Lei-man’s work: Get paid to do some chores and live in a rent-free cabin in Hawaii

Your backyard. via Youtube
Your new backyard. via Youtube

There’s a long and hallowed tradition of states that aren’t New York offering artists long-term housing in cities that aren’t New York City. Which makes sense, because even though the dwindling creativity of this city will always be an essay-worthy topic of conversation, creative types still can’t afford the rent here.

Usually, the states offering rent-free respite are Detroit and Maine — seriously, what is it about Maine? — but as of today, there’s a new state in town vying for you to call it home: Hawaii.

Far from the dilapidated housing projects of Michigan or the buggy suburbs of Maine, Hawaii is actually a coveted vacation destination spot. It’s colored sand beaches, rain forests, endless summer, the whole bit. And a fruit-tree planting foundation wants to pay you to live there, in your own little cabin on the Big Island, so long as you don’t mind doing some handiwork.

The job’s official description:

FTPF is looking for a dedicated individual to serve as volunteer caretaker of our newly developing headquarters/nursery/retreat center on the Big Island of Hawaii. The nursery will grow saplings to provide thousands of trees for local projects, to help underserved communities with improved nutrition and environment. […] We are seeking a responsible caretaker to ensure the grounds serve the project to achieve maximum potential.


Your cabin in the woods, without the scary part.
Say hello to your new address.

In exchange for taking on the (paid!) role, you get to live in adorable rent-free cabin quarters in the middle of the Hawaiian jungle. Don’t worry, there’s electricity and plumbing. There’s even a wifi-equipped lodge nearby where you can do your emails. You’re committing to at least three flexible hours per day of work for a modest stipend, but in the grand scheme of things, what’s three hours of labor in a day made up almost entirely of sunning, drinking and relaxation? Also, did we mention it’s rent-free?

Of course, this isn’t a job for just anyone. The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation is looking for someone who can handle the day-to-day operations of the nursery, “including solar, propane, and rain catchment systems.” You should demonstrate a basic aptitude for groundskeeping, which includes having plumbing, electrical and carpentry skills. Then there’s commitment to objectives, interpersonal skills, volunteer management and all that.  You’ve also got to respect the on-site vegetarian rules of the residence (bacon critics, apply yourselves elsewhere).

The position is hiring for immediate availability. Whether your lease is nearly up, or you’re looking for a big change, this might just be the best next chapter of your tiny, tedious existence. JK JK life is great. Anyway, if you’re ready to apply, submit this form and send your resume to napiko[at] Good luck! Or as they say in Hawaii… good luck.

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