Disclaimer: Part one doesn’t actually detail my WWOOF story. It explains everything that happened leading up to it.
Other disclaimer: I’m going to keep my WWOOF host and all participants anonymous. This was a really long time ago, and I might not remember everything right. Plus, people change, and I’m no longer in touch with this WWOOF host or anyone involved, and I have no clue whether they would like to be mentioned online at this point.
Setting it All Up: Why I wanted to WWOOF
I wanted to go “woofing” long before I started writing Edge of Something More. The book became an ongoing daydream, a process that allowed me to explore what a (highly romanticized) WWOOF experience might be like. I was too locked in my circumstances to try it at the time, so I spent a lot of time reading WWOOF experiences online. A number of things made it attractive to me.
- I was fascinated with the idea of showing up at a place and being accepted as a member of a community.
- I was obsessed with the idea of “getting off the grid.” Now that I’m in my thirties, I’m focused on using the grid to build as much success as possible, but back then, I just wanted to vanish into thin air.
- I always wanted to learn more about gardening, composting, and other “green” things. Composting in particular.
- I felt like since I had daydreamed about this for so long, actually doing it would surely mean something amazing would happen to my life. Something like what happened to Devin.
CA to NC: The Journey and Not the Destination
Halfway through the writing process, I took a break to travel for a while. I went backpacking overseas first, and then I returned to the United States to do WWOOF.
When I packed my car and said goodbye to California, I figured it might be a long time before I came back. I didn’t know the experiences I had on the way would be so life changing. I left for North Carolina about a month before I was planning on arriving at my WWOOF location. I should have known better, really—a lot can happen in a month.
Just a warning: If you want an epic experience, the universe will give you one, possibly sooner than you had planned.
I’ve driven across the county a handful of times now, but this first trip was one I’ll never forget. There were so many things.
- Blasting classic rock during a huge, middle-of-the-night lightning storm in Arizona.
- Coming over the hill and seeing the golden lights of Albuquerque just before sunrise.
- Meeting some rapper guys outside my hotel who were following the same path as me on the 40 from Los Angeles to Kansas City. They had their car all tricked out and painted with their portraits on it, and they gave me a CD, but I lost it. I wish I could remember their names!
- Having the entire front bumper fall off my car in Kansas City and fixing it with duct tape.
- Stopping a couple weeks to hike and explore around Columbia, Missouri, where I experienced mysterious forests, good food, and some romance I had been hoping for.
All of these adventures were amazing, but they were distracting me from my upcoming WWOOF experience.
Asheville NC: I Didn’t Count on Falling in Love
After Missouri, I got back on the road for a couple more days and met up with another good friend in Asheville, North Carolina.
Although I’ve long since left Asheville, it remains one of the prettiest places I’ve come across. As soon as I saw it, I fell deeply in love. The cascading mountains, the lush woods, the waterfalls, the colorful little city, the pretty, crunchy people—it was everything I had been hoping to find. All I wanted to do was start looking for a job and apartment.
However, I had already committed to visiting my WWOOF location a few hours away, and I couldn’t back out now. I decided to try it for a few weeks, and then I would return to Asheville to get set up for my new life.