First WWOOFing experience

It’s kind of difficult to describe 5 weeks of traveling in one post, so I’ll try to do it in two. Also, on one hand it’s hard to call wwoofing in the middle of nowhere traveling. On the other hand this month on the farm was full of learning experiences and very interesting interactions with other people and animals.

If you’re not familiar with the concept of wwoofing it’s very simple – it’s an online database that connects between organic farmers and people who want to help these farmers. From this exchange farmers get help, mostly unprofessional but very cheap – they just need to provide a place to sleep and 3 meals a day. And why would anyone want to volunteer? There can be many answers for that, but most common reasons are desire to help farmers, learn about agriculture, learn about local life and if you have a lot of time like me, it’s a very cheap way to travel since you don’t have any expenses while you are staying at farm.

After a very relaxing weekend in La Paz, I started my way to the “Whitt’s End” ranch that is located south of Cabo Pulmo national park. The driving directions that I received included 17 miles of the dirt road after the paved road ends at La Ribera and then turning to another dirt road when I see wooden bobsled for few more miles. It kind of confused me, but then I realized that there is only one road and it should be very easy to find. I just had not to miss the turn. I was so concerned about finding the farm that I forgot about much bigger problem – rain. And after an hour on the road I faced it and it wasn’t a rain that I can just put my rain jacket on and keep going, it came so suddenly and so heavy that I needed to stop on the side of the road and wait till it will pass. That repeated few times that made my ride at least twice longer and needless to say that it was much harder to drive on the mud road. But eventually I made it safely to the farm and Lisa, the owner welcomed me on the road very close to the farm because she heard the bike and decided to make sure that I don’t miss the turn.

That’s how it started. Thomas, the wwoofer that was there for 2 month showed me around: the house where we cooked and ate our meals, the camper were we slept, the goats that we took care of, the trailer were we made cheese from the goat milk. Lisa’s husband Travis came later from his off-road motorcycle trip and explained about some projects that he started like fencing, weeding, digging tranches for water pipes, etc.

The farm was in the middle of Baja desert with the beautiful view on the sea of Cortez. Now because of the rain season everything around was green, and not just giant cacti. I started to realize that this is the place where I’m going to spend the next month. The excitement took over and I forgot about the awful way here.

Slowly I learned everything about the farm and got into the routine of daily work. I was waking up every morning at 6:30 before the dawn to have a little bit of time for myself, drink cup of coffee and eat something.

Every morning view

Then was a time for the morning duties: milking goats, cleaning their pens and feeding them, feeding chickens, cleaning the dinning room and making the breakfast. It sounds like a lot of work but when even 2 people work together it doesn’t take more then 3 hours, and when we had 3 volunteers it was even easier. After that we had a huge breakfast that Lisa usually cooked with one of the volunteers and some relaxation time before working few more hours on one of the projects or making cheese till it was getting too hot. Then we moved back inside the house for another big meal to refill the energy and long siesta to relax and hide from the heat. Around 6 we started the evening duties, it was much easier and included mostly milking and feeding. After that we had dinner and just talked. The days were long, but passed very fast because everything was interesting and new. This routine gave me a lot of time to spend with others but also had time to think.

Some mornings when I wasn’t too busy and it wasn’t too hot, I run with the dogs instead of taking ATV and I loved it! Especially I loved the feeling that I had when I stopped to catch a breath (I wasn’t in a shape to make a 5K run without at least one stop) and looked around – all I saw was the mountains from the west and the sea from the east, ocean of the green, brown and yellow around me. So standing like that, staring at the beauty of the nature and listening to the fast beats of my heart I realized that I’m in the middle of nowhere by myself and surprisingly I enjoyed that.

Similar moment I had at the night when everybody was going to sleep at 10 or how it’s called “Baja midnight” and I stayed awake for a few more hours reading or watching a movie, so when I was walking back to the camper in a dark I stopped and looked up. I never saw so many stars in my life, I never have been in such a quiet environment, I never spent so much time with myself and I never felt so connected to the Universe. Being there was a very powerful meditative experience and I learned about myself more in a month then in many past years. And that was the best part of my first wwoofing experience.

Storm in Baja

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