Farm and Travel

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.

Oregon Winter

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10 thoughts on “Farm and Travel

  1. Thank you. I will. Journeys seem to come in all shapes and sizes and one isn’t more valuable than the other. And I am starting to see the farm as a journey and destination too 🙂 I like that.

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  2. I farmed full time for about 15 years had 9 head of horses, cows, goats, dogs, cats… I had lots of things to tie me down but we still found time to do family and single travel. Your farm is going to be your home and business but everyone still needs time away. Our trips just took on a different feel. We traveled all around our state to fares, stock shows, horse shows and auctions. We used our farm as a the reason for a trip. Maybe we were going to a state fare to show and sell animals, maybe I needed to see a trainer or take a class in another state you will still travel but maybe just a little closer to home. Just try to find another farm family to help you. We still to this day take care of two of our friends farms when they go out of town even though we are not farming anymore. I understand that some times a family just needs to see grandma and grandpa no matter how many animals they have. Enjoy your travels where ever they lead you… Jolynn

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    1. I really like the idea of connecting travel to the farm’s purpose. That makes so much sense and isn’t really something I’ve thought much about. Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

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  3. Aww, I love this! I too love travelling alone, which makes it possible. But sad to leave the others home who would like to join. We had a family wedding off the island, one each of the last three years. A real hassle to have everything covered and that was only for a couple days. Good for you, and enjoy every second of it all!

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