An Introduction to WWOOFing

I’m back in England, down in my motherland, Devon, seeing my family and getting stuff sorted before I go to Berlin on Sunday. Still incredibly tired from lack of sleep and food whilst traveling but got a day or so to recover before I’m off again. Difficult thing about going on wild adventures is when you return and want to tell people all about them, but you can end up boring any potential listener to tears-its best to recount tales of your adventures a good time after they occur or with people out their adventuring with you.Perferably the latter, methinks.Or even better , never returm and always go from place to place with stories of your last experience.

Even a few hours back in the beautiful english countryside and I want to get going again, get back out into the world and discover new things. Still got two or so weeks of lazing around in Berlin with a fine, fine friend of mine-I imagine this will be like a couple of failed actors looking for inspiration .And then I’m planning to go to France with my little brother and show him the way of the true adventurer, so I’m thinking maybe we’ll go and laze around in Paris for a few days, eat Brie and Baguettes and drink beer in our finest frenchest clothes and put on some ridiculous French accents and generally not give une damn. Then when that’s over I’ll worry about conquering the land of the midnight sun (Finland).

I would always recommend Erasmus as just a way of travelling, and moreso as a means of really seeing a country for a long period of time. This is a rare thing, to be invited to a country for nine whole months without the need to learn the language or worry about work or money. I think travel is a fantastic thing. It was only this time last year I first left England,before that the furthest i had been was London with my parents, but I’ve made up for lost time and have been to Spain, Italy and Ireland since then, always alone. And soon Germany and France, then Finland. I’d love to go everywhere one day.

In Sicily I was in an area known as ‘the triangle of death’, for its mafia history and present state as the last bastion of  the mafia. the mafia are not Don Corleone , theya re not cool or sexy or anything like this. This was the first place where I really understood what it’s like to live in a bad place, a rough place. Where forces greater then you are at work and you can’t really fight them. Where it’s very hard to be a good person.But of course,  I’m incredibly glad I went there, I will never forget the things I saw ,learnt and did, or the people I met- I love people. I lived with a young married Argentinian couple for the first week- they had got married then travelled round the world , and they had spent the two weeks before they came to the farm cooking all their food and drink by fire, so they were very good at cooking, and cooked me the finest wild boar! That week was splendid, they spoke Italian with me and we spoke English when we wanted to say important stuff; they spoke English very well. Their Italian was very good so they had good rapport with the head of the farm, so always there was beer, easy work and good times! After they left came a 47 year old ex-special forces surrealist artist from Barcelona, who thought I was thirty at first and spoke Italian with me for the next two weeks, though neither of us spoke it at all well, but this practice of the language is very important I think. He was a very good sort, but was injured a bit cutting the iron that came in a huge shipment of poles one day, so after a bit he left. What a character he was! He spoke with the cow herder in French and had good conversation with him, but I never understood much. After he left a new cow herder came , who spoke English ,a very good friend of mine from Ghana who had never been to school but knew the cows so well he could tell each cow in the herd of 80 just from their faces , and after  being away for a month returned to say ‘one of the cows is missing!’…the boss said no cow was missing… then realised yes , he had sold one bull- this fantastic cow whisperer could remember the cows ear tag number , face and everything ,and tell it had left the herd! He also told me later that animals understood all languages, something I had never known before. We spoke broken English ,  I liked how he understood the world only from experience of his travels around Africa and to Italy, and from the people he had met.He had very fresh opinions and once asked me if rocks grew from the ground-I tried to explain the process of erosion to him but I kind of prefer his explanation. In the last few days came an awesome girl from California, who had come to Italy three years ago to WWOOF and had simply just stayed. She had learnt Italian by heart and now lived here, studying winemaking and viniculture and making money by teaching English. We spoke much, I in English and her in Californian; she had really seen the world and was a pretty damn amazing person, a true inspiration.

By the way WWOOFing is how I and all of this came to be- it stands for “World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms”, but I prefer my own title of ‘WOOFFing’-Working on Organic Farms for Food. Basically you got the WWOOF website and choose a country you want to go to , then pay the registration fee for that country and you get sent your WWOOF card and a list of all the farms in that country that want helpers , and you choose the ones you like-I chose ones with cool animals- and contact them. Then you go to the farm and do farm jobs with them, and they give you food and a bed- sorted! It’s a great way to see a country properly, get to know the people and their customs and the reality of their rural lives. It’s great fun , and every farm is different- I’ve done two weeks in north Italy and now one month in south Italy , but after Erasmus I think I’ll do some in Romania and maybe Tturkey , and I think in north and south Spain too(I think I might want to learn spanish). They prefer you to stay for a few weeks or longer so you can get properly stuck in, so even if for a few weeks just to try something totally different, try it out. I guarantee you’ll have a mad adventure. Anyway, now I’m beginning to let you into the secrets of my adventures, I think I must be getting tired, it’s time to sleep. Have some adventures, I have money matters to sort out tomorrow to set my finances in accordance before I go abroad for good. Its one of those things you’ve just got to do, unfortunately. Also , maybe next time I blog I’ll include some images or paragraphing , instead of just a train of thought , for ease of understanding . Until next time! ta-ta!

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Cameron (Finland)

About Cameron (Finland)

Cameron has now graduated for the University of Leicester. I am Cameron, currently living in Oulu, Finland for my Erasmus year and studying Geography...Physical Geography (BSc) to be precise. I’ll tell you what it’s like to be me, a 3rd year geography student at the northernmost geography department in the world.

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