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wwoofing
I think having a goal, and a relatively fabulous goal at that, is an important motivating force in achieving the ever elusive “success” I desire. I’ve been thinking about that a lot this week. The goal not only has to be fabulous but also realistic, which is more complicated than you may think. My goal when starting Mushpa y Mensa was solely to be able to live and work for myself on some gorgeous beach. While this is an amazing goal to have, there are no specific steps to take besides achieving success. I need more than that to motivate me. I need a “road map” to get there. What I mean is I need smaller goals to get to the big one. Then it hit me yesterday, WWOOFing!

Let me explain. I have been wanting to go WWOOFing for the last few months. Mensa had mentioned us going awhile ago and when I was younger my friend Tatia and I used to dream of living this way right after we graduated college. It never happen then, but now I know it will.

Some of you may not know what WWOOFing is so let me break it down…

WWOOF (Working Weekends on Organic Farms, as it stood for then) was born in 1971, when Sue Coppard organised a trial weekend for herself and three other Londoners on an organic farm in East Sussex. Sue arranged a deal with the farmer: they would help out with work that needed doing on the land in exchange for food and accommodation. The weekend was so successful that it became a regular trip, every third weekend.

News gradually spread of ‘Sue Coppard’s Land Army’, and other organic farms got in touch, all keen to offer their hospitality in exchange for help from willing volunteers.

Today, WWOOF stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms: a truly global phenomenon with over 6,000 hosts in 100 countries.

WWOOF UK became a charity in 2008.  With well over 560 hosts in the UK and membership rising sharply year on year, it can’t be long before the verb ‘to wwoof’ makes it into the Oxford English Dictionary. [source]

First part of goal done, thinking of a goal, WWOOFing. Next where to WWOOF; a pretty obvious choice, the Mediterranean, Spain, France, Italy, Greece. Next, what do we have to do to get ourselves onto an organic farm? The answer, we must contact the host farmers off of a list you have access to online once you become a member of each country’s WWOOFing chapter. What I realized is if we are going in a year we need to start to get everything set up now. It is like 30 Euros for us to dual register and like I said they are all separate, yearly memberships. That actually works perfect as if we are really going in a year we will have to contact the farmers ourselves a few months in advance and we won’t want to have to pay $160 again to get the latest list off their sites. Next, how long will we WWOOF for? I thought 2 months, Mensa said 6. The site says people usually only do it for 2 weeks. I think once we get the membership and reach out to the farmers we will have a better idea of how long we will go. I am sure there are multiple farms in the Mediterranean region of Spain, France, Italy, and Greece. I guess we could do 2 weeks at 3 farms per region. :] Ah, I forgot to mention there is no money involve, so you need to save money for fun and necessary products. Once, we find out where we are going and what is really included (room and food), we should be able to come up with our budget and then save this year. There is also insurance the hosts have for you, but remember it is only if something happens to you on the farm. If you are injured off the farm it’s on you, so you may want to have additional insurance if you don’t already.
Mediterranean
On Spain’s WWOOFing site they give this advice,

Insurance for wwofers registered at WWOOF ESPAÑA just covers accidents or illness (and death) direct consequence of an accident while helping in the farm. But for example you are not insured while outside the farm or even in the case of an appendicitis (because it´s not resulting from an accident). The amount insured is small: between 3000 and 6000 euros as maximum compensation). If you get injured, just contact us, you don´t need to do anything special, because you are already registered with us in our insurance policy.

Unfortunately in 2008 we had a sad incident in which a wwoofer died while taking a bath, outside the farm. We all got shocked by the sad accident of Adrian, but upon all the grief, we sadly confirmed the insurance did not cover that case and the expenses of reparation were very high. We never think about these fatalities, but they do happen. Please be responsible.

As a wwoofer I highly recommend you look at www.oveuropa.com. In their special insurance for wwoofers, they have additional clauses and it´s very convenient for the price, this could be on top of your own insurance. [source]

This is an attainable dream and seeing it here in front of me I know it is not only possible, but not that complicated. I want to travel, I want to learn more about organic farming, meet new people, escape a desk job and really just live the way I want to and I’ve found a way to do it, so why wouldn’t I?

-Mushpa

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