Doing some helpX allow the person to get accommodation and meals in exchange for some work hours everyday. So how does it exactly works? It’s pretty simple. First you have to become a helper by subscribing on the helpX website for a 20 euros fee. This way you can have access to the database which contains all the hosts informations in many countries including Australia, New Zealand, Canada, United States and France. You have to pay the 20 euros or you will not be able to access to the hosts’ listing, to contact them or to see their evaluations given by previous helpers. Most of the time a helper works either 3 to 4 hours a day or every other day. The work is very variable because the hosts have different jobs and ways of life.
Before I left for New Zealand I had a look on several hosts profiles and I was under the impression that most of time, they were expected farm or renovation works. I knew there was also hosts looking for people to help with housework but I was still worried regarding the disability. Will I be able to do what the hosts will expect of me? Will they agree to welcome me despite the extra difficulty? Will they prefer a fit, well and able person who can do every job?
Well, apparently they were no reasons to be worried about! Everything is going very well. Almost all our requests have been accepted. Even some hosts contacted us to offer us a stay, sometimes in a family and others times in more professional way (in a Bed & Breakfast for instance). Regarding the jobs, everything went fine. There is always something I can do and the hosts are kind with me. Most of the time, they gave me a choice about my daywork and they always ensure that I can work in good conditions. Sometime by offering me a seat or a stool depending on the task. Our first host even asked her previous helper to build a handrail on the outside stairs in order to be easier for me to get inside the house. She was even ready to built a slope for me!
Until now we have done five helpX and many different works either inside or outside. I find it very cool! I really enjoy to travel doing some helpX. It is more than just a work in exchange for accommodation and meals. Being an helper is, above all, a way to meet local people and to discover their culture. Each family has a different way to live. Some persons are extremely organised whereas others are completely chaotic. Sometimes we are surrounded by animals and other times there are none of them. In some families the religion is part of the daily life and in others the only dogma is the tea time! Anyway, living with all these families is a very good way to learn tolerance and open-mindedness. One thing is sure: all the Kiwi we met in helpX share personality traits such as generosity and good mood. Kiwis are people who don’t hide their feelings, they show their satisfaction. Everything is lovely, marvellous, wonderful! This joyous and relaxed atmosphere is catching and that do good!
Living with local people is also a good way to learn more about the country’s culture. For instance, we talked a lot about Europeans’ arrival in New Zealand and the consequences up to this day, especially for the Maori People. Still today, political authorities are indemnifying the heirs for what the Europeans have done from that time. We spoke also about farmers situation since milk price collapsed a few years ago and about the acquisitions and investments made by the Chinese in the country. Moreover, speaking about all that improved my English!
Through all theses families’ kindness we discovered new places, less touristic, and we met new people and share some new experiences. I will tell you all the stories in others articles about our helpX experiences! Anyway, If you hesitate about doing helpX while travelling : do it, that will give an all new dimension to your journey.