Travelfilter: Where to WWOOF?
January 19, 2015 10:37 AM   Subscribe

I have two or three weeks to go wherever I want in May! Help me with my preliminary plans...

I will be traveling as a solo female. My budget is no more than $1000 for the whole trip, including airfare from NY (I can leave on flexible days to make airfare slightly cheaper than if I arrived/departed on Friday or Saturday).

I enjoy history, art, hiking/nature, and meeting people; trying new food is okay but not necessarily at the top of my list. I prefer places with weather that is not extremely hot. I won't be renting a car, so if I am to venture out into a larger city, I would need to be in a place that is very walkable or has decent public transportation. WWOOFing sounds like a great chance to learn a few skills, meet people, travel on a budget, and learn about how farms are run (which I am pretty ignorant about). I have also seen some HelpX and WWOOFing hosts who instead want help with hostel work, which I could consider.

If you think that WWOOFing is not the best way to see a place, however, also let me know! If you think WWOOFing is awesome and have tips for somebody, particularly a solo female, who is new to this, please share here as well.

Places I am considering: I'm mostly looking into Ireland at this point-- my main concern is that I won't have a car, so I don't know if that makes traveling around not very ideal. Otherwise, Denmark, Norway, Portugal, and Peru (which probably wouldn't work out, given the airfare) seem interesting and fun as well. Thanks!
posted by gemutlichkeit to Travel & Transportation around Ireland (5 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I had a friend who did some WWOOF work in the Azores for a few months. I'm not sure about flying out of NY, but he flew out of BOS and got stupid inexpensive tickets out there (I believe there's a large Azorean(sp?) population in and around Boston, hence, the cheap tickets). I'm not sure I'm remembering correctly, but I remember them being much cheaper than my tickets from the west coast to the east coast.

Its a little more isolated than the other places you're already listing, but certainly meets a couple of your other requirements.
posted by furnace.heart at 11:03 AM on January 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

Most hosts are happy to pick you up at the nearest train station. That said, make sure you have a way to leave if you need to... Make sure you can carry all your own stuff, know which direction town is, have contact details of a cab etc.

My husband's friend hosted some French Wwoofers; a few weeks later we were driving out in the countryside and saw them hitch hiking (we picked them up, of course). Nothing bad had happened per se, but the next hosts had turned out to be uncomfortably odd and extremely religious.

I've Wwoofed in the US and Japan and had a wonderful time.
posted by jrobin276 at 12:54 PM on January 19, 2015

If you can get cheap tickets to Japan, I highly recommend it. Beautiful in May, very safe, extensive rail lines, etc.

WWOOFing is the BEST way to travel IMO. :)
posted by jrobin276 at 12:57 PM on January 19, 2015

I'm a travel nerd and was just looking at airfares on Kayak Explore... Less exotic, but the farm scene on the islands off Seattle (Vashon etc.), San Juan Islands, Salt Spring Island/Vancouver is gangbusters and the area would be *stunning* in May. Maybe Quebec or Newfoundland too? I have friends with a farm in Canada if you're interested, and also can vouch for some in the San Juans.

I will say again, I loved Wwoofing and think it's one of the best ways to see a place. The hosts I've stayed with have been extremely kind. I've also - as you mentioned - gotten to do some very cool things - in Japan we helped make Shou-sugi-ban (charred siding for a house). In May you'll likely be doing seeding, planting, early harvests (eg, salad greens, asparagus), maybe pruning fruit trees. Also, there are some hosts that have done some awesomely cool stuff with their property - one guy we stayed with in Maryland (from Switzerland) had built this wood-fired home heating unit that re-burned the smoke from the fireplace and then heated his water and greenhouses. I still don't understand exactly how it worked, but...cooooooool.

Keep in mind that it goes both ways - I have other friends that don't do many Wwoof hosts anymore after they had one Wwoofer blatantly try to steal from them - like, their laptop they run the farm off of! People can also be finicky, have poor work ethic, are poor house guests etc. Don't be put off if you sort of get interrogated. Memail me if you have any questions =) either about wwoofing or farming.
posted by jrobin276 at 1:23 PM on January 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

The Cloughjordan Community Farm in Cloughjordan, Co Tipperary hosts WWOOFers. It's on the train line from Dublin and also connects to Limerick. Many WWOOFers travel around Ireland by bus.
posted by trixie_bee at 10:57 AM on February 22, 2015

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