I signed up for workaway in a flash. I had WWOOFed before and LOVED it. However, this time around I wanted more opportunities and locations, and WWOOFing is limited to a select country. So I jumped at workaway. I spent a month working at a hostel on the Isle of Skye.
*see the end of the post for an explanation of workaway and wwoofing.
Here some things I wish I considered before clicking yes.
DO YOU WANT TO LIVE HERE?
Workaway is more than just a place to sleep. You are meant to learn more about other cultures, to find a home. I loved Uig, but it was small and isolated, and transportation was limited. There was a small pub and a Post Office that was a grocery store, too. The isolation allowed for a lot of self-reflection
WILL THIS WORK MAKE ME HAPPY, MAKE ME FEEL FULFILLED?
I chose workaway because I needed a place to stay after I finished my studies. I thought, "hey, a hostel is grand, a free place to stay a chance to meet people." I didn’t care about the work, the location looked beautiful. I should have thought more about the work I would be doing and if it would be beneficial for me.
REMEMBER IT IS A TRANSACTION! SELL YOURSELF AND THE HOST NEEDS TO SELL THEMSELVES TOO!!
I should have looked more into the type of work I would be doing. I didn’t even ask! I just assumed “classic hostel work” whatever that would be. I spent at least 5 hours cleaning a day.
Also, look into the place, especially if it is a hostel. ASK FOR THE NAME. Often the sites don't disclose this information, ask for these details! Read the reviews, a 5* place will mean extra work for you, a low star may mean a shitty situation for you. Ask your host questions, get to know them and their expectations.
THINK ABOUT WHAT MAKES YOU THE HAPPIEST.
Is it working with people? Animals? Being outdoors? Working with your hands? Think about this! Workaway is an excellent opportunity, but remember what you want, what makes you feel alive because at the end... this is work! Make sure it feeds your soul.
I am a bit of an introvert. After working all day, I enjoy having some space and alone time. While living in a hostel finding my alone space to decompress after work was difficult. The team used to laugh because I had a corner, they'd go "There's Renée in her spot!"
ASK FOR THE DETAILS!
Do you get a food stipend? What are the working conditions? How many hours, what do they expect, what the work is like? Is it only you or is there another workawayer? How many days off, etc. Don’t just show up, like I did. Understand what is going to happen and what the work entail? For instance, my place gave a stipend and I was unaware because I didn't ask. It was a happy surprise!
Remember to think about yourself and the situation you’ll be in and where you’ll thrive. In the end, workaway is a great learning opportunity not only for a specific field, and culture but about yourself as well.
In case you were wondering, my time in Uig wasn't all glamours pictures! I worked hard, was it worth it? HELL YES! This small bit of the cleaning I did daily, there was six bathrooms total.
*There are a variety of organizations that allow travelers a chance to work in different locations in exchange for room and board.
WWOOFing refers to World Wide Opportunites on Organic Farms. You work on an organic farm for a period in exchange for room and board (depending on the site).
Workaway is a cultural, volunteering or working exchange that provides different opportunities for work in exchange for room and board (depending on the site).
Helpx is another volunteer exchange site. I have not personally used this site.
* I receive no commission from these links, just sharing the knowledge!