Diary – Day 10 // Volunteering went weird

I was excited for a long time but when I arrived it was fast replaced by disappointment. Mostly because of the chubby unhappy looking 50-something women starring at me from behind the reception. No smile, no hello, just an asking stare at me. She asked me if I had a booking. In that moment, I realised that she’d already forgotten my face since yesterday. When I told her about my volunteering at this hostel, she looked at me one more time and found a key for me. After I’d put my stuff in the room, I followed her back into the reception and then I just waited. She didn’t seem to bother telling me what was going on, who I was waiting for, what I was going to do or anything else for that matter. I gave up and left.  

I’ve been a big fan of volunteering for free accommodation and food for a while so when I had the chance to take one month out of my calendar to try, I was so ready. I searched the internet for ages and wrote creative optimistic emails to hosts around Malaysia. I received an answer from one hostel in Kuala Lumpur and I was counting the days before I could start my new so-called job.

So as you can imagine, the start of this workaway-job was not really going that great. I was sitting in my new hostel room thinking about what was going to happen. But then I met a nice British guy who gave me all the information I needed to cheer up again. I don’t know why I want everything to be organized. I’m already used to China being last-minute all the time, but then I thought maybe Malaysia was better. Not in this hostel anyway. The thing is that this guy cheered me up and my positivity is back on track again.

So because of this awkward beginning, I’ve thought about a few tips for you to avoid feeling bumped out about it if it doesn’t work out as you’d imagined (I think we all tend to imagine how things are going to be and when it’s not, it feels like we’re lost). But you don’t have to be because it will all work out fine and if it doesn’t, you have the right to leave immediately.

So my advice for you on the road doing volunteer jobs (workaway etc.);

  1. Don’t give up just because you feel bumped out about the situation. Sit down, take a deep breath, play your computer (always works for me, ten minutes on Instagram and I’m good again) and be ready for a new challenge.
  2. I realized because of the heat, I tend to became easily angry or upset. If you feel like me, then remember water. Water can cool you down and you can think clearly again.
  3. Give it a chance. I was told that I should start working today. Now it seems like it’s not going to be before tomorrow. But who cares right? Take a moment at the time and think about the fact that you’re here, you have the chance to travel, explore the world and you’ll learn something by everything you do.
  4. If your workaway stay is totally screwed up, you haven’t signed a contract and you can always leave. I did this because I’d once ended up in a faraway place with uncomfortable and rude people. I had to leave so I did. This is okay. You’re not signing up for anything and it’s important that it’s a good experience for everyone.

xx lingling

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