- $7,035.57 = How much it costs to travel around the world through nine countries over five and a half months
- Revisited: How to pack for an independent traveler with no set return date
- A glimpse in the thoughts of Bolod Namkhai Mukhadi
- Beijing to Ulaanbataar Mongolia: The nitty gritty of independent travel
- How to get Chinese and Russian visas as a United States citizen: My experience
- Writing assignment: "Inside The Candelaria Festival of Puno, Peru"
- Marathon hitchhiking: Southern Mexico to Michigan in 7 days over 3,400 mi
- Mango Surprise: Being the victim of a random, delicious act of kindness
- Legendary Vagabonder Rolf Potts with priceless advice on travel
- Fire juggler in San Pedro de la Laguna, Lago Atitlan, Guatemala
- Romania: WWOOFing in Transylvania and back to the US
- Bulgaria: Nice cities, tipped off about an isolated beach, and getting perspective from a prostitute's cigarette burns
- Kazakhstan Pt. 3: Almaty, where kids watch pole dancers, and joining the family
- Kazakhstan Pt. 2: Astana, WTF? Diagnosis: major inferiority complex
- Kazakhstan Pt. 1: Whoa Aunt Jemima's!, the Darth Vader Mosque, and a failed haircut
Written by Tyler Cole | 27 July 2011
After hitching into Bucharest from Bulgaria and spending the night there in a hostel, I set off the next day to a farm a few hundred kilometers north close to the larger town of Brasov. I found the farm through WWOOF, which is a network of organic and conventional farms that ask for moderate levels of work (4-6 hours) in exchange for a place to sleep and food. From what I heard, it was a good way to experience the local culture, explore the beautiful countryside, and save money to boot.
The farm was located in a national park among the Carpathian Mountains in the Transylvania region, right on top of a ridge with mountains rising on either side in a village called Magura. The family, consisting of a thirty-something guy named Iosef with his mom, sister, and sister’s daughter, had cut down on food production in favor of retrofitting their house to take tourists to gain income. This left mainly just cows and sheep to take care of as well as a smallish garden.
It took several bus transfers to get from Brasov to the farm, and it was dusk by the time I was making the final 4 km hike up to the farm. They welcomed me with a bit of food, and the next morning the work started in earnest. The big project for the day was collecting the hay that had been cut with a scythe and dried for a few days. We lumped it into large piles, carried the piles to a thick synthetic sheet that was tied to a truck, pulled it up from the valley to the house, and then added it to the winter storage pile.