So you’re thinking about working away? Well you’re going to read the same old clichés about how you’re going to “grow” as a person and how it’s great to gain “new experiences.” Whilst some of that is true to an extent, it’s not the full story. As somebody who is fresh from working away in a hostel, I can tell you it’s not always some bohemian adventure fresh out of lonely planet. It can get tough, it can be great but it’s not always as it seems.
1) You revoke all personal space. Obviously this depends on your kind of work, but whether your roughing it on Kibbutz, working for tips waiting tables, or volunteering in some forest in the ass end of knowhere … You aint getting any alone time! You’re sharing a bedroom with people, you’re working with people, and you’re eating with people. Sometimes it can feel like there is no escape. If you are living where you’re going to work, be prepared that it can feel like you never leave work, you can feel shackled to it and it can get intense!
2) You’re not just meeting new people. Obviously you are going to meet new people and fingers crossed there not complete ball bags. Well ball bags or not, these new people become your family. Maybe it’s because when people are traveling, the lack of family and friends around creates a void that can be easily filled with the formula of “friendly faces + alcohol x some strange thing you have found in common.” It never matters what it is, but before you know it these new people can make your whole journey. It’s a beautifully strange thing…
3) Your boss will take the piss. Don’t think just because you’re giving your time to fight for a great cause, help out an independent business or whatever rope you have found to swing out of your home, that your boss will be as cool as your job. No matter what line of work you do, at some point they will ask more of you than they should. As much as you will want to comply, be prepared for rude, selfish or simply nut job bosses. No doubt when you applied they seemed charismatic, sweet and genuine… and at times they will be. But dealing with the other side of forign bosses can be a real test of character.
4) You won’t be a tourist. This is a great part of working away. To live in a new place and not just pass through as a guest, but really, really become invested somewhere is amazing. To not be just another map flapping, queue standing, photo noob is a great feeling wherever you are. It allows you to get the tourist stuff out of the way and find more of the core of where you are; priceless experience.
5) Its not Uni… It can be better! As a former student, I recall the feeling of sleeping through days, drinking through nights and thinking getting free money was clearly as good as life can get? However, you have to deal with the all nighters of red bull and poor Dub Step playlists in order to meet deadlines. You have to deal with crappy houses you didn’t really look into before singing a 12 month contract and you have to get you head around the fact that one day you might have to pay your huge clump of debt back. But with traveling, whether you have done uni or not, it’s far more play and a lot less work! Unless your one of the rare few that are aiming for a career out of your work away job, your won’t give a monkeys about your job. Your employer knows this and your duties with match. Think about it, anything compared to the shit jobs and genuine graft you have done to save up for your adventure is the hard bit, the work you do away will be simply something you do when you’re not having fun in a new part of the world. No matter what you do, or where you do it, get everything you can out of it. There is nothing like it, so ignore the generalization and get packing!