Anyone that knows me knows that I love to travel. I love to see new places, meet new people and eat new foods. I also love my farm and all of the critters we have. Most people that farm would tell you that you shouldn’t leave it once you have it up and running. I completely disagree. I’ll explain to you why you can and, more importantly should, travel while you farm.
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You deserve a break!
I’ll be the first one to tell you that farming is hard work. I have two young children, and just being a mom is tough sometimes. Not to mention all of the gardening and farm chores that we add to the mix.
I’m a firm believer in everyone pitching in to help out around here. Forrest and Dallas have both had chores to do around the farm since they were old enough to walk and talk. It started with simple tasks, like feeding the dogs and cats, but they’ve helped pitch in. Honestly, there’s enough work around here each day for about ten people, much less just us four.
I say all of this to remind you that running a farm is hard work. Many chores need to be done every day. Many farmers and homesteaders go through a period of time called ‘homestead fatigue’. They think that once you start this lifestyle that you can’t leave. This often leads to farmers being burned out.
Taking a break every now and then can prevent homestead fatigue.
Plan Ahead and Be Less Stressed
There are times of the year when things are less busy on the farm. If you plan to travel when animals could be having babies or when the weather is bad, you’ll worry about things at home when you should be relaxing. Plan to travel when the farm is low maintenance.
You’ll appreciate the vacation much more if you aren’t constantly worried about what’s going on at home.
A few weeks before you leave for vacation, start preparing. Complete any projects that you were working on before you leave. That way, when you are on vacation you aren’t thinking about the fact that you should be home working on the project. You’ll feel much better about leaving if the projects are finished before you leave.
I have actually planned small projects right before we have went on vacation a few times. It makes me feel so much more accomplished and relaxed when we leave and we have just finished something on the to-do list. We can focus on relaxing because we have already finished the project.
This has been a major game changer for me.
Find Good Help
I know this seems obvious, but I have to say it. You should always find good help to take care of things while you are gone. This isn’t hard at all! If you plan ahead, you can contact your local FFA or 4H group to reach out to young kids that are interested in agriculture.
We’ve done this several times now. Since I’m an FFA advisor, it’s been really easy for me to find good help on the farm. I will also say that as an FFA advisor, I love when farmers come to me asking about help. I always have kids that are eager to work on a farm, but just don’t have the opportunity at home. These kids will actually enjoy coming and taking care of the farm for you while you are gone.
Once You Find Good Help, Keep It
I always pay my help. Paying the help is only fair considering the work that has to be done each day. Some of the kids that have come out and taken care of things for us have tried to not let us pay them.
They simply enjoyed spending time with the animals. Some of them even send me pictures of them and the animals playing.
If you are in an area that doesn’t have an FFA program or a good 4H program, then you can check with some of your neighbors, especially ones with animals!
I remember as a kid, I wanted a horse farm so bad I could taste it. There was a woman not farm from me that had a horse farm. I took care of her farm in the summers when her family was on vacation. There were several summers that instead of paying me cash, she would give me riding lessons in exchange for taking care of her farm.
She always left me a really detailed list of chores, so I never had any questions. We rode horses together frequently, so I was comfortable with her horses and set-up. I loved getting the horses out and grooming them. I spent so many hours grooming and bathing horses while she was gone. Essentially, I spoiled them. I just liked being around them so much. I probably had more fun while she was on vacation than she did!
Remember What’s Important
Why did you start farming to begin with? If you’re like me, you probably wanted to be self sufficient and less reliant on the daily 9-5 grind.
Maybe you want to spend more time with your kids. Or maybe you had a boss that you didn’t get along with and wanted to see less of. Whatever your reason, you started this to allow yourself freedom. If that means taking a vacation occasionally, then don’t keep yourself from that!
Just this past weekend, Michael and I took a weekend trip to the coast. A student of mine (that happens to live down the road) took care of things while I was gone. It was so refreshing to get away, even for a couple of days! We have been working on putting a fence up around our property. To say we needed a break is an understatement. The past several months have been nothing but work for us.
We were able to leave, spend a relaxing few days at the beach and come home to a happy farm. You can’t beat that!
Plan That Vacation!
If you plan ahead of time, you’ll be able to take some time away from the farm. I’ve been able to go away for as long as two weeks without hiccups! I’m sure that if you planned it, you could spend several weeks from the farm.
Your garden will continue to grow, your animals will continue like normal and you’ll be come back to it all feeling refreshed.
You’ll also be giving someone else the opportunity to experience a piece of what you live every day. That’s a good thing! More people should experience agriculture, and you can give someone that, even if it’s only a small window of time.
Find someone to take care of everything while you are gone. You will be glad you did. No one ever traveled and then said they regretted doing so. Trust me, you deserve it!
Happy farming and travels!