Scrolling through Facebook, I’m often bombarded with advertisements for “cheap travel guides” and “how to see the world on a budget.” It’s always the same old thing. I’m intrigued, click on the link and am immediately disappointed by how out-of-reach the suggestions are. Usually the articles involve some kind of gap year or the accommodations, although cheap, are still out of my price range. So, as a college student with dreams of seeing more than what the sweet, but limited town of Tallahassee has to offer, I decided to do some investigating. It only took about 5 minutes before I came across WWOOF.
WWOOF stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. I know, probably not what you expected. The organization describes itself as “a worldwide movement linking volunteers with organic farmers and growers to promote cultural and educational experiences based on trust and non-monetary exchange, thereby helping to build a sustainable, global community.” Basically, people who own farms around the world will provide you with food, a home and basic needs in exchange for a few hours of work each day. Before reading into it, I could not have imagined myself helping on a farm or wanting to work during my travels, but then I realized what an authentic experience it could be. Living and working in a place truly breaks down any touristyfacades that can be built when traveling abroad and provides a true peek into the
culture and everyday life. It is a chance to enjoy local activities, shop at farmers markets, and connect with your surroundings in a very direct way.
This is definitely not for those who expect to be waited on hand and foot. WWOOFing does involve work and can be physically demanding. The experience is for those who are interested in alternative living and want to feel what it’s like to live in the chosen country. As far as type of work, a love of the outdoors is definitely a starting point, but it truly depends on the farm when it comes to specific tasks. Having said this, hosts understand that their volunteers are most likely filled with wanderlust and will often provide day trips around the nearby area. The work also only takes up half a day, so WWOOFers are free to adventure in their free time.
Having spoken to a former WWOOFer, I have heard only wonderful things and am excited to kick off my journey this summer in Hawaii! If you are looking to travel free of charge (except the plane ticket there) and are willing to quite literally get your hands dirty, then give the link below a click and explore the possibilities!
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