When we started this journey, we decided to try a workaway experience and we looked for a place where to do it. After a long research, few weeks ago we finally found an opportunity of workaway in Taiwan, and a really interesting one: a week as banana harvesters (!) in a nice family of farmers who lives in the countryside of Taitung, on the east coast. Unfortunately few days before our meeting they sent us a message saying they had had a problem and they had to be in HongKong! Our week at the farm was gone… ;(
New workaway opportunity!
We immediately made a new attempt and this time we were successful: we found an intriguing announcement from a guy offering free accomodation in his hostel in exchange for a specific project to realize (art or photography). We immediately applied and that is how we met Gary, our host at T-Life hostel in Taichung.
What Gary asked us was to visit his town and publish some articles about it on our blog, because he would like to attract more western tourists in his city and we really appreciated his offer and his philosophy!
A brand new hostel in Taichung, T-Life
T-Life is a new hostel close to Tunghai University, best known for the beautiful Luce Chapel. You can easily distinguish it from the adjacent buildings thanks to the lime green colour that decorates the balconies and that is the leitmotiv of the inside decorations.
The attention to detail is particularly visible in the interior design: rooms are wide, walls are white and green and the pieces of furniture are modern and made of wood, so the overall impression is of a comfortable and warm place where to stay. The lounge is a nice place, close to the kitchen, where you can seat on the tatami and relax, meet the other guests, have lunch or draw on the wall with the chalks.
Gary is a 35 years old guy who studied interactive arts in Canada for 6 years (his family moved there when he was 17). After his studies he moved back, had a one year work experience in Australia and developed a passion for travelling; at that point he noticed that in Taiwan there was a lack of structures for tourists so he took the decision to open a new hostel in Taichung. In 2014 his two partners and him studied hard the taiwanese law – he told us it’s really complicated, but we are sure that the italian one is even more complicated ^__^ – and applied to certificate: the officially opening was held at the end of march 2015.
The hostel has 40 beds, divided into doble rooms, 8-mixed dorm and 8-female dorm; the great majority of the guests is from Asia, but Gary would like to have also guests from western countries, in order to make T-Life a multicultural place where to stay.
How T-Life influences Gary’s Life
Gary is happy with his job, it’s going well and he’d like to open other hostels in Taiwan in the future. He told us this new job canged his mind in many ways; when he is travelling abroad, for example, he analyzes the details of the guesthouses he visits and tries to understand in the best way what makes a guest feel at ease. He chose the interior of the hostel all by himself, willing to keep an high standard.
He defines himself as a fighter – he practices Muay Thai – and a mirror person who reflects the behaviour of people towards him; the new experience made him less passive and now he tries to accomplish his goals even if there might be a risk of failure.
We spent six nights in this hostel in Taichung and we had a good time there, Gary and his crew are kind and their superfunny neighbour Jakie, who manages the parking in front of the hostel, is a plus! (He doesn’t speak english, but this doesn’t prevent him from communicating with the guests at T-Life! We love him!!)
We met nice guys from Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia and Xinjiang, we helped the crew to prepare chinese dumplings for everyone and during our last evening, on Christmas day, Jackie prepared italian spaghetti with pesto and clams for everyone!
It was a really pleasant experience even for us who do not usually spend a lot of time with people while travelling.
If you are planning a visit to Taichung we can guarantee that T-Life is a very good option!