Helpful! Travel Sites.

I don’t usually do helpful content.  It’s not my thing: helpful.  Now, if you’re looking for lightly edited anecdotes about one woman’s opinion on Japanese dog hair arrangement magazines at the supermarket–and who isn’t?– I’m your blog. If you want to read about one woman’s general ennui and specific troubled incidents with bicycle ownership and parking in Asia, I do think I have a url for you. When it comes time to monetize this blog, which I’m sure it’s going to come to soon,  I’m going to sell it as “Nickle and Dimed” meets Asia, meets a complete lack of message or helpfulness. I don’t have any ideas for merchandize tie ins.

But today, because I’m on the look out for a way out of Japan (my housing expires on July 1st (that’s 11 days away) and my visa expires on July 13th), I am looking around for help.  And because I have very few real life advisors, I am turning to my friend, the Internet, for an exit plan.

And here’s what I’ve found, dear readers; We’re in luck:  Right now is the fucking renaissance of weird/possibly helpful budget travel sites! And now for a run-down of the ones I’ve used and enjoyed along with some new ones I’m looking forward to using and abusing.

1. Couchsurfing: couchsurfing because you don’t always have your own couch to sleep on.  Admit it and move on. You will find friends here.

2. Boat Jobs: findacrew it’s like couchsurfing turns to the open seas. And it’s about that safe! Ask me about Eritrea Spring Break 2011! Seriously.

3. Working on Organic Farms: wwoof because when farmers don’t resort to chemicals, someone has to weed those fields! Sign up, and it could be you. Yay vegetables! Long time no see vegetables!

4. Help exchange: helpx It’s like WWOOF with a less specific mission.  (I’m excited to use this because for a while I was Skyping a young Japanese friend who used to use it for free room and board while helping suburban Australian empty-nesters to–from what he and I could gather–move rock piles from one place to another in their yard or to do things in the driveway.  It sometimes took weeks. He used to say things like, “Nancy’s a great cook,” in Japanese, and give me tours with his laptop. If you like custard yellows and mint greens, you’re going to love the bed spreads in some of their/your new bedrooms.

4. Volunteer Jobs: workaway idealist Because hell, at the wage you make, you might as well volunteer.

5. Home Exchange: digsville  Awesome, and in the era of google translate, we’re not just limited to using the languages we speak. Here’s an Italian home exchange site: scambiocasa Maybe you can put your mom’s house up on this.  Honestly, does she use it like every day? Hey, that gives me an idea for a romantic comedy with some novel plot twists.

6. Caretaker work: caretaker It’s like being 14 again! Isn’t it exciting to be trusted?!

7. Pet Sitting: trustedhousesitters They trust you + animals. In New Zealand! The exercise will be good for you, fatty.

8. Teaching English: Dave’seslcafe.org. etc. etc. etc. In Japan some big sites are Ohayosensei.org, Gaijinpot.com and jobsinjapan. But I’m just starting this being helpful experiement, so let’s not push it.  A lot of sites and people can help you on this front: I like this guy’s youtube delivery http://youtu.be/ZK2DsikM_ ls . I have a policy of never working for an agent or recruiter who uses primary colored kid-like fonts in their company name. As if an adorable child scrawled the name of the agent/pimpy company who skrews hard working teachers out of a living wage and public schools out of precious money they could spend on making the schools feel less like Angola Prison. If you don’t have this policy about fonts, there are a lot more jobs open to you. Please enjoying! P.S. I have on ocassion counted 45 minutes of playing fruit basket as a workout.

9. Paying money to stay in other peoples’ apartments: Did you know Korea has its own version of Airbnb called Kozaza?

10. Ride share: For North America the most people offering rides still might be on  craig’slist. I’ve heard of a lot of others, some where you can give a little money, I would suggest paying it out over the course of the ride in tips so as to maintain some control over the radio/and/or just bringing your own headphones.  There’s one site called hitchhikers See, helpful!

11. Car Relocation: transfercarnewzealand transfercaraustralia  and  autodriveaway is in the U.S.I don’t know, my cousin says she did it, but seriously?

Whoot. Being helpful is exhausting!

Scenic view off the coast of the Aegean Sea (A...

Scenic view off the coast of the Aegean Sea (April 2005) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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