Welcome to Tweed

Ben introduces his first work exchange project in Tweed, Ontario

Gliding across the water with the Sun shining from behind me everything for the briefest moment of time seemed to stand still. The grasses along the banks had stopped moving and with the exception of my paddle making contact with the water the silence was complete. Then from nowhere whilst peering into the water, turtles, no bigger than the palm of my hand begun swimming up towards the base of the canoe where sat with a smile on my face I couldn't help but think that life is pretty sweet...

...One of the key things for me in organising this trip is learning how to travel on a shoestring and so when I discovered the concept of a work-exchange I knew that it was something I wanted to pursue. So whether its WWOOF, Work-Away or HelpX the concept is very simple: 25-30hrs work a week in exchange for food and board... but it doesn't stop there because for me the main selling point of this sort of travel is that I get to meet local people, stay in a place long enough to feel "settled" and above all else hopefully get the opportunity to learn new skills and do the sorts of things that I would never do back home.

So I signed up to these websites towards the end of 2011 and from there I got in contact with Denice and John who own a small pick-your-own organic blueberry patch in Tweed which is near enough half way between the cities of Toronto and Ottawa in Ontario.

And three months later here I am sat in a canoe on a beaver pond at the bottom of their garden with their home on one side and a large expanse of woodland the other which just like back home in the South of Devon is full of granite protruding out from the ground which at this time of year is still coated in leaves left from the Autumn.

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So I just arrived yesterday and still even now know very little of what to expect whilst I am here. All I do know is that I can expect to see a fair few animals that until now I have never seen (including beaver, otter, dear, turkey vultures, coyotes, ground hogs and apparently too, there is even chance to see black bears!)

Oh and did I mention that my hosts are self-confessed evangelical environmentalists!?

Either way, I think that whatever happens over this next couple of weeks it is definitely going to be interesting.