Have you ever heard of WWOOFing? WWOOF stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. If your looking for an affordable way to travel the world and do things you never thought you’d do… like dig a grave for a sheep… and you don’t mind getting a little dirty, WWOOFing might be a great option for you. I would like to share an experience I had with WWOOFing.
It was late November and I’d just returned to New Zealand after a three month trip home to fill up the bank account. I wanted a break from sitting on the Stray backpacker bus and partying at hostels, I was looking for something new, something different. A friend had told me about WWOOF before, but it seemed like something for people who knew how to garden, people who grew up on farms. That didn’t sound like me, I didn’t think I had any skills to be a WWOOFer. I decided to be brave and sign up anyways. I found a WWOOF host located in the Coromandel, Driving Creek Railways. The compound consisted of an organic café, a pottery studio, an old railway up to the “Eyefull Tower” and a native tree sanctuary.
When I arrived, there were two other WWOOFers at the house, two girls from Germany. They were preparing lunch, my host showed me my room (detached from the house, shared with one of the German girls), and then we all sat down for a beautiful lunch.
After we filled our bellies, I changed into some work clothes and was put to work. We were pulling the siding off the house, because it had never been insulated. Our task was to pull the siding off, install insulation, and reside the house! When we were finished with work for the day I took a nice outdoor shower and changed into some clean clothes.
This is when I really started to relax… I had nothing to do, nowhere to be. I cozied up on the couch and started to read my book. My host was in the kitchen preparing dinner, he came around the corner to give me a glass of wine. Really? This is AWESOME!
Over the next few days, we bush cleared, planted flowers, weeded, and cleared honeysuckle. Then it happened, one of the three sheep in the paddock behind the house died. We were given the task to dig its final resting place. The earth in the paddock was dense with clay, and the two foot deep hole took us hours! We never thought we would be grave diggers, but felt strangely accomplished when we had finished.
The afternoons we spent laying in the sun, doing yoga, reading, exploring the compound and taking walks. On my last night we had a true Kiwi BBQ at the house of a friend of the host with Green lipped mussels, a local staple. It was an incredible week of being mentally relaxed, physically challenged, and feeling accomplished.