“Frugality is one of the most beautiful and joyful words in the English language, and yet one that we are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying. The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things.” Elise Boulding
Months ago as I started preparing for the trip, I spent a great deal of time researching various websites. One blog detailed a very interesting experience called WWOOFing. You can go and do a cultural exchange where you help out on a farm or vineyard in exchange for room and board.
I have found that being on the road long term is a great experience, but sometimes you want to stop and just find a sense of normalcy. It was also refreshing to not only do some physical work, but also give back with your time and energy. WWOOFing provided an opportunity for all of those things.
As the schedule started shaping up, I decided that this was something I absolutely wanted to do and so I built in an extra couple of weeks in Italy for the adventure. I was especially fortunate as the place that I chose was incredibly amazing and was a great fit for me.
I spent my time at Castello Di Potentino which is located near Castel Del Piano in the heart of Tuscany. I knew I would love it right away. I arrived on Saturday and there was a wine tasting event on Sunday afternoon.
Charlotte and her family were amazing hosts to myself and the other two WWOOFers who were there, Danny and Natalie. We worked hard during the days, but the food and education about wine and Tuscan life was worth so much.
On our Saturday off, we took a hike to the top of Mt. Amiata. The hike was over 15 kilometers and was a vertical climb of about 1500 meters. The hike was a tiring, but really fun experience.
There was something incredible about waking up and seeing the views all around you there. It’s hard to describe how different it is to finish the work for the day and look up to see such a picturesque view. I almost felt like I could start all over just to raise up and see the view again.
My two weeks were some of the best of my trip. If I hadn’t made plans to be in a couple of cities on particular dates, I would have gladly stayed longer. The castle is also a B&B, so if you’re traveling to the area and want somewhere amazing to stay with spectacular views and stellar food then look no further.
I will come back to this part of the trip later, but just know that I have WWOOFing on my list for things to do again and Potentino on my list of places to return to as soon as possible.
For now, here are some photos of my time there.