You don't know what to do this summer, you had to cancel the trip you were dreaming of... So here's an idea that will allow you to discover your country in a different, in an authentic way! On top of that, it's suitable if you are traveling on a budget ☺ So, have you ever heard of WWOOFing? HelpX? or Workaway?
This acronym stands for "World-Wide Opportunities on Organic Farm". More concretely, it is a global network of organic farms.
For the record, WWOOF originally stood for "Working Weekend On Organic Farm ". It was in 1971 that Sue Coppard, a secretary working in London, had the idea of offering city dwellers the opportunity to discover the countryside while supporting organic farming. Rather a nice way to spend your weekends!
Today the meaning has changed as volunteers have begun to commit themselves for longer periods of time. Now we're talking about "World-Wide Opportunities On Organic Farm". This new meaning was not given randomly since the network has spread all over the world!
Depending on the country where you wish to "WWOOF", a membership fee is payable. In France, the membership fee is 25€ for one WWOOFer and 30€ for two. Namely, by joining WWOOF France, you become a member of the association for one year, which gives you access to the contacts of many hosts.
Lived experience while WWOOFing: sleeping in a caravan in the backyard with the sheep, including the one just above :)
HelpX or Help Exchange :
HelpX is a network similar to WWOOF. It was launched in 2001 by Rob Prince, an Englishman who travelled for several years in Australia and New Zealand. During his trip, he had the opportunity to work in exchange for accommodation and sometimes food, in farms and hostels. Later, he realized that the best way for many travellers to find suitable hosts was through an online platform. Then, the HelpX network was born and grows richer every year. The membership fee is 20€, which lasts two years and thanks to that you will be able to contact hosts from all over the world!
Based on the same operation as WWOOF or HelpX, Workaway is a global network that connects travelers with hosts who need help with their projects or activities. David Milward, who started the network, extended his stay in Hawaii in the 1990s by helping out at the hostel where he was staying. He realized that many travelers wanted to be more than just tourists. That's how it all started! The best of Workaway? You can directly choose in which areas you want to get involved: NGOs, animal welfare, sustainable projects, education, farms, etc. As for the membership fee, it is 40€ for one person or 50€ for two for one year, thus you have access to the contacts of hosts from more than 170 countries.
Examples of offers from several hosts
How does it work?
In France or elsewhere, the hosts will welcome you to share their know-how, their daily life or their activities. In exchange for a few hours of work, on average 4-5 hours a day, the hosts offer you accommodation and food. The rest of the time, you are free to explore the surroundings, to have a nap or chat with the hosts!
I have been on a WHV (Working Holiday Visa) in New Zealand for 9 months now. The goal of this trip being to meet the actors of sustainable tourism through The EcoLocalTrip project, I went through the website wwoof.nz and helpx.net to achieve it.
After several experiences in guesthouses, ecolodge or farmstay, here is what I could learn:
Milking a cow
Making bone carving
Making butter with fresh cream
Preparing the soil before planting
Shearing a sheep
Handmade necklace, made with the help of Kelly at The Flying Fox
If you want to know more about my volunteering experiences and my project, come here ☺
If you can, become a wwoofer, helper or workawayer on your next trip! Whether they last a few weeks or a few days, these three platforms will allow you to go on an adventure close to home while living a different experience, more human and closer to nature. Thanks to this trip, you will also be able to reach several goals! Personal goal, maybe traveling differently is your next challenge? And finally, by travelling on this way you could achieve many of the Sustainable Development Goals defined by the United Nations such as Protecting our environment, Acting against the global warming or Consuming and producing responsibly.
So, what's your next destination? Ready to travel differently and live a unique experience?