WorkAway: Traveling through Volunteering for better or for worse.

The host family & I

One way that I’ve heard allows people to travel is through workAway. It is a platform where are you can volunteer in exchange for lodging and assortment of work ranges from teaching English to helping someone run a hostel, or being a help hand on a sail boat.

It’s not simply volunteering in exchange for lodging, you can also build up a valuable skill set

It is a nice way to engage a culture, engage a people, plug into the environment that you’re in, and make a friend/s. It wasn’t something that I was particularly inclined to, I was not familiar with that type traveling style. But fortunately my girlfriend was, and proposed we volunteer.

Our host consisted of a mother and her son who wanted some native English speakers to have a conversation with so that he can better improve his English. His English was already quite good but as with all things practice makes perfect. The experience of volunteering had the added value of having someone who knew very much about the environment that we were in, knew particular histories, knew peoples, in short the opportunity was one in which a mutual benefit and exchange of cultural and lingual knowledge could take place. We helped him to improve his English and the host and his mother helped us to improve our Portuguese.

The opportunity was one in which a mutual benefit and exchange of cultural and lingual knowledge could take place.

By traveling in such an intimate way, invariably you become a part of the family that you’re with, you eat with them, you talk with them, you laugh with them, and you live as they live. I think will be a host family when that time comes. And from this brief experience I think that this mode of travel is a good way to understand the culture of a place more so than traveling as a tourist.

Additionally, with platforms like these you have a variety of options in terms of tasks. It’s not simply volunteering in exchange for lodging, you can also build up a valuable skill set such as perhaps experience in the hospitality industry, volunteering in a hostel. If you’re interested in sailing the seas, well there are numerous opportunities for one to volunteer on a boat. In short it’s amazing the wide array of volunteering opportunities that are available. In a way, it becomes like an apprenticeship if you prefer to look at it that way. We volunteered for two days, and enjoyed it a good deal.