In about eight hours, I will board Air France Flight 321 bound for Paris, France. When I arrive at 11:35am on the morning of the 30th, I will somehow schlep my bags across Paris to the left bank of the Seine where I will board a train at Gare d’Austerlitz headed for Brive-la-Gaillard. After I arrive at Brive-la-Gaillard, I will have 6-11 minutes to transfer to another train going to Bretenoux-Biars, and it is here where I will meet Stéphanie Lassire, who will take me to the Ferme de Rosalie in Saint Vincent du Pendit where I will spend a month WWOOFing!
“Woah!” you say. “Slow down there, partner! What exactly is WWOOFing? Who is this mysterious Stéphanie you speak of? And what’s up with all the touristy guidebooks in those pictures?”
WWOOF stands for “World-Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms.” It’s an international volunteer organization which began in the UK in 1971. Its basic premise is that in exchange for volunteer help, WWOOF hosts offer food, accommodation and opportunities to learn about organic lifestyles. Sounds like indentured servitude, right?! WRONG! Well, sort of wrong. Most people like to think of it instead as an inexpensive way to travel, learn, meet cool people, and see cool places.
There are many different WWOOF hosts around the world who offer many different WWOOFing experiences. Ferme de Rosalie’s description, written by host Stéphanie Lassire, reads as follows:
I am reviving a small family run farm situated in a picturesque village within a region filled with an abundance of flora, untouched nature, and a rich history. I aim to establish my farm as an educational project for my self and those partaking. I would very much like to share my project with WWOOFers from all around the world, for mutual enrichment. My parallel activity is the organization of educational projects related to environmental and ecological issues through drama and theatre. If you are interested in this, come and share daily activities concerning the animals, (horse, ass, goats, sheep and a pig), milking the goats and building shelters for them or participate in the organic vegetable, herbs and fruit gardens; please do make contact. French and English spoken.
From my communication with Stéphanie, I have since discovered very few additional details about what exactly might happen during my time at Ferme de Rosalie. However, I plan to keep track of whatever might ensue with this sleek new Tumblr. I can use it to introduce you to my new French best friends (who will probably be goats), give you a taste of my living quarters (which will probably be a lean-to crafted of horse bones and pig sinew), and to stay connected with my friends, family, acquaintances, and stalkers back in the Good Ol’ U. S. of A.
As I am going to France, I will hopefully be able to practice mon français. I considered keeping a Tumblr in French as a supplementary exercise for my language skillz, but then I realized that no one would want to read it, and that I might forget how to speak English, so I settled upon simply titling my entries in French. This title, “Bon Voyage!” means “Have a nice trip!” but may also bring to mind Cole Porter’s smash-hit musical “Anything Goes,” a masterpiece stuffed with with madcap antics and witty lyrics.
I will let you enjoy Cole’s ingenius lyrics while I tend to my final prepartions before departing this evening (namely, taping over the “Paris for Dummies” cover so that I don’t look completely clueless).