As the summer steadily progresses, Ciaran and I have been looking for opportunities to travel, especially to foreign countries. Recently, Ciaran and I have discovered two wonderful organizations that might be just what we’ve been looking for.
One is called WWOOF. (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) It’s an organization that connects organic farmers and gardeners with volunteers interested in coming to help said farmers/gardeners on their farms/gardens. On the website you can register as a host or a volunteer, and look at the current listings of who needs help where, and doing what. Volunteers can travel to their host and stay with them free of charge, room and board included, as long as they help their host with whatever tasks they require for an agreed upon number of hours a day. Contact is made not through WWOOF, but directly between hosts and volunteers – WWOOF asks only for a small service fee after the transaction is made. It seems like a great way to travel cheaply, and to learn more about other cultures, languages, and about organic farming.
Workaway is a similar organization, but the services being requested are more broad than organic farming alone. There are hotels looking for volunteer workers, parents looking for language tutors for their children, families seeking maids/ cooks/ personal shoppers, and countless other people searching for volunteer help in return for meals and a place to stay. The opportunities here look incredible – a couple living in a mansion in France is looking for a general housekeeper and gardener; a dog hotel/kennel in Germany needs animal-friendly volunteers to help with the four-footed guests; a bed and breakfast in Ireland needs a babysitter and cook. There is something for everyone here, and the feedback system that they have of rating hosts and guests is a great way to make sure the people you might be staying with are friendly and safe.
I am really excited to do some serious travelling this year. I’m going to sign up for Workaway and start looking for places where I can practice my Spanish while I help others and learn about the world. This seems like a good idea for any home- or un-schooler who wants to broaden their horizons and be a good global citizen. It also won’t look too shabby on a college resumé, by the way.