Monday, September 20, 2010

Work and Play

A couple of weeks ago I discovered a new addictive website that combines my three great loves - traveling, volunteering and free stuff! The site has been around for a long time but I came across it when I was looking for a place to volunteer in Rwanda (my next desired location). It's called Workaway. For $23.51 (current Euro conversion rate) you get two years of access to opportunities all over the world. Most of them come with some sort of free housing and meals in exchange for your work - hence the name.

Some offer language classes, cultural lessons and/or skill building. There are quite a few families looking for nannies, families looking for help on their farms, small businesses looking for help running tourism businesses and non-profits looking for volunteers. You can sort the posts by type of work, type of place looking for workers or location. I think some options would even make great vacations for Brian and I, all for the low-cost price of a plane ticket, since you don't work all day, as most of the world doesn't operate on an 8+ hour day like in the U.S.

Once you pay the fee you can look through the options posted and add your favorites to your 'Host List', send them an e-mail about when you want to come and read reviews. I may have gotten a little carried away because I already have eight hosts saved, I think I got seduced by their names:
  • Volunteer in beautiful Kigali, Rwanda!
  • Come and help with sailing and kayak holidays in Ireland
  • A "Maison de maĆ®tre" in the south of France 
  • Boutique hotel, near Ronda, Spain
  • Farm holiday accommodation in the Piacenza countryside, Italy
  • Yoga Retreat in mountains of Granada, Andalucia, Spain
  • Come a volunteer at a small Eco tourism resort in Chile
  • Come and help run our small eco lodge on the shores of Lake Malawi
I have only e-mailed one host (the one in Rwanda) so far and haven't heard back, so I'll keep you posted on that. In other news, I was in D.C. last week for work and my boss wanted me to mention in my blog how beautiful Old Town Alexandria, VA is, so there you go DB!

FINALLY, get your post in now if you want to win a trip to Kansas City. Deadline is this Saturday. See 100th blog post for more info!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Customized Adventure

Maybe I shouldn't have made my contest deadline so far away. (I am really bad at waiting.) I am so excited to find out who will win! I am also thrilled that people are entering! In the meantime, I am starting to think of what kind of adventure the lucky winner and I will partake in. I was thinking about trying to figure out something ahead of time but not knowing exactly when it will happen and who might win makes that hard. Even still, thoughts of what might work for different people have started swirling in my head. I don't want to give away all the secrets here - especially since I might not pick the best ideas without first consulting the winner but I have thought of the following (the people who have entered so far may know who I was thinking of when I picked some of these):
  • homesteading on an off-the grid farm
  • camping in the Ozarks
  • antiquing across Kansas
  • finding a recording studio to lay down some tracks
  • taking a cooking class at the Culinary Center of Kansas City
  • visiting Big Brutus (again) - it's just so impressive!
  • and the list goes on...
Oh, I can't wait! This is going to be so much fun!!! Oh yeah, don't forget to comment on the 100th blog to enter, you still have time!

Friday, September 10, 2010

KC Addendum

To my Kansas City friends, I have not forgotten you! You can participate in the celebration for the 100th blog post giveaway too! The rules for you will be slightly different (as you should already be here - although if you are stranded in a Southwest Airlines servicing city you could enter the regular way too). Here's the scoop - you can have someone enter to win the plane ticket to come see you here!

If you have a friend or family member that you would like to visit you in K.C. have them do the following:
  1. Limit one entry per Kansas City reader.
  2. Have your friend/family member comment on the 100th blog post with your name in parenthesis.
  3. They must be able to fly before February 11th from a Southwest serviced airport.
  4. They will stay with you (unless you really want them to stay with me).
  5. You and your friend/family member will still have to participate in a day-long adventure with me.
  6. The length of time, dates, etc. will still be determined by your friend/family member once selected.
So, that's the deal. The deadline is September 25th and you only get one shot so choose your potential guest wisely! Good luck!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

100th Post - Let's Celebrate!

I had this great idea today - and then as I thought about it, I concluded that it might be more exciting to me than it is to you and it will be a test to see if anyone out there really even reads my ramblings. (I am having a self-conscious moment so please forgive me.) But, anyway, this is my 100th blog post, which seems momentous and I wanted to do something fun to celebrate with you! So, since I get to talk about all the fun I have traveling around maybe you should get to travel somewhere and talk about it too!

Specifically I am interested in having you come visit me and we can have a Kansas City* adventure together! I have a free ticket for [you]! One lucky winner, chosen at random (if more than one person responds to this), will fly to KC on Southwest airlines courtesy of me/Southwest/work trip generosity letting me keep my own frequent flier miles/you get the idea...

Here are the details:
  1. You must be able to travel from a city that Southwest airlines services.
  2. You need to be able to come before February 11th (which is when the ticket expires).
  3. You must be up for an adventure when you get here - who knows what we will do!
  4. We'll discuss details - length of stay, dates, cat allergies, etc. - once you are chosen.
  5. Leave a comment on this post to enter (I will leave it open until September 25)!
So, that's it, my brainchild of the day. Hopefully someone out there will think this is fun - heck maybe someone I don't even know will respond! But if all else fails my mom will probably consider driving to Manchester, NH to fly out and see me. =)

*Hopefully K.C. doesn't seem too lame to any of you out there but it was easier than buying an extra ticket, getting a hotel, etc. and besides K.C. is a pretty fun place!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Everywhere you go, there you are!

I was talking to my mom today and she shared with me an idea that I thought I would share with you, thanks mom! So, during the in between times of my parent's schedules and trips - they are traveling at home. My mom referred to it as their "armchair travels".

Basically, every month they choose a new country that they are interested in and they gather books, movies, recipes and some phrases to learn as they "explore" the new country chosen. She said they were on France now and are planning to go to Germany next. She said she and my dad were having fun and alluded to having a "Joey & Phoebe" moment when trying to teach my dad some French phrases. (Reading this back to myself, it makes them sound a little nutty - but now you know where I get it from ;)

Maybe this would help my compulsion to go want to go everywhere all the time, but it could do the opposite and I'll have to finally become a flight attendant after all. We'll see!