Meet the McKerrow family, WWOOFing from Canada to Australia.
The family left British Columbia, Canada, July 2020 to begin their 12 months ‘on road’ journey together. The plan is to drive across Canada, France, Italy, Thailand, and Australia, doing some WWOOFing along the way. “It all started 6 years ago, when our girls were really young, we decided that we would take a year off and be ‘just be a family’ and so throughout that time our travel plans took shape”. Jessica said.
Luke is a physiotherapist, an Australian citizen who lives with his wife Jessica, in Chilliwack, on the west coast of Canada. Jessica is a Vice-Principal at an elementary school, who was able to take a year off and make their dreams come true.
Choosing Australia was easy, both daughters are Australian and Canadian, Chloe is 8, and Eloise has just turned 7, so catching up with their family during this time was top of the list and the plan was to be in Australia for Christmas. Then COVID came, they agreed, as long, as it was possible and legal, they would still embrace the experience and what lays ahead.
“We had travelled across BC, through Ontario, and Quebec, and our next plan was to reach Australia in time to spend Christmas with Luke’s family” Travel restrictions around the world created many blocks in our path ahead. It was an intense time for us trying to find flights back because of COVID, Luke spent hours on the phone to the Australian embassy in the multiple countries where the repatriation flights were leaving”.
“Weeks passed, then on Dec 21st, luck was on our side, we left the Brisbane airport after spending 14 days in quarantine to catch a flight to Melbourne, followed by a 3-hour train ride to Wodonga to surprise Luke’s parents for Christmas”.
“Travelling as a family has been an incredible experience, we have learned that although we love adventure, routine helps us quickly adapt to new surroundings. If I could give any advice to hosts, it would be, help your visitors know your routine and your expectations quickly. The only challenges we have faced are when we have not known what our hosts want from us and then we haven’t been able to help them get what they need out of the exchange”.
“Being a part of other people’s lives by living with them is so special. Without even being aware we learned so much and especially now in today’s times, we need to examine our prejudice and build bridges between people. I think sitting with someone regularly and mirroring what they are doing during the day is a fabulous way to make meaningful connections”. I think if we are honest with ourselves, we all make quick judgements about others and living with someone helps us wrestle with how those judgements don’t fit, instead working on being curious, which helps us readjust our prejudice and I hope we as a family will carry this learning through as we meet other strangers back at home in Canada”.
“We are home schooling whilst travelling which can be challenging for sure. When we arrive at a new host, we try to figure out what the work hours are and then we fit in school every weekday into the day. Sometimes we make exceptions like when we arrive at a new host sometimes it takes a few days to get a routine established and figure out what they would like from us. Sometimes there are other children who are on holiday and in that case, we work our school holidays to fit”.
” Focusing on reading, math and writing mostly which sometimes involves some science or socials studies but our focus is those basic skills so our kids can slide back into government schools when we return. I find that iPads are a real blessing because we can rent books online from our library back home when we are not around a library. As well I brought the reading program with me electronically that I use when I teach so I can be confident they are both progressing well. Eloise is in grade 2 so it is important that she does her reading. Chloe is in grade 4 and is much more independent so she enjoys selecting books from the library and reading some of the more challenging books I pick out for her through our reading program”.
“To date we have stayed with 7 hosts world-wide, we have learned how to make authentic sourdough bread, operate a solar oven, canning, bee care, organic farming, use and maintain a compost toilet, sustainable living and so much more. WWOOFing is a great ecofriendly way to travel with the family and we would highly recommend it”
2 year Dual memberships cover 2 adults and children under 18.
For more information see https://wwoof.com.au/volunteer/