Volunteering – big ranch, small village, beautiful experience

  • Post category:Travel / Volunteering
  • Reading time:8 mins read
Morning colors in this small village of Croatia are beautiful
Morning colors in this small village of Croatia are beautiful

Gate for big side of ranch
Gate for big side of ranch

I wanted to write about this experience for last couple of months, but have always found some reason to postpone it. Well, that sounds like me, who loves to procrastinate. Well, some other I will write more on that. For now, back to topic before I leave it again. This project happened by a random search. When I found this project and this system of volunteering, I could not believe it. I had to meet the project owner. Luckily, I found on social network and he agreed for a meeting. Only after meeting him, I felt comfortable and agreed to join the project.

Morning coffee in new fireplace
Morning coffee in new fireplace

I liked the project for different reasons

  •  It is setup in small village, away from any kind of city crowd. 
  •  There are many simple things to do
  •  There was possibility to be introduced to simple life
  •  Possibility to be alone
  •  Chance to walk in the hills


When I reached there, I was surprised and happy at the same time. Place is almost at the top a small hill. Pretty big ranch divided in two parts. One with main wood house, vegetable garden, two fireplaces, storage and washroom. Another side is huge place with four virtual boundaries

View from Stone glacier
View from Stone glacier

  • One with a caravan and couple of tents and fire place.
  • From here, you go to your right and after cross an open gate in stone wall, you reach an open area to become animal residence.
  • On the other side , there is a small section where small sports are arranged in summer e.g. badminton, volleyball and few local games.
  • further from this side, you reach another big place, which is converted into small football place in summer for festivals.

Ranch in about 600 meters uphill from the nearest inhabitant. On the back side, the is beautiful view of Velebit mountains, through rocky surface called as “stone glacier”. On the other side  after 5 min of walk you reach a path that runs along the beautiful valley, which is home to many small towns. Only power that is available is through 2 small solar panels, which are enough to give light for the night and charge your phone, laptop. As mobile signal is also weak, you are limited with Internet as well. This was strange but good. Even in the village, during the weak there is just one person living. Around the village, there is valley full of different plants and is known as “Fairy valley”.

I also got a chance to see the nearby place with the project owner. He owns few other properties also around the village in this beautiful valley.


Project owner is Army veteran and has joined it at young age to support the country in its war. This was visible in his attitude towards work and life. He does not speak much English, but enough to get the job done. It was perfect for me too. We managed to have lot of interesting discussion without any need of general gossip. He is hard worked who is already on-the-go. Sometimes, it may be too much, but it is motivating to work with such a person. He has many stories, many ideas and most of all a lot of energy. Through him, I met few other people also and one of them became a god friend of mine. She later helped me to experience a hike in Velebit. I got a chance to meet many other local people and share few smiling moments with them.


Donkey house and chicken coop
Donkey house and chicken coop

I did many different activities. The day I came, we brought a donkey to the ranch. Donkey was being released by a movie company after finishing the project. It was an interesting start of the project. The big side of the ranch did not have any gates. As we brought the donkey, same day the man cut few trees, nailed them together and created gates for the ranch. We build together house of the donkey, half of chicken-coop and a fireplace room. With the help of two other volunteers we cleared the path form main road to ranch to make a rough road for car. I also got to work in garden to plant onions and garlic and cleaning the tree plantation. The place now look completely different than when I reached there.


It was overall a beautiful experience at this place. It made me think different and also helped me to bring me back to the life I experienced as a child; simple. Due to the constraints on modern world facilities, one needs to be careful with different things which we take for granted.

  • After spending years with connectivity, it was strange to be at a place with no/limited connectivity. But, it gave me chance to read and also connect with me.
  • Think about water as there is limited and also not hot; for shower, to clean dishes, drinking, cooking.
  • Food comes to ranch every weekend. Although there is always enough food, but one still need to think about consumption and plan the dishes accordingly.
  • Be ready for rain and cold ass the place is not built for winter.
  • If you are too used the company of people and talks then probably plan your visit in summer.

Many other small things can make you think differently and it was beautiful experience for me.

I got used to morning walks around the ranch. Visit to stone glacier and view of wind-mills along with the sun-rise made waking-up beautiful. From the stone glacier, I got to see clouds raising high over Velebit mountains as a big of Tsunami is going to take over the valley. In fact, it almost happened, when I had to stay in the caravan for 2 days 2-3 times during my stay. On other side, I used to take evening walks towards wind mills and have a look to the valley and Adriatic sea behind Zadar. Looking from top I could see clouds rising up behind lower hills. It was simply magical. As the clouds raised high, it felt like a old grandma is working in the kitchen and building fire. The smoke from that fire is slowly rising and coming up to build these clouds. I sat there many time to just watch the sea or the Velebit. Those views were so beautiful that they are imprinted in my mind. If I was a painter, I could paint it exactly as I saw it.

New view, in the beginning there was only caravan
New view, in the beginning there was only caravan

I went for walks from the ranch to nearby towns. Going through the hills and valleys and passing across rivers and waterfalls was beautiful. Walking has been special for me, but these walks were beautiful. Although, I was only for a short time there, but it was always warming to sea the dogs waiting when I came back from my day walk. Unfortunately, due to many rainy and cold days, I could not go for as many walks as I thought I could. Nevertheless, these walks are memorable.

I had very good moments here, but sometimes it was not easy. But, this is anyways the curve of life. No way to appreciate happy moments, if there are no low moments in life. I do not know, if I will get a chance to be part of this place again or not. However, I will remember those funny moments on many evenings that we spent laughing, smiling and talking or walking. I do not know, how much I really helped the person, as he has really different level. I hope that, I remember my stay as happy stay and would meet me with smile when we meet next time.

Keep Smiling



One day, Nasrudin began talking to a man from another town. The man lamented, “I am rich, but I am also sad and miserable. I have taken my money and gone traveling in search of joy-but alas, I have yet to find it.”

As the man continued speaking, Nasrudin grabbed the man’s bag and ran off with it. The man chased him, and Nasrudin soon ran out of the man’s sight. He hid behind a tree, and put the bag in the open road for the man to see.

When the man caught up, he located the bag, and his facial expression immediately turned from distress to joy. As the man danced in celebration of finding his bag, Nasrudin thought to himself, “That’s one way to bring joy to a sad man.”