Recognize that quote? I was raised on romantic comedies and Taylor Swift songs that continue the girl-needs-boy-to-save-her idea as much as any Disney princess movie. Part of the fun of traveling (aside from going new places, doing new things, realizing the conditioning we were raised with) is meeting new people. Everything feels adventurous even ordering coffee at a cafe. Living with people for weeks at a time means you make friends. There’s a lot of pros. Let’s pause for some WWOOFing advice:
- do it in a foreign country (I also WWOOFed in a rural town in Maine with a sweet sweet couple but there was less magic to running a booth at an American farmer’s market than an Italian one). Feel free to do it in a foreign country as well 😉 (My sense of humor is that of a 12-year old boy.)
- find a family that takes in multiple volunteers at one time. This means more people to get to know and more people to share in your joy/pain/homesickness/not wanting to go home
- realize you can find contentment doing anything. On the second farm I WWOOFed at in Fossacesia, IT I scooped up horse poop with a shovel and a rake for two hours every morning with other volunteers. But you know what, clearing my head, getting to be outside in sort-of fresh air wasn’t a bad thing. I made jokes to myself to pass the time — “How was your day? Shit” “What’ld you do yesterday? Nothing much, I felt pretty shitty” “How many people does it take to poop scoop for five horses? Depends on how much shit you want to deal with” They were not good jokes. Those probably aren’t even jokes at all. It’s amazing how good and efficient you can get at anything if you practice it everyday! Does that count as a joke?
- horses (may) = electric fences. If you WWOOF you’ll get good at something — knowing a lot about wine, knowing the name of every tool in Italian, lifting heavy pieces of wood, tying up olive branches, having a high pain tolerance for small shocks from electric fences while trying to push a wheelbarrow, shovel and rake in and out of pens on a hill
Back to the story here. I would say I have friends in Italy, France and Germany now from all the people I met two years ago. But I don’t like social media much, I write a lot if I’m e-mailing someone and I overthink whether I should connect with people/when/about what/am I interrupting their lives. I also like to believe in reincarnation, that there are people we feel close to for some reason or another.
So I reached out to a friend I haven’t talked to in two years. Maybe the internet makes reconnecting too easy. Long story short, it didn’t go well, it got very emotional very quickly and after three days the long e-mails trickled to a drip. BUT everything is a lesson learned right? I don’t know what the lesson here is. I’ll bring in another movie reference here “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Thank you Eleanor Roosevelt and The Princess Diaries. That’s how I feel. I did more harm than good and I’m sorry but I refuse to rewrite my memories. All we can do is keep moving on.
Life moves quickly with a lot of ups and downs, a lot of ups and downs we cause. But don’t be afraid to reach out for that job promotion, for that gut-decision one-way plane ticket, for that lost friend. With every choice we make we learn more about ourselves and this crazy world.
Catch Ya Later,