Thursday, November 12, 2009

Culture Shock and Culture Shocking


I cannot write right now, really, as I am very very jet-lagged and mixed-up from all the memory of velocity and my current, alien state of staying-put. But. I want to thank everyone for the kind messages and wishes for a safe journey home, and assure you than Matthew and I are very physically here, even if our brains are still somewhere over the Atlantic.

In the next few weeks I am going to be putting up posts regarding advice for WWOOF hosts and guests, reflections upon the farming methods and infrastructures which we experienced in the last eight months, a review of the restaurants we visited and the hostel that we stayed at in Barcelona, as well as general tips for people planning to backpack through Europe. Plus our own little aftermaths here in Boston.

Happy Thursday!


  1. Welcome Home Jenny and Matt

  2. Hello!

    It sounds like you guys had an amazing trip. I was wondering if you could answer some questions for me about wwoofing in Spain. The first being whether you had to get a visa (or visit permit) to work on a farm? I appreciate any advice you can give me about wwoofing in spain:)


  3. Greg! Yes, I would be so happy to help you out. I personally didn't WWOOF in Spain, but I assume that it works the same way as in the three countries (France, Italy, and Ireland) that I did WWOOF in. The first, and most important thing to know, is that when a customs official asks you why you are visiting their country (or even Europe in general) you do not say anything about volunteering, or traveling to farms. This immediately puts a red flag up, and could lead to your deportation! You also need to have at least one address at which you plan on staying in Spain or anywhere else. (Two of my friends were almost sent back to Europe when they were in London, as they had no address - though they did have their host's phone number - plus they mentioned their WWOOFing aspirations.) Don't worry about it - as long as you have addresses you should be fine. You may also be asked about money (it is smart to travel with a credit card or debit card, or to have at least $100 euros cash when going through customs), and, if you're not an EU citizen, your return journey back to your home country (a printed itinerary of your trip home is helpful, if you indeed have a return ticket bought, or you can give a good and detailed explanation of your plans to leave the country by whatever date).

    As far as your actual question! I don't know if Spain requires you to have a visa of any sort. Some WWOOF organizations state that you should have a visa in order to WWOOF, but I think that this is just for liability. As long as you don't tell an authority that you are a volunteer (volunteering, while not illegal, is so unfortunately fishy to officials!), you shouldn't have to worry about having a visa. You could get one, though, and then I suppose that you wouldn't have to worry about whether or not you could get caught. My partner and I had no trouble, however, and we traveled through eight different countries, volunteering at seven different farms.

    I am flattered that you've asked for my advice, and am happy to offer any more! If you would prefer to communicate via email or facebook, let me know and I can send you my user name.


  4. Hi Jenny and Matt-

    Welcome back (a couple of months ago!). I am in the prep stages of creating a very similar trip for myself as yours and have tons of questions. If you are up for it, would you mind if we emailed a bit? I live in Colorado and am hoping to start traveling in September...

    I hope that we can connect, my email address is

    Thanks a ton!


  5. Dear Jenny and Matt -

    One of my hobbies has quickly become to surf the web for blogs about people who Wwoof their way around the world. I loved reading your blog and your dreams and insights into the wondrous world around you. I'm curious about many things, including most of all about how much money you had spent during the entire 8 months? But also how much language you knew between the two of you.. and weather you had to pay for your food and accommodations anywhere that you farmed? I hope that you have ample energy to share your story since your return!

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  7. Dear Lenafish,

    Thanks for the awesome feedback! I would love to answer your questions in a bit more detail than I have time for right now, as I am currently traveling. Would you be able to check back in a week, or give me your email address so that I can write you personally?

  8. ABSOLUTELY, lets get in touch