How we eloped and went on Workaway for our honeymoon

A different kind of honeymoon

Waking up to the sound of goats bleating outside the window, stretching our limbs after the deepest sleep and padding across the wooden beams of the floor to open the curtains onto the vast green ahead of us: it is rare to truly not have a care in the world, but this was one of those special moments. We (my newlywed husband, Jon and I) were the sole occupants of this floor of a 200 year old chateau. The chateau was everything your imagination conjures when you hear that word: grand chandeliers illuminated spiral staircases, books lined secret hideaway corners, a well-stocked wine cellar that was ours to dip into. To summarise, a perfectly romantic honeymoon destination.

But this was a honeymoon with a difference. Our morning stretches were vital to warm up for a day of log splitting and weed clearing. The goats we could hear bleating at dawn would be our co-workers for the day. Our fairytale week at the chateau was one of 5 Workaway experiences we chose to take part in for our honeymoon!
back shot of workawayer lauren walking towards their honeymoon workaway chateau

Related blog post: This honeymoon couple quit their office jobs to live their dream of living off the land

Tying the knot, the traveller’s way

In 2022 (after our original wedding plans fell through during the pandemic) we both decided to take a leap of faith into an extended career break. Having had our travels limited by the pandemic, we were desperate to get out and see the world once more. This is when we discovered Workaway. We immediately loved the ethos of responsible travel, the opportunity to develop skills and meet new people and communities. In May, after creating our workawayer profile, we left our home, got rid of most of our belongings and jumped in the car to head for mainland Europe

We only had a rough outline of what the months ahead would look like. There was one date in the calendar that was non-negotiable: our wedding day. We’d booked a low-key ceremony at Copenhagen Town Hall; our mums flew out to be our witnesses. We had a beautiful day enjoying food from the local street market before riding roller coasters until sunset at Tivoli Gardens. Then it was time to hit the road and let the adventures begin…

workawayers jon and lauren after their elopement wedding

Related blog post: Exploring Love and Wanderlust: Pros and Cons of Travelling as a Couple

Spreading love on the road

Over the next 6 months, we travelled to 20 countries around Europe and took part in 6 different Workaway experiences in Belgium, France, Serbia, Montenegro and Albania! When friends ask what a Workaway honeymoon was like, I struggle to know how to convey the sheer joy and sense of accomplishment we experienced during this time. Jon or I will tend to tell the most absurd anecdotes, focusing on the details that sound most entertaining. Like the sunrise hike that was supposed to take 5 hours but became 15 and ended with skinny dipping in a river. Or working in a guesthouse kitchen, having to shoo away the resident chickens. We’ll mention the awe-inspiring sights: fireflies surrounding our tent; standing on the balcony of a mountain lodge with our host pointing out the mountain peaks of Montenegro, Albania and Kosovo; roaring waterfalls in the Pyrenees. Or we’ll describe the hosts and friends we met along the way. Especially the hosts, who were all so passionate about improving their corner of the world, and made us workawayers proud to play a small part in that transformation too.

workaway group enjoying a drink outside with scenic mountain view

Related blog post: 15 Alternative Travel Goals That Go Beyond The Bucket List

A future filled with adventures together

There is something else that transcends the individual experiences, something that made Workaway the perfect choice for our honeymoon. That is the feeling of accomplishment and closeness that developed from having experienced these places together. At each Workaway, Jon and I were challenging ourselves to work outside of our comfort zone. We chopped wood, mixed cement, cooked meals, guided tourists, cleaned floors, made forest trails, picked fruit, crafted fires, fixed tractors…together. I felt so much pride and admiration seeing Jon in this new context, caring for one another, celebrating the small successes like serving a delicious meal or completing a wall build, problem-solving during the projects and more. All of this deepened the bond we had committed to on our wedding day and made me even more confident in our relationship every day. In so many ways it was the best way to start our married life together as Workaway was a real test of our vows and helped cement a strong foundation for us to build our new life together. 

traveller immersed in workaway task peeling oranges

And, we haven’t looked back. We are continuing to travel and Workaway together and this year celebrated our first wedding anniversary at a Workaway on the Isle of Skye. I can’t wait to see which Workaway we’ll be at for our anniversary next year! 

workaway couple expreience off grtid chopping wood simple living
workaway couple with host smiling and gardening together

workaway blog contributor lauren bio photo

Having treated herself to a 30th Birthday Trans-Siberian adventure, Lauren is now looking forward to being in Japan for her 40th. Lauren has enjoyed plenty of adventures from a road trip around Cuba to diving in the Galapagos Islands. Together with her husband and dog, she created their website to record their travels.

couple goaltravel storiestravel couple

About Contributor

We are so glad to have an active community of travellers and hosts who’ve been inspired by their Workaway experiences and want to share with us! Be it a funny story, interesting insights or helpful ti... show more...

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