Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Practical Guide to "The Practical Guide to WWOOFing"

Given that it will be several months before I am actually able to start my WWOOF-ing adventure, I've been doing a healthy amount of research to prepare. Pretty much the first thing I did (after visiting the WWOOF website) was purchase Adam Greenman's self published book, The Practical Guide to Wwoofing.

 Adam Greenman is a British fellow who has been WWOOF-ing since 2000, mostly in Europe. Greenman writes: "...it just occurred to me that there may not actually be a simple paperback for new wwoofers. Over the coming months, I found lots of references to wwoofing in other books and also online information, but not a plain 'A-Z' type book." And thus, The Practical Guide was born.

Greenman's book takes you from the beginning. And I mean, really from the beginning...not quite to "Let there be light" but close enough. If you know next to nothing about WWOOF-ing basics, this is certainly a good place to start.

On the other hand, perhaps you have already done a modicum of research - talked to people who have WWOOF-ed before, read *ahem* WWOOF-ing blogs, visited the websites, googled articles, etc. It's still worth the read, in my opinion, but you'll find yourself rehashing a lot of stuff you already knew. However, Greenman does provide a comprehensive list of websites and contact information for countries that support WWOOF-ing; several check-lists for equipment and so forth to, uhm, check; and travel advice born from years of experience. He also sprinkles the book with little narratives and stories, gleaned from the previous decade.

The Practical Guide itself is not what I would call "professional" (clip-art proliferates its pages like medieval castles along the Rhine, or nudes in the Louvre), but it is reasonably priced and, as I mentioned, worth a look if you are seriously considering the WWOOF lifestyle but don't know too much about it. And while the size the size (214 pages) might seem like a rather large commitment if you're just wanting to read up on WWOOFing, don't be alarmed. Greenman has made the font large to benefit those readers who aren't as fluent in English. Plus, all that clip-art takes up quite a bit of space.

The other nice thing Greenman has done is make The Practical Guide available as a pocket book, a full-sized book, or an electronic download. I took the final route, which has the multiple inducements of costing less (around $8, compared with $16 for the full-sized edition), being more eco-friendly, and being available immediately. And while patience may be a virtue, I do like things to be available immediately.

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