We are all aware that travelling, especially by plane, has a huge impact on the environment. With this article, we want to inform you about a different way of travelling. Wwoofing is a way of travelling that embraces the philosophy of slow travel and at the same time becomes an opportunity to be in contact with nature and learn techniques to cultivate it.
What is Wwoofing?
The acronym W.W.O.O.F. stands for ”World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms”. This is an association of social promotion that puts volunteers in contact with a network of agricultural realities scattered throughout the country. In Italy, about seven hundred farms take part in the initiative, although this experience can be done worldwide, precisely in 132 countries.
How does it work?
Those who wish to depart will be hosted free of charge at the chosen community. In exchange for hospitality, they will be asked to participate in the farm’s livelihood activities. Having said that, it sounds brave: going to a house of strangers and doing hard work!
In reality, in both the Italian and the international websites, there is a long presentation of the available hosts and a description of the place where they will host you and of the daily commitment they require.
What are you going to do?
One of the best things about this experience is that you can choose the hosts according to the activities they mention in their descriptions. In the Italian network you can choose from beekeeping, grape harvesting or animal care but there are much more opportunities.
Moreover, the experience is particularly suitable for those who want to take a moment of relief from the everyday frenzy. Many hosts in fact practice yoga or adopt a particularly healthy diet. There are also ads where more creative activities are proposed, such as building small objects or working with ceramics.
Even if the exchange is friendly, sometimes some criteria must be respected to be on some farms: no smoke, adapt to the community diet or share the room. It is definitely not a trip of pure relaxation; yet again, we believe that this is precisely why it is an authentic trip where you can relate to different people, share spaces, and try a completely new lifestyle.
How long does it last?
Some hosts ask that you to stay for a week at least. However, this is not the case for everyone. For example, some months of the year require a high amount of work in the fields, so you can stay even for a short time and maybe you will be hosted with other Wwoofers.
Is it reliable?
Though, at first glance, this system may seem unreliable, we recommend that you let yourself be guided by your feelings about the host and by the description and the photos of the house where you will be hosted. Getting informed and communicating before your departure is the key.
When I was eighteen, I left for this experience shortly after I graduated from high school. I was very scared because I decided to be a solo traveller. In the end, I would say that I spent 10 amazing days. I harvested grapes for Moscato wine with some other young people, surrounded by the scenic hills of Monferrato.
They gave me a single room with a comfortable bed, enough hours to rest and the possibility to visit nearby places. We indeed harvested every day, but between the music and the aperitif in the middle of the rows of vines, it was a week of almost holiday. Moreover, I learned some wine-related jargon, which I can use to pretend to be an expert every time the subject is mentioned.