(I want to travel differently this time around – Originally posted Jan 2017 on my free WordPress site thebackpackingbubble.wordpress.com)
As you guys know (my previous post 2017 starts with a bang 😀 :D) The wheels are turning and I’m ready to leave England behind again but this time I’m looking to travel differently this time around.
Although I would love to just grab my backpack and roam through Europe and continue to write and grow my blog without a second thought – The reality is I need to fund myself as I travel and my blog is still in it’s infancy, I am still just a spec of sand on this huge beach.
Yes the long term goal is to be a digital nomad, to fund my travels with my blog, my future Vlogs and eventually my own online business a travel differently (I dream big) but short term I need jobs to keep my travels going. Anybody who reads my posts on a regular basis knows that I want to get back to roaming the world. I’ve had my sabbatical from traveling, unfortunately I haven’t managed to save as much as I wanted to but I need to get out of England for my own sanity. The best option of course is to hop over to Europe and work while I travel.
So over the last couple of weeks while I’ve been searching and applying for jobs across Europe it’s dawned on me there are other options I can explore, I don’t need to just look for just a standard job, there are other ways to get by, other alternatives I can explore.
I can travel differently this time around – I’ve lived the life of a typical backpacker, I’ve boozed myself from one place to another, I have seen and lived every kind of hostel experience, I’ve seen as many temples and ruins as I can, I have been an expat in a foreign country and I’ve lived and traveled in a van – This time around Id like to expand my horizons and experience traveling differently.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking anybody that is living life to the max in the greatest party hostel, or or a crazy booze filled boat cruise, or waking up at the crack of dawn to see a temple or ruins they will never forgot in their life – It’s just I’ve been there and got the T-shirt, both metaphorically and real (bingtang and Chang vests all around) In-fact going back to hostel life would be in the belly of my comfort zone – but I want to leave my comfort zone.
So I’ve started to look into other options more, these are things I’ve known about but never really explored or took advantage of in the past. Some of you reading this may be long-term travelers and may think it’s ridiculous that in the 6 years that I’ve traveled, lived and worked around the world I have never explored the following options. If any of you have any experience with the following please let me know your experiences, if you would go for it again and if you would recommend them.
The following are the things I would like to try –
Workaways and Volunteering
“Workaway is an international organisation that enable travelers willing to work as volunteers to contact hosts (who can be individuals, families or groups) wanting help with their projects or activities. Volunteers or ‘Workawayers’, are expected to contribute a pre-agreed amount of time per day in exchange for lodging and food provided by their host.” (source: Wikipedia)
This is something that I’ve heard and known about in the past but never really gave thought to until now. Having looked into it in some detail, I think this would be a fantastic option for me. Not only would I be provided with food and accommodation from a local host but it would completely bring me out my comfort zone. I could learn gain new skills, do jobs wouldn’t normally do, meet different types of people, live with locals, learn the language. Just to be around them day to day would give me more of a local feel and experience local culture from a different perspective.
With workaways or volunteering in general, depending on the type of work, it could give me that sense of pride that I’ve helped to make a difference for somebody else. This would be a brand new experience for me, one that has really got me excited to try and definitely my first choice. There are other types of volunteering programs like helpx and woofing that I can also look into.
(If you are interested in this check out their website – www.workaway.info )
Another thing I have never really explored. When I started to travel, I didn’t realize how big couchsurfing was. I knew it was an age old thing but I thought it was if you knew somebody you asked if you could crash on their couch (naive I know) I didn’t know there was a huge website dedicated to couchsurfers and hosts.
“Couchsurfing is a global community of 10 million people in more than 200,000 cities who share their life, their world, their journey. Couchsurfing connects travelers with a global network of people willing to share in profound and meaningful ways, making travel a truly social experience” (Source: couchsurfing.com)
Having talked to people who have couchsurfed before and read other peoples experiences, this option comes with mixed reviews, some people absolutely loved their experiences and some hated it but I guess that’s with every step into the unknown; you don’t know what you’ll get. From what I understand, if I was to find a host, in most cases the hosts are fellow backpackers who have couchsurfed themselves at some point.
Most say they are willing to not just accommodate you but also show you around, give you a taste of the more ‘non touristy’ places which would be a great experience; after all who doesn’t enjoy hanging out with a local when traveling. This would be a great way to meet not just locals but locals that travel, and be brilliant to share stories and experiences; to learn off each other. I’ve always been good in the past to make friends with a few locals that show me and let me experience the more hidden and local parts that you wouldn’t necessarily know about.
Also living with a local gives me the chance to learn the language. However I’m also quite conscious and aware that I could just be offered a couch and nothing else. Also with this option, I might save on rent and I would still need a job but I would be able to travel differently.
( check out www.couchsurfing.com for more info )
“Homestay is a popular form of accommodation whereby visitors stay in a house or apartment of a local of the city to which they are traveling. The length of stay can vary from one night to even a year and can be for free, in exchange for monetary compensation, in exchange for a stay at the guest’s property either simultaneously or at another time, or in exchange for help on the host‘s property. It is sometimes used by people who wish to improve their language skills, immerse in a particular culture, or become familiar with the local lifestyle.” (source: Wikipedia)
I think more often than not you have to pay rent for the room for this option but if it works out cheaper than a hostel then it could be a shout to. With this option I’d be living with a local family and completely immersed in their way of life. Like couchsurfing, I may get shown around, learn the local culture more, their ways, the language but I would be living like a local and not just another tourist. however with this option, i would be spending money on rent and really would have to get a job to fund myself. This would be my third option for sure but definitely one I want to experience at one point.
(more info at www.homestay.com )
These are the three options I want to explore to travel differently, if you have had any experience with the above or anything different let me know how you found it? Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? What advise would you give? I’m very keen to hear your thoughts.