The difficult moment as a travel writer: Do I write about the negatives?

Yes, travel is wonderful. It opens you up to all new experiences and horizons and ideas and people. But it’s difficult—no coincidence the root of travel is the same as that for travail—and how much of that should I write about?

But you see, this trip is nothing like what I expected.



(It took a LOT of humility to admit that right here.)

I’ve been a perfectionist all my life, and I’ve been able to pick up on most things quickly enough to maintain the illusion of perfectionism in most areas.

Farming, it would seem, is not one of those areas.

It turns out, I am very, very bad at land maintenance.

Digging ditches? Abysmal. Cutting down and removing tree branches? Awful. Weeding the strawberry bed in the polytunnel? Which one is a weed?


None of this is what I expected to do here. I expected to learn about shearing sheep, but the soay breed sheds its own fleece. I expected to learn about spinning, but the soay wool is too fine to spin on its own. I expected to fall asleep to the sound of lambs, but the family decided not to lamb this year.

Instead, it looks like I found something I can’t fake being good at.


But the amazing BeautyBeyondBones just reminded me I don’t need to be perfect. I don’t need to do everything, I don’t need to be the best WWOOFer this family has ever hosted. I don’t need to prove myself.


But it’s true.

My hosts are going to host me anyway. They won’t kick me out to sleep in the snow if I can’t figure out how to weed the strawberry bed. They won’t not accept any more WWOOFers if I trim the wrong tree branches. They won’t stop feeding me if I’m too weak to dig a good ditch.

I’m not the perfect farmer.

But it’s okay.

Because sometimes travel is difficult. And sometimes it’s awesome. And usually, it’s gonna be both at the same exact time.

Just like most days, no matter where you are.



5 thoughts on “Travail

  1. That weather forecast! A person can put up with a lot if they’re not cold and wet. I hope your first week, in retrospect, will be your worst.


  2. It’s difficult when what we anticipate doesn’t come anywhere close to what we receive. Hoping you find different ways to enjoy yourself than what you expected!


    • Thanks, my friend! Today I spent the morning baking and playing in the kitchen. It’s amazing how doing something one isn’t terrible at can brighten one’s day. (Especially when one gets a good night’s sleep!)


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