How Do I Travel? Traveling The World As a Volunteer
It was September 2016, I got my last pay roll. Since then I have become a traveler, traveling around the world. Well, then how do I travel? Is it possible to travel without money? Don’t believe, if they say yes. Of course it’s not possible to travel with no money, whereas it’s possible to spend little or to make money while traveling. But how?
Do You Want to Travel the World?
Some of you may say it’s silly to work voluntarily. When you can work in return of money, what’s the point of being volunteer you may say. It’s not like this. Can you imagine yourself living in somewhere like heaven? You can just stay at most a few weeks as a guest. You can imagine if I give an example here: When I spent the whole summer in Kabak Valley, Fethiye, Turkey, it was a luxurious thing, it was my comfort zone. Yes, I was working, yes I was staying in a tent. But I spent 3 months in heaven! I had the luxury of living in Kabak Valley fo 3 months. You can replace “Kabak Valley” and “3 months” and put anything. What more would you expect from life?
Certainly, having food and accommodation doesn’t solve your all problems. But even if it’s small, if you have a chance to make money for your travel expenses, or to produce something and have enough money for flight tickets, then you are going to a world tour my dear!!!
What is Voluntary Work and How It Works?
Many organizations and businesses all around the world hire volunteers in return of food and accommodation. This situation is very advantageous for both business owners and travelers who want to spend some time in particular places while traveling.
Your money may not be enough, you may want to work in a social responsibility project, you may want to learn something new or you may want to experience the culture of the destination deeper. Whatever the reason is, for a person who travels from one place to another with their backpack and has enough time but not money; having a routine is definitely something make you feel good.
As a person who has experienced both traveling and volunteering, my choice would be always spending some more time the place I go and volunteer. Otherwise, the place to stay, food to be eaten, tickets to be taken, places to visit can burn one’s brain, when you do it for a while! For real! Instead, think about staying for 2 weeks or 1 month in a place; you don’t have to rush to think about the places you wanna visit, you have enough time for that. And you have food and a place to stay. This is definitely a blessing from God!
So let’s take a look at the best Volunteering Exchange Programs:
1- WWOOF (World Wide Opportinies on Organic Farms)
WWOOF offers the opportunity to work and live in organic farms all around the world. WWOOF mediates the gathering of volunteers with organic farm owners. It is a world-wide movement that promotes cultural and educational experiences based on trust and non-monetary exchange, thus helping to create a sustainable and global community.
How is it working?
- st Step: Choosing the destination
- nd Step: Finding the right WWOOF group
- rd Step: Finding the host
- th Step: Planning the trip
Registration Fee: Of course, this service is not free. However, you can communicate with the farm owners for maybe 1-2 days of accommodation amount in a hostel in Europe. Isn’t it spectacular? This amount is € 30 in Turkey for example. Registration fee varies from country to country. I checked in Nicaragua, it’s again 30 🙂 You need to check the location for the amount.
2- Workaway (Cultural Exchange Program)
Workaway is a tool that offers potential job exchange opportunities in hundreds of countries around the world. This is my favorite platform with options such as family accommodation, finding a travel companion, business holidays, farms, language learning and cultural exchange. A few hours of help in return for food and accommodation and the opportunity to meet the others! The opportunity to obtain information about the local lifestyles and communities with friendly hosts in different environments and surroundings.
How is it working? : Choose your destination and search for the keywords if you have a special preference. That’s all!
Registiration Fee: €34 for 1 year membership.
3- Helpx (Help Exchange)
HelpX is also a list of organic farms, non-organic farms, homestays, farmhouses, hostels mediating backpackers who are willing to work as volunteers for a short stay. I’ve never used it personally. Because when you become a member one of them, it doesn’t make sense to be a member of the other one for the same reason.
By the way, it is said that Helpx has the fastest response rate among these “3 big” ones. It’s also the cheapest. Should I register to Helpx, since my membership for Workaway has ended?
How is it working?
Just like Workaway.
Registration Fee: There are 2 options in Helpx; creating a profile for free and wait for the hosts to contact you or paying € 20 for 2 years premium membership and applying for the opportunities.
Other Volunteer Work Exchange Programs
Volunteers Base, Worlspackers, Hippohelp, Backdoorjobs, Housecarrers, Worldwidehelpers, European Volunteer Programs are also available.
My advice is:
There are many ways to find work in voluntary basis, but I would recommend especially this “Big 3” in particular. WWOOF offers a unique service, Workaway and HELPx has a very wide spectrum of options.
What Can Be Done Besides Voluntary Work?
For example, many friends in Asia work as English teachers. Baby-sitting is an option, or online jobs can be searched. There are dozens of platforms to work online. Teaching English, doing translations, opening a courses about your profeciency, etc …etc… If you start something before going for traveling, you can build that business and you can earn money on the road while working online. In fact, you can make anything. Making bracelets, doing e-commerce, doing massage … Choose the best for you and become a professional.
What I Do As A Yoga Teacher?
Since I am a Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center graduate, I can contact any of SYVC ashrasms through www.sivananda.org to volunteer in ashrams and centers around the world. For example, I worked as a staff member at Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm, California for 3 months, then after I had the chance to assist the Yoga Teacher Training Course in Sivananda Kutir Ashram, India for 1 month. Very soon I am traveling to Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat, Bahamas. I’m completing my preparations for a 3-month service there.
In order for checking out the other opportunities around the world, I follow a Facebook group called Yoga Jobs Alll Over the World, and I check for paid opportunities on websites I’m a member of. The most active ones are YogaTrade and YogaTravelJobs. Both require paid membership. But in return you have the access to paid work opportunities.
Last but not least, I have to say as an experienced traveler and volunteer that, working in different business areas is a truly tremendous experience. For example, as a volunteer yoga teacher in Kabak, I had the chance to meet people from dozens of different countries while working in the camp. All of these employees had applied to work from all over the world, including Australia, Mexico, Iran through Workaway.
The only advantage of staying in a place for a long time is not cultural exchange. You’re also gaining new skills by communicating with people of different abilities and competences. You can experience a lot of things that you haven’t experienced before, even drawing a wall, making bracelets, drawing mandalas, making music, playing with poi, and so on. After quitting my job as a white-collar and when I started cleaning the toilets in ashram, I realized that this was a very good job, and I realized that whatever I did, it improved me. When I’m healthy, it doesn’t matter what I do. After all, I wasn’t saving the world when I was working at the bank. And when someone cooks for you, and the other is cleaning up for you, then you wash the dishes for them. So all the work is done with an organization, right?
So now have many things in hand to travel the world. What are you waiting for?
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