Traveling the world with nothing more than the clothes on your back and a whole lot of freedom. It’s something you’ve always wanted to try but never had the balls for. Admit it.
The adventurer inside of you cries out for attention, yearning for an end to the 9-5 shifts, the incessant toiling and nagging, the consistent barrage of emails, texts, twitters, and god knows what else. Well now life has offered you a second chance to satisfy that wanderlust – and you don’t need an inheritance from a dying oil sheik to afford it.
World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms is a program that has been around for nearly 40 years, though it is still relatively unknown to the general populous. Even better for you. They provide the option to volunteer at a number of organic farms and gardens around the world in exchange for free housing and food. Basically you get the chance to experience life in another country with virtually no expenses other than the flight itself. Programs are currently operating in nearly every region, ranging from Turkey to Argentina to Kenya to Japan. Even the Bahamas! For a full list of all possible international opportunities click Here.
The work you do varies depending on the country and the particular farm you select, but the focus of the program is on sustainable life and agriculture. You will assist with a local family or co-op performing tasks like harvesting, planting, infrastructure, even plant and animal restoration. . I even once found a position working beach side at a tropical fruit plantation in Thailand. The task – to assist in training monkeys to gather coconuts. Oh how I wish I took the job.
To WWOOF internationally, you must first decide on the country you wish to volunteer at and send in an application form along with a small membership fee to join their national program. (When I say small fee I really mean small – the cost to volunteer in Bulgaria for example is a whopping 5 Euros.)They will then offer you a comprehensive list of all opportunities available and let you select one that is right for you. When it has been decided, they will arrange for the specific host to contact you directly and finalize the details.
You will be provided with three meals a day and a place to sleep in exchange for your services, and you are typically given a couple of days off each week with which to travel the region. All in all, it is a fairly short and effortless process and the national organization helps to ensure that things run smoothly and safely.
You can typically stay as long as you like – anywhere from a few weeks to a year at a time (depending also on the needs of the host). Likewise, the demands of the job itself also vary. You can work at 10 hour shifts in the sun performing intense physical work, or you can relax on a beach learning about ecology or saving marine life. (I currently have my eye on an opportunity working in a national wildlife preservation – an almost deserted tropical island working 2-6 hours a day as a caretaker of an Eco-Lodge.)
(Image via MatadorChange)
It is not necessary to have any particular background or experience, just a passion for adventure and a willingness to learn about ecology or sustainable farming. It only makes your travel time that much more rewarding to be able to help communities in need rather than spending all your free time drinking margaritas under an umbrella. Besides, WWOOF is not without benefits of its own. I mean who wants to live the bulk of their life utterly dependent on a supermarket to survive?
There is a limitless amount of opportunities available and it is constantly changing. Browse the international program to preview some of the positions being offered. You will be pleasantly surprised. WWOOF is an entirely unique approach to see the world and promises an unforgettable adventure.
Video Introduction to the Program
Click here to see a WWOOF Intro Video