Ways of cheap travel: trading artwork for food & accommodation

When I left home more than 6 months ago, I had high expectations of this illustrated travel blog. Of course I enjoy journaling for family and friends, but how cool would it be if I would be able to reach a greater audience? I could turn my blog into a future source of more, longer and cheaper travel!

6 months later I have to admit I was a little naive.

Finding an audience online and building up significant traffic is hard work. And no guarantees.

But luckily, I found out that there was another way for me to cut travel costs and thus stretch my already very moderate travel budget even longer. I discovered that I could trade artwork for food and accommodation.

I’m very excited to have met the right people who appreciate and value my work and generously give back.

The last 2 months I had the honor of putting a decorative and artsy touch to the Lonely Beach resort on Koh Rong Island, Cambodia.

Lonely Beach is a remote, secluded and pure nature beach with only 13 bungalows for rent. It is a stunning bay with crystal clear water and to me one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. So you can imagine iI was very excited to return back here and spend 2 months enjoying the unspoiled nature and doing what I love most: painting, drawing, crafting.


The slider shows a selection of artwork I did at Lonely Beach. It was a pleasure to work with Nils, who is a talented carpenter and who provided me with great pieces of wood, the right tools and expertise.

working on bamboo lamps

working on bamboo lamps

Please feel free to share my work or contact me if you know of opportunities for me to continue working and traveling this way.

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  1. Toos Overman

    Lucky you that you are so talented! Great potential, exciting future!

    • Lilian Leahy

      I also feel extremely lucky that this happens to work out the way it does! :)) thanks for following!

  2. mike

    Wow, so cool! Livid colors, really seems you turned the place into something unique and special. Well done, keep it up!

  3. Looks great – wish I could do this! Can’t you give lectures there?

    • Lilian Leahy

      Thanks! It’s definitely something everyone could learn! Do you mean giving workshops on the island or..?

  4. Bernie Hooper

    Hi Lilian. Here are 2 websites that are an open forum for “work in exchange for travel, food, lodgings, etc…” They are workaway.info and helpx.net. There are a lot of opportunities in Asia, but also in many other parts of the world too (lots of links for Hawaii:>) Also, you may want to check out resartis.org which is a listing of artist residency programs around the world. Some require you to have an education in the field, and others are just looking for creative minds. Love you.

    • Lilian Leahy

      Thanks aunt Bernie!! The resartis.org I hadn’t heard of before! Will definitely check that out :)) thanks again!!

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