Hey guys! Jess with TWC here. We are releasing a new blog series today called Long-Term Travel! We are going to be featuring different travelers we've met who are traveling for an extended period of time and have found a reliable method to fund their travels as they go! Our hope is that this series will show that it is possible to travel long-term and conquer some of your bucket list without needing a savings account to afford it.
This series will be featuring people who are working online, volunteering for their stay through sites such as Workaway, getting free stays through house sitting, are self-employed, etc! We hope their stories inspire you to create and share your own! If you have found a way to fund your long-term travel and would like to be featured in this series, please email email@example.com or go to the Contact page of our website.
For our first blog post of this series, our friend Kass, who we met in Ireland, will be talking about the process she went through to become an Au Pair, her experiences so far, where she has been able to travel while being an Au Pair, and what her daily schedule looks like. You can check out Kass on Instagram at @kasstravelpass and @kassmart92.
And now... here is Kass's story in her own words:
Do you want to explore Europe but are not sure how you will do this? Well I am going to tell you how I was able to move to Europe for a year and how I was able to explore this beautiful continent.
First let me introduce myself. My name is Kass. I am 26 years old, and I am living a dream I had never thought would come true. I am currently living in France for a year as an Au Pair. I will be telling you my story about how I became an Au Pair, my experience so far, and my routine on a daily basis.
You might be wondering what an Au Pair is. An Au Pair is a young foreign person who helps with housework and childcare in exchange for food, a room, and some pocket money. Oh, and what's more, an Au Pair can visit other countries during their stay abroad.
The Process to Become an Au Pair:
The process of becoming an Au Pair was not a difficult one. I will be telling you the steps that I took that got me to France. In becoming an Au Pair, I had to research, think about the country that I wanted to go to, and consider the steps I had to take.
Step one: I had to select the country I wanted to go to. So why not go to the city of love? I selected France.
Step two: I created my profile on https://www.aupairworld.com/en. Once I created my profile and filled out the questions that I had to answer, I selected the country where I wanted to go.
Step three: I then looked through multiple host family profiles to see what was the best option for me. Took me a couple of days between sending messages to different families and receiving responses.
Step four: Phew, finally found the perfect host family for me. The family that I am with has four beautiful children, who I not only get to be an Au Pair for but who I get to be a big sister for.
Step five: Came to an agreement with my host parents on schedule, length of stay, pocket money, days off and etc. Once that was done we wrote up a contract with the host parents, which my host mom sent to me very quickly.
Step six: Signed my contract, resent to my host parent, and made a visa appointment with the Embassy that I selected to stay at.
Step seven: Got my visa appointment done and waited for about two weeks to hear back. Kept an eye out for flights.
Step eight: Got my visa back and booked my flight to France.
Step nine: Flew out to France on September 23, 2018 and have been here for about 7 months. Loving this amazing experience as an Au Pair.
The Daily Routine of an Au Pair:
Now I will tell you a little bit about my daily routine. Different families ask for different things. I have a set schedule, and some days I work less hours than others due to vacation time. Where I live, the kids go on vacation every two months for about two weeks. Depending on the time of year, I have to work those two weeks, have a week off, or I watch two out of the four kids during this time.
Monday: My host dad usually takes the kids to school on Monday mornings, so that means my day doesn’t start till about 4:30. While the kids are at school, I go to my French class around 10, and I will be there for about an hour and a half. Once I am done, I relax for the rest of the day and chill out till its time to pick the kids up. So at 4:30 pm, I pick up the kids to school give my host boy his sports bag and bring the girls home. Once we are home, I give the twins a bath, and my oldest host girl eats her gout. Once she's done, she goes and takes a shower while the twins eat their gout. Once the girls are done and play for a while, it's already 6:45 pm, and my host mom has arrived home from work.
Tuesday: My day usually starts at 7:25 am from waking up the twins and making sure that all the kids have eaten their breakfast, teeth brushed, hair made, dressed for school, beds made, shoes on,jackets on and backpacks on. At 8:20 am we walk to school, which is about five minutes from the house. Once I drop of the kids off at school, I walk back home and go back to bed till it’s time to go to my French class. When school is over, I then walk back home and make lunch and hang out till its time to go to school and pick the kids up. At 4:30 pm I go the the school, pick kids up, and walk with them back home. When we are back home, we have snacks and hang out till its time to take the older kids to church. I drop them off and then come back home with the twins and make sure they are bathed before their parents come home. After baths they watch TV, which I let them do on Tuesday while there siblings are at church. Parents get home with the older two, and then I am done for the day.
Wednesday: Wednesday is my longest day of the week. I am up at 7:30 in the morning and take the my oldest host kid to speech. Once done with speech we head back to the house in time for lunch. After lunch my two older kids get ready for sports. I drive my host boy to soccer and drop him off and then drive my host girl to ballet. After ballet is over, I go and pick up my host girl and then head home. We take our gout and take showers and baths. I wait for my host boy to get home. Once he is home, I ask him to take a shower. Around 6:45 pm my host parents are home, and I am done for the day.
Thursday: Wake up to make sure everyone is ready to go to school. At 8:20 walk them to school, come back home, and hang out for the rest of the day. Since my day isn’t so demanding, I like to help around the house. I like to either fold laundry, prepare the table for dinner, or even just make sure the house is tidy. Around 4:30 pm I pick the kids up from school and take the kids to sport. I drop of my host boy at tennis and the girls to ballet. Once the kids finish their sports, I pick them up at 5:45 pm and drive them home. Once home, we take showers and hang out till parents get home from work. Once they are home and after dinner is finished, I help clean up and then I'm off till Monday.
My weekend starts on Friday! On my days off I either go out or spend time hanging out with my host family. I like spending time with the family because you can really get to know them and see all the different personalities.
My Overall Experience and Travels as an Au Pair:
On September 23, 2018, I set forth on my new life as an Au Pair. I said my goodbyes to my family, and I got on my first international flight. It was an experience of lifetime! I had so many emotions come through me. I was nervous, scared, and excited. After spending most of my time on a flight, I finally landed at my first stop. I made it to Barcelona, Spain for about two hours. Enough time to make it to the next gate and grab a bite to eat. After those two hours, I finally got on the next flight to France. Before I knew it, I finally made it France!
The first two weeks here in France was an experience that I will keep close to heart like I will do with my entire experience here in France. Once I made it to France, my host dad Roland came to the airport and welcomed me. I had all kinds of feelings the day that I made it here. From feeling nervous to feeling excited. After picking me up and getting home and meeting my host mom, I realized that I was in great hands. They welcome me with open arms and told me to contact my family back home to let them know that I made it to my new home safely. What a whirlwind. The next few days, my host dad stayed home to show me the ropes, what the daily routine would be, and how to drive a manual car. Once the weekend came, my host mom and my amazing host kids took me to Paris.
After my first weekend in Paris and getting into the swing of things, I had made a few friends and started to go to French classes to learn French. I started to feel more comfortable as time passed and planned my first weekend trip during my stay here. I went to Brussels, Belgium. Brussels was an experience in itself! From the ride up there to staying at my very first hostel and experiencing the delicious food.
After that first trip within Europe, I planned my next trip... to Germany! The reason why I picked Parsberg, Germany was because my high school friends are living in Germany. I haven't seen them in 10 years and wanted to catch up. So off I head to my next stop! Let me tell you about Germany. Germany is beautiful, the food is amazing, and I never thought that I would taste something so delicious. During my time in Germany, my amazing friends took me around to explore, and we even went to the Christmas market.
Once I came back from my trip to Germany, it was time for my birthday and Christmas! I spent my birthday and the holidays in France with my host family, and they made it special as much as possible. For the holidays, my host family and I went over to my host dad’s parents house, and it was an amazing experience to see what they eat over the holidays. Seeing how the family is all together, everyone in the kitchen cooking, kids playing together, and trying new food was one for the books. During the holidays, we ate mussels, rice with egg rolls, oysters, escargot, and scallops. So much food and great company! We even went to church for Christmas Eve.
After Christmas at my host dad’s parents house, we went back home and took the time to relax and enjoy the rest of the break before the kids went back to school, my host parents back to work and I went back to taking care of the kiddos. During this time we enjoyed each other company. On New Years, my host parents hosted a dinner party with some friends. We ate yummy food, enjoyed each other's company, and got ready for the clock to strike 12. After New Years, my host family and I went to Paris to enjoy the day exploring and seeing the beautiful sights. We had a great time and then we went back to our regular schedule. Did I mention. when it's winter time here, it's actually pretty cold... I'm freezing!
After getting back into the routine and preparing for the next vacation. I decided to go to Dublin, Ireland. After much planning and deciding what I should do, I decided on a few fun things to do while in Ireland. In Dublin, I went to a Irish diner, a free walking tour which helped break the ice to meeting an amazing person, and going on a day excursion to Cliffs of Moher and Galway. I love that I am able to go around and see so many beautiful places here in Europe.
Since my last trip, I have decided to take a break from going to other countries and enjoy the beautiful place that I live in! There’s so much to see and explore here in France. I love being able to catch the train in Saint Quentin and go anywhere. While being here in France, I always make it a point to visit the Eiffel Tour because every time I go there I always see something new. I have seen protesters, street performers, just married couples taking stunning pictures, street vendors, colors changing leaves, and so much more. After making my first stop, I then decide where I want to go in the area. I just hop on the train and make my way to anywhere from Arc of Triomphe, Notre Dame, Champs Elysees, I love you wall, and so many other places. I have been here in France for about 7 months and still have so much to see. Even if I go to Paris and revisit well known historical sites, it’s always a new opportunity to look at things with fresh eyes. That's the beauty about living abroad: everyday is a new adventure. Since becoming an Au Pair, this has all become possible!
If you are wanting to discover something new and want to spend a longer period of time in a beautiful place I highly recommend becoming an Au Pair. By doing so you can visit all the beautiful places you want to see!
Your fellow traveler,