Here's the plan: spend the summer traveling through the Western United States and Canada. I've been to some of the places listed already and will be continuing this portion of the trip through August, at which point I will return to Reno/Tahoe (at least temporarily) for one of my amazing couple-friends' wedding. In the spirit of traveling, things are constantly changing, evolving as I discover new places and connect (or reconnect) with wonderful people; I am always open to suggestions, so if you have any tips, connections, or feel like meeting to travel/explore with me, please don't hesitate to reach out to me!
I've received a lot of questions along the way about how I am able to do so much traveling right now, so I would like to share the information on a couple of the websites that have helped make this possible:
WorkAway - This website I discovered through one of my wonderful friends who is similarly traveling through Europe. It is a worldwide network that connects hosts with workawayers, and there are an incredible amount of different opportunities available; from farming, to yoga centers, to building houses, the options are pretty endless, so wherever you want to go (almost; certain areas aren't heavily concentrated with opportunities), there's a pretty high likelihood that you could find a work-exchange that would allow you to work for your food and lodging, and connect you with local like-minded people, making traveling cheaper and a more true-to-the-area experience (as opposed to being a tourist and only finding the touristy/well-known places). It's about $20-30 dollars to register to this site and the registration is valid for two years.
HelpX - Similar to WorkAway, this website connects hosts with help-eXchangers. It is a little more stratified in how you can search, allowing you to search for farmstays, homestays, accommodations (ie hostels, b&b's, etc), and so-forth. I've had a little better of a response rate with the HelpX site, but have connected with people from both. HelpX also allows you to connect with fellow travelers (for free!) so you can travel together independently of help-exchanges, or look for help-exchanges to do together; I've already connected with a few travelers and will be traveling with some of them through the areas that don't have as many help-exchange opportunities, such as some of the national parks. Again, it is around $20-30 to register for this worldwide network (with options to register as a couple or as two friends, pricing varies slightly I'm sure), and the registration is valid for two years.
Airbnb - is more like a vacation stay website. Hosts are people who have decided to open their homes, yards, hostels, etc to guests who are looking for a place to stay. You can find "rentals" in shared rooms, private rooms, or the entire home. It is a paid option, but you can usually find places that are in your price range, whether that is $20/night for a private or shared room, or an entire house for you to take a family vacation without staying in a hotel. Again, this connects you to locals who are usually happy to host and share their local take on the area with their guests. It's helped me when I'm looking for short-term stays in between places or when I'm trying to break up my drive, and since I don't really believe in coincidences, my connections have been with wonderful people who were exactly who I was supposed to connect with.
In addition to these sites, I am a supporter of utilizing the power of your network. They say everyone is connected by six-degrees of separation, and I am pretty confident that if you're open and communicating with people, you'll often find it's usually less than six. Reconnecting with old friends and connecting with new friends (or friends-of-friends) opens up all sorts of opportunities, and if you know what you have to offer (cooking? cleaning? painting? organizing? These are just some of my favorites, so keep me in my mind if you need help!), you can usually find and create opportunities for mutually beneficial traveling experiences.
Discovering these websites and networks has already begun to help change my life and the way I travel, and I hope that by sharing these with you, it will help you find the right place, connections, and travel opportunities for yourself. Feel free to contact me anytime, and I would be happy to connect and discuss anything with you.
Happy travels & Namaste!
Stories from the road-trip that inspired moving to the PNW, and other travel adventures.