WWOOFing in Italy

My time in Italy is rapidly coming to a close, and while I’ll elaborate on future plans in a later post, I still have some issues to work through before my contract is up, namely the fact that I have about a month and a half of dead time between moving out of my apartment and meeting up with my parents when they come over from the States. (Wow, long sentence.) Usually, I would at least make the attempt to go to Alicante and just crash on the beach for that period of time, but since my parents and I are supposed to meet up here in Florence, I figure that staying in the country would be the easiest for everybody. It is, however, difficult to find economical accommodations for that time period and I have no desire to bounce from hostel to hostel. Traveling is out of the question since it’s expensive and I’ll have to find somewhere to leave my things.

Last semester my university offered a special Agriculture-centered program, and I knew a few students who participated in the various activities provided, one of which was a week-long stay at an organic farm in the Chianti hills through an organization called WWOOF. According to their website, WWOOF stands for “Willing Workers on Organic Farms” and is essentially an opportunity to immerse oneself in the local cultural, community, and food-lifestyle of various organic and sustainable farms around the world. Branches are located in multiple countries and WWOOFers interact directly with Hosts in order to determine length of stay and accommodations, if not otherwise specified. There’s no pay involved. A WWOOFer works an agreed-upon number of hours on the farm doing various tasks and in return receives housing and food. Not a bad trade, in my opinion, so long as I can save money!!

The whole concept isn’t exactly in my wheelhouse. I’ve never been camping before and haven’t done much by way of hard labor. In fact, I’m sure a couple of friends are rather skeptical about the whole thing. “Nikki? On a farm? LOL Yeah right.” It’s not entirely surprising to me to receive that reaction, given I like my creature comforts and have been rather vocal about this in the past. However, this is something that sounds like an awesome opportunity to learn about food (which I love) and enjoy a place I’ve never been (which I love), and I would be an idiot to not take advantage of that. I find it frustrating that, despite my love for makeup, good clothes, and fancy shoes, I might be pigeon-holed into being “that girl” who couldn’t handle a bit of outdoors. I was quite the outdoorsy kid, you know. I’m really looking forward to this, even though I have no concrete plans about where I’ll be and what I’ll be doing. At the very least, I’ll enjoy the thought of naysayers eating their words come May!!

Anyway, weather here is finally shaping up for the better. We’re coasting at a comfortable 60° average for the rest of the week, and there’s always a bit of sun peeking through during the day. I can’t wait for proper summer weather to come around so I can get back to wearing sandals around. I have a few travel plans in place (for once!!) and some friends are visiting me this month, so I’m excited for the rest of February. This coming weekend I’ll be seeing a college buddy, Kat, who’s currently on something of a Europe tour for a number of weeks and we’ll be attending the Viareggio Carnival festivities on Sunday. After however long of not seeing anyone from college, it’s going to be fantastic getting together with her again.

Next week is midterms and the start of the spring break, and it’s evident in the atmosphere of the university buildings. Something of a frantic buzz, if you will. I imagine that planning various country-hopping escapades coupled with studying for exams can be rather stressful, especially if you’ve never done it before. I’ll be spending the break here, most likely, since another friend, Cory, will be coming to visit for the first half of it. He’s currently teaching English in Menorca, and he’s super psyched to get the feel of Florence. Ah, I’m inundated with friend-visits! I’m so glad haha. Alright, best get back to work! Cheers, guys.

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One thought on “WWOOFing in Italy

  1. I will say that you on a farm is a hilarious mental image, and you are absolutely “that girl”. It’s okay, though, I love you anyway. And with as much as I complained about the “cold” in Chandler, I did decide it was a good idea to move to the northeast, so I can tell you that doing things you’d normally never do and that you think you’ll hate can actually occasionally work out.

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