Here at Workaway we now have an amazing 17,000 + hosts involved in our volunteer exchange projects from all over the world. From agricultural help, scuba diving, yoga retreats and most things in between, we are so proud to be associated with so many amazing hosts. So we are introducing a new feature to our blog, to help recognise what a difference cultural exchange can make to travellers and to hosts. Going by the name of ‘Workaway Host of the Month’ we will reveal more of what it is like to be a host and let you into their routines and how their project or business have changed since opening their doors to you guys!
Hey, guys, your project sounds amazing. Can you tell us a little bit more?
This summer we began the creation of our project, Canada’s first multi-day tented whale watching camp. The camp is located in the Broughton Archipelago off the North end of Vancouver Island, an area renowned for its prolific wildlife, including the Northern resident killer whales as well as the summer home of many of the North Pacific humpback whales. The camp’s inspiration came from many years traveling in Africa. John always loved the African safari style of camping.
So how long have you been involved in Workaway and how did you hear about us?
A friend introduced us to a couple of travellers using Workaway and he thought they might be interested in helping us with our project. They were amazing and stayed with us for half of their 3 months trip to Canada. We missed them when they were gone and immediately set up a host profile on Workaway.
We were starting from scratch and needed lots of help to get our dream going. With the constant help of Workawayers and the continual rotation of friends and family lending a hand we were able to accomplish more than we had hoped for this summer. It was great to give back and be able to offer an incredible experience for the people that came to help us. We are so thrilled with the Workaway Experience we are looking at ways to keep hosting even when we begin to take customers next year.
How many Workawayers have you hosted so far?
We have hosted approximately 15 Workawayers. Most planned to stay for a week, yet most stayed at least 2 weeks and some up to 6 weeks!
What does a normal day look like for you as a Workaway host?
We start the day together making a plan for the day, considering weather, available materials, surrounding wildlife and everyone’s energy levels etc. After a leisurely coffee and breakfast, we usually get started late morning and work until early afternoon. Often the whales dictated how a day might go. Hearing humpbacks breaching (jumping out of the ocean) nearby often brings work to a stand still and we will all go out in our boat and have snacks or dinner while viewing whales. We experience nature every day by hiking, kayaking or going out in our boat to view whales and catch fish for dinner.
What is the best thing about being a Workaway host?
One of the best things about being a Workaway host is meeting people from all over the world.We both love travelling and meeting people, so being a host brings the world to our doorstep and gives us that element of travel that we really enjoy. Also, having the support, enthusiasm and strength of a team took our project further than we could have hoped for!
What is the best thing you have learnt from a Workawayer?
All the Workawayers have offered something special to the project. Everyone has brought great energy and enthusiasm and were passionate about each project they tackled. We have had some incredibly skilled people come to our camp and offer their help, from building structures to sharing fantastic fish recipes and more.
Can you tell us how your project has improved since hosting travellers?
This was our first summer creating our whale watching business, starting from bare land and finishing the summer with a beautiful camp. We know we could not have done all that we did without the help of Workawayers. We loved hosting travellers and will create a plan to always have a few spaces available to Workawayers in the future. We know there will always be small projects to do and we can offer great experiences to share with them.
Can you tell us any funny stories that have happened during hosting Workawayers?
There’s always a funny or heartfelt story each and every day. We often get to witness people experiencing whale for the first time or catching their first fish. Many funny fish stories!
One of our favourite black bear stories was when we brought in our new group of Workawayers, after an amazing orca show and arriving at our island, one of the Workawyers asked if we had any bears on the island. We said there is nothing to worry about, we have yet to see a bear on the island. Within seconds of this sentence ending a boat comes along warning us of a bear on the neighbouring beach a hundred metres away. Oops, spoke too soon! The well fed black bear posed for a few photos before happily moving on.
That’s incredible and a tad scary!
So do you think culture exchange programmes like this are changing the way we travel?
Absolutely. We believe this is a wonderful way for people to travel, and the world to better connected. It makes it affordable for travellers as well as connects people with locals and makes their travels a more meaningful experience. We are considering becoming a Workawayer in another country during our off seasons. We really love this kind of meaningful travel.
Can you give us one bit of advice for all our Workawayers out there looking for a host?
The more you can tell us about yourself and what you can bring to the project the better. We get so many requests that we tend to answer to those that have presented themselves well, with lots of pictures and a well written and accurate profile.
We are remote and have limited internet so we don’t have a lot of time to have back and forth conversations on emails. So the more in the profile and initial email the better. We have been very happy with everyone that has been part of our summer.
What an incredible project!
We are so happy to have had the chance to learn more about Kelly and John’s story and are in total awe of those photos! Room for a few more on the next tour guys?
Do you want to be our next WA Host of the month? We are always on the look out for hosts who have a great story to tell! 🙂 Email us over at firstname.lastname@example.org and you could be in our next feature!