Hostels, Bicycles and Sheep...oh my!
Comrie Travel Blog› entry 59 of 113 › view all entries
August 25th, 2008 – by: afredrix
I found them through an organization I now belong to called Help Exchange. It's a web community that posts opportunities to work in exchange for accommodations. For three hours of work a day, five days a week, I could stay for free, use the amenities and take a bike whenever and wherever I wanted.
A New Zealand couple, Carly and Adam, beat me to the punch in applying. As a result, they were housed in the personal caravan behind the hostel.
The work was reasonable, if not mentally challenging. Toilet scrubbing skills won't exactly be added to my design resume, but it was enough to make me feel useful again.
The three of us took advantage of the bike access and free afternoons with rides across the countryside. Sometimes it was just riding into town (3 or 5 miles away, depending on how big of a town you wanted) to get our groceries and carrying them home on our back. Sometimes it was purely for exercise or the act of going on a long ride. Our bosses Andrew, Colin and Fee knew the area and trails well, and would map out different paths for us.
It was a blessing that Carly and Adam were there at the same time. To share the workload, for one, but more importantly, for their company. It could have been a quiet week and a half, had a I been there alone.
On my last night, our boss Andrew and his wife (whose name I shamefully was never sure of) invited us all down to their house for a barbeque. In Scotland, however, it's always best to have a back-up plan for barbequing. And true to this country's personality, it did indeed rain, so oven cooking it was. Colin, Fee and the permanent housekeeper all joined us as well, and it was a great night of dinner, wine and an archaic (but very fun) board game Andrew so enthusiastically suggested we play.
I was actually really sorry that I had to leave Comrie so quickly, toilet cleaning duties and all. It was a really nice mix of company, purpose and relaxation. I didn't feel like I had to walk around all day, check out museums and play the part of the perfect tourist. I could just be. But I had found the job too late and there really wasn't anyway I could stay. For the first time, I had an approaching deadline and place I needed to be, so off towards London I went.
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