Everyone I told so far was totally happy for me and excited about my idea – travelling the world learning about wine for roughly a year. But what are the single steps that I have to take to a) get going and b) get going well?
Quitting my job
I am working as a career coach at a university in Berlin, I also freelance for companies and individuals. I love working with people helping them finding and realizing career and life goals. This is so rewarding. However, the time feels right to do something different and I think to myself: a break will do me no harm. Getting out there, see the world, learn new skills – this is what I want. I spoke to my boss and we agreed to end my contract at the end of July so that I can start my trip in August. Surprisingly, this was quite an easy step. Knowing what I want to do, knowing why I quit for, has given me streangth, motivation and determination.
Deciding upon a route
Where do I want to go? Where can I learn the most? Which countries do I want to see? When is the best time to be in certain places to learn a great deal? These questions flutter around inside my head making it spin from excitement. I will start in Europe, for sure. Great wines are just in front of my door step, but which countries shall I visit? I use helpx to find hosts, look up where opportunities exist and see if they have availabilities. Here in Europe, grape harvest is about to start in September and I would love to be a part of it. So, Europe it is until the end of September, then probably South America with Chile and Argentina for a few months. I can’t wait to see the Mendoza region and the vineyards of Chile. Then New Zealand and Australia for roughly half a year so I get to experince the harvest in the southern hemisphere as well. Then Asia (just heard about wine making in Bali and Thailand – how exciting!) and then back to Europe. Does this sound like a good first plan? Yes it does, so far..
Finding vineyards: wwoof, helpx, workaway
As already mentioned, I am using helpx to approach potential hosts. There is also workaway. You have to pay a small fee with both organisations to register to get accessto to host listings so I decided to sign up with one platform and then see how it goes. From my initial research I can say that there are not too many wineries registered in Europe and South America so my choices are limited. However, I hope to get positive responses from the hosts I approach. There is also wwoof, the so-called mother of voluntary work exchanges founded in the 70s. I also registered with them to get access to German listings since I couldn’t find a host in Germany through helpx. The good thing about wwoof is that people seem to be very committed and have great structures in place to cater for voluntary workers. The bad thing is that you have to register and pay a fee with a every single national organisation, meaning if you register with wwoof in Germany you only get access to German hosts and not French, Spanish and so on. If you want to explore one country in detail, then I definitely recommend wwoof. If you visit many countries on your trip, then registering with helpx or workaway is probably a better idea.
Many people ask me “How on earth are you going to finance your trip?” Well, let’s elaborate on this. First of all, I am not going on a holiday. I don’t want to be a tourist, I don’t need what tourists need: a great hotel, great food at restaurants, expenses for sight seeing etc… this is not what I want. I want to work and learn, I offer my skills and my time in exchange for accomodation and food. I think that’s a fair deal. So, what I do need money for is all the travel that I will be doing and extra expenses for whatever need I might have along the way. I will also work in my profession along the way and offer career coaching via skype and online. I am sure this can work out very well too. Need to do more work on this.
This is it for now, let’s start planning all of the above. I will keep you posted!