Buddhist Retreat Needs Volunteers to Sow Vegetables, Reap Free Living Costs

Odiyan Retreat Center
Odiyan Retreat Center/Facebook

I finally watched “Into the Wild” this weekend, and I’m feeling inspired to go “find myself.” (I put this in quotes because at this point, I think it might be impossible.)

Granted, I’m not burning my money and hitchhiking to Alaska to live in an abandoned bus. But I would consider something a little more structured — that’s just my Type A personality — like living at and volunteering for a Tibetan Buddhist retreat in Northern California.

The Odiyan Retreat Center, which isn’t open to the public, is looking for a vegetable gardener/farmer to join its community of 40 people for six months.

You don’t need to practice Buddhism to join; you just need to be open to “a wholesome lifestyle of self-sufficiency, meaningful work and inner development,” according to the CoolWorks listing.

You down?

This Gig Has Real Growth Opportunities

Located on 1,000 acres in Cazadero, California, the retreat center describes itself as a “spiritual and ecological preserve… perched on a ridge overlooking rolling hills and the Pacific Ocean.”

As its gardener/farmer, you’ll be in charge of taking care of a 2-acre vegetable garden. The goal is to feed the entire community.

The center prefers applicants with some gardening, farming, agricultural or horticultural experience.

You also need to be at least 23 years old and able to commit at least six months to the retreat.

You should be OK lifting heavy things and using tools and small machines. Couples are more than welcome to apply together, though kids and pets aren’t allowed.

The Perks of Joining the Odiyan Retreat Center

This is a volunteer gig, but you will reap some sweet perks.

  • Free housing (a large room with a balcony)

  • Free home-cooked vegetarian meals

  • An allowance of $150 per month

  • Free Wi-Fi and domestic phone calls

  • Free development classes (think: Tibetan yoga, skillful means, Buddhist study)

  • Access to nature, hiking trails and swimming areas, plus an unlimited supply of fresh air

If you’re interested in getting away for a while and learning more about this unique experience, check out the listing on CoolWorks.

You can also visit the Odiyan Retreat Center’s website for more information on how to apply.

If you’re more like “namaste right where I am,” we have additional opportunities over on our Facebook jobs page.

Your Turn: Would you bail on your current life and become a gardener at a Buddhist retreat?

Carson Kohler (@CarsonKohler) is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder. After watching “Into the Wild,” she cried for approximately an hour — which is why she hates watching movies.