Farming in a Foreign Land CC0

Why we're testing our young relationship with a volunteer trip to China. 

You heard it right: in approximately 52 days, I will be boarding a 14-hour flight to Beijing. After a two-hour layover, I will be severely jet-lagged and boarding another flight to Shuangliu International Airport in Chengdu. At 1 a.m. on the day of arrival, our host Chien will be picking us up and driving us to his farm, where we have a private shared bedroom waiting for us.

The last four months since my graduation from UMass Boston have been nothing but preparation as I try to anticipate any and every struggle that we could possibly encounter. By we, I mean my boyfriend Lee and I. In September, we are going to volunteer through World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) in China.

I've been busy doing things like researching VPNs, figuring out how to create lesson plans, and trying to determine how trustworthy my host is (since WWOOF has no formal way of accrediting hosts; the website says “take precautions as you would visiting a stranger”). I recently found out that we will be able to lock our door from the inside and outside, which means that our luggage, laptops and Lee’s guitar will be safe. 

I know when I return, I will be extremely grateful and see my home in a different light.

Lee’s and my inspiration for the trip is the long complicated history of our lives. Lee, who is half-Chinese, wants to improve his language skills (Mandarin, although Sichuan province has their own dialect) as well as improve his self-identity by reconnecting with his roots. He wants to be a teacher, so he is perfectly happy teaching English.

I, on the other hand, just want to enjoy a change of scenery. I know, it’s a lot of work for something so simple. But to be honest I’m kind of sick of American culture and I would like to get out of here for a while. I know when I return home in three months (after being wildly homesick a week into the trip) I will be extremely grateful and see my home in a different light. I also want to learn about myself. I want to see what I am capable of, both physically and mentally.

This will be the first time away from my parents for that long, and same goes for Lee. (Aren’t we such babies?) It will also challenge my relationship with Lee. We’ve been together since October 2016, which makes it nine months now. We’ve been spending as much time together as possible since we started dating, and already so much has changed for the better—in both of our lives. 

So, here’s to three months of blog posts that will leave you informed about the travelling process and even maybe confused about life—because I already am. Yep, I’m one of those “millennials” that want to “take advantage of their youth” and travel while I’m young. Come with me, readers. You won’t regret it. I know I won’t.

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Published in Volunteer Abroad Blogs
Meghan Carron

Meghan Carron is a 22-year-old college graduate trying to understand herself and the world around her. In September 2017 she will be volunteering in China through WWOOF.


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