there’s no place like home.

July 16th-19th

We arrived at our first farm on Friday, July 16th.  We got there around 3 in the afternoon, just as our hosts were leaving for an afternoon out.  We met them and they seemed nice.  They suggested some places on the property for setting up camp, and told us to make ourselves at home.   We went to the place they suggested for the tent and it was shady, but infested with mosquitoes.  We picked our own place and set up.  We each had to use the bathroom, and Eric went into the house first.  When he came out, he said “Enjoy!”  “What is that supposed to mean?” I asked.  He remained silent.  I guess he didn’t want to ruin the surprise.

Crackhead eyeballs a grilled cheese sandwich on our way through Washington

Upon entering the house, I was a little stunned.  It was in complete disarray.  Now, I understand when you have four kids and a farm, keeping a tidy house can be difficult.  But this was beyond a few toys on the floor and shoes not put away.  Really, without a picture you wouldn’t be able to imagine it.  Ok, I thought, no big deal.  I don’t want to judge these people who I don’t even know.  I found the bathroom.  That pretty much sealed the deal.  The toilet looked like it had not been cleaned.  Ever.  And they’ve lived there for 3 years.  I was afraid to sit down because I thought whatever might be living in it would bite me in the ass.

I know this is our first farm and we really have nothing to compare it to, but a feeling of “What the hell did we get ourselves into” came over me, and later that night I learned Eric was feeling the same way.  We talked about it, and he was ready to leave that night.  I thought we should at least give things a chance, and so we stayed.

Beach in North Western Washington

The next morning Eric worked a little in the fields while I stayed in the kitchen and helped shuck peas and freeze them, then prepare lunch.  We had lunch, then went back out into the fields to weed and thin out crops.  The weather there was beautiful.  Sunny and in the high 70’s in the afternoon, and lows in the 50’s at night.  And in the middle of July!

I guess we were both expecting something totally different.  I would think if people were trading work for room and board, that they would want you to be well fed so they could get more work out of you.  Apparently this was not our host’s philosophy.  Eric and I are both big eaters, and that’s when we are not doing manual labor!  This family of 6 with one on the way are barely able to feed themselves, much less hungry travelers like us.

Misty beach scene in Washington

There were some other red flags which I will not discuss here, but we decided that the farming thing may not be for us, not just because of us, but also the dogs.  They didn’t do so well being tied up while we worked in the fields.  Our hosts didn’t mind the barking, after all it is a farm.  But we minded.  The dogs are not farm dogs.  They are not used to this way of life.  It was hard for us to hear them bark until they were exhausted.  We had high hopes for them, but we realized it just wasn’t going to work out.  We decided to leave on Monday.  We also decided to postpone our “farming tour” indefinitely, and just travel the west coast on our own for as long as our funds will allow.  We also talked about where we may end up when our traveling is done.  We have some ideas, and are leaning towards being closer to family.

Part of the reason we decided to take this trip was to find answers, to find our way home in a sense.  Perhaps we needed to come all this way to figure out what we wanted, and where we want to be.  I don’t regret anything.  I’ve learned so many things about myself, about Eric, and about what we want out of life in our short time on the road.  We still have much to see and learn.  But now I think we have clearer vision of where we are going.  It’s a nice feeling.  Almost like coming home.

In other news, my next article is up on Go Girl about Yellowstone.  Check it out by clicking here!

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6 Responses to there’s no place like home.

  1. wendy lauber says:

    Hang in there Wendy. Sounds like these farms are like the hostels in Europe. Some are terrible, but some are really nice. I don’t blame you for being reluctant to try another farm right away. I don’t think I could have stayed there as long as you did, so you already have a “You Go Girl!” from me. 🙂 However, you may find a real gem in another area, and I must say I’m extremely curious about what you’ll be up to next. I love your stories and the feelings you share. You still crack me up. I am praying for this to continue to be a safe and amazing journey for you. You’ve hit a bump in the road, but I’m thinking/hoping there is much more joy ahead…in between the bumps. 😉 xoxo

  2. adwhite17 says:

    Yes, hang in there! I would have probably jetted out of there as soon as I saw the toilet. It’s amazing what some people think of as “clean.” And hey, if you’re anything like me (and it sounds like you are in this respect), your dogs are your kids, so you want them to be comfortable and happy too. Can’t wait to see what’s next on your journey!

  3. Troo says:

    At least you were decisive instead of trying to stick it out in misery! I’m with Wendy and Ad above, though – you may well find that a different farm has a thoroughly different environment.

    I’m curious about your “big eaters” comment though. If you’re working fields you shouldn’t really need more than about 3,500 calories a day, but if your hosts weren’t providing that much then you really can’t be expected to work on malnutrition. If, though, it’s just that you’re used to eating when and how you like, you may need to just suck it up and adjust: farmers eat for energy, not for pleasure. For those of us hand-reared in cities it can be quite difficult to wrap our heads around 🙂

    Whatever you decide, best of luck to both of you! I’m still subscribed either way 😀

  4. conradvisionquest says:

    thanks for all the comments, everyone! believe me, if it were just eric and i, we would definitely try another farm. but, because we have the dogs with us, it makes it so much more difficult. the reasons are multi-layered. thanks for the support, peoples! ;)w

  5. Wow. That’s so disappointing, but way to pick up and just move on! The best part about trips like these are the bumps along the way! They force you to head out and try things a bit differently. What fun would a trip be if it went exactly to plan? The joy is in the unknown! Way to keep truckin’ :D.

  6. Chris says:

    Sorry to hear about the bad WOOF’ing experience. I have friends who have experienced similar things, seems the majority of farms don’t take care of their workers. Maybe they are used to people not earning a meal. Regardless, just make sure this doesn’t ruin your trip. And make doubly sure you get over the travel hump as I call it. This is where it is more comfortable to shorten the trip significantly and get back to normalcy. Google work camping and mind my house for possible ideas to earn money or live for free for awhile while on the road.
    In early Sep. my gf and I leave for a month plus out west from PA with our two mutts as well, so you two need to keep me entertained in the meantime. Best of luck and keep on traveling, you only get so much time to take such an epic trip.

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