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My First Workaway Experience in Kuala Lumpur

My First Workaway Experience in Kuala Lumpur

My First Workaway Experience in Kuala Lumpur
September 20, 2018
Lifestyle | Travel
As a budget traveler I am always looking for ways to save money. One of the ways I have decided to do so is by volunteering. Using platforms such as Workaway, Worldpackers and Helpx, I can work in exchange for a place to stay and sometimes some food. I am happy to say I have just completed my first Workaway experience in Kuala Lumpur, and it was definitely worth it.

Let me just say one thing first, I never planned on going to Malaysia, I am also not the biggest city girl. So the decision to spend 2 weeks in Kuala Lumpur made me a little apprehensive at first. However, I’m glad I did it. I searched for a while to find right place to volunteer using all three of the platforms above, finally settling on a guesthouse called “Birdnest Collective” in Kuala Lumpur. It wasn’t my first choice, but decided it was best in order to have a new debit card shipped to me, since my ditzy self left both of them in the ATMs in Bali… but that’s besides the point. Fate brought me to The Birdnest, but I quickly fell in love with the entire experience and was happy to stay.

When I first arrived I met Willie, the owner of the guesthouse. He is from Malaysia and was very welcoming, making me feel right at home. He explained the type of work I would be doing, and the ways the place was operated while giving me a tour. He showed me to my room, which was a shared dorm with 4 other girls who were also volunteering. The room was small with bunk beds crammed in but this didn’t bother me, as I was mostly working or on the beautiful rooftop. This is by far the best part about the place. It is a rooftop garden complete with iguanas named Bella and Silly. There are plenty of places to lounge and read a book, hang out with friends or get some work done.    
The next day was my first day working. We had a schedule that was broken into three shifts. We each worked one of the three shifts, 5 days a week with two days off to do whatever we pleased. During every shift I was responsible for check-ins and checkouts. The morning shift entailed making breakfast for the guests and afterwards cleaning the rooms of the people who had checked out. This was the busiest shift, as I would be working the entire time, but it went by fast.  
The mid shift was usually the slowest as I would do the laundry and sometimes be tasked with cleaning while I waited in between loads. My favorite and most worked shift however, was the night shift because I got to socialize. My main task was making sure I took care of the guests if they wanted a beer or a soft drink. While I was there, I picked up the skill of playing the ukulele, so most of my nights were spent playing for the guests and Willie, who loved to hear me play.

The shifts were 5 hours each, sometimes getting done a little early on the morning shift if all the work was done. In my free time I was allowed to do whatever I wanted. 

Some of the other volunteers would go out and explore, but I enjoyed working on my laptop in local coffee shops or on the rooftop. Sometimes I’d go to this fancy rooftop pool with other volunteers, once I even went to the lap pool to swim laps. However, being the only girl made me a subject of attention and in return made me feel slightly uncomfortable, so I didn’t end up going back. There were also HUGE malls in KL that we’re fun to go browse mainly just for books, which was something else I rediscovered. My love of books, I read about 5 in my short time there.  
Everything I did was more just for day-to-day pleasure and productivity. I acted more like someone that lived in KL than someone there to travel it, and this was exactly what I had wanted to experience. I came to travel to see places through the eyes of someone who lived there not those of someone passing through. Doing a work exchange definitely allowed me to do that, without me even realizing it.
 

As always, what made the experience the most worthwhile, were the people I met. Not just Willie and the guests but also the other volunteers. They became my day-to-day life. It was like having live in co-workers. They were my roommates and my colleagues and my friends, all in one! We’d go get cheese naan together, work and drink coffee at a local coffee shop, or peruse the isles of books. I also got slightly attached to Jack the fat cat, or Jackie for short. I don’t even like cats, but I was slightly sentimental when it came time to leave the little cropped tailed, fatty behind.  

Overall, my Workaway experience was an extremely positive one and I will definitely do it again. I also recommend it to anyone that is looking to experience a city or place in a slower more authentic way, while also saving some money! And if you ever find yourself in Kuala Lumpur, have yourself a good stay at Birdnest Collective and tell Willie I say hi!
As a budget traveler I am always looking for ways to save money. One of the ways I have decided to do so is by volunteering. Using platforms such as Workaway, Worldpackers and Helpx, I can work in exchange for a place to stay and sometimes some food. I am happy to say I have just completed my first Workaway experience in Kuala Lumpur, and it was definitely worth it.

Let me just say one thing first, I never planned on going to Malaysia, I am also not the biggest city girl. So the decision to spend 2 weeks in Kuala Lumpur made me a little apprehensive at first. However, I’m glad I did it. I searched for a while to find right place to volunteer using all three of the platforms above, finally settling on a guesthouse called “Birdnest Collective” in Kuala Lumpur. It wasn’t my first choice, but decided it was best in order to have a new debit card shipped to me, since my ditzy self left both of them in the ATMs in Bali… but that’s besides the point. Fate brought me to The Birdnest, but I quickly fell in love with the entire experience and was happy to stay.

When I first arrived I met Willie, the owner of the guesthouse. He is from Malaysia and was very welcoming, making me feel right at home. He explained the type of work I would be doing, and the ways the place was operated while giving me a tour. He showed me to my room, which was a shared dorm with 4 other girls who were also volunteering. The room was small with bunk beds crammed in but this didn’t bother me, as I was mostly working or on the beautiful rooftop. This is by far the best part about the place. It is a rooftop garden complete with iguanas named Bella and Silly. There are plenty of places to lounge and read a book, hang out with friends or get some work done.    
The next day was my first day working. We had a schedule that was broken into three shifts. We each worked one of the three shifts, 5 days a week with two days off to do whatever we pleased. During every shift I was responsible for check-ins and checkouts. The morning shift entailed making breakfast for the guests and afterwards cleaning the rooms of the people who had checked out. This was the busiest shift, as I would be working the entire time, but it went by fast.  
The mid shift was usually the slowest as I would do the laundry and sometimes be tasked with cleaning while I waited in between loads. My favorite and most worked shift however, was the night shift because I got to socialize. My main task was making sure I took care of the guests if they wanted a beer or a soft drink. While I was there, I picked up the skill of playing the ukulele, so most of my nights were spent playing for the guests and Willie, who loved to hear me play.
The shifts were 5 hours each, sometimes getting done a little early on the morning shift if all the work was done. In my free time I was allowed to do whatever I wanted. 
Some of the other volunteers would go out and explore, but I enjoyed working on my laptop in local coffee shops or on the rooftop. Sometimes I’d go to this fancy rooftop pool with other volunteers, once I even went to the lap pool to swim laps. However, being the only girl made me a subject of attention and in return made me feel slightly uncomfortable, so I didn’t end up going back. There were also HUGE malls in KL that we’re fun to go browse mainly just for books, which was something else I rediscovered. My love of books, I read about 5 in my short time there.  
Everything I did was more just for day-to-day pleasure and productivity. I acted more like someone that lived in KL than someone there to travel it, and this was exactly what I had wanted to experience. I came to travel to see places through the eyes of someone who lived there not those of someone passing through. Doing a work exchange definitely allowed me to do that, without me even realizing it.
 

As always, what made the experience the most worthwhile, were the people I met. Not just Willie and the guests but also the other volunteers. They became my day-to-day life. It was like having live in co-workers. They were my roommates and my colleagues and my friends, all in one! We’d go get cheese naan together, work and drink coffee at a local coffee shop, or peruse the isles of books. I also got slightly attached to Jack the fat cat, or Jackie for short. I don’t even like cats, but I was slightly sentimental when it came time to leave the little cropped tailed, fatty behind.  

Overall, my Workaway experience was an extremely positive one and I will definitely do it again. I also recommend it to anyone that is looking to experience a city or place in a slower more authentic way, while also saving some money! And if you ever find yourself in Kuala Lumpur, have yourself a good stay at Birdnest Collective and tell Willie I say hi!