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Showing posts from May, 2019

A Not-So Cultural Exchange

Our first Workaway of this trip was all the way back in January at a multigenerational family farm in Thun, Switzerland. We were fully immersed in the family and participated in tasks around the house, childcare, moving cured firewood for the stoves on the ancient tractor, prepping apples or walnuts or herbs for storage, etc. Our second Workaway was in Nardò, Italy, at a small horse ranch/bed and breakfast/farmstead, and our days were spent gathering trimmed branches from the olive grove and storing them, tidying the property for the coming high season, grooming the horses, stuffing our faces with homemade Italian food, and socializing with our host's group of friends in the evenings. These days we are in Garndolbenmaen, Wales, at quite a different style Workaway than our previous two.

Our hosts, Tamsin and Tom, have a pack of foster and rescue dogs living with them while they wait for a perfect forever home. There are some family pets as well, of course, but a majority of these …

Wild Wales

Wales has been wild in many ways so far.

Yesterday was our last "day off" for the next two weeks at our Workaway, as on Tuesday our host family goes out of town until the 6th of June and we will be the sole keepers of this little farmhouse--oh, and the 21 animals who call this place home. We took a walk up the street to the outskirts of the already-miniscule village of Garndolbenmaen (don't ask me how to pronounce it, because I don't know), in between the stone walls separating each parcel of land/sheep pasture, helping ourselves through the livestock gates because that's how "walking paths" are done here. We made it to the top of what we think is Craig-y-Garn, the highest peak you can see from our Workaway house. From up there we had a panoramic view of our area of Northern Wales. We're right on the edge of Snowdonia National Park, but also in sight of the Irish Sea.

The wilderness here looks a bit different than what we're used to in the Paci…

A Journey Through the Motherland

It's been over seven months since we started this traveling thing, and five of those have been outside of the United States, with our itinerary making England the first English-speaking country we've set foot in since well before Christmas. What a weird thing! I'd gotten a little bit used to there always being a language barrier, but in the UK, we can actually make out other peoples' conversations on the street. We're also much more likely to actually get what we intended to order, and feel like we can ask for directions if needed.

I've learned to feel more comfortable than I started out in countries that don't speak English, but naturally, many things are so much easier when you're somewhere where all the signs are written in the language in which you are fluent. Anyhow, the last week of April was when we made the big leap from Eastern Europe over to the United Kingdom, where we will stay until mid-June when we meet my parents, sister, and her boyfrie…

Story Time: Life is Smelly

"I think I could endure just about anything as long as I have my own bathroom," I said as I got ready to shower in the ensuite our Airbnb room featured in Bristol. A beat. Then, "That could have come out of my mother's mouth."

We'd just come from a hostel in Oxford whose bathrooms were not nearly the worst we'd seen, but were a long walk through several sets of fire doors from our 12-bed dorm room, and the dorm room door had a 6-digit code that you had to unlock every time you got up to pee in the night, which for me can be quite frequently depending on how much water (read: beer) I'd had just before bed. We were now in a "shared" Airbnb--something we've been doing more and more frequently to save a few bucks--where you have your own bedroom but not the whole apartment to yourselves. This one in Bristol was very pleasant and quiet; just us and the owner/resident of the apartment who was very friendly and eager to make our stay comfort…