When we travel, we like to get to know the locals. And what is a better way to know people than to work together with them? That is the reason we started doing Workaway: working on a local project in exchange for a place to stay and some food.
Our first encounters with Workaway
Through Workaway we have found many different projects in many different places. Our first Workaway was in Slovenia (july 2019), where we worked on the woodwork of an old house in a small mountain village. We felt extremely lucky with this Workaway, because we immediately became friends with our hosts. They took us out for coffee, showed us the surroundings and we met their families. Saying goodbye after two weeks was a very sad moment.
The next Workaway was in Mostar in Bosnia (August 2019), where we worked in a cafe at the start of the zipline. We met several other travellers and learned a lot about the Balkan war, thanks to the tourguides that came to the cafe. Our host also asked us to mark some hiking trails in the mountains, which we enjoyed very much.
Workaway in Greece and Turkey
In Greece (September 2019), we spent a week with a Dutch lady, who asked us to take care of her animals. Because we didn’t have much to do and thus got bored quickly, we looked for another place to go. Soon, we found a host in Patras, in the Peloponnesos (September/October 2019). It was a small organic farm, where we took care of the chicken, helped building a dome, worked in the garden and painted the fence, among others. On our free days, we biked to the beach and explored the villages surrounding us. We definitely loved working at this place for over three weeks!
After we had left Patras and had spent some weeks travelling, we arrived in Istanbul (end of October 2019). We stayed with a Turkish couple and their daughter, who mainly expected us to speak English with them all the time. They taught us about the Turkish culture, the food and even the language. Besides, they took us to see the city and one of the Princes’ Islands. It didn’t feel like working at all and after ten days, we had made new friends and left Istanbul with a smile.
In the south of Turkey, close to Antalya (November 2019), we found a horse ranch where we could work for a couple of weeks. We don’t know a lot about horses, but we both like to work with animals and so we thought we could try it out. Unfortunately, we couldn’t really get along with the host and we left the ranch after ten days. The good thing was that it gave us some more time to explore the beautiful coast between Antalya and Fethiye! Moreover, we soon found another Workaway in Antalya, where we were asked to speak English with a ten-year-old girl. A much better experience!
The next Workaway we did in Turkey, was in the city Isparta (December/January 2019/2020). Six nights a week, we were working at an English language cafe, where people (mostly students) came in to speak English. Because there were more volunteers, we were never alone and we had a great time with both Turkish and international people. Furthermore, we adopted our dog Sparta here, so this place will be in our hearts forever!
Stuck in Georgia
When we entered Georgia, we almost immediately drove to our first Workaway (February 2020). Fortunately it hadn’t been raining, because we had to follow an off-road track for approximately 15 kilometers. After more than an hour, we arrived at a blue house, where we were welcomed by more than 40 dogs. The dog shelter takes care of dogs and cats that are found in remote areas or that are injured. We helped with feeding the cats and dogs, cleaning the house and walking the dogs in the beautiful grassy hills surrounding the house. Although it was hard work, we loved hanging out with the dogs!
After two weeks, we left the shelter. Because it was winter, we desperately wanted to do a Workaway in the snow. We found one in a popular restaurant in Gudauri, a famous ski resort in the Upper Caucasus (February/March 2020). We were hired to teach the staff some English, so that they could communicate with the guests. However, our students weren’t very dedicated and we were able to hit the slopes every other day. The job ended when corona hit; the resort closed and we had to go into quarantine in the restaurant for 8 days.
After spending two months in a quiet Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, we were finally be able to travel again. We hung out in a national park for two weeks, but then started our third Workaway in Georgia. This time, we worked on a organic farm, which grows crops that aren’t usual in the country. We seeded, planted and harvested and cuddled with the puppies that followed us around the entire day.
On the way back
Because corona didn’t let us continue further East, in July, we started driving back to where we came from. We weren’t quite ready to drive all the way back to The Netherlands, so we arranged another Workaway in East Turkey (July 2020). The host wasn’t around, but we were welcome to work on the large cow farm for a while. We loved watching and feeding the calves, they were so cute! However, our main job was weeding and taking care of the vegetable garden. Although it was a very interesting experience to work on such a big farm, we already left after a week. Moving on, back to the West!
Staying in one place
On August 29, we came back to The Netherlands. First, we thought of doing a Workaway in our home country. However, living in The Netherlands is expensive and that meant that while we spent a lot, we wouldn’t earn money at all. Moreover, we wanted a place of our own to hide for a couple of months, until the winter season (and hopefully corona) was over. Thus, within the first month, we both got a temporary job and we found a place to live for a while.
As winter came, we noticed that we missed travelling. Being close to family and friends and staying in one place had been nice for a while, but we got bored of working all day and sitting at home in the weekends. Besides, we missed being outside and active all the time. Even though the corona situation didn’t seem to come an end, we wanted to set a date for leaving the Netherlands again. We would leave again in April, no matter what.
Leaving The Netherlands again
So, next week, we will start travelling again. We are looking forward to meeting new people on the road and to exploring new places. In Spain, we have found one Workaway where we will stay for a couple of weeks. We have also contacted a Workaway in Portugal, so we’ll probably go there too – if corona allows us to. Do you want to read about our new adventures? Please subscribe to our blog!