- Confirm your availability and keep in touch
Being witness to two people (morons) arriving not one but two days late of their said arrival date was a sure way of how not to begin your WWOOFING experience. The host was on overkill: a combination of fatigue and being messed about. This led the Russians (who turned out to be Canadian, weird!) to curl up like school kids as the voice of a very angry teacher reigned on them.
To avoid this tone of voice:
a) Email the host an agreed date and time of arrival
b) Call them to confirm this as well; it’s good to get a sense of each other before meeting in person.
c) Text/call on route. I messaged my host at the start and the last leg of the journey so they knew I was on my way and on time.
*Also, advertise to friends and family the address and numbers of where you are going. These places are very remote.
- You get what you put in
You soon figure out how you can apply yourself to the farm and whether there’s a routine, which in farm life really depends on the weather. On hot days (45 degree heat waves) you start early, siesta in the afternoon, then work again in the cool evening. On cooler days (20 odd degrees) you work long hours, just because you can.
On the first farm I was ready to work by 8am and often found my own work to do or asked whoever was around if they needed assistance. Be mindful of your enthusiasm, tasks that are given to you don’t need to be done in 5 minutes as this may be the only task you have for the whole day! Take your time, the hosts have been there years and don’t find everything new and exciting like you do.
At the same time if you lack a genuine interest in their lifestyle you won’t reap the benefits of being shown some high vista’s or other wonders they have up their sleeve. You can get a lot back if you accustom to their way of doing things, and that’s the whole point of being there, after all.
- Expect to live, work, socialise and eat with the family
It can be intense to say the least. Your room or a short walk should give you enough distance to clear your head and start again.
- Maintain your enthusiasm by counting down: day 88 of 88 complete. Don’t count up: 1 of 88 specified days complete – it isn’t until you get to the 50’s that counting in this method becomes beneficial. Trust me.
Also, continue to ask questions and spark conversation, just because you’ve been there a month doesn’t mean it’s all been discovered – you’ve probably just got a bit drained of the whole thing or possibly comfortable. Be conscious that there is still plenty to learn and the hosts are keen to tell you all there is to know about their world. If you show an interest you are often rewarded (see point. 2).
- Ice-breaker: Beer Beer Beer Beer! Wine Wine Wine Wine!
You wouldn’t turn up at a friend’s party without a bottle; likewise it’s a lovely gesture to arrive at the hosts place with a stack of beer or a bottle of plonk. They are feeding you, putting a roof over your head and inviting you into their humble abode. Oh, and signing your visa for a second year!
For my first farm I completely overlooked this and regretted it immediately. Maybe that’s just the British nonsense of not being able to receive anything without giving but this was forgiven as I said farewell with a few boxes of Cowboy – a milky alcohol people put in coffee, think Baileys gone Country.
For the second farm I gave them a bottle of red, it created a great atmosphere and a nice little Happy New Year gift!
Good luck and be safe
- The 25 Best American Canned Beers (coedmagazine.com)
- Host a Wine or Beer Tasting Party in Your Apartment (apartmentguide.com)
- Beer goggles: Seeing beer glasses in a whole new light (redenvelope.com)