Farm life in Hawaii
Planting seeds and growing roots on Maui
Growing up in a metropolitan city I never would have thought I'd relocate to a farm for a period of time. As a kid/teen, I loved going to the mall, the movies — I relished in all the luxuries of city living. But as I grew older, and my college graduation date was within arms length, I developed an ever-growing sensation for something entirely different.
Something I've never experienced before. I dreamed of a place far, far away. Off the beaten path, no studying, no work, no computers or phones!
Hawaii was the first place that came to mind. I mean who doesn't dream of going to Hawaii? It's known to be a mystical kingdom with an abundance of surfers, nature, and hang-loose living.
I had to have a taste for myself. But I didn't want to go just for a week. This wasn't going to be some expensive vacation where I stay at a hotel and only cover surface level tourist attractions.
I wanted to throw myself on the island, marinate, and steep in its waters. I needed the Hawaiian experience; not the Hawaiian vacay getaway. The only limitation was being a fresh-out-of-college-grad. I wasn't rolling in dough. And by no means had money to blow. But I had savings, I just needed to find a way to stay as long as possible for as little money as possible. So I researched!
I came across an incredible program called WWOOF which stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. Think of it as Tinder, but for farms. Literally. You go on their website and look at a bunch of farm profiles which contain information like; who owns the farm, how many travelers work there, expectation of work, stay duration, sleeping quarters, etc etc.
After weeks of messaging multiple farms I found a gem on Maui. And that was that. I packed two bags, purchased a one-way ticket, and told my parents I'd be back when the money runs out.
The farm was everything I had hoped for and more. It was situated on Haleakala, an in-active volcano, and we had surreal views of half the island. We worked on the land. Planted, harvested, and ate everything we grew. Rose and set with the sun. I craved disconnection from technology and connection to raw, real life. And that's exactly what I got.
Little did I know this Maui chapter was just the beginning. I would spend a couple more months hopping from farm to farm. Eventually making my way over to Oahu where a couple girlfriends and I lived on an off-grid pig raising farm. That experience was... hilarious yet horrifying. But that's a whole other story, perhaps I'll share in my next post.
Overall, farming was a life changing experience. One thing I will share transparently, is that this is not an easy ride to Hawaii. Farming was by no means glamorous. We definitely put in work (5 hrs a day to be exact) and most often then not slept in less than desirable conditions. The thing I missed the most was air conditioning. I mean you are living, eating, working, and sleeping outside. I remember my friends and I would do laundry, hang our clothes, and they would never dry from the humidity. It's very trying at times. There will be moments when you wonder why the hell you decided to willingly live/work on a farm in the first place?!
But then the reality of your situation sinks in. The beauty of Hawaii casts a spell on you and teaches you how to live slowly. The people and nature all embody this 'no hurry no worry' attitude. We lived minute by minute on Hawaii. Did not plan a single thing. We farmed then did whatever felt fun in the moment — skating to the beach, biking to get poke or driving into town. Each day I went to bed completely exhausted, yet utterly fulfilled.
Looking back, it was the most free and happy I've ever felt. WWOOF changed my life. Hawaii opened my mind to different dimensions. I'll always hold that place close to my heart. ❤️
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