First Workaway Success!

Last week while traveling to the stunning island of Palawan in the Philippines, I completed my first work exchange through Workaway!  Workaway is a community of people and organizations around the world who are looking for volunteers to help with a wide range of tasks.  There are hostels, organic farms, language schools, and many other hosts hiring volunteers in exchange for short and long term stay.  They are required to provide sleeping accommodations for their guests, and some hosts even include meals and spending money as part of the arrangement.  

Originally, my friend Tom and I were supposed to spend a week at Bamboo Hostel Palawan (located in Puerto Princesa), but last minute itinerary changes made it impossible to do so.  However, we were so impressed by the hosts' attitude and communication that we had to stop by to see what Bamboo was like.  


I helped out at Bamboo for 2 nights and I:


1) made a promotional video with my drone


2) updated interior/exterior photos of the hostel


In exchange for my photography/videography services I received:


1) accommodation in their traditional Philippine bamboo sleep hut


2) breakfast (super yummy waffles) and dinner (fresh, vegetable packed pasta which is rare in the Philippines)


3) amazing stories from the host, Rye, who has also traveled the world as a digital nomad.  He was even generous enough to give us a lift to the local Tiki bar to celebrate Tom’s birthday


The hosts, Rye and Tina, impressed me a lot!  They truly encompass everything great about the fair trade community.  They were extremely flexible with my schedule and did an amazing job outlining the expectations of my work exchange.  From the moment I stepped into their cozy bamboo paradise, I knew it was going to be a worthwhile experience.  While sitting at the check-in counter, I was immediately embraced by the tranquil breeze and ambient sounds of Brazilian Reggae and Bossa Nova.  Since I lived in Southern Brazil last year, I was intrigued that they were playing hits by one of my favorite Brazilian groups, Natiruts. 

I asked Rye about the music selection and learned that he had lived and worked in many different countries around the world, including Brazil and Colombia.  How cool is it to be able to appreciate Brazilian hits with a Filipino on one of the top rated islands in the world?!   Rye’s experiences have given him a very open and warm perspective on traveling and working abroad.  


What impressed me the most about his attitude was his honest interest in meeting Workawayers.  I’ve heard stories of Workaway hosts treating volunteers as a form of cheap labor instead of friends in an extended community, and it’s a shame to hear.  The point of work exchange is to build new things and connections with others.  The real value and fun of the community comes from having enriching, mind opening experiences, not just a business transaction.  


Luckily, Rye is truly interested in networking with other digital nomads and volunteers.  This is what made my experience at Bamboo so worthwhile.  Sure, volunteers are a great way to help him build his business, but he treats them as friends not employees.  I hope to find more hosts like Rye on my travels.  

I met another digital nomad named Emma from the UK who was helping Rye and Tina with copywriting and proofreading of the hostel’s web content.  She had the same perspective regarding Rye’s outlook on Workaway.  She said Rye is willing to help anyone who has something to contribute: as long as a Workawayer completes the agreed upon project, Bamboo will have a place for them.  What an awesome and generous philosophy!  


This is what I love so much about the digital nomad community: meeting like minded and motivated people working on inspiring projects around the globe!  Overall, my first work exchange was an overwhelming success :)


If you're interested in a work exchange at Bamboo Hostel Palawan, send Rye and Tina a note through their Workaway profile.