Second chapter of Pequod discovering GoCambio experience. Here’s Lorraine’s story of cambioing, from Ireland to Spain. She had a lot of fun while learning something new about Spain and teaching her host English in a fun way…
How did you find out about GoCambio?
Well the company started up in my hometown of Youghal, Ireland. I bumped into a friend who was working for the company when I was home on holiday. I travel a lot and when he mentioned what he was working on I was immediately intrigued! I couldn’t believe no one had done this before!
Can you describe the passages one has to do before setting off? Would you describe it as easy?
You can sign up on the GoCambio website (here). It couldn’t be easier. You enter your details which you late have to verify for security reasons, a standard request from any reputable website. Then you fill out your profile including what you can offer either as a guest or a host; likes, dislikes, languages, hobbies, interests…etc. It’s pretty straight forward and very user friendly. Then all you have to do is pack you bag and ditch the guidebook!
Did you like your host?
Alex was so much fun. I went to his place in Zaragoza, Spain. It turned out we had a lot in common and he really made me feel welcome and at home. I made so many friends and hopefully Alex will make his way to Youghal sometime so that I can extend him the same welcoming!
So, you were a Guest, which means that you were hosted for free and in exchange you had to help your host with learning and improving a language, your language. What did you do, precisely? Can you describe your day while on “cambio”?
Sure! Well since Alex and I got along so well, he decided that rather than a ‘class’, he just wanted to hang out and speak in English so that’s what we did. The language teaching is something you can discuss with your host in advance and arrange a situation that is suitable for both of you. Some people want to chat, maybe others have a particular goal in mind and might ask you to help them with their writing for example, it really depends on what you want or need from you cambio which is really the beauty of the whole experience. We enjoyed breakfast together and then Alex gave me a tour of the city of Zaragoza. He told me the history, showed me the best spots to eat (I may have eaten a little too much to tell the truth), some funky bars for grabbing drinks, he brought me to the famous cathedral and we had dinner in an amazing Mexican restaurant tucked away down a side street.
Would you say that you had time enough to enjoy the city and your trip? Is the “cambio” way demanding in any way or not?
Absolutely not. I went with the flow and was lucky to actually want to hang out with my hosts and see a different side of the city but you can also just tell your host ‘Hey, I would love to do some sightseeing, could we have classes in the morning/evening/at a specified time’ etc. Its about sharing, so it has to be convenient for everyone. It’s a sharing economy, give a little, get a little!
Is there a moment that you especially enjoyed and would like to share with us? Anything nice or particular that happened with your host?
Alex and I made chicken fajitas together and he invited his friends over for dinner. We took turns playing different Spanish or English songs and Alex showed me how to do some salsa dancing. I was terrible at it but it was such an authentic experience that I thought ‘Yeah, this is what it’s all about’.
Did this experience with GOCambio influence your idea of Europe and being European in any way? Was it significant in terms of belongin to a larger community?
Of course! It brings people together in such a unique way that you can’t help but really feel a part of it. It is refreshing as someone who travels a lot to come across people who want the same authentic experience, who want to see the things that aren’t in the guidebook, who want to wander to places that are not on a map, who want to speak to real people who have real lives and real stories to tell.