We have been in Arla for two weeks now and have spent most of those days working. So you might think: why did we quit our jobs, if we’re still working? We’ll try to explain that in this week’s blog.
Being part of a community
As you probably know by now, both of us love travelling. We use the internet, our Lonely Planets or other sources to find cool places to visit. So many beautiful spots exist in this world, that I don’t think we will ever get enough of this hobby. One of the downsides of travelling is, that we usually feel like outsiders. We would love to stay longer in one place to get the full ‘cultural exchange’, to find out what it is like to live somewhere and really be like the locals, rather than just passing by. That’s where Workaway comes in! We have found this organisation online by coincidence, just by looking for jobs around the world. With Workaway we get to live with a family or an organisation for as long as we agree on. Living with someone for a while really helps in the cultural exchange and we love to share and learn all about the everyday life in the places we visit. We receive accommodation and food and in exchange for that we work a few hours a day. It doesn’t really feel like working though; it feels like we contribute to a cause and help out in a small, or bigger, community. We love trying all kinds of jobs and it feels really nice to try different things, instead of just keeping our teaching job until we are at our retiring age.
One job for life
As a young girl I, Tamara, already knew what I wanted to be. I wanted to be a primary school teacher. So, I did what was necessary and at 21 I graduated and was in possession of my diploma. I could be teaching the rest of my life! After having taught for a few years I started thinking. Is this really what I want to do for the rest of my life? That’s when I decided to study some more, take some classes and get a master’s degree in Theoretical Education. In the meantime, I started thinking about totally different jobs. Wouldn’t a travel job suit me better, or maybe something with animals? Or maybe even farming? To be honest, I have no idea, because I have never tried many other jobs. Now, through Workaway, we are able to try as many jobs as we want and we can start different jobs whenever we like. If we like the job, we’ll stay. And if we don’t like it, we leave!
Let’s take today (Thu. 3-10-19) as an example for all the different jobs we do here. This morning, after going for a run through the little village of Arla, we had breakfast with our hosts. Afterwards, we chose two old chicken from the coop. We had been taking care of these chicken since we arrived here and I had just fed them. Therefore, it felt kind of sad to know that this would be their last meal. We helped slaughtering and plucking the chickens, because our host was selling them. It was our first time and it was scary and interesting at the same time. I don’t think one of us will become a butcher and I’m not sure yet what will happen the next time I eat chicken…. I might even end up being a vegetarian! After we finished cleaning everything, we needed to upgrade our toilet. Because it will rain the next few days, we needed to make it waterproof. We built a roof out of a fence, some wire and plastic. And it actually works! No more wet butts! Later today I will probably work in the garden for a bit. Before this experience, I thought most greens close to the ground were weeds. By now, I recognise carrot, tomato, potato, amaranth and ‘mustard’ plants. I also know that some specific plants leave nitrogen in the soil and that other plants are just real weeds. To top the day off we will make some Tahini out of sesame seeds and if there is time enough, we will also make pita breads. We love all these learning opportunities, so we are not leaving yet!
Besides getting to know both cultures and occupations, another reason for us to use Workaway is that it enables us to travel on a really small budget. This week we spent less then 35 euros! On the days that we work, we usually spend no money at all. Occasionally, we walk into Arla or one of the surrounding towns to get Wifi and a drink. Most of the money we spent this week, was to cover our lunch and some snacks on our day off. We biked to the beach again and had a sunny, lazy day. In the afternoon we had chicken Souvlaki in the city. So, we really only spend some money on our days off. We also might do some touristic things or spend some money on snacks. We’re not using Tiny for driving purposes, so we don’t spend any money on diesel, which is one of our biggest expenses. Thus, with Workaway, we really keep our costs low. Hopefully, this way we will be able to continue travelling for a long time.
How do we find a (new) host?
When we feel like moving on, we start looking for a new Workaway. We have an app on our phone that allows us to look for hosts by region (or country). For example, Greece has 274 hosts. Sometimes we use a filter to narrow our search. We can filter on types of jobs, availability, Wi-fi and lots more. We can even look for paid positions. (A paid position means that you’re asked to work for more than 5 hours a day, 5 days a week.) The app then shows us all the hosts that meet our preferences and we start reading their profiles. All profiles have a description; some are long, others are short, but they all tell us what kind of help they would need. The hosts also write about the cultural exchange and learning opportunities. Usually they also add pictures. If we like what we read, we always check the feedback that our new potential hosts might have. Next, we write them a message and we usually get a message back within a couple of days. After that, we prepare Tiny to leave our spot. Right now, we are talking to a lady in Istanbul who might host us in the beginning of November. So, in 2 weeks from now, we will be on the road again!
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