Working abroad: workaway vs. worldpackers

Work place with a view of Tolima.

Work place with a view of Tolima.

We often dream of long-time traveling to get insight view of the society, culture and basically to experience the places more than tourists. The biggest financial obstacle when you are traveling is money for accommodation, food and transportation. Before going back to South America I knew I wanted to travel slow and spent more time at the places I visit something I didn’t do that much before I didn’t have time and money. Two biggest lie we use to telling to ourselves… I did some research about working opportunities. There are 3 popular websites workaway, worldpackers and WWOOF where the work is based on organic farming. The main difference between the first two is that for workaway you pay in advance 29usd (for a couple the fee is 38usd) and then you can use it as much as possible during one year. With worldpackers every project has different fee usually 20-50usd. So it probably depends on how much you want to use it. Also worldpackers is focused more on backpackers so you can find more short-time jobs. In case of workaway they very often ask for 4 weeks but not necessary. In my case they offered me the job only for two weeks.  It’s easy to navigate on workaway but I personally liked the design of worldpackers more (this website is quite new, was launched in 2014) and also they count with their own application for mobile devices which is very useful. Both of the websites have reviews system which helps with security and often happen that you find the same place on both so I would definetely sign up only on one website.

Work :)

Work 🙂

Since I will be in South America for 6 months workaway seemed to be much better option even though I don’t like to pay for something in advance (with worldpackers the registration is gratis and you pay once you are accepted to work). In Colombia it seems that workaway works pretty well. There are over 400 places and over 25000 places worldwide where you can volunteer and most of the people answered my emails within few days. I was looking for some place in the mountains, isolated from the cities to try something new and learn as much possible. When they answered me from ukuku eco lodge near a small village called Juntas (never heard about this place before) and running distance from vulcan Nevado Tolima (one of the biggest mountain in Colombia, located in Parque de los Nevados) I got super excited. 4-5 hours of work for exchange of food and accommodation in very privileged place. People ask me what you get for your work? First of all you have to consider that you would be paying like 10-20 usd per night (at the place I was working would be even more) and for food but for me the most valuable thing you get is not about saving money but about learning new skills. In my case I learnt about using machete 🙂 making jams and best lemonades. The garden was full of lemon trees. I learnt a lot about birds since the owners were ornithologists and of course you will get some insight view about the place you are traveling. In some projects (very few) you can get some pocket money but also in some you have to share costs for food.

Birds watching

Birds watching

For me a big advantage is that you can get to a place which is not that much touristic but it doesn’t mean it can’t be beautiful. Juntas was the most beautiful surprise of all travel around Colombia until now. The people in the village were super friendly never looked at me as a object of money but always wanted to share stories or invited me for lunch etc. The work wasn’t always easy but neither very hard. It’s also nice to see output of your work in more direct way than I used to feel when I was working for corporate. Every day I had time for myself to do my routine: yoga and running. Now I have already scheduled two more works one more in Colombia at the same place where I am going to have race (lago Calima, near Cali) and one in Ecuador and especially this one looks absolutely amazing (another eco lodge on the trek to Quilotoa lake with animals like llamas)

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