If you’ve seen any of my recent posts, you know I’ve had some trouble adjusting to my first experience WWOOFing. It has not been all bad, but it also hasn’t been all good. (Whatup, life?) Mostly it’s been my fault for not being really ready.
I’ve had a lot of time to think about how I could have prepared better and how it could have gone more smoothly. If you’re thinking of WWOOFing, here’s some advice.
- Start small. Go for a week or a weekend, not a month. If you’re going overseas, include it as a small part of an overall vacation. Get a feel for it that way before you commit for a longer term.
- Ask questions before you leave. If there’s something you particularly want experience in, like shearing sheep and spinning wool, ask specifically if this host/location will provide it. If there’s something you really don’t want to do, ask if that will be required. For example, if you’re vegetarian, you might not want to help butcher the livestock.
- Be informative. I wish I had told my hosts before leaving that I have latent back trouble. Maybe then we could have worked out a different plan before I even arrived, or I could have freed up this space for a more able-bodied volunteer.
- Be strategic about location. If you know you like to tour and shop in your free time, pick a host location with easy access to the next town. If you prefer hill walks or the like, go for a farm deep in the remote countryside. Just be aware that remote is very remote when you don’t have a car or good enough weather for a long walk or bike ride.
My hosts have been good about driving me off-croft for days of exploration and tourism, and since I’ve injured my back, they’ve also been good about suggesting lighter work so I’m not sitting around feeling useless while mooching off their hospitality. (Although, truth be told, I am a guilt absorber and so still feel I’ve failed them anyway, no matter how often they’ve told me it’s fine.)
But I could have prepared better. So besides the typical WWOOFing advice like Pack work boots and gloves, also consider the tips I’ve shared today. It’s been a good experience, with a week to go of pulling weeds and painting sheds. It could have been a good experience sooner, though, if I’d done a little more work ahead of time.
Would I WWOOF again? Almost certainly. But I’ll wait till I’ve sorted my back trouble before I jump back in. 🙂
June 9, 2016 edit: I’ve started noticing this post appearing on WWOOF Twitters and Facebooks. I’m honored! But I also want to reiterate that I’m not a spokesperson for WWOOF or anything. I’m just one person who WWOOFed one time and, truthfully, didn’t have the best experience. There are lots of blogs out there by people who’ve had much different experiences. Do a Google search and check them out!