Have you ever considered that there was a time when travelers could meander place to place in their adventuring, picking a farm to work at or a vineyard to pick at, and make a dollar or two to continue their journey? A time when things were simpler, when someone who wanted a different experience could actually make it work without spending thousands of dollars on room, board, and food. Have you ever considered that the possibility that this still exists…is still a possibility? Believe it. In a day where even VOLUNTEERING abroad seems to cost tons of money, you can trade labor for room and board in independently owned properties, meeting amazing people, and doing incredible things through websites like workaway.info and helpx.net. You should seriously look into this, and here’s why:
Learn new things:
How often do you really get to hone skills like farming or building and repairing simple things? Not only will you learn more about the culture you are traveling to, but you will learn practical skills that you can use in your own life.
Meet new people:
In my experiences with these programs I have met some of the most inspiring, interesting people in my life. When you come together in something this unique, you are bound to meet some interesting characters and gain new insights on life
Travel for free:
Free room and board for around 4 hours of light labor daily? Come on, you can NOT beat that on vacation. Plus, many times your host will actually WANT you to experience the local culture, and not only assist your transportation to events and places, but actually want to experience them with you.
Do something amazing:
You will be blown away by the opportunities that these sites provide. Things that seem only possible in fairy tales are really only transportation away, and the nature of the trade makes this fanciful idea a reality.
Leave an impact:
How many people can say that they helped a family complete much needed renovations on their house in a faraway destination, or picked fruit in a picturesque landscape? Through this kind of travel you have the opportunity to leave a positive global impact that you will remember for the rest of your life.
The research is completely up to you, as well as the transportation, and the site choice. Since you get to speak to every potential host independently, you can be positive that the place you are visiting is going to be exactly as awesome as you want it to be.
Thought about working on an organic farm in New Zealand, or picking olives on an independently owned farm in Spain? How about assisting a family in Fiji or helping build a house in Argentina? For a small (totally worthwhile) fee, you have access to independent hosts throughout the entire world just waiting to befriend you, learn from you, and teach you about new cultures. Not to mention, many times in these kinds of temporary situations, several travelers from different corners of the world end up at the same place at the same time, creating an incomparably unique life situation.
Is it voluntary slave labor? Absolutely not. As a matter of fact, many of the hosts on these sites simply need an extra hand in the busy-season of whatever their trade is, or really just like visitors from other countries. Not to mention, you generally establish a work schedule ahead of time, generally around 4 hours of light work daily, and spend the rest of the time getting to know your fellow vacationers. This is one of those things where you don’t know how awesome it is till you try it, so go check it out. You’ll be glad you did. My advice is: Never workaway for someone who is charging you to stay with them, and don’t be afraid to ask your potential host what kind of work they do as well as if they can refer you to past volunteers as a reference.