WWOOFing around Australia at 48years old.
Sharing my experience with the world about WWOOFing around Australia. By Annette B
My name is Annette, 48 years old I am originally from SA but now reside in Melbourne Australia. I’ve been renting out my property for the last 8-9 months as I travel Australia WWOOFing, its the most affordable way to travel and learn about Sustainable living, which is now my main goal in life. My friends asked me why I joined WWOOF at my age and is it hard work? Of course, its hard work, it takes hard work going from paddock to plate. By experiencing this firsthand I have so much more appreciation for our farmers.
To my surprise I found out, there are lots of WWOOFers my age, even more in the last 12 months because of COVID. I think a lot of people realised without food it can get tough if things go wrong, on the flip side I’ve met WWOOFers that have sold everything and have decided to WWOOF around Australia until they find out exactly where and what they really want to do life, at the same time learn Sustainable living skills and various ways to grow produce and that’s what I have been doing.
Even for a non-techy like me I found the signing up online process easy, after joining WWOOF Australia I received a Welcome email, within the email I received instructions on how to build my Profile, which was very straight forward. This is compulsory for all WWOOFers and Hosts, as it enables transparency for both parties and makes decision making easier. My advice is don’t hold back, you are joining WWOOF for an experience, so put as much about yourself into your profile, be real, be yourself, I promise you will have an incredible experience.
Due to COVID lots of my planned trips changed, a lot, and that was okay I decided to place my head in the right mindset that the year was going to look different, and that l needed to be more flexible that way I wouldn’t get disappointed. This helped a lot and I’ve continued this practice into 2021. Travelling in my little Van I’m improving along the way, and when I stay at host farms there were times I stayed in my van and other times with the hosts in their homes, it all depended how I felt, and they were very understanding either way.
Prior to joining WWOOF I created a wish list;
- I listed the industries I wanted to learn about and why, Vineyards is one particular interest I wanted to explore, I love sheep, and Essential Oils was another interest.
- I listed what states I wanted to see and why.
- I listed what type of growing practices I wanted to learn, for example I‘m interested in Organic, and Permaculture methods & techniques.
- I thought about how long I should try and stay at each host, I found that many hosts offered me longer stays after being there for a week.
- Time Zones – I tried to keep this in mind when calling hosts.
- What to pack – Keep it simple was my motto, anything extra I need, I could purchase at Op Shops along the way.
Once I had my ‘key words’ like organic, permaculture, essential oil, sheep, Vineyard and Victoria from my wish list (also I had planned to stay two weeks if possible, with each hosts) I began my search of hosts that met my criteria. I typed in those key words into the List Search and started reading through their profiles adding the ones I liked to my Favorited list.
I planned 2 months in advance and I always kept in contact with my future hosts as time gets closer, I reconfirm my stay so they always knew I was serious and wouldn’t let them down, as some of them live so remote it can be a 4-hour trip just to get food (true).
Be respectful, there is that old saying “when in Rome do as the Romans do” I took the attitude I was there to have the experience, and to share their lives for a while, so I threw myself in wholeheartedly and felt I was true to myself with no regrets as I reflect on each stay.
Ah yes water, I have always lived in suburbia and never thought too much about my water consumption until I went travelling, it’s like gold. I made a conscious effort to always do the following:
- Take 2-3 min Showers
- Never leave a tap running (I double check all the time)
- At some Hosts we collected every bit of water we used in buckets and then water the garden with this. (including having a bucket in the shower to catch any water).
- Always make sure you understand what these Hosts are dealing with, I have never thought about not ever having water!
I always try and roll with the daily activities, as every day was different to the one before, this is especially important, don’t get your hopes up doing one thing and then things are changed because a fence needed repairing quickly etc. The one thing that I’m really learning is just because I do something one way doesn’t always mean it’s the only way (yep even at 48 I’m still learning).