Going into Nashville I didn’t know much of what to expect.
Country music, sure. But the atmosphere, people & liveliness of the city were something you couldn’t ever prepare for.
I knew I wanted to travel & volunteer this year, but I work a full time job back home in Canada so I was limited by a short vacation window. Luckily through Worldpackers I found the Downtown Nashville Hostel, with just a 3-day minimum volunteer requirement. The job – Hostel Photographer.
I applied and was accepted that day by Ryan, the hostel manager.
After a (not so) quick flight, I landed in Nashville.
Upon meeting Ryan, I was warmly accepted by him and his staff. He very clearly went over the shots he wanted me to capture. The best part of my job? The ability to work whenever I wanted! Whenever I had the time, I was able to grab my camera & photograph the best moments happening in the hostel & around town. It was such a pleasure to use my skills for free accommodation.
I’m a solo traveller; I enjoy meeting people wherever I go. Photographing people in the hostel was honestly the best way to meet friends I’d ever found. I had an easy way to approach people and tell them what I was doing, and ask if they were ok with being photographed. This of course led to many questions about the greatness that is Worldpackers, and how they can get involved too. I was so lucky to meet Hunter, a local musician and Katie, a fellow traveller both within 24 hours of arriving. Hunter showed us all the best spots on Broadway and we danced more than any three people reasonably should in just a few days. I was also fortunate enough to be in Nashville during the Nashville Comedy Festival, and was able to see one of my favourite comedians Nate Bargatze.
The city is incredible. The liveliness and atmosphere is nothing I’ve ever experienced before. The nightlife is loud, bright & fun. I spent my evenings on Broadway dancing to every type of music you could imagine with some of the most fun people I’ve ever met.
Broadway is definitely not the only place to find a great time in Nashville however. We enjoyed cocktails at an amazing rooftop bar in The Gulch, incredible pizza in East Nashville and great pubs in Midtown.
After a few nights of the wild nightlife, we needed a break from the Honky Tonk. Katie and I ventured out of town to the Cheekwood Estates & Manor. We enjoyed an afternoon of garden walks and exploring mansions and it was such a peaceful way to spend an afternoon. Our Uber driver Doug told us all about how he attended Woodstock festival in 1969. It was incredible hearing his stories about walking miles in the rain for hours just so he could hear Jimi Hendrix play.
My volunteer experience was so valuable to me and I was so lucky to do it. Everyone who worked and stayed at the hostel was so friendly and helpful with me doing my job, they posed for me, and I even got a free beer or two out of it.
Worldpackers was such an incredible way to travel, I would recommend it to everyone 10 times over. Not only do you get to save money on your accommodation, but you get a great, unique experience you’ll never forget. Working in the hostel allowed me to meet people I never would have otherwise, and I cannot wait for my next experience through Worldpackers.