It's been sometime since I ran out of money, but not my desire to travel. So I decided to take up woofing. Woofing is a website which provides details of farms where one can work for food and shelter (sorry no money). I got a positive response from an areca nut (betel nut) farm in Karnataka, Moodabidri. An over night bus journey from Bangalore took me to this small village. The place is also the mecca for Jain religion, it has the popular thousand pillars and other Jain temples.
The farm was run by an ex-corporate who gave up his lavish life in Bangalore to do organic farming and live the simple life. We spent our days sometime collecting the fallen nuts, sometime packing them, sometime irrigating or spraying the trees, and every little thing that came our way. Organic farming is very interesting, it uses simple vegetation to make fertilizers, and simple methods to do irrigation and farming. It's like nature has provided us with everything, we are just too lazy to work it out. Organic farming is very labor intensive as no chemical is used, and most work is done manually. But the hard work is not only good for your body but mind and soul.
The farm also had other trees, coconuts, cashew, local berries and other fruits. So food was never a problem, and the owner was kind enough to indulge us. We also learned many local secrets, whether discovering new plants or new use of known plants. Sometime we also visited the local farmer's market or the local shrines, to bring some variety.
Doing the farm work during the day, and watching the sunset and the sky full of stars at night, life seemed slow and every moment waiting to me captured. Sometime we would spend days just gazing at the farm watching stray animals, birds and other nature's wonders playing their game.
I worked there for a month, and it was the most rewarding work I ever did, to realise and appreciate what we city dwellers have lost. Farm work is so much tougher than sitting in a corporate office, but the gratification at the end of the day is so much more fulfilling. I often wondered how we could be so lost to lose all respect for this profession, which keeps us alive. I learnt a lot about organic farming and also meet some really nice people who are still not lost chasing the Western dream.
We are so excited about modern gadgets and quick gratification that somehow have forgotten the beauty of simple life. Foreign location and expensive trips make really good pictures. But may be for solace and peace of mind we should try the simple farm life once in a while.