Looking for Volunteer Opportunities Abroad? This Online Community is the Place to Be
When it comes to traveling full-time, there are many people out there who think it just isn't a possibility for them, who sit and wonder how anyone finds the time or money to make that kind of life possible. But the truth is that in today's connected world it's actually easier than ever to jump the 9-5 ship and head overseas for as long as you'd like.
You don't have to be rich or a trust fund baby or anything like that. No, you just need to be able to pay for a one-way plane ticket, set aside the "vacation mindset" and let the adventure begin by finding work/volunteer opportunities abroad. I suppose a pinch of spontaneity and wanderlust are required, too.
But how do I do this, you ask? Well, friend, as the title of this post would suggest, I just happen to know about this online community where opportunities abroad abound. They call it Workaway and it can help you travel to more than 170 countries across the globe, if you're willing to work a few hours a day in exchange for room and board, that is.
The good people over at Workaway call themselves "a global team of culture seekers and innovators, passionate about travel and finding the path to change." They believe in travel with a meaning. Sometimes, that meaning is getting your hands dirty in a permaculture garden on an island off Honduras; other times, it's tending to horses on a farm in Belgium or conducting project-based learning in Vietnam.
Workaway operates primarily as a platform to connect volunteers to hosts in other countries, not as an actual travel agency. Volunteers, or Workawayers, as they are known, can visit locations for a few days up to a few months, depending on what works for them. And, as is oftentimes the case, multiple Workawayers from different parts of the world will run into each other at host sites.
That was the case, anyway, when a friend of mine became part of the Workaway community just last year and made his initial international trek as a Workawayer to Sweden, Poland, and Germany. As that friend, Jared, told me:
"I went to Sweden for three weeks where I worked two to three hours every other day. The work was on a campsite in northern Sweden, owned by a Dutch family. I worked alongside other Workawayers from other countries. Then I was in Poland, which was a similar setup. I got my own room to stay in and I ate with the family and we worked on a second house.
"(In) Germany, I was with a family in Berlin helping their son getting a tile patio made. With all the places I went to, they gave me tons of free time to explore the areas, even took me out to the town/city to experience the culture (in some instances)."
It costs $34 for individuals to join the Workaway community and get connected with hosts the world over for one year ($44 for those registering as couples/friends planning to travel together). Once you sign up, the number of trips you take is only limited by your imagination, as you can connect to as many hosts and arrange as many exchanges as you'd like throughout the year.
So now, allow me to ask the cliché question: what are you waiting for?