Our Italian travels are coming to a close! We’ve spent eight magical weeks in Italy and I feel bittersweet about the thought of leaving. It’s safe to say if we weren’t restricted to 90 days in Europe we would be here for a lot longer exploring other regions in Italy. Oh well, I guess this just means I need to plan another trip in the future ;).
As for the last two weeks in Italy we were in Ostuni, Puglia, just 30 minutes away from our last location. Surprisingly though, it felt like a whole different region. Mikel and I had completely different jobs at this host but we were either working on their residential property or their vacation rental. During the first week our hosts were hosting a raw vegan yoga retreat and it was my job to prepare the dishes, set the table, and clean. We prepared breakfast, lunch, and dinner for 7 days while Mikel helped out at the house strimming, roofing, caring for the animals, building a bee house, goat house, and a little painting (he would also like to add that he helped julienne some peppers one night). During the second week I weeded everyday at both properties…I definitely enjoyed the first week more ha!
Our hosts were incredibly hospitable and seasoned with workaway having hosted for four years. We got along great with them and their many animals were a delight to hang around as well. We both learned a lot about beekeeping, and general care of goats and chickens. We worked long days but our work never went unnoticed or unappreciated. If they weren’t taking us out to eat we would have meals made with ingredients straight from their garden. The house we stayed in was a treat in itself, having been built in the 1600’s we felt like once again, we had stepped back in time.
This having been our last workaway, I’ve had time to reflect back on our journey thus far. I have to say at the end of the day I feel so fortunate for not only the experiences I’ve had but the invaluable lessons I have learned from the work and the hosts. Not all of it was easy, and it takes a certain patience to travel this way long-term. To get into the mindset that you are on vacation and also working, it can be challenging. There is so much to see and with workaway you can feel a bit isolated and anxious in one area. It took a while for me to just relax and realize that I prefer to travel this way, to immerse myself in the culture and daily life of people actually living here. Without workaway I would have been country hopping every couple of days, seeing the major attractions, and moving on. I would have seen a lot more, sure, but I’m confident I wouldn’t have made it to Puglia or Basilicata. Don’t get me wrong, doing the 9 countries in 14 days thing is probably really fun, and maybe I’ll do that one day. But for now, I’m so happy I got to experience this little gem of Europe the way I did.