WWOOFing is a popular way to travel the world for free accommodation and food. If you haven’t heard about this before, I highly recommend checking out the website – WWOOFing = Willing Working On Organic Farms and sounds like a great idea, but we wanted to know about this thing from someone who had actually experienced it. How to stay safe while volunteering abroad
Travel Interview WWOOFing in New Zealand
Eleanor, a twenty-one year old WWOOFer in New Zealand and a close friend of mine from Sweden, shares her experience of WWOOFing around New Zealand for a few months and how it really works. – So how does WWOOFing work? Eleanor: It’s an organization that is dependent on cooperation. WWOOF stands for “Willing Workers On Organic Farms” and that is the attitude you should have if you’re planning to do some WWOOFing while you are traveling.
What you do is that you sign up on their web page and pay the fee for a year’s membership (about 50 NZ Dollars). After you’ve done that you get your own account where you add your personal details and can start to look for hosts all around the country (Sofia’s Note: every country has it’s own website and organization, so when you sign up you can only work in that country – and you do the same for every country you wish to work in.)
Is every place the same?
E: Not at all, you get to experience so many different traditions and see how it’s like on a farm or in an ordinary city home. You can spend one week walking around picking some weed in a garden eating exclusively vegan food and the next week you’re off to a cattle farm where they celebrate your arrival with a big meat dinner.
Are the working hours the same everywhere?
E: Usually they are, you’re supposed to do about four hours a day for food and accommodation and then have time off to explore the area. But you should be prepared to work eight hour days sometimes, there are some who do not follow the (4hr a day) WWOOFing code.
So all hosts don’t follow the rules?
E: No, unfortunately there are those who abuse the system, but it’s not very often you meet them and when you do you are free to leave whenever you want.
Have you been exposed to any danger when WWOOFing or had to do something that would normally require a professional specialist to do?
E: Not really, there has been some ladder-climbing on windy days that’s always a bit scary but apart from that they generally give you secure jobs. Sometimes you can find that it’s handy to have some sort of professional skill at some places, it’s always appreciated when a builder comes to your home.
What should you expect to experience with WWOOFing?
E: Hard work, a lot of outdoor activities, some cooking and household work. A lot of weeding. Some people call WWOOFing – Willing Weeders on Organic Farms. haha.
Is WWOOFing safe?
E: Yes, it’s all a voluntary work and the hosts pay money to the organization to get WWOOFers so they are usually very serious about the work and everything.
Has it been easy finding hosts/farms?
E: It depends a lot on the time of year and where you are going, some places are more popular than others so they can be harder to get a place to stay. But as long as you keep trying there will always be someone who can take care of you.
Has it been worth it?
E: I’d say so! You meet some really nice people and make a lot of friends.
Is WWOOFing something you would recommend to others?
E: Oh yes, I’m already doing it! It’s something everyone should try!
What will you remember from this experience?
E: All the people I’ve met and the relaxed lifestyle the New Zealanders have.