Workaway is a platform that connects people who want to volunteer with hosts all around the world. You can do almost anything on Workaway – opportunities vary and can include nannying, farm work, construction, web design, and more! Most of the time, you do not get paid with Workaway as it is purely a volunteer/cultural exchange experience, although there are some opportunities where you do. Normally, you volunteer about 25 hours/week in exchange for housing and food, but it does vary on the host.
So what happens when things go awry?
Let’s go back to the house sit I scored in Hamburg, Germany in August 2017. I just want to gush for a second – it was PERFECT. I still don’t really understand how it even happened – I genuinely think I somehow manifested it?
I’ve been working for VIP Kid for over a year now, and it’s been a great way to make a living as a digital nomad. I wasn’t really sure what to expect at first (is it a scam? Can you actually make money??) but after my first 6 months of teaching, I determined it was a great gig and one I could see myself doing longterm.
When I first decided I wanted to travel and teach, I had no idea what to pack. What props should I use? Reward systems? And what in the world should I use as a background? I didn’t want to spend a fortune on something that was bulky or difficult to set up.
If you’re in the same situation I was, these 12 teachers share their VIP Kid classroom background to help you figure out what will work best for you!
But I thought it might be interesting to share what being nomadic and not really having a ‘home’ is like when a pandemic hits.
So, let’s back up and I’ll start from the beginning. Back when everyone had a normal amount of toilet paper in their closet and hand sanitizer wasn’t being upsold for $484993.
BUT it also means I have to get a little creative with my VIP Kid background and set up sometimes. Like attaching cardboard to the back of a chair kind of creative.
And that my background has to be portable, too, and not take up too much space in my already overflowing suitcase (packing is hard, but my nomadic packing list for Europe makes life a little easier).
Here are my suggestions after a year of teaching while traveling:
Yeah, I get it. You JUST got hired to teach English online for VIP Kid and are wondering, well, what the heck do I use for props? And no, VIP Kid doesn’t currently provide any props of their own, but nor do they require you to purchase any (although they do ask you to have some for the interview – you can always make those, though). However, they certainly make teaching (and traveling) easier!
Or, you’re wanting to start traveling (as soon as that whole, you know, pandemic thing comes to an end) and are like, I can’t bring everything with me, so what SHOULD I TAKE WITH ME?
Do not fear, fellow VIP Kid teacher! Before you stuff your suitcase full of Dinos or throw away all your hard earned cash, let me assure you: You do NOT need to choose VIP Kid props over an extra pair of shoes or spend hundreds on things you’ll probably never use.If I’m being honest, I don’t use as many props as I used to because I feel like it can kinda take away from the lesson at times, and some of the kids really don’t seem to care anyway.
Plus, when I’m teaching back to back to back lessons, I just don’t have time during the 5 minute break in between lessons to reorganize everything. That time is used for jotting down notes that I’ll later use in feedback (idk how anyone has figured out how to finish it during or right after the lesson – I’m still on team #doitlater).
I’m also usually able to find things around the house if needed most of the time, too. Need to show a student what a cube is? Great, I’ll use a tissue box! Lesson on food? I’ll grab an egg from the kitchen.
Being a VIP Kid teacher is a great job for a digital nomad! You really don’t have to take too much with you, and you can pretty much teach from anywhere as long as the wifi is strong enough.
Here are my favorite VIP Kid props that I drag along with me:
How’s your quarantine going? What day are you on? Have you made friends with and drawn a face on any fruits and/or vegetables you have lying around a la Wilson from Cast Away?
I am currently on my way to becoming BFFs with one of the oranges in my fruit basket. You?
But why not get paid during this extra free time you have? It’s 2020, and remote work is here to stay!
I personally do all my work remotely and really enjoy the freedom (ironic much?) it gives me. I make my own hours and take on the work I want when I want. I’m really working to try and diversify my income as I don’t want to put all my eggs in one little basket, so here’s what I’ve done in the past year since becoming a digital nomad to make money online.
I spent 3 months at Coworking Bansko, from December to March. I really loved spending the colder months in a real “winter” destination (it is a ski resort, after all!), although it was an unseasonably warm year. In my head, snow would fall continuously as I looked out my balcony window. Inside, I would be cuddled up with a chunky knit blanket and a cup of tea while fairy lights twinkled and a fire roared in the fireplace.But as you can imagine, that was not the case. My winter wonderland fantasy was unfortunately trumped (pun intended?) by unseasonably warm weather. Think temperatures in the 40’s F (like 4-8 C, finally starting to understand Celsius after being in Europe for over a year LOL) and sunny (an abomination) most of the time. Nor did my apartment have a fireplace.
Ah well, I still really enjoyed my time in Bansko! So much that I’m already planning to head back, possibly as early as summer!
I thought it might be fun to show what an average week might look like. And since Bansko is a little bit more affordable than other destinations in Western Europe, I decided to track my spending, too (I should probably be doing this anyway…).
To be honest, I probably I could have saved more but I was too busy having lots of fun with new friends…Ooops. But gotta live, ya know?
I feel ya – becoming location independent was something I knew I wanted to do for at least a full year before actually taking the leap! I KNEW I wanted to travel and have more freedom, but felt totally overwhelmed even starting to think about all the logistics.
For me, I had an extremely (un)healthy obsession with Europe. I’d wanted to visit ever since I was a kid, and knew I wanted to see more of it after putting my first foot (well, and then the second) on English soil during a study abroad program in university.
I was working at an environmental nonprofit in California. I loved my job, but was tired of Bay Area life and wanted something new. (Here’s more about how & why I left, in addition to how I navigated my first year of digital nomad life!)
I really wanted to travel and experience different places for longer than the standard 2 weeks of vacation time in America (although I was one of the ‘lucky’ ones because my job gave me 3, lol).
I desperately wanted to feel what it was like to live in various places on my favorite continent (the aforementioned Europe).I wanted to spend the summer in Greece, swimming and eating Spanikopita from bakeries.
I wanted to hunker down and live out a winter fantasy in the Arctic, watching the Northern lights from my porch.
I wanted to bike through rural Ireland while volunteering on a farm.
And I wanted to meet all the European men – what IS IT about accents???
That said, keep in mind that working while you travel is VERY different from just traveling.