Volunteering is a way of traveling based on working few hours per day in exchange for accommodation. It’s not something new but, thanks to new websites like Workaday or HelpXchange, it is becoming more and more popular among those who love traveling in unconventional ways.
During my first experience I’ve understood that volunteering has no actual rules, apart from the common sense of who provides the job and who works in exchange for accommodation.
There are lots of activities that volunteers can do: hostels, B&Bs, families, farms, restaurants, communities. The only thing you should think about is what kind of experience you want to have and your inclinations. However, volunteering is not just a trade, work for accommodation, it can be a deep exchange of point views.
Having trust in strangers is not easy, in fact we were told to do the opposite when we were children. Sometimes you leave with high expectations, sometimes you even travel really far, hoping to have a great time and when you reach your destination you realize that you have to trust a person you don’t know at all and with whom you will have to live side by side for a period of time. Sometimes it goes well, sometimes it doesn’t, but when it does you have hit the Jackpot.
A simple time exchange becomes a life exchange, a cultures exchange, an experiences and a stories exchange. If you free your mind, you can learn (and teach) a lot from this experience, improving youself and your relationship with the others. This is what it has been for me.
A friend once asked me “What does traveling mean to you?”; the truth is that traveling doesn’t have a real meaning to me.
If I look for a meaning to all the things I do, my life would be heavy like a boulder.
I travel because I’m curious, I want to know how people live, what are the differences between us, between our cultures and the way we study, pray, eat, work…live.
I’ve found in volunteering the answer to my curiosity. I believe that working with locals, side by side, gives you the opportunity to engaged with them on a personal level.
I still have an active account on Workaway, even if I know I won’t be able to volunteer soon, but I’m sure I want to travel and volunteer again.
I don’t want to turn down all the possible experiences I can do with volunteering, a very affordable way of traveling that made me change enough to welcome in my life and in my memories all the people I’ve met and the impact they had in my life.