Travel the world as a volunteer
Do you want to go around, get lost in the world, meet new people and culture? Maybe there’s a country you wanna feel how’s to live there for a while? What’s holding you back? I personally feel that life is just too short to not do whatever is that makes your heart full of joy and excitement! I dropped everything almost two years ago, went to Ireland to learn English for six months but I wasn’t quite ready to go home yet. So, I’ve found a way to travel for a little bit longer with almost no money! There’s a couple of websites where you can find places to stay working as volunteers in exchange for accommodation. So far, I’ve had three experiences with Worldpackers which I strongly recommend.
Noisy-sur-École, Île-de-France, France
The place is about 40 minutes from Paris by train, right next to the forest of Fontainebleau and they’ll pick you up at the train station. Arriving at the station I called the place but nobody answered so I had to find a taxi to take me there costing me almost €50.
The place was amazing! I went there during the summer and I couldn’t wait to do all the activities they had to offer such as climbing, hiking, cycling and there was a swimming pool there too! Is a non-for-profit, family-run, bed and breakfast adventure park.
I soon started working and here’s what happened.
As a second hand in the kitchen, I was responsible for the desserts and for helping the chef. We would cook lunch and dinner for everyone including guests who wanted to eat with us having in total around 20 people. All meals needed water, alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks, bread, plate of cheese and desserts. Before the dinner we had to serve appetizer with drinks around 8 pm.
So, I’d start working around 10 am until 3 pm for the lunch and from 4 pm until 1am for the dinner working more than 12 hours per day! And no French lessons because the teacher was on holiday! I wouldn’t mind learning by myself, but after 12 hours working and having the pressure that I needed to be part of all the sporty activities they were in, still having the discipline to study by myself was a little bit too much for me.
Plus, the storage and most of the food we had in the fridge were partially gone bad! Since it was summer, the baskets and boxes with fruits and vegetables were full of flies.
The last straw
My last night there I cooked a Brazilian meal. I was so homesick and so happy with the idea of sharing some of my beloved country dishes. We had beef a la Milanese, Brazilian rice and beans and for dessert I made Curau which is made with corn, milk, sugar and cinnamon powder on top. When we got to the dessert part, the owner’s wife wasn’t really fond of me so she started making fun of my dessert while eating it! She said it was good but just couldn’t stop making fun of how weird it was to be eating corn as a dessert and asking around which dessert people would prefer, mine or hers. I understand that if you’re eating something different it could be a good or bad surprise and you obviously don’t need to like everything, but the whole attitude overall was just too rude.
Needless to say I was unhappy so I left after 4 days to spend the weekend in Paris and figure out what I’d do then. I hated how it worked out, specially because I had an agreement with the owner that I’d stay at least a month and I’ve noticed they don’t have any regular staff working there so they do need the volunteers to help running the place. But I wasn’t happy and wasn’t learning French at all.
Depending on what you’re looking for, I wouldn’t recommend the place as a volunteer but the place might be perfect as a guest for a weekend. They have all kinds of activities and you can sleep in the middle of the forest inside bubbles hanging 20 meters hight!
I soon found another place to stay as a volunteer also through Worldpackers in Vienna – Austria. It was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve had so far. I’ll tell you all about it on my next post.