Monday, November 23, 2009

New Ideas for 2010: Move to Portland or A New Internship?

As anyone who has been reading my blog knows, I unfortunately was not selected for an internship with the Bullock Homestead.  I am disappointed of course, but there is always 2011!

In the meantime, I am trying to find something to replace it with that will be a big step forward towards my homesteading dream.  Since I am planning on homesteading in NW Oregon or SW Washington, my main plan is to move to Portland as soon as I can.  From there it will be much easier to look at potential parcels of land and start to build community with other permies in the area.  Portland also has plenty of opportunities for me to learn permaculture in less intensive ways than an internship with the Bullocks.  I subscribe to a Google Calendar that can be found here, and it is full of awesome environmental and permacultural opportunities around Portland that I hope to take advantage of when I move up there.  (In fact, this calendar is probably the best resource for Pacific NW permie events that exists.  Check it out, I guarantee you'll find it useful if you're in the Cascadia region.  And make sure to drop Jocelyn an email to tell her how awesome she is!)

Despite Portland being my most likely location come spring or summer next year, I haven't entirely given up on finding an intensive internship either.  Last night, I decided to browse around for some new permaculture internships, and it reminded me that I also had been thinking about taking a natural building workshop from the Cob Cottage Company in Coquille, OR.  So since I was planning on being in Portland next year anyway, I decided to see what workshops were available.  And while browsing their website, what did I find?  That's right, another intensive internship to apply for!  Paul Dillon, a cob workshop instructor, will be teaching a natural building internship in Tipperary, Ireland. (Which is awesome!  I feel like natural building techniques are less area specific than learning permaculture, so Ireland should be just fine.  The skills will translate even if the materials differ.)  The internship runs from April 1st until October 31st next year, the same time I was planning on staying at the Bullock's.  And other than airfare to Ireland, there is no cost!  So of course, I emailed for information about how to apply.  I'll keep you all posted on how it goes!

MIDNIGHT UPDATE: After writing everything above, I looked into getting a visa to the UK and how much it costs.  It's not looking so great.  I'm definitely still going to apply and get information from the instructors about getting a visa, but we'll see how it goes.  If there isn't some kind of special exception since the internship and living arrangements are free, then I'll have to come up with £3600, which is about $6000!  I won't necessarily have to spend much of it, but the UK would require me to prove that I have it before they'd issue me a visa.  I guess I might have to start a pie chart on the side for my GOTu Ireland fund. Thanks for reading!


  1. Hey why not come to Australia? You can do an Internship with Geoff Lawton (of "Greening the desert").

    Check it out on his website:

    Just an idea.

  2. I have looked at that, but there is no way I'll have the money for that anytime soon. Also, I know that permaculture concepts are universal, but aren't the details of design relatively region specific? This thinking has been the reason that I have been searching for a PDC/internship in the Pacific NW. The reason I'm considering the internship in Ireland is because it is not a permaculture internship, but one on natural building. If I am mistaken in my region-specific logic though, please let me know.

    As a side note, I do hope to visit the PRI-Aus when it comes time for me to take the PDC Teacher Training Course. I can't think of a better place to be certified as a Permaculture Teacher.

  3. Sounds like you've got some options to weigh!

    If I were you, and you had the cash, I'd go study with Geoff Lawton! You'd probably learn a ton studying under one of the 'pioneers'. Who knows, maybe you could take knowledge that back to the PacNW and come up with some innovative methods that work here. Certainly there is room for experimentation, and if all else fails, you could run your own permaculture courses advertising that you studied with geoff lawton.

    then again, portland is a really cool city. if you have to live urban, portland is the place.

    i'm sure you'll keep us posted. cheers and good luck with the visa situation.

  4. Hi! I actually just moved to Portland for many of the same reasons you are wanting to. I was actually looking for intern/apprenticeships for natural building as well and I found this blog. Portland is a really cool city and if we are as alike as I think then you will love it here. Good luck to you, and to myself as well! Good travels.

  5. Hi William,

    Check out for their cob building seminars. They're not in Portland, but they're close. Also, if you check out the calendar at there are a ton of awesome resources for classes and internships. Keep in touch, you're the kind of person I want to meet once I move to Portland, so I'm glad you found my blog. :)