A three month adventure in France

Posts tagged “Planning Stage

Manders is farming

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Hello you,

My name is Amanda. Some call me Manders. Some call me Mandarin because it sounds like my name, it could be mandarin oranges, I like mandarin oranges, they are cute, I am cute, and it could be Mandarin Chinese. Mandarin is my nickname at work, the place that sucks and feeds my soul. This place is my life and has been since 2010. Most of the relationships I have formed here in Denver come from this beautiful bourgeois-bohemian “bo-bo” of a restaurant. School also consumed my life but that is over now.  After completing a grueling four years of education in psychology and alternative medicine, while working in the restaurant industry I am creating a new chapter in my life.

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I am going to France. I will WWOOF my way through these next couple of years as I explore another country. There are many sources out there explaining the gig, so in summary I will work on a bunch of organic farms in exchange for free room and board. I am going to France because I believe it to be the land of my ancestors hence the last name ;). I speak a tiny bit of French and know a little bit about the culture from high school and college french classes. I took one college course which basically reviewed my entire high school’s education so I like to think I have an elementary level of French.

My family bought my one-way plane ticket in May when they gave me  graduation money checks :). So all I needed was a passport and a visa. The passport was easy, the visa was impossible. They want me to fly to LA in Cali because in order to issue me a visa I have to physically be there. I am already broke trying to save for my trip so that is not happening. I ran into a random guy who just got back from France and he said it is really easy to get a visa once I am there so I will wait. Getting through customs with a one way ticket is another issue. I have to either have a visa or proof of exiting the country according to a bunch of other websites. So my proof of exiting the country is reservations at a hostel in Rome, Italy for Christmas. Christmas in Rome, for me, best present ever! I have also booked my Hostel in Paris for when I arrive to France. A week in Paris at a hostel named after one of the most famous hippie musical festivals in America, yes please! I will not say the name I feel like for safety reasons.

And I have found a farm!

After many months of reading host profiles and searching horses, goats, music, art, dance, and the sea/mountains, I have found the perfect place that includes all of these. I will not know exactly how perfect it is until I get there but I will get to make bread everyday, I could live off of only bread if I wasn’t going to get fat off of it eventually. This lady who I am staying with also has horses and goats. I want to learn how to ride horses so that I can explore the land on horseback. I figure I will cover more ground and see more faster via horses. I want to learn how to make goat cheese which is also something I could live off of. Fromage du Chevre spread all over du pain sounds amazing all the time.

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How did I get my first farm? Well I sent one e-mail months ago and never got a response. I liked the farm but knew it wasn’t a perfect fit and wanted to just see what would happen. I went back to the farm profiles, stuck with my location of anywhere near the Med sea and close to either the Italian or Spanish boarders. Found the farm, composed my e-mail, in french and then the English translation and Voila, I got a response. She sent me more information and I said I was still interested do you have room for these dates. She said yes I asked a bunch of questions she doesn’t have time to answer which is fine because I already have so much information about the farm and no matter where I go, it is going to be magical.

Who helped me through this process?

Friends and family have helped me a ton!!!

As well as several blogs and articles. I must give credit to the following sources for words of wisdom and inspiration.

My Helpers

The wwoof France website, hopes are that you have already been here 🙂

http://www.wwoof.fr/eng/

-10 tips for getting your first WWOOF gig

http://www.goingwithmygut.com/going_with_my_gut/2010/10/10-tips-for-getting-your-first-wwoof-gig.html

-The WWOOF independents pocket guide to WWOOFing

http://www.wwoofindependents.org/handbooks/wwoofer.pdf

-The Essential WWOOFing Pack List

http://beersandbeans.com/2011/03/02/the-essential-wwoofing-pack-list/

My Inspirations

-Ten of the best WWOOFing breaks

http://www.theguardian.com/travel/2009/may/08/green-ethical-wwoofing-holidays-europe

…Soon to come as I gather my sources.

Thank you for listening perhaps now I can go to work and be happy to serve people instead of putting my mind in Paris and forgetting to order someones calzone with ranch.

Peace and Love

A<3