Travel JournalVolume I, Entry 5
Jessica Long, age 22
Auckland, New Zealand
After a month of pitching a tent in a new town each night and exploring new territory each day, Mike and I decided we wanted to temporarily settle to catch our breath. This being partly due to the never-ending rain cloud, which followed behind us, and dampened our daily efforts to camp. Also, because we were beginning to feel too nomadic. We decided it would be refreshing to stay put and apply ourselves to new challenges before we continued on our free-spirited travels.
As members of the World Wide Organization of Organic Farming (WWOOF) we found it very easy for find temporary work in exchange for meals and board; which was just what we needed, a break from the rain and a break for our wallets. WWOOF annually produces a booklet of all the willing WWOOF hosts who need extra help on their farms. Travelers in the area are given contact information to arrange various WWOOF jobs.
Typically, workers work 4-5 hours a day helping with any tasks their hosts need completed. In return, WWOOF families invite the travelers into their homes and introduce them to their lifestyle. We were very fortunate to be hooked up with a wonderful family who needed extra help on their polo farm. In a small town called Bulls, Mike and I helped tend to 17 polo ponies, roughly 30 sheep and about 70 cattle.
As a girl who has no passion bigger than her passion for horses, I found myself in heaven. I was completing new sorts of horse related tasks that I'd never done before. I herded cattle on horseback. I galloped Polo ponies 2 at a time, riding one and leading one behind me- around a large paddock each morning. I was even given the chance to play polo and groom for our host at a 4 daylong polo tournament.
For Mike, working on a farm was a completely new experience. He wasn't quite sure what he was getting himself into. However it proved to be as amazing for him as it was for me. He also found himself heading sheep and cattle, as well as, plowing fields on the tractor. He helped prepare the cattle for a stock sale and learned basic horse-care.
Our hosts were patient teachers and, in general, amazing human beings. They were so kind and generous to bring us into their homes and treat us like part of the family. We went into our WWOOF job expecting to stay only a week; but we decided to double our time after realizing what a great experience it was and how much fun we were having. After two short weeks we made lifelong friends and gained a huge amount of knowledge about a field we previously knew nothing about. Most importantly, we had an experience that we will never forgot and never re-live.