I was introduced to the concept of “the volunteer” when traveling earlier this year in Panama. Mostly it’s young adults in their twenties who are mitigating the cost of international travel through a unique arrangement with bnb or hostel owners. In exchange for free room and board they work a fixed number of hours. The cool catch is that most of locations that hire on volunteers are in super cool and often expensive locales. It’s designed to be a win:win situation where the hostel owner gets necessary labor at minimal cost while the traveler/volunteer gets a bunk and breakfast (and lunch and dinner) in exchange for those days of work.
It might surprise you to know little ol’ bnb hiouchi currently has its own volunteer in residence. Well, kind of.
Meet Akari, our niece from Japan who is visiting for the month and all the while picking up the basics of English, communing with Molly the dog, seeing the redwoods for the first time, and spending a good portion of her time in the kitchen, cooking (and, I admit it, cleaning).
It’s been a hoot hosting Akari. Her presence has encouraged Meg and I to hike, explore nearby vineyards, hit the road to see the Oregon beaches, and just get out of our summer groove of mostly work and too-little play. We might pay for our focus on adventuring but we can always catch up on our sleep come November and December.
So for now, and for the next few weeks, say hello to Akari. While plenty of friends have made their way to our slice of paradise on the Smith, Akari is the first family member to do so.
OK… enough chillaxin with our crew. Time to get back to work.