Categories
Travel and Inspirational Blogs

Musings About WWOOFing and New Zealand so far

For me, the process of traveling is as much as learning about my environs as it is learning about myself. It has been five weeks since I’ve left the U.S. and I’ve travelled to Fiji, spent time farming in North Island, visited the Shire, and now find myself at an idyllic place in Marlborough, South Island. WWOOFing at this second farm has been an even better experience than the first. WWOOFing can be tricky, and I cannot express the importance of establishing expectations with your host ahead of time. I feel I failed at that a little bit at the first farm. WWOOFing is a delicate balance between serving your host (which you are there to do) and getting the right amounts of time off to see the local sights. Working with animals as my sole focus on the first farm required morning and evening work, effectively anchoring myself to a very small radius. I also did not have a car at the time and it made really impossible to see anything.

At this second farm there is much better of a personality fit between me and the host family, and much more structure and definition in the expectations of the work. I am not wondering how to fill my obligated five hours of work a day as I was on the last farm. I have a to-do list and I am empowered to keep myself busy on pretty much my own schedule. I wake up at 0645, take care of the pony, the horse and the donkey by 0730 and do various odd jobs required that day. Usually by 1130, I’ve had my four hours in and I eat lunch, write and nap and in the late afternoon spend another hour finishing up any projects so I get my five hours in and I have weekends off. I love the odd jobs I’ve been able to do here, from staining wood (the host is a taxidermist), to cleaning tack, weeding, laundry, child care, garden work to digging trenches and fixing up the animal water troughs. My hosts are really friendly and I feel my work is appreciated.

Weed Slayer
Weed Slayer

My accommodations at this second farm are outstanding. I have my own cottage that is completely self -contained. I can see the beach from my bed and I have access to WiFi from my cottage (big win!) There are no other WWOOFers here, which is bittersweet. At the last farm I made friends with four friendly Germans and it was a blast to do some traveling with them. At this place since there are no other WWOOFers it is much quieter, which for me right now is exactly what I need. I can walk down to the beach anytime with my journal and meditate and clear my head. With the solitude and the absolutely jaw-dropping beauty I am surrounded with, I am able to quit my soul at this place.

My morning view from my cottage. New Zealand mornings are life changing
My morning view from my cottage. New Zealand mornings are life changing
The view of the beach from the property
The view of the beach from the property

With each place I travel to, I want to be spoken too. The last few weeks I have spent a lot of time thinking about what this wild place is trying to tell me. What is about New Zealand that makes it unique, what message am I supposed to convey from my time here?

Rumble_Bay_7

This country is new, probably one of the newest one the planet, and it feels new. What I mean by new is that New Zealand was not settled by Europeans until the 1870’s; the indiginious Maori were here long before that but did not join the “modern” world till the British arrived in the 1800’s. As with any “new” country, there are not a ton of people from New Zealand. Most are first or second generation New Zealanders, with a large portion immigrating from Europe in the last 100 years. Dutch, German, British, Pacific Islander, you name it, it is a hodge podge of ethnicities. Perhaps that is why I have struggled to find things that explempify “New Zealand” in the way you’d find in other countries you travel too, e.g. the Brit’s have Union Jack and tea, France has Paris and Champagne ect… I think what DOES exlempify the people of New Zealand is a practical attitude, an attitude that enabled them to travel to the ends of the world and become apart of one of the most amazing landscapes on earth.

Maybe it is because the landscape is so amazing, and the country so new, I have noticed more “green” products and practices than any country I’ve visited so far. The Kiwi’s are protective of their land, GMO’s are outlawed and sustainability is a big deal.

The conclusion I am reaching is that what is speaking to me about New Zealand is the landscapes. You will not be moved by the architecture, or country-specific food, but if you let go, you can be moved, and connect with the earth in such a deep and beautiful way; a connection I find difficult to establish while entrapped by all the modern “advantages” technology has afforded us.

Rubmle_Bay_3

-Till my next adventure, Jo-

Rumble_ Bay_9

Categories
#cheaptravel #exoticplaces #lifetransition #solofemaletravel #wwoof Travel and Inspirational Blogs

Expectations vs. Reality: New Zealand

I had grand expectations of my trip to New Zealand. I’ve been planning and fussing over the details for months. I have been in the country for 10 days and I wanted to share with you some of the realities vs. my expectations.

Expectation Number One: In the North Island it would be warm.

Reality: I’ve spent most of my time slogging through mud looking like a frozen gnome. It is not the warm, balmy Springtime I expected. Yes, Spring is just about here and it will get toasty up on the North Island, but not right now. Right now, with all of the rain I feel like I should be building an ark.

Rockin' my gnome look
Rockin’ my gnome look

Expectation Number Two: With WWOOFing Wi-Fi would not be an issue.

Reality: The Taliban has better access to Wi-Fi and the internet than most New Zealanders

I mean people practically pan-handle for wireless access here; “can you spare a 3g mate?”

My big, bold foray into the blogging world has turned into an expensive foray as I have to carry a mobile hotspot with me everywhere I go; I can practically hear they money debit from my account with every picture I upload.

Expectation Number Three: Easy public transportation.

Reality: Yes, in the public areas transportation is easy. However, most of New Zealand is spread thin. Roughly the size of Colorado there are only around 4 million inhabitants and there is A LOT of country in between towns. For example, my farm that I am currently at is 20 miles from town and there is no rural bus system (and most of the country is rural). For me to get out and actually see New Zealand and not stay in the muddy poo-patch mentioned above, I can either hitch-hike, rent a car or buy a car. Very unexpectedly I have decided to plop down $1000 a buy a car for the duration of my stay. Since I’ll be leaving at high season I expect to sell it at a small profit. Many backpackers buy cars here- something that totally took me by surprise. So, to actually get to see this beautiful country I’ll be driving around my very own 1990 Honda Logo. Woot.

Expectation Number Four: Having plenty of time.

Reality: No, there are still 24 hours in a day down in the Southern hemisphere, I just thought 2.5 months would be enough time to properly see the country. Hmpf, if I can speed through Spain in 10 days surely 2.5 months would be enough to see New Zealand “proper like.” Wrong. My own only stress inducing element so far has been trying to figure out how to see everything I want to see in the time I have allotted. Hence the car purchase, but even then I am going to have to limit the time spent on each WWOOF Farm and bounce around more than I would have liked too. Most of the other people I am running into are here for 8- 12 months. If you would have told me that in the states I would have thought you were nuts- “whaddya need that much time fer?”

Cape Reigna
Cape Reigna
So much to see!
So much to see!

Expectations Number Five: New Zealand would be pretty.

Reality: New Zealand isn’t just pretty, it’s life-changingly, take-your-breath-away, stunning. In all my travels around the world I haven’t seen such a beautiful landscape and we haven’t even hit the gem of South Island yet. The natural beauty here is otherworldly.

North Island Bay
North Island Bay
The very top of North Island - where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific
The very top of North Island – where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific

-Until my next adventure- Jo

At the edge of the World
At the edge of the World