A couple of months ago I found a site called

The workaway concept is very simple. There are hosts who need some help and there are workaways who need somewhere to stay while they backpack around the world. No money changes hand, just a maximum of 5 hours work per day Monday to Friday in exchange for meals and a place to sleep.

I had a trawl around the site and found most of the hosts had organic farms and needed someone to help sow, dig, build or do something to earn their keep. There were also families who wanted help with looking after children and one or two old people who wanted help looking after themselves… I could probably fall into the later category but I have Mrs Sensible to look after me. Accommodation for the workaway ranged from a Teepee,(no kidding) to a self contained flat.

I thought is was a really good idea and decided to upload a couple of pictures of our house and announce that we needed domestic help in the house.  After vetting one or two people and I have to say Facebook is really useful for this task because it is amazing what people write on their pages I accepted a young woman called Chloe from Tasmania. Normally I would change her name but I have nothing but praise for Chloe.

That night I thought I had better tell Mrs Sensible about my experiment….

Part of the discussion with Mrs Sensible was, “but she is on the way and you hate ironing just as much as I do”.

Mrs Sensible really couldn’t get her head around the workaway concept, maybe it is an Italian culture thing or maybe it was her friends who made remarks like, so how long have you known her, and what if she goes rummaging around in your knicker drawer.  A week before Chloe was due to arrive Mrs Sensible said “if this girl is arriving on Monday we had better spend the weekend tiding the house and getting it ready!!!!!  It is defiantly an Italian culture thing, “we have a guest coming, you start cleaning and I will start baking”. No amount of protesting from me about the lack of work there would be left for our workaway experiment cut any ice.

Even after Chloe arrived there were problems. My wife was mixing up the concept of workaway and guestaway. Due to Italy’s Ferraogosto the two-week period when Italy grinds to a halt and everyone heads to the sea, both Mrs Sensible and I were at home while Chloe was with us. So Chloe managed to do a maximum of around 1 to 2 hours work a day the rest of the time we spent showing Chloe places like the King Palace in Turin, wine tasting at the local cantina or we went out to eat at our favourite pizzeria. We also spent a fine Sunday morning sat in a cafe drinking aperitif. In the house the two of them sat and watched videos or disappeared and went shopping. My wife would say Peter please go and fetch the washing in and I would splutter but but we have a guestaway…

Both Mrs Sensible and I are back at work and today I received another application from a workaway, Miss X from New Zealand is due to arrive on the 12th of this month. I will warn Mrs Sensible after the weekend because no way am I spending this weekend cleaning the house. I have sent a very detailed e-mail to Miss X from New Zealand with the work that is involved including, ironing, cleaning the bathroom & kitchen and mopping the floors and under no circumstance must I have to fetch the washing in or should she spend the day shopping or watching videos with my good wife Mrs Sensible.

9 thoughts on “Workaway

  1. My wife and Mrs. Sensible have the same way of dealing with people coming over to the house. Hahahaha…I found my self in your writing so much ;O) Great to see it from another man’s point of view. I thought it was a Southern thing, but I see it is an Italian thing after all!
    Keep it up my friend! How lucky are you that they are always women workaways ;O)


  2. Chloe sounds like she got real lucky! Can’t say I’ve ever had a “guestaway” experience myself.. 🙂 thanks for the feedback on the cob house. if you decide to build one you will need lots of workaways to help out, and this time around they wont feel at all like guestaways, i can promise that…


    • I love the idea of a cob house, and the heat insulation would be wonderful in Sicily where the summers are soooo hot and the winters very cold. But I wonder how practical they are and how difficult the planning permission would be. Anything to do with obtaining permission from the council or government is a nightmare in Italy.

      If we go ahead with a cob house I will invite you to be team leader, I will be happy being the tea boy.

      One last thing because of Mrs Sensible it is not possible to have a workaway here they all turn into guestaways, and I was astounded when I showed her your blog and she said “find out how to make a cobb house, we can build one on our land in Sicily”


  3. Pingback: Fellow Blogger – Pecora Nera from an Englishman in Italy | It Goes On

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