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Q & A: Post WorkAway interview with the traveling family

workaway family departing SLO regional airport May 2016

For the last year or more, I’ve been regaling you with tales and misadventures from the WorkAway road show, from one unique perspective: mine. Now, at long last, it’s time to pass the mic, give the rest of the family a voice and a chance to recall some of their fondest memories in their own words.

With the following interview, our family reflects back on an epic adventure, a dream, years in the making, that finally came to fruition. They said it couldn’t be done, but here we are to say that it could, and it has. And if we had a chance to do it all over again, we wouldn’t change a thing.

Q: How did your feelings and expectations before this trip compare with what actually happened?

Millie: I didn’t really know what to expect. You told me we would travel around and stay in people’s houses and work on farms. That’s basically what happened.

Pacha: The beginning of the trip wasn’t any different. I felt that same anxiety every time we left a host to go to a new one. But I always felt safe knowing that we could stop at any time if things weren’t working out.

Q: What advice would you give to anyone planning a similar trip?

Pacha: Make sure you pick good hosts! Don’t worry about what clothes you bring. You can do with a lot less than you think, as we learned when we had our suitcases stolen in
Girona. And be open minded; but that’s not really applicable advice to anyone who is already considering this.

Millie: Be prepared for getting kicked out of the house.

Q: Are you the same person you were before this trip, or have you changed?

Millie: I think I changed. I know a lot more things now. Like about farms.

Pacha: Maybe as a family we’ve changed. Daddy’s with us (instead of going away to work every day), and we’re together all the time now. It’s hard to be together that much. A lot of people can’t do that. I think it’s a good sign.

Q: Who’s your favorite person you met on this trip?

Max: Frank, because he has a bike for me. And Manon, because she has toys.

Millie: I like Allegra, and Manon, and Qim. And I really liked that skateboard thing we did with Eli and Monty.

Fred: I liked working with Louie. He knew how to grow, build and fix anything. We had a good time going around on the tractor. I had fun sharing music with Rob. I really like the off-grid thing they were doing there, even if we had to spend a few nights in the dark.

Q: What did you learn about yourself, or the world, on this trip?

Millie: I learned about exploring. I got used to driving long times. A three hour drive is no big deal now.

Max: I’m not listening to you. I’m listening to those birdies. And I’m looking at that rock.

Q: Would you like to travel to any more places?

Pacha: I would’ve liked to go to Portugal.

Max: A different continent. Africa. Because it’s bigger.

Millie: Not right now. Maybe after we get settled we can travel a little bit. But not for a whole year. Paris maybe. I wanna go to Argentina. Or Bolivia; they have pretty outfits there.

Fred: I want to go to Santiago de Compostela. We’re definitely going to San Sebastian this summer.

Q: How do you feel about learning new languages?

Millie: If we travel we can just stay there shortly, but if we settle, we can learn the language.

Q: Should we host WorkAway volunteers in our new home?

Millie: Yeah, yeah! I wanna do that. We can be like Manon and let other people visit us. People that know a language we know.

Pacha: Totally. That would be fun. I like the idea of hosting families, especially because it’s so hard for families to find hosts.

Q: What was the highlight, your favorite thing we did or favorite place we visited this trip?

Millie: My favorite host was Mitananda (Austria). And I liked all the babies.

Max: I like the cars. Race cars.

Pacha: I really really really liked my birthday in Barcelona. Sagrada Familia, and Leonard Cohen in the subway, and everything. I liked the beets in Bonneval. I liked learning about un-schooling at Mitananda. And I’m happy for all the places we went to that helped us figure out what we don’t want to do.

Fred: I’ll never forget those almond we pastries we had in San Flour. Or that dinner we had in Rodez, after we got booted from Chateau de Luc; escargot, aligot, tiramisu and chocolate mousse, right next to the cathedral, while the sun was setting.

Fred Hornaday once considered writing poetry for a living, but then thought better of it. Contact him with your questions and comments at


  1. janet lusk says:

    The kids had some good thoughts. Eager to hear the next plan. Keep us all up on this adventure.

  2. Andrea Nield says:

    Interesting idea to be a work away host! From all your experiences, what rules, tips would you design into a SLO workaway plan?

    • Pacha says:

      Not sure what you mean, Andrea! Being a host basically means you open your house to somebody who is going to help you do something (anything from babysitting to gardening or renovation), and in turn you let them stay at your house and feed them. Generally the WorkAwayers work 5 hours for 5 days a week in exchange for room and board, but other arrangements can be made depending on everybody’s needs. For example, a few times we ended up buying and preparing our own food, but worked only 2-3 hours a day.

      Let me know if you have any more questions! 🙂

  3. m says:

    beautiful. “and i’m looking at that rock.”

  4. Judy says:

    Speechless !

  5. Craig Druitt says:

    Congratulations to your intrepid family!

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