We decided early on that if we were going to do this trip, we had to fully commit ourselves. We both feel that we need a little kick in the butt--we've lived relatively easy lives, and we're both ready and willing (and even excited) to experience some hardships, work through some tough situations, and come out of it all with new and life changing experiences. We're both at a time in our lives where we aren't really stuck in jobs, we don’t have kids, we don’t have a place or a dog, so want to try to maximize our experience by making it as long as we can make it. So instead of this being a typical 1-2 week long honeymoon, we’re really hoping this can be an extended thing..maybe a few months..maybe a year! That’s the beauty and the scary part of it. We’ve both been so comfortable in life that I think it’s time to take a risk..and with this type of experience I think the pro’s outweigh the cons by a landslide. Something that we thought would definitely maximize our time on the road would be to work somewhere for a few weeks at a time along the way.
We started to research WWOOF, which stands for “Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms.” This is an organization that is working in over 100 countries, with a website containing thousands of farms (there’s 2,165 participating farms in the United States alone--and counting!), so we knew that this was our most reputable source. We figured this could give us a place to get a real shower, eat some good food, maybe sleep in a real bed, learn new farm-life skills, hang with some animals, and meet the people of this country that we’re about to travel in. We’re so excited to have Penny, and the opportunity to have 2 beds and a stove and a sink in her, but I think a little break from “bus life” will be nice every now and then. This will also help keep our money spending down because while we’re at the farms you usually eat with the family.
So to join WWOOF you have to pay around 45-50 dollars a person (in the US), and swear that you’re not crazy. You make a profile with a picture of yourself and say where you’re from, what skills you have, and what your intentions and goals are--then start doing your research! You can narrow your search results by many factors, but you pretty much just search along the map in the areas you’d like to stay and look at the farm’s profiles. The best thing about this site is that other WWOOFers can give reviews of the farms they’ve stayed at--so that way you can see first hand if this is going to be a great experience or if the people are nice and what kind of work you should be doing. The farm also makes a profile, and most of them have pictures and a detailed description of who they are, what type of farm they run, what they need help with, how much they expect you to work and how long they’d like you to stay. Some farms you can stay at for a few days or 1-2 weeks, and others you can stay up to 6 months or even longer! Another bonus to doing this is that most of these farms only expect you to work for 5-6 hours a day so you could still get a good afternoon of exploring in--and sometimes I think they even will take you places or show you the surrounding towns.
We’re really excited about this opportunity to learn a handful of new things and meet all these different people. If anything, this might be the most life changing part of our trip. We hope maybe we can use some things we learn in our future life. Because this is going to help sustain our trip we are choosing to leave our current jobs, which is super scary, but necessary. Both of our last days of work for.. a long time.. were today! It’s kind of weird to say you officially have no job, but hopefully this experience will provide us with more opportunities in life. For a lot of people that was one of the hardest things to understand.. “How are you going to make money??” Yes, that’s scary to officially have no steady income, but that’s where John’s leather leather will come in. He’ll be making all of his leather goods on the road, at picnic tables, in Penny’s back seat, on the side of mountains, and probably at the dining room tables of farms across the country. We’ll miss our friends at work, and maybe someday we can come back to the area and work with them again, but for now the future is uncertain..which is kind of pretty cool.