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Chalet Martin, My Home in the Swiss Alps

About two weeks ago I lugged my over-sized duffle bag up a gravel trail to Chalet Martin, the hostel that would become my home for the next three weeks…or two months. I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into. I had “met” the owners via WorkAway and we’d both agreed to commit to at least three weeks of a volunteer exchange — I helped out around the hostel [changing beds, basic housekeeping, etc] in exchange for a place to stay. As I walked in the hostel reminded me of the farm house I grew up in — a mud room for shoes + gear and cement stairs that led up to the creaky wood floors of the main level. I was home.

Compared // International Volunteer Exchange Programs [WorkAway, WWOOF, HelpX]

When I started to dig into budget travel, especially international, I came across someone’s story about WWOOFing while abroad. They used this volunteer exchange network as a way to reduce costs while soaking up local culture. WWOOF stands for “World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms”. It is an online network puts traveling volunteers into contact with organic or permaculture farms around the world. The volunteers commit to a certain amount of work + rather than being paid for their work the host offers them housing + food.

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