One Italian Summer: Pip Williams

Author: Pip Williams
Category: Memoir
Paperback: 256 pages
ISBN: 9781925344981
RRP: $29.99

Publisher: Affirm Press

Publishers Summary
Pip Williams wasn’t the first to suspect she might be happier ditching her career for a simple life of farming, baking and knitting hideous woollen beanies for her kids, but she is one who risked everything to follow that possibility across the world.
Over one life changing summer, Pip got down and dirty *WWOOFing on the farms of Italy, having her expectations doused in cold water and getting a clear head about what a “good” really means. After a trip with more twists than a Neapolitan gelato, she returned to Australia with her dreams shattered - and reformed into something new.

*WWOOF - Willing Workers On Organic Farms, a worldwide organisation for volunteers who work on organic farms in return for meals and accommodation

Pip and her partner Shannon wanted a better life for themselves and their two young sons, so they bought a few acres of farming land and left the city life behind. The dream was to grow their own food, bake bread and have more time to spend together as a family.

In reality, their lives became more even more stressful, their attempts to manage their little farm whilst still working resulted in failure. They decided that to realise the dream they would have to learn ways to make the land profitable. They came to the decision that they must go to Italy on the WWOOF scheme and so they packed up and off they went

They spent a few weeks with each host family, working for a few hours a day in return for food and accommodation. Shannon, a capable chap, seemed to get along well with all the hosts, even teaching one how to make and use compost which I thought that was pretty odd - an organic farmer not knowing about compost!

Though Pip spent time working on the land she also spent time helping the women with their work. She seemed desperate to find some common  ground with them, to be looking to them for some sort of validation of herself or of her dream.
Maybe it was in those kitchens that she suspected that perhaps she didn’t have what it takes to sustain the life that she thought she had wanted.

This book might be useful for those who are thinking of undertaking a similar experience, it exemplifies the differences between hosts, their expectations of workers and, importantly, the types of accommodation offered. Also, what to expect if you take children along.

Review copy provided by Affirm Press

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