I have been incredibly slack with my blog and I’ve missed it SO much, I’ve missed connecting with you all and sharing all of my thoughts/feelings and experiences but I am backkkkkk. So hello again, This has been a pretty big chapter in my life so this post is a lengthy one but so many people have done the same or are planning to do so and I just want to give you the ‘insider’ perspective. I’ve been SO busy I just haven’t had anytime to do anything other than work.
I’ve always had the ability to adapt to pretty much anything and everything that comes my way, I will do what it takes to get to where I want to be, doing my regional work to get my second year Australian visa was the ultimate necessity to get me what I want for the next part of my Australian journey. Whilst I tell you about my experience understand that this is my own reflection, we’re all very different and even though someone else may be in similar position I truly believe that our mentality and outlook will have a large impact on the way we perceive an experience especially one that requires a lot strength physically and mentally.
IT’S BLOODY OVER!!
The Why, Where, When, What….
Ok so just you know what the hell I’m talking about here’s the down low… In order to get a second year working holiday visa in Australia you must complete three months of specified work (without going into the boring bits I’ll let you read into it for yourself – see link here)
I’ve completed 3 months of regional work in Australia, in fact I’ve exceeded it and actually completed a little over 4 months, 19 weeks to be exact…WHAT! I know right, you might be thinking I’m crazy and you’re probably right but saving money was the next priority for my upcoming adventures and whilst I stayed a little longer than I was meant to I saved a significant amount of money.
How I Found Work
If you’ve been following me you’d of seen that I started my travels in Australia back in April. After almost 2 months backpacking up the East Coast I headed back to a rural town by the Sunshine Coast; Beerwah QLD (the home of the Irwin family, Australia Zoo).
Thankfully one of my best friends did the same thing last year so she was able to refer me to the same farmers she worked for and I am extremely thankful for this.
With that being said there are many ways of finding farm work:
Every produce season is different across Australia so there’s a constant demand for workers you just need to look at the right time. It’s always best to start at the beginning of the season and stay in the same place until you have your days ticked off just to make it less complicated for yourself.
I wanted to get my work done throughout the Australian ‘Winter’ so pretty much as soon as I got out here purely because the summer would be unbearable to work in.
I did my work in Queensland between May – October and it was perfect – don’t be fooled by the term winter, it’s still very hot, some days were unbearable in the shed but it wasn’t always so bad. I would 100% recommend doing your work during this time too if you’re considering it.
The quicker you get your regional work done during your first year visa you’ll have more time to enjoy after instead of worrying about completing it right at the end.
What I Did
I landed on my feet to be honest, usually you’d either be picking or packing fruit and veg and most of the time it would be piece rate (paid by weight and work effort).
I worked on a strawberry farm doing quality control ; checking what was being picked and what was being packed making sure everything was of good enough quality ready to go out to the stores. This is a rare position to be in so if you’re coming to do your regional work I wouldn’t expect to be doing something similar. I got very LUCKY. I was on an hourly rate of $23.66 per hour.
Make sure you get an hourly rate job, tell your friends tell your family!
My Personal Experience
When I say I experienced every emotion possible I literally went through them all.
There were days I would’ve had actual fights with people because I’d get so stressed out and mad especially when the season got into full swing. Sometimes I contemplated writing this post in a ‘Burn Book’ format but I took a deep breath and took it all in for what it was and realised it really wasn’t all that bad…
I’m happy to admit that most days I was actually OK – sometimes really good in fact. I discovered a lot of self motivation, inspiration and happiness. I had so much time to think about every little thing, we all know sometimes that’s never a good thing but I used this time to learn through reading and listening to a lot of podcasts.
I planned so much for myself in regards to my future with blogging, my career & travel plans. this filled my soul with so much fuel and excitement .
Yep. 4 adults living in the small hut at the back, sharing the smallest room, beds touching, no draws, nowhere to hang our clothes or store our belongings – we lived out of our backpacks for 12 weeks. We shared a small kitchen that was practically in the bedroom and a bathroom that was divided off by a sliding door. WIFI? No chance, we had to go sit outside by the office if we wanted any hope in getting that.
THIS was probably one of the most mentally challenging parts of the experience for me, I hated it. There’s part of me that wishes I’d of gone and stayed in a working hostel just so I could’ve been around more people and potentially have a bit more space to do things and stretch my legs. If it wasn’t for me being with RJ I would’ve left 1 month in. He kept me sane throughout the entire time and we occupied each other to the best we could with the little we had. We lived with a couple that were from the UK, this was fine we just didn’t get that sparking friendship in order to have fun or do much. I’m not one to get bored or low but this really pushed me and got me down.
7 weeks towards the end of the season we got the opportunity to move over the road and I am soooo gutted that this wasn’t available for us to begin with, it was an actual home with pure comfort, wi-fi, proper beds and much more space and storage. All for the same rent cost (some would say we we’re ripped off) I’m glad I had that exposure to those living arrangements as it was just another struggle for me to grow through. I’m very thankful for the move as it made the hardest part of the season more bearable to get through.
The Actual Work…
As I previously mentioned it really had its ups and downs. It wasn’t ever physically strenuous, my role was to simply check the berries… it was just hectic, the packers pack incredibly fast and then they’re sent down to you all at once and you have to check every punnet incase there are shit berries tucked away inside. I honestly wanted to launch them 🙂
The other part of the job was to stand and watch these punnets pour through a machine and make sure it didn’t fuck up basically.
Can you imagine how torturous this felt day after day for 19 weeks..
(This picture was right at the start of the season so it wasn’t as busy but just imagine all of the belts covered – it was intense)
Sometimes we got to be on the actual farm doing the odd job here and there, I personally love getting my hands dirty and would’ve been up for the occasional muddy day if I needed to. I like to be out in the fresh air taking in the surroundings that way but I got what I was given, not at all complaining about that either.
At the start our hours varied between 5-8 hours a day. It was only until the season got busier our hours were consistently 8+ a day, everyday without a day off (at one point we worked 3 weeks on doing 70 hour weeks without any time off in-between) that was the next mental struggle, granted I am extremely young but my god I felt exhausted at some points, the combination of stress exhaustion and utter bordem really got the better of me.
It is important to keep focusing on the end goal, keep a happy mindset and just get on with it. The people I worked for/with also made it much easier for me. The horror stories I hear about farm work always boils down to the type of people they work for and with but that can never be predicted or controlled, you just have to get lucky with a good bunch.
I bonded with the owners and their children whom I actually adore… I found comfort being around a family unit whilst being away from my own.
The best bit would most certainly be meeting the most thoughtful, funniest people from other parts of the world, this was a major highlight for me as it’s not often you’d have this opportunity. I made friends with people from Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Germany and Canada.
Everyone had their own wonderful characteristics and I learnt so much from all of them. I got to try all types of food, learn about their culture and even attempted to pick up their language with the odd word or two.
“Wherever we travel to, the wonderful people we meet become our family.”
I embraced being out of my comfort zone.
I discovered my own strengths and weaknesses. Before being here I was kind of naive to my bad traits so I am now able to utilise my strengths and work on bettering my weaknesses.
I learnt more about my health (The importance of my Diet and Fitness)
I become much more educated with what’s going on around the world and how we’re damaging our planet, I now know that the simplest things can be done little and often as individuals to make a change.
If something needs doing your best to just get it done yourself, do not wait for someone else to do it.
I learnt the importance of personal space
You just have to get on with it… whatever it is you just have to do it.
There’s good in everyday you just need to look for it, I am a positive person but get really caught up in other people’s negativity… you can’t fix that for some people it’s just something that needs to be done personally. I count my blessings everyday.
I feel like I got a big part of my life ‘figured out’ I know what I want to do with my future and I’ve planned around certain areas of it… I’ve got my 5 year plan to focus on and my SMART goals to reflect on.
Would I ever consider doing this again? No. Even to save money? No
It’s a bitter sweet love hate relationship, I cant believe its over but my god am I pleased. I still think the whole concept is absolutely ridiculous. Some people have it bad out here and their working conditions are awful. I’m not sure of workers rights regulations in Australia but I know in the UK a lot of things just wouldn’t be allowed. I think the BBC or channel 4 should do a documentary on this whole ‘insider to Australia’ thing, go undercover and interview those that have experienced it just so people are aware of what they’re coming into.. that’s just a thought and if anyone can make this happen then I’m claiming rights to it… haha
What was the hardest part?
The exhaustion – I could see it on my face and tell within my body. I felt so bloody ugly all of the time. I never once had my hair or makeup done, I lived in leggings and over sized t shirts, I had my hair in a bun 99% of the time, my hands were dirty and I gained a few bags under the eyes.
What was the best part?
Meeting the people I met & figuring a lot out about myself.
Next stop – Bali
My next post will be another ‘currently loving’ here I will share all of my favourite things from over the last couple of months as well as most current & then you’ll be bombarded with Bali bits.
Much love, Becky x