One thing a lot of us Remote Hustlers have in common is a lifelong wanderlust. But in years past, it wasn’t always easy to find work opportunities that would allow you to travel wherever you want.
In the internet age, however, working your way around the globe is easier than ever. Websites like Workaway and WWOOF provide a convenient hub for finding local work opportunities in communities all over the world.
But how does it work? And which site should you use?
Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) was the original network of work-exchange programs founded in 1971. WWOOFers can find opportunities working on organic farms on 6 continents and in 130 countries.
WWOOF was founded to promote cultural exchange and “build a global community conscious of ecological farming and sustainability practices.” As a non-profit organization, WWOOF is all about sustainability and eco-friendly agriculture.
The cost of membership varies by country, depending on which regional WWOOF organization you join. Once you’re signed up, it’s as simple as searching for a program that piques your interest and applying through the website.
The host will open up their home to you and put you to work!
Some people have criticized WWOOF’s network of overlapping independent organizations as confusing and hard to navigate. However, the end result is a rewarding experience of cultural exchange, globetrotting, and ecological sustainability.
Workaway is the biggest platform for work-exchange programs on the internet right now. The process is fairly similar to WWOOF, but there’s a bit more variety of programs to choose from.
While WWOOF is all about organic farming, Workawayers can connect with any host family or business looking for workers. On Workaway, you can find house-sitting, education, or non-profit work, in addition to farming and sustainability projects.
The cost of membership for Workaway is $44 individually, or $56 if you sign up as a couple or two friends ($28 per person).
The other major difference between Workaway and WWOOF is that Workaway is a for-profit company. So as an organization, its priorities are more about connecting Workawayers with hosts and collecting membership fees, rather than promoting a culture of ecological sustainability.
Take it from a WWOOFer in his own words
Mike DeLashmet was studying abroad in New Zealand when he and his friends decided to stay and explore the South Pacific once their program ended. They wanted to travel to learn new skills and see the world, but they didn’t have much money to do it with.
So they turned to WWOOF to find a program that would allow them to travel the region without breaking the bank. They settled on a program in Samoa, on a plantation where you could work to reduce the cost of boarding.
“Much of my work involved planting pineapples, removing debris from storms, and mowing the lawn with a machete,” Mike says. “Some days, we’d work ‘til sundown, and other days, we wouldn’t work at all. It was nice to have that flexibility.”
Mike said the process of finding the right host was quick and easy. They used the WWOOF website to find the program, and then checked out the program’s website for more information and reviews from former WWOOFers. Then they filled out a form, got in contact with the host, and booked their flights!
But WWOOF isn’t the only game in town when it comes to working around the world.
Workaway offers the couple’s package
April Unterberger and Eric Uslander were two young professionals who felt that their lives were becoming a bit too routine.
“We felt like we were working just to maintain the means to make our work life more convenient,” April explains. “It was a cyclical trap.”
So one day they decided to pick up and leave home, and immerse themselves in a place where they’d never been before. They decided on Puerto Ricco, and turned to Workaway to find an opportunity.
Workaway offered the best deal for them, as the usual $44 membership fee is lowered to $28 per person if you sign up as a couple. According to Eric, Workaway seemed like the best option to them not only for the price, but also because of the wide variety of host options in places all around the world.
They ended up staying on a farm in Puerto Rico for 4 months, clearing the jungle with machetes, building new structures for the farm and guest houses, and cooking meals for the staff and volunteers.
“I know I will travel through workaway again in the future,” Eric confides. “I hope I can help encourage others to do so as well.”
Why work away from home?
Here’s what our globetrotters have to say about some of the reasons why they found WWOOFing and Workawaying so fulfilling:
You learn about different cultures
“I would recommend WWOOF to those who are interested in having genuine, culturally enriching experiences while traveling. Our host was friends with some of the folks who lived at a nearby village, so we stayed there for a few days. I can’t think of a better way to learn about another person’s way of life than to be a guest in their home. It really gives you the chance to not only connect with them personally, but also to gain a greater insight into the culture overall.”
You’re pushed to grow as an individual
“People who want to make a permanent change in their careers and lifestyle can find opportunities where their hosts would be happy to teach them new skills, ways of living, and creative expression. Workaway is also a great way to reevaluate the way you live and the assumptions you have about yourself and your needs. It can help a person confront their normal habits and help them to realize a better version of themselves.”
You can have some unforgettable adventures
“There were moments during our journey when I would take into account my surroundings and observe where I was, and realize that I was in the middle of a remarkable experience. For example, a family member of our farmstay host wanted to relocate a sailboat he had just restored, and we offered to join him as extra hands. This led to our first overnight sailing adventure. Leaning into that adventure can lead you to experiences that would have seemed unattainable before you left.”
If working in a place you’ve never been before appeals to you, check out WWOOF, Workaway, or one of the many other similar organizations that can connect you with hosts around the world!
Here are a couple cool options we found to get you excited: