June 08, 2011

What's Wwoofing?

If you are reading some of the more recent posts and wondering what it is that Luke and I are doing, it's called 'Wwoof-ing'. It stands for Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms and it allows you to volunteer on a farm while in return being given a place to stay and plenty of food to eat. Now as you have read, we are obviously not on any farms and the only organic thing we've seen since we started is beer. Lucky for us there is an abundance of other types of work to be done other than working on a farm. Through this website called HelpX we have found bed and breakfasts, hostels, as well as just staying and helping someone around their home which is what we have been doing so far.

The website gives you information for not only New Zealand, but for most countries you might want to work in - USA, Canada, Australia and much of Europe.

Right, so why are we doing this exactly? Mostly because as you can imagine, we aren't spending any money (on anything other than beer that is). This allows us to keep our travels fund nice and plush for the north island in September. We knew going up to the north island would be expensive because we are going during the world cup so we needed a way to pass the time while spending as little as possible.

To be honest, I was pretty nervous about doing this whole thing. I kept imagining doing back breaking work all day and dreading it. I'd just come from a job in Christchurch where I sat at a desk all day and I knew it was going to be a big change. It has turned out to be one of the best things we have done in New Zealand. So far we have met really nice people, gone to places we would never have gone otherwise, and we have also received some incredibly valuable travelling advise. We've been able to do for free what we have enjoyed most - Kayaking, fishing, row boating, horseback riding and hiking (ok that one's always free). We have been able to work outside everyday and we have actually learned things that we might use one day: how to back in a trailer, how to wield an axe (my favorite acquired skill), what is and is not a weed (most things are weeds), how to plant different types of plants and how deep the roots should be, how to dig a proper hole and Luke's favorite, how to tie up a boat! In short we have had more fun than I could have imagined would come out of signing up for manual labor.

Here are some of my favorite photos from wwoofing so far:

In the evenings when we were staying at Cove Cottage, and especially when it was drizzling out, quails used to show up at our doorstep. Our hosts have a container of bird seed in the kitchen so we would always go to grab it and feed them. As soon as we opened the door they all scattered into the bushes, their wings flapping sound like cooing doves which was always nice. We quickly learned that all we had to do to lure them back was to throw the birdseed on the ground. As soon as we did they would all come back plus 10 more would arrive. It was one of the most fascinating things!

Every morning that we worked at Sue and Nigel's house we were picked up by boat and taken back to their house that way. Almost every morning the boat had not only the driver, but a passenger as well. Fraser is an old man, but he had as much energy as a puppy and he absolutely loved being on the boat. He always came to find us when we were working and kept us company when we ate hoping for any crumb that might fall under the table.

I don't think anyone who has been to Marlborough Sounds could talk about it without bringing up the sunsets. We have seen some amazing skies since we've been in New Zealand, but I think for me the Sounds takes the cake. The colors we saw every night were absolutely incredible. If it wasn't for this wwoofing experience we would never have come to the sounds, so I'm very glad that we did.

Horseback riding has been something I have wanted to do since we've been here. I have ridden horses before, but it's been years since I've gone. It always seems to fall to the bottom of the list for one reason or another and we just haven't had the chance to do it, until now that is! Here at Lavender Hill there are three horses, Inky the giant, Albert the normal sized horse, and King which is my size horse (half pony). That's me riding King above on the beach at the end of the road. It was so much fun and I'm so happy that I was finally able to ride a horse!

I could continue to post half of the photos that we've taken since we've been here and describe why we wouldn't have been able to do them if it wasn't for wwoofing, but this uploader is too slow and that would be a ridiculously long blog, so I'll save you from that for now.

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