From AirBnB to Workaway

Sometimes I take a picture and I wonder about the people in the picture.  I wonder how many strangers have the back of my head or my mini's puffs in pictures of their travels.
Sometimes I take a picture and I wonder about the people in the picture. I wonder how many strangers have the back of my head or my mini’s puffs in pictures of their travels.

I heard about workaway and the potential to use them from travelers that wanted to save money while traveling; however, I didn’t really know much about the organization. I finally looked in to it and I’m happy to say I registered. While I will be able to save money on rooming and food depending on the host, I’m mostly excited because of the volunteer opportunities.

Basically, the housing is free in exchange for volunteer time. I feel like I’ve been a traveling tourist with little purpose or impact. I’m used to engaging with my community, working with youth, and volunteering with my mini on the weekends. I’ve been focused solely on adjusting and learning more about myself and spending time with my daughter while navigating homeshooling/worldschooling. Now that we’ve gotten a bit more adjusted I want to do more.

img_4409I contacted host that welcome families, provide single use rooms, and are looking for educators. The workaways I’m most interested in relate to the work I did back home in education and art. I’ve already contacted three host that have schools or organizations that are looking for teacher volunteers. All three charge $5/day but provide individual rooms with beds and 2-3 meals/day in exchange for 4-5 hours of volunteering 5 days/week.

One reasons why I haven’t tried alternative housing options is due to my work. I need a quiet area when I’m working but small background noise with my students has never been a problem. Working for an ESL company has more constraints and now that my finances and budget are back on track I can work less. Another reason I hadn’t looked into other options was due to the rooming situation. I barely want to share a room with my daughter, that cramped studio in France proved just how much we need our space. The host I contacted all provide individual rooming for their volunteers. I’ll still be sharing a room with my daughter but I prefer that over being in an open room with several people.

With this new plan in mind I’ll have to start booking flights once again and figuring out visas. I will need a volunteer visa rather than a tourist visa and in Tanzania an outbound ticket is required or proof of income (I guess they want proof we can afford to leave). We are headed to South Africa for a month and I’ll start planning how we’ll “workaway” our way through Africa. The three host I’ve contacted are all in different locations: Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya. Depending on how correspondence goes I hope to volunteer in all three locations if they seem like a good fit for at least three weeks.

Using workaway will allow me to actually connect with the people and the culture. I want to work my way up the east coast, slide my way through the interior, hit the west coast, and that’s about as far as I have planned. Right now, I have a trip to visit my new friends in Germany at the end of February for Carnival. I’m planning to meet with my besties in London sometime in March. We meet new friends here in Athens that we want to reconnect with somewhere in SE Asia and I have to make it back to the U.S. in April for a wedding. It’s time to put the new plan in action.

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