lights, sit in the darkness and just watch the skies full of stars, as there was no major light pollution anywhere near us. The place was simply serene and magical for me.
The Party

Paella

Vice

Working and Living in the Nude?

Hell, Yeah!

In case someone somehow hasn’t figured out yet, naturist is a synonym for nudist.

Yes, I went to volunteer in “the naked place”.

Yes, we spent a large portion of time walking around, swimming, sunbathing, and even working naked.

When I shared the news of going to a naturist place to work, I was repeatedly asked what people did there and why I chose to go there.

So let’s answer the first question. People go to naturist places because they want to feel free to enjoy themselves naked in the sun and water, and because they feel comfortable about their own and other people’s bodies. It’s like an ultimate escape into the freedom and natural human state. Instead of imposing their opinions on others in the society, the naturists simply go to places made for naturists, where they can enjoy themselves among like-minded people, without being stared at, judged, or worrying about making someone else feel uncomfortable.
TheGrapevine
During my stay there, the guests of Finca Natura were mostly British middle aged couples who wanted to spend their summer vacations away from the busy and tiring urban life they usually lead. They were just like all other people, with their families, friends, jobs, life stories, and different personalities – some more pleasant, some less pleasant. The only difference was that they didn’t wear clothes if they so pleased.

The other volunteers and I did the same – we relaxed and worked in the nude when we felt like it, and we also put on some clothes when we felt like it for whatever reason. Nobody was forced to take their clothes off, but almost everyone did it and enjoyed it once they relaxed and realized it wasn’t a big deal. As a result, the atmosphere was pleasant, and potential natural curiosity about other people’s bodies melted away as living in the nude became just one of the sporadic circumstances of life in the Finca.

And no, living and working there didn’t have any exaggerated sexual connotations. Some of my friends asked me if there was anything kinky going on there, but this simply isn’t the case. Of course, naturism can be associated with sexual activities, but this Finca is reserved only for non-sexual naturism. And Andy made sure that everyone – both the guests and the volunteers – was aware of this. He refused to make bookings with any guests who even remotely showed curiosity for anything else but simple nudism, and encouraged us volunteers to step forward if any of the guests displayed whatever kind of unpleasant behavior. However, nothing especially awkward ever happened while I was there, and we felt comfortable and safe at all times.

Wanderlust Photography

Wanderlust Photography

As to why I decided to volunteer in the nude – I’ve always felt very comfortable in my own body and couldn’t quite comprehend this taboo that the society has developed around the nature of human body and its sexual aspect. I was raised mostly by my mother, who was very open minded and welcoming towards all my curious questions about the world, including human sexuality. Therefore, for me, this part of our lives is a very natural thing, not something that should be hidden and shied away from. Since this is the case, nudity from my perspective is not necessarily sexual. People over-sexualize nudity only as a result of centuries of sexual oppression in the society. Once you learn to accept this as something completely normal and natural, and strip your mind of all the programmed prejudice, nudity is no longer such a big deal as it might seem at first. It is something that can be relaxing, liberating, and very much enjoyed, once you no longer feel judged by the surrounding environment.

Unfortunately, such behavior patterns are mostly not welcome nor accepted in public. Because of this, I never really had the opportunity to relax into it, and going more than topless was still an unexamined area for me. So when I got the opportunity to go and explore this side of myself in a place where everyone embraces the same concept, I decided to finally step out of my comfort zone.

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Wanderlust Photography

And I’m so glad I did! I fit into the place very fast, and had no problems whatsoever taking my clothes off to relax in the sun, swim, and even work. The whole experience has helped me appreciate my own body even more, along with both its beauty and flaws. I’ve learned to love my uniqueness, and fully accept others as they are naturally, in all shapes and forms. I would recommend everyone to open their mind and try this at least once in their lives. I guarantee you’ll fall in love with it!

Laura Viluma Photography

Laura Viluma Photography

In the end, it turned out that it was great to change my plans about going to Granada! Once again, I reassured myself about something I’ve known for a long time now – it is always good to keep your mind open and your plans flexible. And not just when traveling, but in all areas of life. Only then the experiences that we really need can come into our lives to teach us the lessons our souls crave for.

In the next post, read about the wanderlust shared with my itchy feet fellow volunteers
outside of the Finca Natura during my month as a volunteer there.

Thank You Note

In the end, I would like to give a huge THANKS to my Workaway friends Laura Viluma and Cherie Orwoll for the courtesy of letting me use their photography in this post. Cherie also let me use her camera to make my own photos featured in this post.
Please, take a moment to follow the links and check out more of their amazing work on Laura Viluma Photography and Cherie Orwoll’s Wanderlust. If you like what you see, support my friends by following their work!
Thank you! 🙂
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20 thoughts on “Workaway at Finca Natura near Malaga

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  2. Your experience sounds amazing, I was planning on going to stay here in a few weeks through work away but was just notified that this is an unsafe place and Andy is no longer allowed to be part of work away. Do you know why this is the case?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Bre, yes I just heard from Andy yesterday, and in fact he told me about this. There were a couple of Workawayers who stayed at his place and he tells me they weren’t helpful at all and so after a few conversations and after some time he asked them to leave. After that he noticed his profile was blocked and apparently those volunteers gave him a really bad review after they left. Andy is very sad since he’s been building his business with Workaway for more than 3 years, and now this happens. I know Andy well and I can’t believe that he would ever put his volunteers in an unsafe or uncomfortable position. he is trying to work this out with Workaway to put his hosting profile back up, but in the meantime he really needs new volunteers because the season in Spain is now starting. If you are still interested and wish to talk to him about volunteering there, you can contact him via email here: info@naturafinca.com. You can also call one of these numbers and just tell him you got the number from Nina: +34 952 11 27 34 or +447711982194. Thank you so much for commenting and safe travels! 🙂

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    • Hi Bre, Andy here …..It seems that there was a complaint from a volunteer that I asked to leave as her behaviour was ‘unsavory’! …drugs included! I had guests at the time that supported my actions in requesting the volunteer to depart my premises. The content of the complaint from her I am not allowed to know (workaway/helpX terms and conditions) ….however I am still needing help! …3 years of ‘Excellent’ reviews and 1 bad egg has caused me some major headaches! …do please re-consider ..I have a volunteer here at the moment that you are welcome to chat with!

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  3. I just read your article in BN209. Thanks for your enthusiasm. You are a good read. It is wonderful to see someone enjoying their life. I shall read more of your adventures

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Lunar New Year in Hoi An | Chasing Latitudes

    • To be honest, I didn’t understand at first what naturism meant, and I had to google it 😀 It is a British word for nudism. At first I just thought that it was related to nature, and when I realized what the true meaning is, I felt very stupid hahaha 😀

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  5. Wow, this sounds like you had an amazing time! It’s great to know that workaways with such great experiences exist. At first it might seem strange to work in a nudist place but as a German it doesn’t feel sooo strange. We have a thing for big spas and there everybody is naked – a lot of times not only in the sauna itself. Most of the time there are no awkward looks or feelings and I love it. In Eastern Germany, during the former democratic republic, nudism was even some kind of protest against the strict rules and sometimes repressions of the state.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad that liked it! Actually, the two girls that volunteered with me were from Germany as well! It is very interesting to read the part about the social and political aspects of it in Eastern Germany. I can certainly see how nudism can be used as a protest. I am very comfortable now about it all, and would love to go to other similar places in the future.

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  6. This sounds so interesting. For me the concept of naturism is not making the fuss so much about me being naked, but about other people being naked around me. I think that would be the hardest thing for me to adapt to, but, just as you said, maybe I would be surprised by how natural it all is. And kudos to you for being so open-minded and going for it 😀

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    • I never had problem with naked people around me and always wanted to go nude, but the problem is that people would feel To be honest, at first when you arrive, of course you will glance at people, but when it happens you actually realize that you are not doing it in a sexual way – it becomes like looking at someones lips or eyes or hands! Because it “out there”, it’s no longer “forbidden” and it loses all the fuss 🙂

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      • That’s what I like about working somewhere for a little while – you get to explore places you might have missed if you were travelling through. Looks like a beautiful place to stay for a while!

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  7. Pingback: The Year of Countless “First Times” | Chasing Latitudes

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