@stukovthetuna thanks for sharing man, sounds like a great formative experience, and you learned the most important lesson of all; when to leave. its been the #1 thing I've learned travelling, and applies to jobs, houses, girlfriends, family, anything.
great info and painted a good picture for me of wwoofing.
where you from in Louisiana? I'm from Lafayette myself.
Great post . I've done the whole WWOOFING thing a number of times.
I was gonna post my own thread about my experiences, but I figure I'll just chime in here, instead.
First place I went this year was a farm/bed and breakfast up in Maine. I'd just hitched across the country and found myself in the mood for some good old fashioned work trade.
Excellent food. The hostess was an amazing cook. Fresh, organic veggies, lots of quality meat, and they cooked a final supper when volunteers left. These were usually real special and fancy. The volunteer got to pick. The couple leaving when I arrived cooked fresh lobster. Amazing food.
We were also within hiking distance of the ocean. Again, the property itself was beautiful.
I got to spend two months hanging out along the Maine coast FOR FREE. I also met some seriously bad ass people, like this one kid who just finished hiking the Appalachian trail. We hit it off great and we still touch bases. He invited me to visit any time I pass through his state.
The accommodations were cozy enough. Nothing too fancy; just little one room cottages with beds and lights. But hey, I was fresh off the road and used to sleeping behind abandoned buildings or bushes. It wasn't a big deal at all.
The man of the farm ran his own little garden where he grew hundreds of pound of veggies to donate to the local food bank, which was awesome.
I don't know what it was, but I wound up clashing horribly with the hostess. She was known for having a strong and sometimes difficult personality.
She wasn't a bad person, and she could be pretty generous and thoughtful, but our communication styles and general natures just did NOT work well together.
For instance, I was assigned a spot of the herb garden to weed with another volunteer. We get out to the spot, and neither of us can make out what is a weed vs. an herb or bush. Not wanting to pick perfectly good plants, I go in to ask the hostess what we should weed and what we should keep.
She was having a cup of coffee inside with two volunteers who were done for the day.
"Why, weed the weeds," she said.
Uhm. Okay. She already seemed kind of annoyed with my presence, so I went back outside and told the other volunteer what she said. We shrugged and proceeded to weed only what we were certain was a weed.
The hostess got mad at us for not weeding thoroughly enough.
It continued like that a lot; I would misunderstand her about something, or she would snap at me for leaving crumbs under the table and forgetting some beets in a pot on the counter.
"It's getting to be a pain in the ass reminding you to clean up after yourself. You would drive roommates crazy."
It got to the point where I felt generally uncomfortable and very awkward around her. I'm sure I did things to annoy her, but I really tried to get along with her better.
That was really the main problem, that and the fact that she kept giving me more and more boring jobs. It got to the point where I was on my hands and knees, weeding a single patch of violets for the full 6 hours of my allotted work time, while the other volunteer got to do more interesting things.
It was odd, and she really wasn't a bad person. We just could not seem to get along. Incompatible personalities, I guess.
Anyway, winter was approaching. I hitched out to New York State where I found work on a goat farm for the cold season.
I was MUCH more compatible with the hosts. I didn't have any issue getting along with them, and they loved the quality of my work. They also were not the types to lose their tempers over crumbs and coffee drops.
I ALSO GOT TO WORK WITH GOATS AND COWS!! I love animals, especially goats. They trusted my competence with their animals so much that they paid me to farmsit for them when they went on trips.
I handled several animal escapes, and after that the man of the farm started calling me a farmer. It was sweet. They were both very warm people.
The man of the farm taught me how to use some power tools and how to cut lumber with a bow saw. They were very willing to gear the work toward my areas of interest.
The hostess drove me to town on my days off, plus they lived within walking distance of a huge national
park, where I hiked to when it wasn't too cold.
The bad: Really not much that was their fault. It was just sort of isolated out on the island during the winter, and the Northeastern cold can be bitter.
I'm out and about traveling again, but farms were a good way to end last year.
WWOOF is really one of the best hosting programs you can find, totally worth the yearly rate. I recommend it highly, but it's good to share experiences and read them because the website is pretty filtered when it comes to reviews.
Good luck and WWOOF hard (if you want)