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Hello! I’m back in civilization for the weekend after three total weeks and two weeks straight on the farm. I wanted to catch my mom before she leaves to go to Hawaii for a month. (Maybe that’s where I get my travel itch?) Next week I am going back for my final week at this farm near New Smyrna, FL. Then I’m on to Gainesville, I believe.
Have you ever noticed that it seems life sometimes hides little clues, coincidences, signs for you to find, showing you that you are following the right path through this crazy world? I don’t think I’m the most perceptive to these hints, though I am trying to be on the lookout. However, when I arrived at the farm, I took note of a very clear indication that I was on the right track. Right next to the wwoofers’ trailer and outdoor kitchen, there lived the most magnificent mulberry tree I’ve ever seen. Under its looming branches was the perfect camping spot right next to a hammock. I was told I’d missed the mulberries by a couple weeks, so I take this to mean I should have begun wwoofing sooner!
I can’t express how much of a good decision choosing to wwoof was! I am completely at peace with the choices I made to quit my job three months ago, drastically minimize my belongings, cut my ties and leave Richmond, VA to wwoof around the Southeast. I am learning so much about organic farming, selling at farmers’ markets, and the work it takes to run a farm; however, I am learning much more intrinsic lessons as well. The sense of freedom I experience on the farm is completely addicting and extremely validating. It reminds me of some Broadways lyrics I used to ponder as a student and still do: “I thought about the word freedom and what it really meant for me. Because you see, sometimes I don’t feel so free when I’m stuck here in the city.”
Much of the self-led learning I’ve pursued in my adult life has been surrounding defining and discovering ways to achieve freedom. Looking back, I don’t think this was a purposeful choice, but the pieces seem to revolve around this general theme. You might be thinking, “What do you mean? We live in America!” No. I am talking about real freedom. While it is different for everyone (and I recommend everyone put some serious time into thinking about what freedom means to them), real freedom to me feels like separation from much which is mainstream today: unfulfilling work, superfluous bills, shopping habits, too much stuff, debt, unhealthy relationships and anything else that ties us down. I’m not an expert, but a fellow adventurer in this arena; I can only share what I have noticed and experienced myself. Considering what freedom means to me is an ongoing project in my life. Right now it revolves around minimal possessions, lack of a formal job, flexible “work,” friendships and relationships consciously chosen for their positive influence on my life, an ever-evolving knowledge and practice in self-sufficiency, lots of time spent outdoors, zero debt, and the bare minimum of bills (for me right now that’s car insurance and cell phone, more on that later).
Beginning wwoofing has proved to be a huge step in my pursuit of freedom. This lifestyle has forced me to minimize materials things to be more mobile; take “work” that I want to learn about, provides flexibility, and is deeply fulfilling; granted me plenty of outdoor time; granted me time to do the things I love: reading, practicing yoga, having good conversations, spending time in Nature, cooking delicious fresh meals, meeting new and interesting people; and allowed me to travel. Besides all of these personal factors, organic farming is a cause I am deeply passionate about for the future of people and our planet, so it is truly fulfilling on that level as well. I missed the farm shortly after arriving back at my parents’ house.
Over the next few days, I’d like to share some journal entries I wrote while on the farm as well as some reflections. They’re nothing new or unique, but might give you a sense of the elation I feel out in the woods. When I told my mom about what I’ve been up to she said, “You went camping too much as a kid.” Maybe so, but maybe all that camping is what taught me to “Love Your Mother.”