I’m the world’s biggest klutz. Just look at my hands. Scratches all over and still pounding from the hands on work I have just done. It wasn’t that difficult, really. But a computer nerd/blogger should maybe stick to their trade. But then again, how could I have known if I hadn’t tried. This is the story about my first and probably last WWOOFing experience.
If you don’t know what WOOFing is, it’s basically working for your board and food, which is a typical thing to do on a working holiday. You don’t get paid but don’t really have expenses and get to see a different lifestyle in Australia. Many such jobs involve remote work as well.
While I was in Australia I tried so many different jobs, house keeping, reception, social media managing and hospitality. I honestly wish I had looked into getting a local tour guide job (such as you can find on Jooble.)
I wanted to explore the life of WWOOFers on Coodlie Park. I had often wondered whether I should consider trying my hand at farmwork to stock up my budget and just experience it. One a crazy Italian had told me that everyone should try farmwork because “it’s something you have to experience once in your life.” Thanks but no thanks, I thought and went my way.
So here I was, wanting to write about it and the logical thing to do, apart from research and talking to people, would be to do it myself. I was reluctant. I argued. I negotiated. And in the end I did it for four hours. And I nearly died (not literally). Give me a computer any day.
You have to realise that this is just my personal whimpy opinion and I can do a lot of things but getting all crafty and to do practical things (apart from cooking) poses quite the challenge. Call me a fragile creative persona.
It’s Just a Scratch
Together with a girl that worked in the office, we two computer persons went out to the campsite to get our hands dirty and get to see farm work up close. The ready campsite has received new upgrades recently and the additions would go on to improve the whole grounds even more.
Based on ecological principles, all the materials are recycled and upcycled. This was not only good for nature but had a very rustic and unique look. Our work today was to scrape off mussels and barnacles off former oyster leases. For those who didn’t know (like me), oyster leases are basically wooden boards in which the oysters are grown under water. They thus have a lot of dead sealife clinging to it even after their dear life is over. Not very helpful for our cause.
We were faced with a whole cartload of said boards and given a scratcher. Clueless, we were patiently shown how to grab hold of the poky board and give it a good scratch, getting the things off. Easier said than done but with a lot of violence on my side by smashing the barnacles with a metal stick and hammer, we got on splendidly.
I imagined if that is what street criminals in the films film like, clanking their iron sticks on the pavement, slowly approaching their helpless victim. Not a good thought. I watch to much TV. Moving on.
Not Everyone’s Cuppa
Remember when I said we got on splendidly? Well, that was what we thought. We were making progress but apparently a very slow one. By the end of four hours, our hands were hurting all over, scratches were lining our baby soft skin and my arm felt weak. I would have been proud to say that was after we finished the load. We only made it to a fourth. Again, whimps.
Apparently people who have not such a lousy condition from working on a desk all day long and with a zest for outdoors work do much better than we. I guess that’s true. All I can say is that I am certainly not suited for a life helping out on farms but I can totally see the appeal. You are helping an industry that is as old as humans, growing produce and working in the nature. Out in the open all day, enjoying the sun, working out and providing serious help.
Everyone who wants to WWOOFing, I encourage and applaud highly because this work is absolutely hard work and I can now appreciate their efforts much more. Seeing the work that has already been done on the campsite and which had not looked like such a big deal to me before, suddenly I saw in a different light. My final verdict: kudos to WWOOFers!