Our Round The World experience truly started 2 weeks ago when we arrived in Chile for our first volunteering. For this first stop, we decided to stay in a sustainable farm in the Region de Los Lagos. We flew from São Paulo to Santiago, and then took a bus for 11 hours during the night to arrive in Osorno, to finally take a local bus during 2 hours to arrive near the Rupanco Farm and get picked up by other volunteers for the last few minutes down the hill till we could leave our luggages at the barn where we will live for the next following weeks.
Even if the trip was long and quite tirering, it felt good to be there.
The Rupanco Farm
When arriving at the farm we found out we would be staying there with some other 50 volunteers from all over the world. Some of those volunteers are doing a round the world trip like us, some others are just here for holidays, some are going through some deep changes and need a time off and some just need a new life style and will stay for the long term in the farm. All those people are so special in their own way. They were all so kind and welcoming to us… it was so heartwarming!
And despite the rusticity of the place (there are neither shower nor electricity, for example) we immediately felt this experience would be challenging and amazing.
The main idea of the owner of the farm is to create a sustainable place where anyone could come to recharge their batteries. As the place is still in a development phase, it doesn’t have enough production to supply the farm and the people living in it yet. However, in a close future, it should be able to provide food for all the volunteers and guests thanks to an ambitious permaculture plan and therefore get close to be entirely self-sustainable. Today, the domain of almost 400ha counts with a barn and a bakery used for accommodation of the volunteers and a lodge to welcome guests all year long. Located on the edge of Rupanco Lake, the farm is an idyllic place to recharge yourself and find peace.
Living a sustainable farm life
For us, the transition from a stressful but comfortable big city life to the farm life was quite hard. No electricity, unstable and rare wifi, no indoor toilets (it is actually a whole on the earth in the forest, with a quite cute little wodden cabine around), no shower, no hot water, no gaz, no whasing machines, wood burning stoves, soaps made out of ashes and lemon, no privacy (we dont have a tent to camp, so we stayed in the dorms with bunkbeds), no meat (meals served are almost exclusively vegetarians – mostly vegans) no shops or urban life closer than 50km and lots of bugs and animals… To be honest, we asked ourselves ‘what did we do??’
But after 2-3 days of adaptation, we realized we actually need so little!!! We finally got to really enjoy and apreciate this place. Amazing weather and people helped a lot. We quickly realized that living off the grid and being more sustainable is so easy and that urban life is fulfilled with many superficial pleasures. Here we mainly enjoy spending time reinventing the world, walking into the forest and chilling around the lake, admiring views of exceptional nature and fulfilling ourselves through challenging projects (it feels good to look at something and be able to say ‘I did this and it looks cool’).
The typical day in the farm starts at 7.am with breakfast (even earlier if you are the one preparing it). At 8.am we have our morning circles – a daily meeting with all the community – where we play games, learn about each other, talk about issues within the community, make announcements and get ready for work. We do shifts from 9.am to 2.pm where we can participate to many projects such as construction, permaculture, barn improvements or make house shores such as housekeeping at the lodge or cooking for volunteers and guests. Lunch is served at 2.pm for everybody, and the rest of the afternoon we are free to enjoy it as we please. Diner is also provided and we usually spend some quality time together around a fire afterwards. If you work 2 shifts during a day then you can enjoy a free day during the week and sundays are free as well so that you can do some trekking around the place and discover some amazing landscapes and waterfalls (the place is full of treks). So far we didn’t find the time to leave for a trekking and we also got a week of rain that didn’t help, but we are planning to go soon.
At the end of the day, we are really charmed with this place and would totally recommend it if you are looking for a life changing and international experience, to learn about yourself and most importantly, about community life. Here, the main message they are trying to pass is to think about the other first so you will never have the need to be selfish and think about yourself first, because someone else already did it for you…
Obviously things go wrong sometimes and some days we have more issues to talk about at morning circle, but mostly it is impressive how 50 totally different people, from different languages and cultures manage to live in great harmony in a barn on the woods… A must when talking about life experiences…