By Lucien Simon
Lucien is from Switzerland, before coming to Australia he worked as a primary school teacher and taught children aged 4 to 12 years old. We thought we would catch up with Lucien and see how his trip is going.
Firstly why did you decided to go WWOOFing in Australia?
I worked 5 years as a teacher back in Switzerland and I felt like I needed a break and do something closer to my values. I had an opportunity to go to Australia on a Working Holiday Visa (thanks to my French passport, as it’s not possible with a Swiss passport sadly). I always had an interest in permaculture, fruit and vegetables picking but never had an occasion to learn and practice it.
Have you WWOOFed before?
No, I had my first WWOOF experience here in Australia. I’ve never heard of WWOOF before. An Australian friend living in Victoria introduced me to WWOOF.
What have you learnt to date WWOOFing?
I learned different gardening techniques: weeding, mulching, planting seeds. I had other odd jobs: cracking nuts, assembling fire wood logs, fencing and also lots of cooking (an area I’m particularly fond of !), I also learned what it is to live on an off-grid property in the Victorian high country (rain water tanks, solar batteries, no heating)
What have you learnt about yourself?
I have learnt that I am more and more drawn to permaculture and a sustainable living. Already before coming to Australia I was giving a lot of attention about my daily habits (nutrition and exercise). Now with the knowledge I have learnt from the hosts to date, I’m definitely going to live this lifestyle at home, because now I have the experience to do so. When I go back home I’m going to take further classes in permaculture to fast track my journey.
Are you travelling by yourself and have you met any other WWOOFers on your travels?
Yes, I am a solo traveler. I have met one WWOOFer from Canada, who was WWOOFing at the same place as I was.
What states are you going to travel to and where have you been?
I started my Australian stay in Victoria, then I started traveling at the end of June and went to New South Wales and Queensland. I’m currently on beautiful Magnetic Island. I plan to go to the Northern Territories in September, if the border remains open. I’d love to go to the other states, but I guess I’ll have to be patient.
There aren’t any road blocks here in Queensland. I feel very lucky to be here, as I was supposed to return to Victoria from Sydney. I decided to extend my road trip, as Melbourne went into another lockdown. I was also very fortunate to cross the border right on time. I crossed the VIC/NSW border on July 1st and the NSW/QLD border on July 21st. These two borders are unfortunately now closed. I know other travelers are now stuck in the states they are in but there are so many Hosts out there, so I know they will have an incredible time where ever they are. All they need to do is go to the Notice Board, host are advertising there so reach out to them.
Have you had any funny/scary/surprising stories to tell of your travels in Australia, before, during or after WWOOFing?
Yes learning how to travel alone with a camper van in Australia, travelling on the wrong side of the road and most of all surviving the cold nights in places like Armidale NSW.
What is the best thing you have done in Australia and why?
The six weeks I spent at High Valley Garden for WWOOFing were a determinant experience for me. It happened during the first lockdown. I was supposed to stay 2 weeks and I ended staying 4 more weeks. I just enjoyed the serenity of the place.
Would you recommend WWOOFing to your friends and why?
Definitely. You can learn a lot about yourself and you learn about things you’ve probably never experienced in your life. Through this experience you also get the chance to meet local people and to connect emotionally with them.
Regarding the road blocks, I didn’t have any trouble. I’m traveling on a camper van from Sydney and now I’m on Magnetic Island. Everything has been good so far. The only annoying thing is you have to name all the places you’ve been in the last 14 days, when you go to a hostel or a Caravan park.
Permaculture (the word, coined by Bill Mollison, is a portmanteau of permanent agriculture and permanent culture) is the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems.
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If you would like to learn about Permaculture, we have hosts across Australia that are here waiting to share their knowledge with you today!
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