My Workaway Experience in Sicily

During my sabbatical year, I spent about 6 weeks in Sicily, doing a workaway experience.

A workaway is when you travel and work at the same time. I was helping in a Bed and Breakfast for 5 hours a day, and in return, I got accommodation and some of the meals.

I was situated in Milazzo. Milazzo is not the most beautiful city in Sicily, but it is situated near you some of the best places there: the Aeolian Islands Nebrodi, Le Madonnie, and Tindari. Milazzo itself has a long promenade and a quaint old town part.

One thing that surprised me in this town, was that it took me 3 weeks to find a place that did good coffee. I mean I was in Italy right?? So instead, some days I used to have a small coffee granita for breakfast. Not a bad way to start the day actually.

I was working in the best Bed and Breakfast in town – Bed and Breakfast Re Umberto, Service was paramount for the owner, the place is charming, has a great location and for the quality, it provides, not too expensive.

Workaway is a great way to visit places cheaply and/or do slow traveling. With workaway you get to know the locals and the way they really live and work.

My dream was always to live and work, between Malta and Sicily, and this was the perfect way to test it out. Some people travel the whole world like this. Since then a lot of workaway hosts are also offering payment.

In this post, I will let the pictures do most of the talking.

Photos from my visit of the Aeolian Islands

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La Bella Vita

In Sicily, for the first time in my life, life and work intertwined. I had just come out of a world were people ate on their laptops, and competed on who was more busy. The pace here was completely different. But it was not just the pace, that was different.

In Sicily we often stopped at 10:00 for coffee and croissants, invariably lunch lasted 3 hours, and dinners start 22:30 or later.

An agreement to meet up at 21:00hrs, meant around 22:30hrs, and once you get the hang of it, it’s perfectly all right.

Instead of “How do you do?’, the obligatory question when you met someone was “Have you been to the beach yet, today?”

An agreement to meet up at 21:00hrs, meant around 22:30hrs, and once you get the hang of it, it’s perfectly all right.

Parking spots included corners and pedestrian crossings. A slightly wide road meant double parking is ok. A policeman approaching an inappropriately parked car meant a jovial discussion between the two, that rarely ended with a ticket.

Lipari. Italian: The Sicilian Island with the best cannolo in the world. English:L'isola siciliana con il miglior cannolo al mondo.

The very things that would make me cringe back at home, here made me smile from inside. I loved that no one shook their head, as someone parked the car on the corner to get a quick espresso.

By now, probably, some of you are shaking their heads at me instead. And I do understand where you are coming from.

You either fall in love with it or you don’t. I did! Head over heels!!

The fact that I no longer worked 50, or more hours, a week, and being on a much less populated island, must also have had something to do with it. But I do believe that I was born for a life with fewer rules, and less people telling you what you should, and should not do, and I found it here.

At this point, probably, the Sicilians reading this, are mocking me and thinking that I have no idea what goes on between the Sicilians. The fact is, that I am very aware that as a foreigner I was only exposed to so much. And that fit me perfectly.

I am not saying Sicily is perfect. God knows. they have their problems especially economically. My heart goes out to those who have to leave this heavenly island to find work abroad. But for those privileged to live on this island, or visit, even if shortly, this is heaven on earth, in every way.

You either fall in love with the lifestyle or you don’t. I did! Head over heels.

Sicilian food

I mean, need I say more??

No blog post could give enough credit to the Sicilian cuisine.

Maybe because they put an extra effort in choosing the best ingredients; maybe it’s the air or the soil; or because they cook with a passion, but if it is at all possible, Sicilian food is even better than Italian food!!

It seemed to me that I was eating more than ever, (remember the daily 3-hour-lunches?); but miraculously, I returned home, 2 kilos lighter. I believe that the Italians know how to eat, not just how to cook.

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Then there are the desserts. Not being a sweet-tooth back at home; here I could not resist. I am a fanatic of the Sicilian granita. It is similar to a sorbet, but not a sorbet. There is nothing like it. You simply have to try it. Traditionally there is almond, coffee, chocolate, pistachio, and mulberries granita. But I also tried some innovative ones, such as ginger and prickly pears.

There is a bit of everything in Sicily

From terraced pools of water, natural springs, baroque cities, temples. ancient mosaics, Greek-like sister islands, active volcanoes, inactive craters, long beaches, small mountain villages, black sandy beaches, beautiful greenery and nature, and of course the lovely friendly people.

I will leave you to enjoy the pictures.

This is only a small taste of Sicily.

My plan (yes it’s a plan, no longer just a dream), is to live between Malta and Sicily. In today’s digital world one can work online and travel at the same time.

See you in Sicily!!

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