Our Travel Experience: Workaway 101

Dear Workaway, 

We love love love you! 

Mostly because you have connected us with incredible humans and experiences all over New Zealand that we probably would have not otherwise found or sought out on our own.

We cried with new friends, laughed hard with others, cooked meals alongside strangers, played board games, saw glow worms up close, had hard conversations, tried foods we had never tasted before, and even got to live with a few families and kiwi kiddos!

These experiences tested and grew our marriage (Brent and I), improved our communication, pushed us out of our comfort zones, and allowed us to experience intimate layers of New Zealand that the tourist routes simply don't offer.

I write this post with gratitude in hopes that others will discover the best-kept secret that you are. We will be hosts one day so we can pay it forward and we will encourage others to do the same.

xoxo Jordan

WHAT IS WORKAWAY?

In my words - it’s a website that connects you with neato people around the world who need a little help on various projects usually around their property.

Words copied and pasted from their FAQ page - Workaway is a cultural exchange, you offer a few hours of volunteering in exchange of food and accommodation.

When you sign up as a workawayer you can access the host list for one year and contact host families, NGO‘s or projects directly to volunteer and offer your services.

WHO IS WORKAWAY FOR?

  • you have to be 18 years old to have a profile 
  • for Brent and I (married couple no kids) it was wonderful 
  • solo travelers 
  • folks looking to get more out of traveling rather than the main tourist routes and experiences 
  • adaptable humans who can be comfortable with simply being told what to do day of 

WHAT DOES IT COST?

WHAT DO YOU GET / RECEIVE?

  • as a workawayer, you volunteer usually between 4-5 hours each day 
  • as a workawayer you receive free food and accommodation (read the profiles well!)
  • you also receive an incredibly intimate view into peoples rhythms, lives, recipes, goals, etc. 

WHAT DID YOUR (JORDAN & BRENT) EXPERIENCE WITH WORKAWAY LOOK LIKE?

  • Workaway 1: Mahurangi West Wing, Warkworth, North Island

           Work we did - landscape project, deck staining, alpaca feeding, bnb marketing

           Length of stay - one week

  • Workaway 2: In the native bush, Opotiki, Bay of Plenty North Island

           Work we did - gardening, interior renovations, sanding, painting, rat trap setting :)

            Length of stay - one week

  • Workaway 3: Glenburn Station, South East coast of North Island

           Work we did - cleaning various homestays, lawn clean up

           Length of stay - two weeks (no cell service on a sheep farm)

  • Workaway 4: The Homestead Farm, Nelson area, South Island

           Work we did - weeding, feeding farm animals, staining timber, painting, rubbish clean up

           Length of stay - just over one week

  • Workaway 5: Jean Francois place, Abel Tasman National Park, South Island

           Work we did - interior renovations, sanding, basic cooking and cleaning, window washing, cleaning of his Airbnb 

           Length of stay - just over one week

  • Workaway 6: The Jester House, Tasman area, South Island

           Work we did - painting, social media marketing, woodworking and carpentry, food serving, help with dishes in the cafe 

           Length of stay - two weeks

  • Workaway 7: The Organic GardenDunedin, South Island

           Work we did - clearing out greenhouses, harvesting final crops from the garden before winter, weeding

           Length of stay - one week

  • Workaway 8: White Rock, Loburn, North Canterbury South Island

           Work we did - weeding, planting, various outdoor projects mostly

           Length of stay - one week

WHY WOULD YOU RECOMMEND DOING WORKAWAY?

I wanted to write this post because Brent and I have been traveling for nearly seven and a half months and our short time at these places (listed above) with the individuals we met is already what stands out more than the rest of our travels. 

It has been mind-blowing to me that a platform like Workaway even exists, a tool that connects you with people from all over the world who are willing to have you as their guests, in their personal precious space! WOOFing is similar, we just enjoyed the variety of tasks, while WOOFing is mostly working on organic farms. 

Brent and I did connect better with some families or people over others, (that is life) however, we can look back at every experience we’ve had via Workaway and see the good from it. We can easily pinpoint new things we learned, moments that were growing for each of us, funny memories we shared, and a slew of inside jokes now that our future children probably won't get mwahahah! #secrets

If you have any questions about getting your own profile set up or about anything really.....please don’t hesitate to reach out. I’m more than happy to help you!

GENERAL TIPS FOR GETTING STARTED...

  • Sign up here!
  • Add photos to your profile that you feel reflect your true personality and values.
  • List out your hopes, goals, dreams that you feel comfortable sharing in your profile.
  • List the countries you want to go to (because others will be able to also find you).
  • Consider staying somewhere local before heading abroad in order for you to build up your references or as they call it on the platform 'feedback'.
  • Review the profiles of potential hosts and when you type your message to them... list specific reasons why you think it would be a good fit, be specific about your dates and how long you would be interested in staying, and list what skills you could bring to the table.
  • Read host profiles CLOSELY and if it doesn't sound like a good fit, don't waste your time in messaging them.
  • Be quick to respond to inbox messages, even if it is a host that is hopeful you will come to them and you are NOT interested, it's still courteous to thank them and politely decline. You don't need to provide a reason for not wanting to come.