While many Americans cancel travel plans due to COVID-19, Veronika Herder explores the world with a film crew. Herder’s adventures led her to New Frontier Farm in Corsicana, owned by Cliff Paterson and Betina Hawkins.
New Frontier Farm is a unique self-sustainable farm that has provided produce for its owners, locals, and restaurants for 10 years. Herder spends her days caring for the animals and learning about Texans.
Born in Berlin, Germany, Herder moved to Melbourne, Australia seven years ago, where she met her husband. The Herders visited California and grew fond of the United States. When they learned of an opportunity to move across the ocean, they applied.
The Diversity Immigration Visa program, also called the Green Card Lottery, accepts 55,000 people a year from qualified countries underrepresented in the United States. After three years, Green Card holders are eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship.
Before moving to the U.S., Herder worked in fashion retail in Australia, but her work duties at New Frontier Farm require a very different wardrobe. Herder found the farm while searching the Workaway website for opportunities to trade labor for housing and food.
Workaway helps prospective travelers connect with host opportunities around the world.
Herder said the experience provides a “way to travel affordably and live with locals.
“You can understand the country best when you live with locals," she said.
She and her husband knew they would make Los Angeles their home, but she wanted to experience the U.S., starting with Texas.
“When I think of America, I think of Texas. It’s about as real as you can get: cowboys, rodeos and farm life. Texans are super friendly and I love the countryside; lots of fields with cows.”
An avid traveler and popular social media personality on Instagram, Herder caught the attention of a popular German television program, “Goodbye Germany."
Each week, the show presents a different traveler as the film crew captures their experience of moving to another country. The show boasts three million viewers and 10 years of weekly 90-minute episodes. A film crew will follow Herder to each of her stops for the next year, then air her episode next year.
Herder reports she is learning a lot working on the farm.
“With farm life, there is no weekend. You have to always take care of the animals,” she said.
As a part of her housing agreement, she spends two to four hours a day working.
“I support my host family helping with the garden and feeding the animals,” she said. “It’s not a hard job. I enjoy helping in this way. I make sure the animals are fed and watered."
As a result of her experience, she hopes to grow a garden someday.
In addition to farm life, and despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Herder reports she has enjoyed local events, including the rodeo, Cowboy Church, the filming of Red Stone, and a meal at the Bistro.
Next, Herder heads to Vermont. But Corsicana has made an impression and Germany will hear about it.
“What they say about Texans is true,” she said. “They are honest and kind, and I feel that’s what you have here.”