WWOOFing – a walk in the park or just barking mad?

Well, neither, is the short answer. But for those of you who clicked this link hoping for a little more than six words…

My first WWOOFing experience was two hours outside of Bangkok in Damnoen Saduak. I stayed with a lovely Thai host in a wooden cabin, built by her father, on stilts over a river. It was a beautiful place with a gorgeous decking area outside, complete with swing bench. And her farm was a tropical paradise of coconut trees, canals, bamboo bridges and lemon grass.

My favourite thing about the whole experience was the reality of it. For the first time in my life outside the UK I wasn’t a tourist tucked into a hostel dorm, shuttled onto tour buses or ripped off by the general Thai population. I cooked and ate genuine Thai food, made from homegrown ingredients and slept surrounded by geckos, with birds nesting in the roof.

WWOOFing, a walk in the park or just barking mad? The Laughing Life

My beautiful mountain of papaya salad

 

I’ll admit that at first, I was a bit city girl squeamish about the insects, all those poisonous snakes, spiders and scorpions constantly on my mind. But Thai culture makes it impossible not to relax.

I could go on about the fun to be had, falling into rivers, dancing on the rooftop of a new local Thai friend, catching a firefly, visiting the smaller, little-known floating markets.

WWOOFing, a walk in the park or just barking mad? The Laughing Life

Getting the right balance is key…

 

But it was the whole way of life that made the place what it was. 4 hours of work in the morning, and then a big cooking sesh, followed by a long delicious lunch, followed by… Nothing. Reading. Napping. Chatting. Card games. Washing the aggressive dog.

This way of life doesn’t involve tax forms, pay slips, internet shopping, commuting. My host made her own soap out of coconut milk and taught others how to make glass bottles into shower rooms, plastic bottles into, well, anything, to be honest. She meets new people of new cultures every day and everything she does she does for her, making things she uses, growing things she eats, keeping herself alive and happy without builders, packets, tins and all those other plastic sheets that separate us from our own lives.

The main thing that my host taught me?

Life is easy, but we make it so difficult.

 

WWOOFing, a walk in the park or just barking mad? The Laughing Life

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