Oh how happy I am to share this story with you all! I want to show you a hidden gem of Spain. Firstly though I want to open your minds to a way of travelling for longer and for less. With all this being done I aim to inspire you to want to pack your bags, jump into the wind, spread your wings and become the bird that you are!
I am going to start of by stripping you of the misconception that travelling is an expensive thing. It can be if you allow it to be. However, a week in an all inclusive hotel and a thousand pound spent on souvenirs, alcohol and food is not as fulfilling as; volunteering on a Mediterranean plant nursery on the Algarve or working on a Permaculture project in Andalucía. Both of which you could experience in exchange for usually 4/5/6 hours work in the morning for 5 days a week giving you a lot of free time to explore the area you find yourself in!
As for the work opportunities themselves they come in so many different variations! You could work on an organic farm helping with simple garden maintenance or help somebody out with there new tree house project! There is work in childcare, teaching English, construction, hostel work (reception, housekeeping, tour guide etc.), dog walking and so much more!
The majority of places you go to live in exchange for your time will come inclusive of food! Even for those with an appetite, you receive three meals a day which would normally be eaten with your host giving you a chance to get to know them and learn a new culture or even a new language in the process!
Now you are thinking, so where do I sign up? In my own experiences I used a website called helpx, however I have been told by multiple people that work away is another great website to use.
There are free and premium versions of the sites, I paid for a premium on help x which was only around €20 for two years access! It is worth every penny, I can assure you!
The reason I choose to travel this way is simple. All costs are cut back and depending how I choose to live, I only have to spend money on getting there! Even then, I could choose to hitchhike which I did a lot of when I was in New Zealand, clocking up roughly 15’000km! Think of the savings!
The benefits are written on the wall, but I’ll spell them out for you. In the process of helping somebody you are; improving there lifestyle, gaining experiences you might not normally encounter, challenging yourself, saving money, extending your travels, discovering new places, exploring areas you didn’t know existed, opening your mind and heart and most importantly meeting amazing people along the way!
When I went to Spain last June, I initially set out to be there for two months which I eventually extended to five and a half! This was only made possible through the use of helpx and word of mouth volunteer/work opportunities!
Yes that is right work opportunities! Through the extension of your travels and meeting more people you will likely encounter somebody who is offering paid work! A philosophy I stand by is; if you don’t ask you won’t get, it’s that simple. So be vigilant and speak to locals, ask in bars and restaurants or advertise your skills in teaching your native language for €10+p/h.
If I had not of extended my travels the way I did I would not have gone to Ronda! Ronda is a very old city in Andalucía, it is found on the top of a cliff! When two great friends and I went there we didn’t stay in the city, we had been told of some hidden ruins under the city so we headed out to find them!
We stayed for four nights, the first two nights we stayed in Los Molinos, a hostel right by a river with waterfalls waiting to be explored!
The ruins were hidden as it took two days to find them! Once we did we checked out of the hostel and set up camp in one of the ruined houses that had been over run by wild fig trees which we used for our hammocks!
We could not believe where we were, there was so many old buildings! The one we camped in dated back to 1905! It all seemed so surreal, there was a truly magical essence in this place! We spent two days in this lost and forgotten part of Ronda, climbing waterfalls, swimming in rock pools and dancing naked in the sun! This was one of them places you never wish to leave!
I hope my words have inspired you and you are already spreading your wings in preparation to take flight! If not, I have made a video of our time in Ronda for you to enjoy, I have posted it on YouTube; https://youtu.be/f-vZBPwUAEE
Peace and Love