Some days ago we invited you to discuss about the future of travelling after pandemia – something we definitely speak very often about. After few months break we want to come back to some sort of travelling, even if not yet the nomadic lifestyle we were used to. We are doing very small steps, starting from 1-2 days trip with bikes or hiking. And we thought it's good time to share with you a bit more about our travelling philosophy, the tools we use, etc. as many of you still ask how we manage to be on the way for so long a time.
Let's start with accommodation. Our travel is based on exchange, we offer what we have – our skills, knowledge, time - in exchange for accommodation and, if possible, food. We volunteered in many projects, using mostly Workaway to find them. During the last 5 years we joined more than 35 projects, teaching English, working in farms, organizing workshops for cultural centres and libraries, etc. In urban settings we try to find initiatives (NGOs, social businesses, co-working spaces, informal groups), interested in co-organizing workshops or presentations, and could host us in exchange in one of their members' place or even in the office, as long as there is a way to freshen up. Sometimes, especially in the case of co-working spaces, they even have facilities to provide us with a separate room. We have a list of 10-12 friend organizations which we always try to contact such as AIESEC, Amnesty International, Ashoka, Global Shapers, Impact Hub, JCI, MakeSense, Scouts - this varies depending on the region, we try to understand first which organization works where - and we check in Internet what are the local organizations which potentially could be interested in collaborating. It has to be said that no more than 10-20% of the emails we send gets answered, 10-20% of which are positive. So patience and persistence are definitely needed. As a second instance we use Couchsurfing to find a place to stay for a few nights. Generally speaking we pay for our accommodation very, very rarely. In India, for example, where we stayed for 3 months, we spent only three nights in paid camping. In South America, where we travelled for one year, we used hostels no more than a dozen times. Finding accommodation is fairly easy. It's important to understand, though, that the main goal of workaway or couchsurfing is not to get away for cheap. It's about sharing, cultural and language exchange, better understanding of people from other parts of the world or walk of life. Although we never pay for that experience (some of the workaway projects require a small contribution but we usually avoid them), we try to give something back, being our voluntary work, a good Italian dinner, language support or just time spent together. And if we are not able to give back to this particular person, we give back to the world, following the gift economy philosophy, in which you give as much as you are comfortable with, but you also receive without feeling guilty. Not necessarily from the same person. We believe that if good has to go around, it cannot be enclosed in a circle of direct exchanges: I give to you, you give to me. We need to go out of it: I give to you, you give to another person, and so on.
In next #Travel posts, we will go into some of the tools mentioned above, like workaway or couchsurfing, we will share how we manage with food, transport, equipment, etc. We plan to discuss also what responsible tourism means and how the way we travel influences our world. Stay tuned!