Work a Day, Away
Workaway's global, year round work programs (or an inexpensive way to stay in paradise.)
Somewhere in the daily grind of school, jobs, and a to do list that seems to have no end, finding time for things like travel becomes an impossible dream. With a determined mind, and the internet at my disposal, I set out to find a way, and found Workaway and its worldwide network of travellers.
Workaway.info is a work exchange network, one of an increasingly popular form of travel for people who want to travel, and are willing to sing for their supper. The site currently has over 1000 hosts in 155 different countries, and the site allows you to narrow your search by continent, region and country. The available jobs range from help with childcare and practicing the local language, to harvesting on a vineyard or farm, to helping out with animals in a shelter, and stays can range from a few days to several months.
While the website creates the network to make the initial connection, the rest is up to you. Individual hosts detail their requirements in their profiles, the type of job, the length of time, amount of work expected and what will be received in return. Though the specifics vary host to host, generally the exchange is about 4 hours of unpaid work per day, in exchange for a place to sleep and one or more meals per day. The sites organized layout makes it easy to scan each listing to see if it is a good fit for you. Each posting has sections that have been filled out by the host: type of help, languages spoken, accommodation, number of volunteers, and extra information.
Workaway is designed to help connect people, and allows for people from all walks of life to have this opportunity. You must be at least 18 years old to join, but there is no maximum age, or number of people, that part is up to the host. Some hosts need couples, or families, or only have space for one person, and some need people with a very specific skill set or language knowledge. Workaway also features profiles about the host, including feedback, host ratings, average reply rate, and photos. Many of the hosts are workaway veterans with plenty of photos, feedback, comments, and a thorough description of the job. But the site provides a contact so you can ask any questions you may still have.
My own experience with Workaway was everything I hoped it would be and more. It was complete chance that I found such a perfect match, a woman on a small island off the coast of Spain, looking for an eager young seamstress with a need to see the world. I spent each day making dresses, exactly what I had set out to do for a living, and by midday each day I had finished my work, and was free to explore the island as a solo traveler. After 2 months, I returned home, with an entirely unique new work experience for my resume, and countless humbling life experiences.
Work exchange is a unique way to travel the world. It provides an experience that is unlike any other, that combines the excitement and adventure of travel with the responsibility and maturity needed to work and assimilate into a new culture. The people behind Workaway are a group of cultured, well traveled people dedicated to helping others become the same way, and they have made sure to cover any and all questions. In addition to the website, they include a FAQ page, a blog, and they have published a book detailing the experience.
For more information on the ins and outs of workaway go to workaway.info.