There are many different types of trips and travellers, and I’ve realized that the most important part of travelling is to not get caught up in what you think an experience should be (based on the stories of others you meet or what’s been advertised to you), but based on your own personality, desires, and interests.
For me, this meant that after a few months into a year-long gap-year of mostly jumping from place to place as a tourist, I felt markedly less motivated and excited by each new place I was going to. That’s when I discovered Workaway.
I like a bit of structure in my life, I like to get my hands dirty, I like to interact less with tourists than with locals and longer-term travellers, and because I was travelling for a longer period of time I was constantly looking for cheaper ways to wander.
So Workaway, where you exchange a few hours of work a day for free food and accommodation usually for a household or organization (typically a farm, summer camp, or hostel) was perfect for me (just to be clear, this is entirely distinct from volunteering for a non-government organization).
Workaway’s global variety of hosts allow you to search and reach out only to that that genuinely interest you, and the review-based system provides enough comfort in finding good hosts. The weeks that I spent working in this way really showed me what it was actually like to live in a place as opposed to travel through it.
It reminds me of that comment about Parisians – that most have never been to up the Eiffel Tower – so how can you expect to “live like a Parisian” by only going to visit the Eiffel Tower?
Needless to say, I’m a fan of this new way to travel. But it’s not for everyone – dare to try new things and you’ll be well on your way to finding what works for you. Happy travels everyone.
by Cora Xiao