August 2, 2017

WWOOF, What, Where, Why

When I was first planning my escape to Australia, my initial plan was to spend roughly three months in four major cities and fill the weekends with day trips to neighboring towns. At some point I decided I wanted to take a break from city life and go rural (yea, who am I?). After that idea stuck I started looking into farming options. It’s probably no surprise, but Australia has loads of options for farm help all over the country.

While I initially starting looking at fruit picking and seasonal jobs, I soon realized I am not fit for that lifestyle. Being paid based on the baskets or boxes of food you collect sounds terrible to me, and terribly exhausting. In a lot of cases I also needed my own transportation, unless I paid someone weekly to pick me up. And I'd never share money I earned schlepping crates on my back!

So instead of becoming a migrant worker I’ve become a migrant volunteer through WWOOF. The WWOOF organization, which for some reason has two acronyms, is a non-profit connecting willing volunteers with organic farms looking for assistance.

World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms
Willing Workers on Organic Farms

In return for help volunteers receive free room and board. The rule of thumb is volunteers work 4-6 hours a day, 5-6 days a week. Guys, that is a lot of free time! Lots of time to hopefully keep the blog updated, read, study, be lazy, and ponder why I ever wanted a corporate job.

After committing to WWOOF, my plan for the year evolved into a trek around the entire coastline, spending 3-4 weeks on a farm before moving on to my next town. I’ve locked down roughly thirteen areas I want to explore and will look for volunteer placements in those regions. And when it’s time to move on I’ll schedule a few off days to explore the country between point A and B.

I’ve been waiting for the panic of having no income to set in. It hasn’t and at this point I don’t think it will. If I can manage to WWOOF about three weeks each month, then I only need my monthly budget to last seven days. My personal costs while WWOOFing are minimal – cell phone, health care, chocolate snacks. My biggest cost will be getting to the farms, but so far the hosts have offered to pick me up.

I’m going to try and follow a conservative budget of $1,000 AUD per month. And while $1,000 seems like a lot for one week, trust me you can spend that easily in Australia. But if I can stick to the budget I’ll be left with a chunk of change for travelling when the year is up, or for ya know, reestablishing a stationary life. 
This is Crash. And I love her.
I’m only two days into my WWOOF experience and it’s already been stellar. My current host family in Rossville is all about showing volunteers the sights and surrounding areas. It seems most afternoons will be spent on field trips! If my future hosts are half a hospitable as John and Steven then I know this will be the best year of my life.

Here’s the being unemployed and living life!

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