For the past two and a half weeks I’ve been sitting pretty in the most beautiful part of Turkey. When planning this trip I had the first two weeks set out with B and K joining me and then I was flying solo. Short in money but still wanting to stay in Turkey I looked at my options at how to stay longer. After doing a bit of searching, trusty old Google led me to Workaway, which solved all my problems.
Workaway is basically a site for free work exchange. So in other words, you work for a set amount of time each day in return for accommodation and food, plus other bonuses. Seemed like a pretty sweet deal. I signed up and paid the yearly subscription of $25 and I began my search. There are hundreds of places looking for volunteers, all around the world. I got carried away a bit and started searching places in Africa and India and then remembered my budget and time restriction so settled back for Europe. I wanted to stay in Turkey and spend some time down by the Mediterranean coast so I filtered my search to these preferences and Waallaahh! I found my exchange!
Okay, it was a little more tricky than that. While there are hundreds of places looking for volunteers, alot of them plan their rosters way in advance. Especially for the peak season, so trying to find a place to volunteer for August at the last minute was a little difficult. I got quite a few ‘Sorry, we’re full’ messages but Lady Luck showed her face and led me to The Shambala.
Situated in the Kabak Valley, about 30 minutes from Ölüdeniz, Shambala perches on the side of the mountain overlooking the Lycian Sea. The drive there is a little hairy, with the windy dirt roads that climb up the mountain. Whilst the scenery was spectacular, the moments where the tyres are inches from the edge of the cliff are a little heart attack inducing.
I had no idea what to expect from this place, as I didn’t even know where it was on the map. Though my expectations were exceeded two fold by Shambala. The beauty, location and staff were just plain awesome. Our work hours were five hours, either a morning or night shift. As the meals were served buffet style, we were in charge of setting up and clearing away, taking drink orders and just general front of house duties. The rest of our time was spent as we pleased, which afternoon spending a few days exploring I settled for lazing about the pool and dropping off into total relaxation.
I had a great two and a half weeks at Shambala. If I had more time, I would have stayed there longer. That’s the great thing about Workaway, you can stay as long or little as you like. I totally recommend checking it out if you’re looking to stay in one place for awhile, experience something a little different or just feeling extra helpful!
Of course, like everything over the Internet, make sure you do your research pretty thoroughly. I did hear some horror stories of volunteers made to work 16 hour days, or given the lowest of low accommodation. But the majority of the time, its places genuinely looking for help and are happy to offer you a great deal in exchange for your help.
Check out www.workaway.info for more info and maybe your possible next workplace!