Taking into account of all our wishlists and what we think we want out of life we started talking more about how to make it possible. I was all for selling up, renting land, building sustainable housing and investigating grants and support for green and alternative energy. A was less keen on this idea and it was during one of our discussions that he summed up what we *really* needed to do first:
“We need to go and talk to people doing this sort of thing. We need to learn from those who know what the pitfalls are. We can’t just blunder into this without having more idea about what we’re really doing.”
And you know what? He was right. Before we risk everything on something we *think* we want we need to get a better idea of what that actually is. We need to understand what this lifestyle really entails, what are the pitfalls? The compromises? The consequences? What can and does go wrong?
So how to get this knowledge? Where to learn?
We can read books, we can look at blogs, we can even get a glimpse into this way of life from the handful of TV documentaries and programmes that are around but the very best way is to go off and do it alongside people who are living that life already. I don’t know why the idea hadn’t occurred to us before really as we have various friends who have done it and the concept was already known to us but we suddenly had the lightbulb moment of thinking about WWOOF.
The more we thought about it the more the plan seemed to come together and make sense. Go WWOOFing! Live with people doing what we want to do, learn from them about how to do it, see first hand the trials and tribulations and then make an educated decision about what we want and how we’re going to get it.
We can rent out our house to pay the mortgage, meaning we don’t lose that foothold on the property ladder and our equity is still here waiting for us. With a bit of fundraising and saving we could put money towards a campervan, using my car as part exchange. WWOOFing is all about giving your time and labour in exchange for learning, food and lodgings. We think we want to live off the land? This seems the very best way to start trying.
Once we got that far with a plan which seemed to make sense and be feasible we started talking timings. This was back in June and we were conscious of not rushing into this too quickly, which put us to a sensible start date of 2011. We chose March for several reasons – it’s the beginning of the farming year, baby animals are generally born in the spring so we’d get to be around for lambing and calving, seeing the circle of life through to a logical conclusion, a time of year when WWOOF hosts are likely to be looking for lots of help, the time that many crops are sown, the weather is warming up and an ideal time to start living from a campervan with all the best months of the spring and summer ahead of us. It gave us enough time to swing into action with planning the trip really well and the option of six months to see how we’re getting on with it all extending to a year if it’s going well.
Having come up with a whimsical plan we set about talking about it between ourselves, coming up with questions and concerns and chatting to a few selected people to get some honest feedback. But that’s for the next post.