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[经验] 决定HELPX之前的准备,究竟去还是不去?(附国外网友感想)

发表于 2015-5-18 16:37:57 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式

                                                        Workaway and Helpx: Would I Travel with Work Exchanges Again?

  Workaway and Helpx are both websites that connect volunteers and hosts to participate in work exchanges. Volunteers agree to work for the host in return for food and accommodation, which adds up to an experience living, eating, and working with a local family. Brent and I traveled for 8 months in Western Europe by participating in 6 back-to-back work exchanges, and moving from the home of one host family to another.
    When I first stumbled across the Workaway website, I had only left North America once before, and imagined that long-term travel would require access to some bottomless pool of riches. Discovering work exchanges made me feel like the whole world had suddenly opened up and become accessible to me.
    Since that day over 2 years ago,  I’ve learned about innumerable other ways to travel on a budget, and we’ve managed to continue traveling well beyond the time we participated in our last Helpx. So the question is, considering all that I know now, would I still recommend Workaway and Helpx to other travelers? And would I ever do it again myself?

   Workaway与Helpx都致力于帮助换宿双方参与,志愿者以工作换取食物与住宿,附带生活经验,饮食,与当地家庭相处。我和Brent在欧洲通过连续参与交换工作旅行了8个月,在换宿家庭中不断移动。   当我偶然发现Workaway网站时,在那之前我只离开过北美一次,并想象到长期旅行可能需要无法估计的花费。探索换宿让我感觉整个世界突然对我敞开。


I feel like it’s a little taboo to draw too much attention to the free-ness of Workaway and Helpx. After all, these programs are meant to focus on cultural exchange and language learning, rather than being viewed as a way to score free food and accommodation. But who am I kidding? The idea of traveling from country to country without worrying about the price of meals and accommodation was the main reason why we became involved with these programs.  The other volunteers we met during our exchanges were all backpackers and budget travelers, so I think I can safely say that Brent and I weren’t the only ones who were drawn to possibility of semi-free travel.

我觉得不应该过多关注换宿的地域,总之,这些项目都致力于文化交换与语言学习,而不是一种获得免费食物与住宿的方式。但是我特么是在开玩笑吗? 我们融入这些节目,最主要的原因是跨越国度的旅行却不用担心住宿于食膳的想法。在此期间相遇的其他人都是背包客与低成本游客,所以我不用担心说我和Brent不是唯一想半自由旅行的人。


Working with each host family felt like trying on a different lifestyle for a few weeks. Among other things, it provided an opportunity to get an inside look at the business of running a B&B in Wales, renting holiday villas in Italy, and operating a retreat centre in Germany. It was the equivalent of taking different possible home countries and occupations for short test-drives.  Owning a B&B was never something we had considered before, but after a positive 3-month experience with helping to manage one, we left with a new long-term goal to open a guesthouse of our own someday.

与换宿家庭的相处感觉像是体验了几个星期的不同生活方式。除此之外,这提供了一个以由内到外的学习在Wales经营一家BED AND BREAD的视野,在意大利租一个度假别墅,在德国经营一个疗养中心。这就等同于在不同国家和职业里做一个测试。拥有一家B-B是我们没考虑过的,但是在3个月的积极管理的经验后,我们有了一个长期目标:在将来有一间我们自己的B-B。


     Living and working with a local host family typically means sharing a house with them (although we did luck out by getting our own private villa in Italy). We became reluctant witnesses to countless personal fights between family members, and they were, in turn, fully aware when we were feeling moody.  Our relationship with our hosts was often a strange one. Our very close living arrangements made us all feel like insta-family, yet we were, at the same time, also their guests and their employees.

    Usually the people who have the space and need for volunteers are inevitably those who own large properties in rural areas. It wasn’t always easy to find other people to socialize with, or to escape into the city for a few hours.
    与换宿家庭生活和工作就意味着与他们分享房屋(尽管我们走运在意大利得到属于我们的私人别墅),当我们感觉喜怒无常的时候,我们不愿目睹无数在家庭成员与他们的隔阂。我们与宿主的关系更多是陌生人。太过于接近的生活安排让我们感觉家庭的不稳定,尽管我们是,与此同时,其他客人与雇主一样 。


     Living with our “employers” often created a vague division between “on” time and “off” time.  According to the Workaway and Helpx websites, volunteers should aim to contribute 20-25 hrs. of work per week.  We found that some of our hosts subtly (or, in some cases, not-so-subtly) implied that they expected more than this from us.
     It always felt wrong to stop working before our hosts did; if they were putting in 12hr. days, we felt pressured to follow suit. Perhaps we were being a little neurotic, but we really did want to make the exchange worthwhile for our hosts, so we were always looking for reassurance that we were doing “enough” to satisfy them.
     We frequently offered to do more work when we didn’t want to, hoping that our hosts would offer us comforting words like “No, you’ve worked enough today – just relax”. This was rarely the outcome. When we offered to work for longer, our hosts almost always found new tasks for us, which made us feel like there was no limit on the contribution that we owed them.


    Workaway and Helpx profiles allow volunteers to provide details about their skills and experience, but, somehow this didn’t always translate to our hosts.
    I found that our hosts were willing to teach us new skills to a certain extent, but most assumed that we had some basic skills to begin with. And well….sometimes we didn’t.  We spent our first days in France out in a damp, cold field for about 6 hours, panicking because we couldn’t keep a fire going long enough to burn some bramble piles that we’d be assigned to get rid of. (If you think that sounds ridiculous – seriously, try it – fires are surprisingly hard to maintain!) Our hosts only had so much patience for the “well-gosh-I’m-just-a-city-girl-and-I’ve-never-actually-used-a-pitchfork” routine.
    There were exceptions; for example, our tasks at the B&B were pretty intuitive and didn’t require previous knowledge and experience. But,based on my conversations with other volunteers, the people who seem to excel at Workaway and Helpx are those who already possess applicable skills like carpentry, plumbing, gardening, or construction.
    So would I do it again? The answer is no. I don’t regret our experiences for a moment because we did have some wonderful host families, however, we’ve found other budget travel approaches that work better for us. I would recommend Workaway and Helpx for people who have solid manual skills to contribute, as well as to people who aren’t afraid to be direct with their hosts, setting very clear expectations and boundaries both before and during the exchange. I still believe that they’re fantastic programs for certain people, but for us, it just wasn’t quite the right approach to budget travel.

Have you ever done a work exchange like Workaway, Helpx or WWOOF?  哥们你曾经做过一份换宿工作吗?


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