12 Countries in 12 months. People either think we are crazy, or they are amazed… or jealous, or perplexed…
One of the questions we get asked the most is “how can you afford this?”.
We get asked this primarily because the people who know us know that we are not well off. We were able to live comfortably in Hollywood. A 1920’s Spanish style 1 bedroom bottom floor nook stole $1200 from our pockets each month. We felt guilty eating out because it cut so much into our budget. But we always paid our bills on time even if it meant sacrificing some fun.
Yet somehow we are able to afford quitting our jobs and moving to Europe for a year?!
There must be a secret. Oh yes there is, and I’m going to spill the beans right here.
Yeah, we gonna woof. According to the urban dictionary (because really, what other dictionary is there) Woofing is:
“When a young person throws caution to the wind, rejects their material possessions and travels the world working on organic farms …”
Originally woofing got its name from the World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms organization (WWOOF) which allows travelers to work their farms around the world in exchange for room and board.
The term has since changed to describe travel that involves working (in general) in exchange for room and board.
This gels perfectly with both mine and Ashley’s desire to see the countries we visit as they are and not through the lens of tourism. Instead of working organic farms though, Ashley and I will be finding varying opportunities across Europe unique to each country.
In Spain we will work on a vineyard, training 2 year old vines. In exchange the vineyard operators will give us our own apartment and cook meals for us. We will have transportation to head into the main city every few days if we want.
So let me get this straight, we get to live on a mountain in the Spanish country side tending a vineyard while we live in a rent free apartment and have home cooking? Sign me up.
In Italy, we have found a woman who is fulfilling her lifelong dream of opening up a bed and breakfast. We’ll move to her coastal B&B for a couple of weeks, help tidy it up… and live in Italy for a bit rent free. I get to step out of my room onto the beach every morning and read or watch the sun set over the Mediterranean Sea daily.
WHY AREN’T YOU DOING THIS ALREADY?!
Seriously, it’s like a dream come true for adventurers like us. We love to work with our hands, help others, and get to know people. Woofing is giving us this opportunity. Add in a healthy mix of plain old backpacking through hostels and couch surfing here and there and you have a trip through Europe planned!
In theory this could go on indefinitely but it likely will not. We plan for this adventure to last a year. If we fail at budgeting for travel and extra expenses the worst that can happen is we had a nice trip across much of Europe for several months.
This trip is over 2 years in the making and we purchased one way tickets to the UK a year in advance. A move like this takes a dose of faith and a spirit of adventure. Could something go wrong? Absolutely. Will something horrible happen? Probably not, at least not much more than could happen if we decided to stay home. We are choosing to move beyond what we and most people decide is their comfort zone. We are pushing past it to explore and adventure before we become so entrenched in ‘life’ that a move like this feels impossible.
Traveling Europe for a year may well prove to be the adventure of a lifetime and a defining moment for us. We hope you’ll join us. Get our guide How To Pack 365 Days of Clothes Into 1 Carry On and start your adventure now.
Where do you want to go, what is holding you back? Let us know in the comments below.