Farm and travel. Farm or travel. Can there be only one? As I understand it, yes. There can only be one. Committing my life to farming will mean sacrificing travel. I’ve heard farmers say they are not bothered by that. Not bothered a bit by 365 days a year on the farm, knowing that for them, farming is life. Farming is their happiness and raison d’être. Who would need anything else? Well these farmers certainly have never had the travel bug. But I’ve been afflicted for as long as I can remember. I’ve lived in Hungary, Greece, France and England. I’ve traveled across the country and to Central America, Israel and Southeast Asia. And still there are countless places waiting to be explored. So how can I reconcile this love of travel with my goal of having a small family farm?–possibly the one enterprise I could choose that would tie me down completely. Honestly, it is hard. Really really hard. But I am coming to terms with the idea.
With the advent of programs such as WWOOFing and helpx, thousands of people successfully farm and travel the world every year. If I truly wanted to, I could join them. So, you might think, why not? Well frankly, I feel like I’ve paid my dues. I’ve worked hard, volunteered and worked hard again. For me even more powerful than the travel bug is the I-want-a-place-of-my-own-bug. I want to develop a home and a business that I won’t need to pack up and move every few years. I want roots. I want to have a community and animals and neighbors. I want to wake up in the morning and work hard on land that I don’t have to worry about losing.
But I’m not there yet. And I think I need one last adventure before Quiet Owl Farm solidifies into a real 365 days a year farming reality. And so, this summer, I am going take a solo trip. I’m not sure where yet, but the destination is unimportant. I’m going to take a week and a half or two weeks for myself and really make the time to think about my future. Although the decision to give up travel is the most difficult decision I have ever made (sorry-rough life, I know), I think the opportunity I will have for self-reflection on this adventure will help me come to terms with the big decisions ahead. And I must note that if you’ve never traveled alone, try and take the opportunity to do so someday even if it’s only overnight. Following your own itinerary (or lack thereof) is incredibly rewarding.
Yet even as I struggle with farmheart and travelheart battling for my soul, I know that starting Quiet Owl Farm on a bigger-than-backyard scale will be a journey in itself–super corny as that may sound. Finding “the” farm might involve an actual physical journey to another part of the country. Or it might not. But it will, I have no doubt, require all of my physical and mental determination, resilience and creativity. And another thing I know is that having even a little inkling of what is in store for Quiet Owl Farm makes me feel excited and optimistic. So, adventures, whatever form you may take, I am ready for you.