Apr 102012
Authors: Morgan Mayo

I learned a valuable lesson this week. People like to put you down. They like to take your dreams and crush them between their giant despotic fingers until you have no hope. They’ll take your big, shiny college-educated future and reduce it to the size of a drive-thru window.

This is the point when all the bigwig internships have turned you down. The summer camps have rejected your counselor application for having one too many suspicious traffic violations. Even the sex shop you’ve been a faithful customer of for the entirety of your college career refuses to hire you based on “lack of experience.”

As if renting pornos to middle-aged men requires experience.

Yes, there comes a time in every college kid’s life when all your hopes and dreams look like they’re going to be sitting their ass on your parents’ couch all summer long.

But when this day comes, just remember: There is always hard labor.

Originally when I told my mother I wanted to be a farmhand in Spain for the summer, she was skeptical. And with good reason. The sight of me trying to drag my 30-pound luggage through the airport is laughable. The thought of me trying to throw hay bales is straight up pathetic.

Not to mention the fact I have always hated farm books. The slow, hot days. The innocent children who swim in the creek, milk cows and play with their dogs. The passage of seasons and the harmonious relationship between man and nature.

I’m not inspired. Just bored.

But thanks to a program called WWOOF, I will get to experience all of these rural joys and more for the low, low price of a plane ticket.

For those of you who have not heard of WWOOF, it stands for World Wide Opportunities On Organic Farms. It’s a homestay program on farms throughout North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia/Pacific.

WWOOFers are given meals and a place to stay in exchange for six hours of work a day on the organic farm of their choice. So not only do you get a cheap-ass vacation, but you also get to contribute to a world-wide effort to make communities and people more environmentally conscious. What’s not to like?

I chose to go to Spain because the best friend I happen to be traveling with has an uncle in Madrid who knows David Beckham. And I really want to try the Spanish delicacy called “criadillas” or bull testicles. I’ll be sure to bring you all back a T-shirt that says “I Ate Balls.” You are welcome.

But your choices to WWOOF extend way beyond Spain. The world is your oyster! Try out a Malaysian or Palestinian farm if you’re feeling particularly feisty.

The key to WWOOFing is to not be a complete idiot about where you go. As a college kid abroad, you more than likely do not want to be sequestered alone in the wilds of some third world country, with two 70-year-old farmhands who go to bed at 7 p.m. every night. So get yourself as close to a big city as possible, and make sure there is a bus service.

Another essential is to make sure the farm accepts more than two workers at a time. My traveling companion insists on calling our summer abroad “Tour De Tan Penis” because we’ll be on a farm with 10 other workers. All of which, she swears, will be passionate Spanish hippie men dying to make sweet love to us in the sheep pasture or marijuana field.

With a name as classy as “Tour De Tan Penis,” it is hard to imagine a summer where we don’t manage to live up to the European stereotypes of Americans as slutty and crass. Clearly we’re going to try our very hardest not to let them down.

Whether you decide to WWOOF or not, the important thing to realize is that as college-aged people, we don’t always have to be building up our resumes. Summers are supposed to be about traipsing around the world, meeting new people and embracing these brief four years of freedom before we’re forced to graduate and become real people.

Awkward times are ahead my friends. But until we meet again…


Morgan Mayo is a junior creative writing major. Her column usually appears Wednesdays in the Collegian. She can be reached at letters@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 4:20 pm

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