“Once you understand and appreciate other people’s cultures and backgrounds, then you can also connect with them more.” Source Unknown.
I have always thought that in order to get the most out of my travels, I needed more money. A few years back, travelling to me was seeing all the major tourist attractions or how many countries I could skim through in a few months.
Up until September this year, I had never worked in another country. I was never really fussed on it, as the reason I was overseas was to get away from work. All my trips away were purely aimed on relaxing, drinking and exploring.
For the first time ever, my partner and I didn’t cram a large amount of destinations into a small trip. We spent a month and a half only exploring the Yucatan and Quintana Roo regions of Mexico. A couple of friends had told us about Workaway and said that we should definitely give it go, as it’s a nice way to save money and engage in another culture. After spending a week in Playa del Carmen and another week in Tulum, we decided to start looking at Workaways available in the area. Never had been on the site before, I didn’t really know what to expect. I was truly amazed at how many jobs there were! Posts ranging from work in eco villages and helping out in animal shelters to hostel employment and teaching english.
We decided to look for hostel jobs so we could still relax and meet like-minded travellers. This one became available that was located on a small island off the Gulf of Mexico. It was perfect! We only had to do a maximum of four hours of work a day in exchange for accommodation. In your free time you could go to the beach, hire bikes or laze around in the hammocks reading a book. It was exactly what we were looking for.
We kept travelling around, visiting Merida and Cancun before hearing that we got the job. The two of us were super excited and couldn’t wait to start. The only problem we encountered was the fact that we were in Mexico, working in a hostel where everyone speaks Spanish… We thought this was going to be a major issue as neither of us knew any Spanish but the owners of the hostel and other employees were very understanding and patient with us. We learnt to communicate with gestures and body language that surprisingly got us by.
The hostel work we did was a lot fun. We had to do a variety of everyday tasks like folding laundry, closing the kitchen or helping at reception. Some of the more enjoyable jobs included dog walking at the animal shelter, hosting the pop quiz night or organizing the international dinners.
We met so many amazing people over the three weeks of being there and learnt several valuable life lessons. I was pushed out of my comfort zone and straight into a whole new culture and way of life. I left the hostel motivated to speak fluent Spanish and looking forward to the next workaway.
Workaway has taught me how important engaging in other cultures is for my personal growth and opened up so many doors to making a real difference in the world. My way of travelling will forever be changed for the better after this short cultural experience.
Wanting to learn more about Workaway? visit: www.workaway.info