“Two Women Wandering” Visit Ozolini Farm
Two Women Wandering are Sara and Melissa, a social worker and a laboratory scientist from Duluth, Minnesota. Early this year they did what so many of us dream of—quit their jobs to travel the world. In late August, their travels led them to Ozolini farm where they helped make Lauku Tea. We asked Sara and Melissa to share their experiences on Ozolini farm and while traveling the world.
How did you discover Ozolini farm and their workaway program?
Our main criteria for choosing workaway hosts was that the day-to-day tasks offered something new and different. This was more important than the country most of the time. Latvia was not a country we’d given much thought to visiting, but the possibility of learning about herbs and helping to make Lauku Tea caught our attention.
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about Ozolini farm?
We were surprised by the amount of work that goes into making herbal tea by hand and not using any machinery.
How would you describe Evita in five words?
Introspective, intelligent, capable, caring and creative.
How would you describe Brigita in five words?
Cheerful, communicative, humble, smiley and inspiring.
How do you take little moments for yourself while traveling?
Melissa: I would take out my handy travel art set and draw. Each of our workaway hosts received a personalized, hand-drawn postcard from us featuring one of my drawings after we had moved on to our next destination.
Sara: I would go for walks, find a place to sit and think, read, go for a swim. At Ozolini I swam in the freezing cold pond four times. Very refreshing and good for the soul!
Aside from wandering, what should every woman try at least once in her life?
Melissa: Being alone—whether traveling, going to a movie, out to dinner, camping, whatever. Although we are on this adventure together, we both are very independent and do many things on our own.
Sara: Anything outside of your comfort zone. Anything that is thought to be for ‘men only,’ like changing the oil in your car, putting a new roof on your house, driving a tractor, building something, etc.
What acts of kindness have you experienced while wandering?
The kindness started even before we left the States. Many of our friends and family did so much for us, from housing our animals to picking up/dropping us off at the airport, collecting our mail, checking on our house, and storing our cars.
During our travels we were deeply struck by people inviting us into their homes and trusting us with their businesses and allowing us to use their resources. Most of our workaway hosts took us to a cultural festivities, made us special meals, lent us their cars or camping equipment, gave us small gifts, or took us for a drive. Those gestures made us feel welcomed and accepted and utterly grateful.
What is something new you learned?
How to put up a polytunnel without directions. How to feed emus. How to harvest and dry herbs. Why lobsters cost so much. How to make a fancy French coffee. That if you have a dream you can make it happen one step at a time.
What traditions/habits are you bringing home from your travels?
We are eating more fresh foods and being a little more adventurous with our cooking. Staying with the various workaway hosts, we had to be adaptable and eat whatever was available—which ended up being fun for the most part! We did collect a recipe from each country we visited, which we’re excited to recreate at home here in Minnesota. We are especially looking forward to baking Evita's famous cottage cheese pie.
We have also become a bit more thrifty since traveling on a budget, which has carried into our lives back home. It is quite eye-opening to realize the money we have is finite, and every penny (or pound or Kroner) we spend is important.
What practical advice do you have for anyone who wants to start wandering?
Figure out what you want out of travel first. Do you want adventure? Luxury? Cultural experience? Sight seeing? Thrift? Then do your research to learn how to attain your travel goals. It's all about getting out of it what YOU want, not what everyone else says you should do or see.
One great piece of advice we got from one of our workaway hosts was to go for the experience not the place. Be open to the experiences instead of a narrow choice of locations. Unless your goal is to see the Eiffel Tower, then you have to go to Paris, I suppose.
What’s next for the Two Women Wandering?
Staying home for a few months to visit family and friends. Working a bit to save up for our next adventure. Maybe a trip to Central and South America, or who knows, we may even jet off to Asia on a whim!