I don’t know about you but I used to be all about old time-y novels set in medieval Europe centring on a young protagonist living in a monastery. Very specific I know. The hero was usually a girl, often disguised as a boy, and certainly struggling to adjust to the regimented life of religious work and servitude.
Surprise! I am now living that life.
Alright, so I haven’t taken a vow of poverty, nor am I surrounded by nuns, monks, clergy etc… And there isn’t about to be a murder in the belfry or a mysterious stranger hiding in the cellar or some kind of plot against the king. But I am living in an old monastery in the Belgian countryside, and that in itself is pretty darn crazy!
Let me start again.
At the beginning of the year I signed up to workaway.info (similar to WOOFing or helpex), a site where people from all walks of life advertise work in exchange for food and board. It’s an easy way for travellers to see the world without the exorbitant price tag. And here, not far from many amazing European cities, I found a community of hippies living in an old monastery and needing volunteers to come and join the project.
The other volunteers and I help in the vegetable garden, we weed the rose beds, cook in the café, set up rooms for events… basically anything that needs doing around the place. And in exchange we get to explore the country side, eat delicious meals and have a warm place to sleep.
Like everything it has it’s ups and downs, but I’m really enjoying myself. I get to meet some amazing people, experience a lifestyle completely at odds with my life back home, and on my days off adventurize new countries. Plus this place is beautiful!
Anyway, I must be off. The “Sharing Circle” can’t start until everyone’s there!