“Dive head first into a foreign countrys’ pool of culture and experience travel like no other”.
– Osama Ali
I met a girl while I was travelling in Colombia and her only method of accommodation bar very few instances in the previous nine months was sleeping on the couch of a random persons house, organised through the website Couch Surfing, completely free of charge. Her hosts would usually feed her and a lot of the time drive her around the place she was visiting (or even parts of the country!!) to see the sights and attractions, all through the goodness of a persons heart and willingness to learn from a person that lived in a different part of the world.
In Pucon, Chile, I met a guy from Canada working at the hostel I was staying at. His work consisted of building artistic tables and chairs for the outside area and to help with some conservation projects that the hostel were involved in. In exchange for working only four hours a day, five days a week, he was provided a private room with a view that one would only dream about having. Everyday, he would wake up to see the incredible snow-capped Villarica volcano from out of his window. During his month there, he vastly improved his Spanish, learned a lot about the culture and conservation, was able to explore the area with plenty of free time, and climb up the volcano and ski down it free of charge. He informed me that he had been travelling like this for the past five months, organised through a website called Work Away, and was spending around $250 per month.
Travel doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, it can quite evidently be achieved on pennies, but for this to happen, one must sacrifice the conventional method of travel and go beyond the comfort zone, and that in itself is the challenge. I can tell you that if you do, not only can your cultural and learning experience be multiplied, you will grow as a person. You will find a different kind of travel fulfilment, create lasting relationships with people from across the globe, and you will be able to travel much more often because its so cheap! It’s a win-win right?
To he who dares to be different.
Saam – who is sat writing this in Heathrow airport awaiting a flight to Bangkok (£350 return through Sky Scanner – no brainer) and has a few things planned, involving climbing the mountains in the North, exploring parts of the South, and teaching English to children in a school while staying with a local Thai family. This has been organised through the brilliant website Work Away and the total budget, including flights, for just under 5 weeks is aimed at around £750.