Couchsurfing in Langkawi

With 8 dogs and 37 cats, Jeff’s house is not your typical couch surfing pad.

We arrived on the island of Langkawi by a nauseating 3-hour boat ride. Jeff met us at a pizza shop and showed us to his house, a quaint two bedroom nestled in a little patch of forest. Wild monkeys greeted us from the trees.

Resting on the hammocks on his porch, one of his cats clambered onto my lap, and Jeff told us his story.

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WWOOF and HelpX: Seeing the World One Farm at a Time

The light filters through the branches of the plum tree, each leaf outlined in a brilliant yellow from the just risen sun. We are reaching up, stretching to pluck the abundant purple plums above us.

In about an hour, we’ll all join together for our first meal of the day; muesli, homemade yogurt, and fresh fruit salad, made with fruit we picked earlier in the week.

I’m on an organic stone fruit orchard in Australia, volunteering with five other travelers from around the world. After breakfast, we gather in a shed for our next job. We laugh and tell stories around a table as we carefully slice fruit for the solar drier. Once our four hours of volunteering are over, we convene with the farmers and share a big communal lunch.


The rest of the day we have free to explore – we can borrow bikes, go for a walk around the neighboring orchards, relax and read books, or talk and play games with our new friends. At dinnertime we reconvene for a group meal, which we take turns each night cooking. Tonight, the Japanese travelers are trying their hand at a quiche, and I overhear them asking the older couple from Switzerland for advice about how to make the perfect crust.

Every day, I am learning new, practical skills for free. More importantly, though, I’m meeting like-minded travelers intent on learning from each other and giving back to the world. We are WWOOFers – Willing Workers on Organic Farms.

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dairy farm

Hanging Rock

Last weekend I went to Hanging Rock, a popular weekend destination for Melbournites, located close to the Macedon Ranges. It’s a geological site over 6 million years old called a mamelon, created by stiff lava flowing out of a small vent and stacking to create a hill with vertical rocks.

It’s only an hour train ride from Melbourne, although you do have to take a taxi or hitchhike to where it is from the train station. I went with my new Israeli friends Michal and Rani and my partner James. It was a fun day outing, nice to get out of this city and climb on some rocks outside.