Participating in a work exchange not only alters your life but also reshapes your travel perspective. We’re well aware that travel possesses the power to reshape our lives. And when we travel in unconventional ways, we inevitably evolve. This is, after all, a fundamental reason behind our desire to explore. Having embraced full-time work and travel through exchanges for nearly a year, I’ve observed several shifts in my travel mindset brought about by this experience. Here are seven ways in which your approach to travel transforms after engaging in a work exchange.
7 ways you travel differently after experiencing a work exchange
- Instead of fantasizing about destinations, you’ll daydream about work exchange experiences.
- You’ll develop a greater inclination to explore lesser-known routes.
- You’ll feel less apprehensive about interacting with strangers.
- Your dining habits will align more with local customs.
- A week-long vacation will no longer suffice.
- Your planning approach will evolve, or perhaps even dissolve.
- You’ll genuinely embrace the belief that the world is full of possibilities.
1. Instead of fantasizing about destinations, you’ll daydream about work exchange experiences.
Work exchange instills the understanding that the quality of our experiences outweighs the significance of our geographical whereabouts. Now having undergone this transformation, my daydreams revolve around contributing to vineyards globally, rather than fixating solely on Tuscany’s vineyards. The focus has shifted from location to experience, prompting me to employ continent-based searches through platforms like Hostelworks.
2. You’ll develop a greater inclination to explore lesser-known routes.
While certain work exchange prospects exist in renowned urban hubs, many can be found in places we’d never imagined. Quaint French villages radiating charm? Absolutely, such opportunities exist—just explore the captivating work exchanges in France. The serene Italian countryside? Yes, it’s also possible—explore the opportunities in Italy. Even serene surf towns that promise stress relief offer alluring work exchange options through the Hostelworks community. Once you’ve encountered the magic of off-the-beaten-path discoveries through work exchange, you’ll yearn to relive this enchantment time and again.
3. You’ll feel less apprehensive about interacting with strangers.
As an introvert, I used to fret over social situations, avoiding parties and crowded places. Work exchange pushed me to overcome these anxieties, especially on a sailboat where quick connections were vital. I’ve developed strategies for solo travel, using engaging questions, sharing books, or seeking advice to connect with others. Language isn’t a barrier. Even miming or sharing a laugh can forge bonds. Work exchange boosted my confidence in connecting with diverse people. While I still have challenging days, my fear of interacting with strangers has greatly lessened.
4. Your dining habits will align more with local customs.
While I’m not suggesting you’ll exclusively dine at local eateries or shun hamburgers forever, you’ll find yourself increasingly inclined to embrace the dining habits of the locals following a work exchange abroad. This experience imparts the notion that the essence of travel transcends expensive restaurants and extravagant meals. It underscores the concept that the journey itself constitutes the destination. Thus, relishing a delectable meal becomes synonymous with immersing oneself in the process of preparing it within a cozy kitchen.
5. A week-long vacation will no longer suffice.
While short-term work exchange opportunities are available, the majority entail 2-4 week engagements in international settings. This extended duration fosters a profound appreciation for time’s true luxury. My personal theory revolves around being ‘time rich and money poor’ or vice versa. Many who engage in work exchange, exchanging labor for accommodation and sustenance, identify with a similar philosophy. Personally, I now opt for more extended budget-conscious trips over shorter yet luxurious escapades. Having undergone a work exchange abroad, I’ve grasped the art of budget travel and relished the charm of embracing local lifestyles. These experiences surpass even the most remarkable week-long vacations.
6. Your planning approach will evolve, or perhaps even dissolve.
My initial work exchange involved living on a sailboat, subjecting me to the whims of wind and available anchorages. Anticipating my location for the upcoming day, let alone the ensuing weeks or months, was a challenge. This presented a trial for someone predisposed to meticulous planning. Prior to this, I meticulously crafted itineraries and meticulously researched routes. However, venturing into work exchange territory prompted the realization that adaptability holds immense value—sometimes even necessity. While I still conduct preliminary research on my travel destinations, I now adopt a simpler approach. I compose a basic ‘bucket list’ for each journey. It might encompass an easily achievable aspiration like ‘savor a baguette in Paris’ or a significant task like ‘explore the Great Barrier Reef through scuba diving.
7. You’ll genuinely embrace the belief that the world is full of possibilities.
This transformation extends beyond international work exchanges, transcending the realm of travel altogether. A life-altering work exchange program engenders the recognition that the world teems with prospects. With thousands of opportunities available solely through Hostelworks, the world assumes a less daunting demeanor. Rebuffed endeavors remain a setback, but not a calamity. They herald new beginnings. This newfound understanding diminishes inhibitions, unveils unexplored avenues, and presents diverse ways of living life—an insight often garnered by observing those who embrace such lifestyles firsthand. Embarking on a work exchange journey, or even contemplating it, signifies the first stride towards embracing the world with open arms.