Meet the six friends who turned their group chat plans into an epic Workaway trip

It’s hard to find ONE person you can travel with, let alone an entire group of friends… but somehow, Ricky has managed to take the adventure out of his entire group chat with his five friends – Alison, Connor, Brooke, Max, and Briana👨👩👨👩👨👩 We were amazed when we heard about how they’re not only exploring the world but Workawaying together too, so we had to chat with them and share their story with our community…

group of six friends smiling at camera
How did you all meet, and when did you realise that you had a shared passion for travel? 
Alison and Brooke are childhood best friends, and then the rest of us became friends and started hanging out at university.
We went on a bunch of camping trips together, and the topic of travel – and travelling together – always came up.
Originally, we were all going to move to Florida together, because Connor was already moving there. We ended up deciding not to go, but because we had been so on board with the idea we thought if we were willing to move to another city altogether, why not travel together and let it evolve from there?
Alison inspired me by talking about a volunteering opportunity she had seen in Vietnam. I went online to look for volunteering platforms and found Workaway. I sent it to everyone, saying, look at this, there are so many different projects in different places! I think the site is very user-friendly, it’s super easy to search for hosts.
We went for five months and we ended up doing four Workaways - in Morocco, Germany, Italy and Thailand. We also visited Spain, and then some of us split off and went to Austria for a month as well!
group of friends holding beers and sitting in front of a campfire in the jungle
What do you think are the special benefits of travelling as a pack?
Traveling in a pack is really cool because I got to see the world through not only my eyes but through my friends’ eyes. We would do different things that reflected the interests of each person - like Alison is an art major, and I loved the art shows she took us to. 
It made me learn a lot about myself because as Max said, it was like being in a relationship with five other people. I haven't been in a long-term relationship with even just one person yet. So there was a lot of self-reflection involved, and a lot of growth that I still carry with me today.
Being able to see all of us go through challenges and overcome them was so beautiful. I get so emotional thinking about how proud of each one of us I am, and how we took that growth into our daily lives and got to where we are today. It's really special.
group hiking adventure with workaway friends and host in front of a big tree nature trek outdoor fun
Are there any specific moments that come to mind that you feel really brought you closer?
When we were in Germany, it was our second country in two months, and we had been doing a lot of activities together as a group. We started to butt heads a little bit, so we really learned when to give someone their own space. 

Sometimes at the end of a long or hard day, you just don’t want to hang out with each other. If someone wants to go and explore one thing, and the rest of the group wants to go somewhere else, that's okay - the group doesn't need to be together all the time! Then we get to exchange our experiences when we get back, so it doesn't take away from this being a shared journey. 

Being able to work through those things together is the greatest example of love - when you're willing to put the effort in for those people. In the end, there are no other people I'd rather experience this with .

Related blog post:  How to travel long term as a couple without killing each other

workawayers on a boat sailing across scenic waters
You're not always put in a situation where you have to really learn about your friend's communication style, but having to do this on the trip deepened our friendship and connection even more. I feel like I really understand each of them and how they go about things. 
The day before we went back to America, we hired motorbikes and drove through a national park to visit a tribe that grew their own coffee. We sat by a fire and drank some, climbed to the top of a mountain, and visited a beautiful temple. It was an incredible day.

It was nearly sunset and I was in an accident on my bike which fractured my elbow. I couldn’t drive back so the others spent two hours figuring out how we would get somewhere safe. The next morning they left early to go and bring the bike back, and when I returned the bike I found out that they had already chipped in $200 towards the damage. I felt overwhelmingly showered with love, I couldn’t be more grateful to have gone on this trip with them .
group shot of workaway friends on the beach enjoying sunset
How did you deal with bad days and differences of opinion?
Communication is key! We definitely had difficult moments, but I have never met people that were just able to be so open, vulnerable and honest with each other. 
From day one, we were talking about how it’s pretty much like we actually are in a relationship altogether! We knew going into it that we would experience all the highs and the lows that you go through in a romantic relationship in our friendships too. But I think we all handled it well and had an incredible trip and time together.

Related blog post: How to Deal with the Highs and Lows of Long-Term Travel

workawayers admiring the sunrise while travelling special moments
Now that you’re all in different places, how do you all stay connected?
We're in a big group chat, and we FaceTime each other. But one of the benefits of us being apart is that it’s an easy excuse for us to visit other areas. The fact that we have a love for travelling in common makes our living apart a little bit easier because all of us are more willing to make the journeys to see each other.

workaway friend group with host and dog
What Workaway would you want to go to next?
Alison, you've been wanting to do a coffee farm in Vietnam for so long.
Or something involving art - we did a really great workaway in Germany and I think about it all the time. It was a clean energy power plant, but the people that owned it were artists who put on shows, and I could do sculpture which I loved.
trio herding goats farmstay volunteer exchange ideas with workaway friends
Any advice to groups of friends you want to travel, especially through Workaway?
Get organised and do the work in advance, because when you're at the Workaway and you're meeting all these wonderful people you want to take that in, as much as you can. You don't want to be wasting time trying to figure out where you're going next. It's scary and very intimidating at first, but I would say take the leap of faith because it's well worth it.
Rip off the band-aid! The sky is your limit.
group of workaway travellers sitting at the back of a van and smiling at camera against tropical nature backdrop
Coordinating the logistics of travelling as a group took us a decent amount of planning, and a lot of time on Zoom calls to narrow down our choices of countries and hosts. But that was also kind of a fun part of it, looking at all the different possibilities.
 It was so easy to do through Workaway too. If you really want to do it and your heart is set on it, and you have a group of people you think you could do it with, the only thing holding you back is your fear.
fun dinner homemade barbecue with workaway friends homestay positive experience
And again, the communication! If these are the people that you're willing to travel with, they should be willing to hear what you want out of your experience, and create that safe space for you. 
I think a lot of us had different people telling us, don't do that, it’s scary or dangerous. Our group really came together and we were aware of those things but we kept pushing forward. Stick to your guns and you're good.
I was the one who wasn’t sure I could go but the others convinced me, especially something Brooke said. She said that when we travel we get to experience so many beautiful things, but rarely do we give something back, and then there was no way I could say no. Staying with the locals and immersing yourself like that makes it feel like you’re no longer travelling, but really living in that community. I truly believe it is the best way to travel.
diverse group of workawayers and host with dogs smiling at camera in front of host's home

When asked about the biggest takeaway they’ve had from travelling as a group, everyone agreed the hardest part is finding a group to travel with… so if you’re lucky enough to have already found a group, the hardest part is done! And if you haven’t found that travel tribe yet, don’t fret – here’s your very own Workaway community right here💫

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