Volunteering as a social media manager in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain
How I used Worldpackers to live on an island in Spain and gain valuable social media experience, allowing me to level up my resume and land the marketing position I'm in now.
Right before I graduated from university, I was in this weird limbo phase of, "What should I do with my life?"
My options were: get a "real" job with benefits and continue to work until I was old, retired, and finally had the time and money to travel. Or, I could continue to work at my retail job part-time for a bit to save money to travel on a tight budget and worry about career stuff later.
The decision was easy. I had my whole life to be a responsible adult, so why not take some time to see the world?
After graduation, I put in more hours at my retail job and saved almost every penny of the money I earned. While I was working to save, I searched Worldpackers for potential exchange opportunities. I was pretty open to doing different things but I really wanted to find something that would be a great experience to put on my resume.
I graduated with a degree in strategic communication which is basically a combination of journalism and marketing. When I found the social media manager volunteer experience for a co-living/co-working space in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain, I was beyond thrilled.
It was the perfect opportunity! Not only would I be able to live on an island in Spain right next to the beach, but I would do it while gaining valuable experience to leverage on my resume. I got in contact with the manager of the co-living space and I was confirmed for my first Worldpackers experience quite quickly.
The position of social media manager allowed me to do the things that I would be doing on my own anyway.
I spent my days wandering through the bustling streets filled with diverse people and a mixture of very old and shiny renovated buildings. I took photos along the miles of beach and created promotional videos for the company website giving a tour of the cozy, yet spacious flat I stayed in.
I also got to interview other travelers living in the co-working space for blog posts and became really good friends with some of them. One of the best parts of this volunteer experience was that it allowed me to have flexibility with my time.
I only had to work for my host part-time and in exchange, I had access to a bed in a shared room and bathroom, a fully equipped kitchen, and access to the co-working space.
It was nice to have somewhere to go to write, edit my videos, and drink free tea. On top of that, I only had a five-minute walk to the beach, which for this desert girl, was such a luxury. I spent my evenings walking along the pier alone or with new friends feeling the cool ocean breeze and appreciating the sound of the waves crashing around me. Not only was Las Palmas absolutely beautiful, but I never felt unsafe being by myself.
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria was the perfect balance between locals and tourists. Many of the people who vacationed there were from the mainland of Spain while more tourists from other parts of the world visited the southern part of the island called Maspalomas.
Las Palmas definitely had that local vibe but there was also plenty to do in the city. The old historic part of town was a quick twenty-minute bus ride away. Volunteering with Worldpackers allowed me to interact with a lot of locals as well as digital nomads who were temporary locals.
I had the opportunity to practice my Spanish nearly every day. My host was amazing and shared all her favorite local spots to eat so I never had a bad meal. Working in this cute beach city made me feel like a local. I went grocery shopping with the locals, I attended festivals with locals, I danced in night clubs with locals, and I used public buses like a local.
Everyone who lived on the island was so kind and welcoming. I developed an attachment to this place like no other I've ever been to. I had a really great experience and my only regret is that I didn't volunteer to stay longer.
While I had a really great time volunteering, I did feel a little homesick sometimes. I was a solo traveler who was very far from home. Luckily, I had access to reliable WiFi that allowed me to FaceTime family and friends. Other than a little bit of homesickness, I never felt lonely. I had my flatmates to hang out with if I needed company or I could head down to the co-working space for some human interaction.
Solo traveling is a great way to get to know yourself and I valued the time I spent alone just as much as the time I spent meeting new people.
Through this Worldpackers experience, I learned that working while traveling is possible. This work exchange allowed me to be in a creative position that helped someone else, while also being a practical, cost-effective way of traveling.
If I had to pay to stay in a hostel for the month that I was there, I wouldn't have been able to stretch the money that I had as long as I did. Through doing work exchanges, I was able to travel around Europe for four months.
My advice to anyone who is interested in volunteering for Worldpackers would be to choose an experience that will not only be fun but will actually teach you something.
You will learn as you travel no matter what, it's inevitable. However, many Worldpackers experiences can help you develop skills that you can take with you through life, or to your next Worldpackers experience.
Currently, I reside in my home town of Albuquerque working a full-time job while traveling and writing in my spare time. I currently share my adventures on my Instagram and blog. My goal is to eventually get a remote position so I can work and travel freely.
I am grateful to Worldpackers for giving me the opportunity to volunteer as a social media manager because that experience led me to land the marketing position I'm in now.
For people who don't have much money to travel, work exchanges are a wonderful opportunity to see the world on a small budget.