20th June 2011, I left Wales for three months in order to explore the great outback. Travelling solo and not having much money to do so, I was searching for ways I could explore the red continent while getting to know the people and saving myself some money.
I tried investigating all the options. I knew that staying in hostels the whole time was not an option for me, without working in them too, as I just couldn’t afford it. I had thoughts of renting a campervan as well, but with only me to share the petrol and rental/purchase costs I knew that realistically this wasn’t an option either.
And then my friend told me about www.helpx.net *. She had spent the previous summer working, doing gardening work and household chores for a family in France, and she couldn’t recommend it more. She told me amazing stories of the warm family, days spent out in the sun and afternoons spent in the pool, and the whole time her French skills improved massively.
It sounded perfect. Not only would I receive food and board for a couple of hours work a day, but I would really get to know the people of Australia. I would be able to meet them, hear each story they had to tell, get to know the real Australia.
Of course when you volunteer anywhere there will be ups and downs. There will be people you meet who you don’t gel with, there will be people who treat you like cheap labour and there will be those really don’t want you around.
But for every home like that there will be one who welcomes you with open arms, that treats you as part of the family and those who go the extra mile to allow you to get the most out of your experience. But remember you have to be as flexible as your host. Be polite at all times and always be willing to do what they ask of you. Don’t chat back, and most of all remember that you are a guest in their home, so treat it as you would your own.
Would I do helpx again? Definitely, it was an amazing irreplaceable experience and I couldn’t recommend it more highly to anyone and everyone.
* I have also since seen a similar website www.staydu.com but I haven’t used it so I can’t particularly recommend it but it looks promising.