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Saturday, 12 May 2012

A Twist on the Typical Vacation: WWOOF

Written by Antoinette Marie
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      Summer is here and you’re itching to pack your suitcase and get away but not sure where to travel or your budget has left you unable to fulfill a dream of visiting Thailand or Spain or that place you haven’t yet discovered. If you’re looking for something more rewarding than going to an island getting sunburn reading endless romance novels there is an alternative. Not many vacations will leave you feeling as satisfied as being part of the experience with WWOOF.
     
      WWOOF otherwise known as "World Wide Opportunities On Organic Farms" is an organization made up of farmers throughout the world who allow volunteers to stay at their farms to help with various tasks throughout the year. It was founded by Sue Coppard in 1971. She saw the need and the opportunity for both the farmer and the volunteer.
     
      What started in the UK has now been established all over the world. The volunteer can choose from a vast assortment of countries. The possibilities of what you do and what you experience are endless. You may want to work at a winery in Italy or take care of sheep in Ireland or travel to Hawaii and tend to papaya trees. Each host has different needs and time frames. You can volunteer for a weekend or for a whole summer.  If you have family or want to travel with friends, it is a possibility. Each host will have their own set of guidelines and how many people they can accommodate at a time.  The first farm you choose might not suit your time frame, your needs or theirs but there are many farms in need.
     
      The first thing the volunteer must do is choose what country they would like to volunteer in. Most countries have their own membership and there is a fee. Remember to look at all the qualifications needed to enter and stay in the country you choose. You may need a passport, health insurance or other documentation. After joining there will be a list of hosts and what needs they are looking to fulfill.  Some countries will have a notice board for both the host and volunteer on there website. It is constantly changing and can be an ideal way of finding the right match. As you proceed with the process make sure you’re able to provide everything that is needed to enter the country as well as performing the tasks of the farm you will be staying at.
     
      This is not for the person who wants to get away and enjoy free accommodations and free meals, though they are provided. You must love the idea of learning and helping the community. This is for someone who has always wanted to be in the countryside but didn’t have the means or the way to do so. You will be earning your keep and discovering activities you might not ever thought you’d try or do. It will be a rewarding challenge, one that will stay with you for the rest of your life.
     
      You might even discover when you come home to familiar surroundings you miss the landscape and what you’ve experienced and find yourself signing up for a new adventure, meeting new people and learning new trades.
     
        To learn more go to http://www.wwoof.org.

(c)Antoinette Marie

Read 2054 times Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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