Workaway program is just the ticket for budget travellers
Immerse yourself in food, culture and history of another country without breaking the bank
BY RIC MOORE, FOR THE VANCOUVER SUN
My sister and brother-in-law volunteered to cover for me at work while I took a four-month sabbatical to climb Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro and following that, a five-day safari with my daughter to the Serengeti.
My daughter flew back home and I continued on to Porto, Portugal, where I stayed for three days to unwind and mail my heavy climbing gear back home.
I then took a train to Nelas, a small town in central Portugal, to work on a vineyard – I was going to become a Workaway.
I discovered the Workaway website from travel blogs and thought it would be a great way to learn about another country – the people and their language, food, culture, economy and history, without spending a great deal. After posting a profile of myself, I sent requests to a number of hosts and I chose a vineyard in Portugal. Workaway hosts are found in most countries throughout the world and I picked one in Europe as I was eventually going to tour Italy in my fourth month with a friend.
I couldn’t have picked a better host for my first Workaway site as I was provided with my own bedroom within a separate guest house. My four fellow Workaways and I were served a hearty breakfast at 8 a.m. and started work in the fields at nine. We worked from Monday to Friday with the weekends free to travel into the local town to shop or visit a pub; I also took a break halfway through my six-week stint and visited Porto again for three days.
Working on the farm had me pruning and raking the vines, building a large garden, constructing garden fences and tending sheep. All of the Workaways were encouraged to cook at least one meal and we enjoyed eating specialties from our individual countries. The most hazardous part of the job was keeping clear of those nasty geese – I was more leery of them than the lions on the Serengeti.
I found my second Workaway site at a retreat in Salema, which is on the southern tip of Portugal. The owner rents her large home to yoga and art class groups and as it was being renovated, I spent four weeks painting, cleaning and undertaking minor plumbing and electrical repairs. My free time was spent cycling and hiking in the surrounding mountains and relaxing on the beaches.
Most Workaway sites provide free room and board in exchange for working on their site. Owners will require help for multiple reasons such as helping with renovations, shopping, caring for children, ESL lessons and cooking for the household. The ages of Workaways are from early 20s to singles and couples in their retirement years.
So if you have a young adult who doesn’t know what to do with his or her life besides eating you out of house and home, present the websites below to your son or daughter. He/she will thank you upon their return after living with people in another country and working beside other Workaways from around the world.
There are a number of websites that can help one find a temporary job in another part of the world including:
Anywork Anywhere: anyworkanywhere.com