Wwoofing was a great experience, a very interesting way to travel. I’d heard about it, and tried it with a few friends. I spent less than a month camping and volunteering on an organic farm, which was an enlightening and enjoyable experience overall.
The owner of the farm was Tobias and his girlfriend ran the farm and chose to use Wwoofing volunteers to help with running their self-sustainable model of organic farming. Working the land, growing food, eating fresh healthy produce, using seasonal ingredients and conserving excess using a variety of methods. They host a couple of events every year which brings life to the farm, attracting interesting people from all over the world to the farms annual private party Unifant. There were two very memorable dogs, loyal and protective Bear and … , the Belgia dialect for “waster” – an aptly named stray dog full to the brim with quirks and character.
Stars at night were incredible, the sound across the valley sometimes the dogs would start howling accross the valleys
The isolated rural life would be very lonely without people coming to visit who contribute towards the produce that they eat and while having learning a lot.
It was an incredible location with much to offer around, but one had to look. Very rural Portugal, in the foothills of the tallest mountain on the Iberian peninsula. It was hills and valleys for miles if you looked down. Walking in any direction would bring you somewhere new
I learned so much that I don’t even know where to begin but I’ll try communicate the experience.
The days working on the farm were long, getting up early to get as much work as possible before the heat. The day was punctuated by a time for rest or creativity. If you could stand the heat there was great walks in the area. Though I initially found it hard, once I settled in it was great and the time flew by. I found myself wishing that I stayed for longer.
There was a variety of work to do, in fact one thing that I learned is that there is always work to be done if you want to live in this manner
Farmwork: clearing land, using the wood mower, making holes and putting in stakes, collecting and moving grass for hay, making mulch, weeding, hoeing land to make beds for growing plants, watering the plants, feeding the pig, herding the goats,
Building: I helped Tobias in his project of restoring and building on to the ruin of an old farmhouse which had been destroyed by fire. He had an incredibly diverse range of skills, and made incredible time getting a lot of tasks done on his own. I assisted him laying a floor on the bedroom upstairs, installing the electrics, clearing debris, putting in the door, doing light masonry, making tracks in the stone walls for the wire, demolishing an old stone fireplace downstairs, lifting stones with pulleys to the second floor.
I also painted the upstairs room in preparation for their moving on, the results of whichI have posted below.
How to make elderflower cordial:
I had to do various tasks as part of preparing for the Yoga week, the most time consuming and most difficult of which was clearing the yoga terraces.
Trimming grass to make paths in the mimosa forest
Cracking pine nuts, a surprisingly time consuming task – it literally took hours to fill a small enough jar to make the pesto for Yoga week
The yoga week
This was a very wholesome and introspective week – but with great company too! We had time to participate, working split shifts and dividing the work amongst us.
There was a delicious and varied range of vegetarian and vegan meals and snacks. Morning and Evening
Slept outside the night of the solstice
Social time at the farm: was mural painting for Unifant during this week. I’m truely greatful to Tobis and Sarah for prioritising time and resources to facilitate my wo
Acro-yoga was my favorite part, after warming up individually we worked together to do different poses – working with partners and the group supporting around you in case you fall. Some pics below.
Walking up in the hills,
Siexo do Biera
The abandoned village nearby held a great swimming spot
This post is still a work in progress.. watch this space
Feel free to weigh in, the comments section is there. feedback and constructive criticism welcomed as well as questions. Share stories too and links, I’m interested in doing a lot more travel