Ever heard of Secouet?
Picture this, sitting in the back seat of a car, driven by two strangers. Bright grass fields, hay bails as far as the eye can see, Celtic brick houses, imposing church spires and scattered wind turbines. This is the scene of which I was a part after catching the bus from Paris to Rennes.
Let me first orientate you. My relationship to travelling is very similar to my relationship with food and alcohol. Once I start… I can’t stop (I can see mum cringing… not the most endearing quality in a young woman, I know). It is for this reason that I decided to extend my trip for an extra three months, up until Christmas.
Yes, I know what you are thinking… you fool. My measly budget has now halved itself (well, technically I halved it). However, I have discovered the joys of Workaway. This is essentially an arrangement between you and a host where you work (usually about 5 hours a day) in exchange for meals and accommodation.
Enter Nick and Laurie.
I referred to them as strangers but this couldn’t be further from the truth. My hosts-turn-friends made my first Workaway experience an absolute joy. I immediately felt welcome in their home and we quickly struck up a friendship which meant it didn’t feel one bit like work.
On my first day they took me to see a Chateaux in Josselin, showed me around the markets in this medieval town and introduced me to their gorgeous property in Secouet. On my last day they treated me to a surprise trip to La Gacilly… a village that doubles as a photo gallery. (I will rave on about this in the next post)
After this I spent four days working, five hours a day. Together we painted chairs, cleaned windows, cleared gravel and sand, gardened. All the while listening to great music, laughing and chatting.
Laurie fed me so much good food I don’t think I will need to eat for the rest of my trip (which is good for the budget). It would be uncharacteristic of me to not rave on about the food but I will hold my tongue and instead just include photos.
The verdict on Workaway
I think I was extremely lucky with Nick and Laurie and I am interested to see what will come next, I am set to work in a surf hostel in Portugal at the end of August. I am also looking to get a Workaway in Germany or Switzerland between now and Portugal (depending on my organisation level).
For the most part, it is pretty awesome, and for someone travelling with no money it is a very rewarding way to get around. In exchange for your hard work you get life’s essentials. I also was privileged to a lot of information about the area from my hosts, being British expats themselves, they offered a lot of valuable insight to a first time traveller in France.