“Thanksgiving is an emotional holiday,” legendary Tonight Show host Johnny Carson once said. “People travel thousands of miles to be with people they only see once a year. And then discover once a year is way too often.”

I really have nothing against Thanksgiving. I enjoy the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, watching football, and eating turkey as much as the next guy, but when it comes to family gatherings, well, sometimes too much ‘togetherness’ can be a bit too much.

I mean, If you’re already traveling somewhere for the holidays, why go home?  Why not really get away from it all?

Well, the main reason is cost. If you want to go somewhere really exotic, you’ll probably end up blowing all your money on the plane ticket alone. And once you get there, there are hotels, restaurants, and any other number of expenses tourists incur when traveling abroad.

But what if you could save on food and lodging? What if you could extend your stay abroad and not have to pay through the nose for it? Would you be willing to ‘work for food’ – or shelter – if it came to that?

A new website, called KeyBoots, has a solution. KeyBoots is an online work exchange platform that allows travelers and backpackers seeking volunteer or temporary work opportunities to meet new people, experience a foreign culture, and live like a local when traveling abroad.

With KeyBoots, so long as you don’t mind ‘pitching in’ by working, you can find short-term and seasonal jobs that provide a place to stay that’s right for you, wherever you happen to be traveling around the globe. The site has everything from organic farming and seasonal fruit picking to bartending and hospitality jobs.

Imagine yourself backpacking through Australia, enjoying your trek ‘down under’ so much that you decide to extend your trip by a few weeks, or even months, but then you run out of money. What will you do now? Fortunately, with KeyBoots, you can find a temporary work exchange opportunity that’s right for you, wherever you happen to be traveling around the globe.

One of the things I like most about KeyBoots – besides the idea of free room and board (ok, so you’ll have to work a little too), is their catchy slogan, “Don’t Just Visit, Live It!” The concept behind it being that if you want to really experience a foreign culture from the inside, you have to ‘live it’ and not just ‘visit’ like a tourist would.

I agree wholeheartedly with that sentiment. But as I think back to my Thanksgiving dinners of years past, I am indeed thankful that I could simply just ‘visit’, but who knows, maybe on second thought this year I’ll go back and ‘re-live it’.

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