6 Things I Learned From Wwoofing

By Sarah

In the past six weeks I have lived on two farms and had the exact kind of once-in-a-lifetime experiences I wanted to have when I left the US.  Despite living in Manhattan for the past four years, I have prided myself on not being a city girl. But when Johnny handed me an apple tree to plant last week, I realized I was in denial.  I didn’t even know how to weed, let alone dig a proper hole for planting.  I must have looked like Clueless Cher to these owners.   I have learned so much over the past few weeks.  Maybe they’re not relevant to the entertainment industry but I feel like a fuller person anyway.  A look at all I’ve learned (and a vote of encouragement for all others to try Wwoofing!):

1.  Giddey-up

When I arrived in Tobarra I didn't even know what a stallion was and I was scared to come anywhere near a horses's behind. Now I can clean 'em, lunge 'em and ride 'em!

2. Spiderwoman

The first day of climbing my butt was hanging out in the air and I was limited to protruding, stair-like rocks. By the end I was tucked in and twisting properly to use nub-rocks on straight-up climbs. Granted, after my last climb my hands/arms hurt too much to hold a fork and feed myself dinner. But when else would I have two weeks of free room, equipment and training to hone my rock climbing skills on some of the most beautiful mountains in the world??

3. Mary Mary Quite Contrary

How my garden can grow! I didn't know the difference between weeds and grass when I arrived. Here, Vio is giving me a remedial 101 class. Now I can pick out any herbs needed and plant apple, orange and avocado trees. Get ready for fresh fruits and veggies when I return!

4. Jamie Oliver Protege

Johnny and Vio have both trained as chefs and can whip up 5-star meals for 12 clients out of any ingredients they happen to find in the fridge. I learned all sorts of off-the-cuff cooking tips and easy recipes -- fig jam, pear puree and zucchini fritters were amongst my favorites.

5. The EXTRA Virgin

So clearly I needed some help in the kitchen... I ALSO didn't know what the difference was between olive oils (virgin, extra virgin, etc). I worked on two farms where we had to place nets to catch falling olives and learned how to press delectable oils. I have a whole new appreciation for quality oil (it's good for your skin!)

6. Lumberjack

I had gotten used to sweating while I worked but never like I did when I was chopping wood for the family's winter fires. We trekked up into the forest and chopped down trees and threw the hefty lumber back down the hill to be collected at the bottom. Phew, manual labor at its best. Now I can use a chain saw (watch your footing on steep cliffs when that thing is on!)


About sistersbailey

We are Perrin and Sarah Bailey, collectively known as “The Sisters Bailey”. The moniker was born out of a crazy weekend at the 2009 New Orleans Jazz Fest and it was the first time we had ever been referred to as one unit. We grew up in Alexandria, VA together and then separated for college - Perrin to The University of Pennsylvania and Sarah to Northwestern University – and somehow landed together in New York after graduation. It was in the midst of the hustle of Manhattan that we became friends for the first time in years. Somehow we landed jobs in the same industry - Sarah worked in marketing at HBO and Perrin managed creative digital promotions for her media agency’s main client, Disney - just three blocks from one another. One day we decided to leave our jobs, sell our belongings and travel abroad with a backpack and a collective savings of $10K. The stories of our continuing adventures and those of other fearless travelers are here to inspire you.
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4 Responses to 6 Things I Learned From Wwoofing

  1. Mom says:

    Err – Could you omit details about working with a chain saw on a steep cliff? Hard on Mom nerves.

  2. Paul Evans says:

    Yo…I’m looking for ways of doing some climbing this summer for a few weeks whilst spending as little money as possible so woofing is clearly a good option. Where exactly is this place (by exactly I mean as precise as possible)? Also, what’s the climbing like near there? Lots of hard routes easy routes, within walking distance or much further?

    If you know of any other suitable places then I’d also love to know,

    My email address is pauldavidevans1 (at) gmail (dot) com
    Thankyou very much!!

  3. Hey,

    Thanks for sharing your experiences!
    what was the farm called where you got to go rock climbing?


    • Hi Katie — The farm didn’t have a name, per say. I lived with a family who grew fruit/vegetables and had olive trees. I found it on the WOOFING website so if you are interested, check it out!


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