4 Museums, 2 art galleries, 3 harbours, 9 beaches, 4 meals out, 1 comedy show, 5 cafes, 1 afternoon swimming, 10 buskers, 1 lighthouse and 14 nights in a beautiful Mallorca apartment… for the price of 24.3 pints at the local pub.
Two weeks in Maraxi, Mallorca with a Workaway family who will be giving me accommodation and meals in exchange for five hours work, five days a week giving guitar lessons to their daughter and teaching them about how social media can be used to promote their photography business and their book: Mallorca Moments.
Mallorca was my first travel destination of my trip and I felt nervous when I sat down on the plane. Fighting my worried mind was useless so I decided my best bet was to try to ignore the drunk excitable Magaleuf girls next to me and sleep through the journey. With a bit of luck, I nodded off and two and a half hours later I awoke to watch the plane fly into the island – the place I was to call home for the next two weeks.
Luckily for me, the airport is not busy at this time of year so I managed to find my bag and the information desk where I was to meet my hosts relatively stress free. A small blond girl stares at me curiously and I realise that it is Kayleen, the girl I was to be staying with. The mother, Yvonne, leads me to the car and my nervous, slightly awkward attempt to make small talk begins.
When we got to the apartment, my initial thought was “uh-oh, it’s really clean, I am not going to fit in here”, but all I had to do was look at the artwork to realise I may have been too quick to judge.
“I have travelled 75 countries,” Yvonne explains. “The art here is from all around the world.”
After a brief discussion about her travels (more on that later), I was shown to my room and invited to join her and her daughter to a bonfire that evening in celebration of the Spanish holiday St Sebastian’s day. Before we left I had my first guitar lesson with Kayleen which resulted in her shyness disappearing to a reveal a very lively, enthusiastic girl.
I spent most of my first weekend with the family, who showed me some of their favorite places. To begin with, we went to the island capital Palma to watch a ceremony outside the gothic cathedral where people bought their pets to be blessed – rabbits and hamsters include. Most of the guitar lessons I gave that day were on the beach or in the park and it didn’t feel like work at all. I think my favorite moment was when Kayleen got her guitar out in a café to play ‘Smoke on the Water’ and instead of the telling-off I expected, her mum just laughed and no one around so much as batted an eyelid.
I did most of my working hours that first week as the weather was a little miserable outside and the family were very flexible. Helping Yvonne with the social media side of her photography business was great as I got to see her stunning photos and hear the brilliant stories that inspired them. I particularly enjoyed hearing about her trek through the jungle in Thailand where at the end she encountered a herd of elephants and was primed that this was to be her ride home. Another story about a drunken tractor driver in Iceland who managed to stumble outside and get lost in a snow storm was also amusing. Hearing about her travels only inspired me more to embark on my own which I was especially grateful for. Yvonne was the best person to meet at the start of an adventure.
Teaching guitar continued to be fun for the rest of my stay and Kayleen definitely kept me on my toes. On her day off we raced along the sea front on rollerskates and I realised I was actually going to miss her quite a bit when I left.
On the days I was not working, I was exploring or reading by the sea, reading being something I had neglected back at home. I got to see some original Dali pieces at one of the museums in Pamla and was shown some beautiful old villages like Valdemossa by the family. On the second weekend they took me to Pollenca to climb the 365 steps up to the church to see the view. I was greeted at the end of my walk by a little busker in a smashing hat, accompanying the view with a charming Spanish piece. It was so stormy that day that you could see the waves crashing up over the tops of the Spanish houses. I was actually nervous standing on the edge that I’d be blown off.
There were very few aspects of my time in Mallorca that didn’t run smoothly. I did get lost quite a bit but that was usually because I didn’t mind where I was going and for the most part it worked out better that way. For example, on the last day I wanted to go to Portal Solleir but got off a stop early by mistake and after twenty minutes of wondering around and realising, I had lost the bus stop and my way completely. When I finally found a sign to where I was heading it was a 45 minute hiker’s route up the side of the mountain, but this did allow me to view the whole of Sollier below. The weather was lovely so I got some great photos and it was so peaceful that I could hear the bells ringing around the sheep’s neck below: a sound Yvonne described as “the sound of Mallorca.”
All in all, I couldn’t have asked for a better start to my trip and the whole two weeks including flights came to just under £70. For anyone travelling on a budget, I highly recommend signing up for Workaway as staying with locals really allows you to experience sides of the culture and visit hidden places you might not get to go to otherwise. Being in Mallorca bought me many benefits and reminded me of the importance of taking your time to connect with the world around you instead of rushing around all the time. An Aisian character from Yvonne’s travels explained it best when he told the group to “Take your time but hurry up.” At first I didn’t understand but in hindsight it makes perfect sense. You can go somewhere quickly without rushing and shutting yourself off from your surroundings like we do so often, disappearing into our own heads and worries. I spent a lot of time exploring the island alone being the only English speaker around but instead of feeling isolated – the experience reminded me of the how enjoyable time spent with oneself can be.