There’s something great about hiking up mountains. You struggle up with sweat dripping down your forehead, your cheeks red, your lungs bursting, wondering why you ever thought this was a good idea… but then you reach the top to look out over the land around you and suddenly, it all seems worth it. You’re filled with a sense of peace, lifted away from everything down below and allowed to look at the world from a different perspective. You’re on top of everything. Continue reading
When I was in New Zealand I freedom camped my way around the whole country, determined not to spend a penny on accommodation. There was the odd occasion where I chose to stay at a low cost campsite, but overall, I must have saved hundreds of dollars. Continue reading
When I first started working on the dairy farm I knew the hardest part was going to be the early mornings and split shifts. But when my alarm went off at 3am on the first day I literally jumped out of bed ready to go.
And so was the start of a new lifestyle and routine. I would work from 3.45am until about 8.30am, get home, grab a few hours sleep, eat lunch, and then go back to work from 2.30pm until 7ish, have some dinner, get as much sleep possible, and start all over again.
I don’t know if it was the excitement of starting a new job or what but during the first few days I felt pretty good. ‘This isn’t so bad!’ I thought. But it wasn’t long until I realised I wasn’t getting as much sleep as I needed. And it’s amazing what a lack of sleep can do to your mind! Continue reading
If someone says the word ‘culture shock’ what do you think of? You would probably imagine landing in a country where you don’t understand a single word of the language, where there’s weird religions, different fashion, and strange food, where everything is totally foreign to you. At least that’s what I thought.
But you don’t have to go to a country with extreme cultural differences to experience culture shock. It can happen when you go anywhere, and in a way, can be even more confusing when you experience it because you never expected to.
When I first arrived in Australia I was excited and everything was amazing. The weather was hot, the bars were cool, the people were so friendly, and I liked the wildlife. But then as time went on, slowly without me realising it, everything changed. I stopped looking at things through rose tinted glasses and couldn’t help but become negative. Continue reading
Last year the Australian Government granted over 200,000 working holiday visas. It seems us backpackers are literally flocking to the country, lured by the prospect of adventure and high wages. And once we’re here we don’t want to leave. Therefore, high on the priority list is completing 88 days of specified work in a regional area that allows us to apply for a 2nd year visa. This usually means working in a rural area doing fruit picking, farming, construction work etc.
I feel that this condition for a visa extension is both a blessing and a curse. It’s good because it helps regional employers, who often struggle to get Australian workers, by encouraging backpackers to go out to these rural areas and work on their farms to extend their stay. But on the other hand, it leaves backpackers open to exploitation, as many are willing to do just about anything to tick off those 88 days.
The Job Hunt
A few months ago I was in the vulnerable position of looking for a job. I’d pushed things as far as they could go financially but now funds were at an all time low. I thought I might as well get a job that would allow me to apply for a 2nd year visa, kill 2 birds with one stone and all that. Continue reading
I’d completed my first road trip in the campervan from Adelaide to Melbourne, been to the Australian Tennis Open, and was now starting to think I really ought to start looking for a job. But there was one last thing I wanted to do before facing reality, and that was go to an Australian music festival.
I’ve never been to a festival quite like Rainbow Serpent. Located in Western Victoria, this is a magical place where like-minded people from all walks of life come together, and for 4 days, they leave their ‘real’ lives behind and become whoever they want to be.
It had been 2 weeks since Chris and I had bought our campervan and we’d somehow managed to spend all that time hanging around Adelaide. We caught up with a friend, did some couch surfing, and got away with freedom camping at different beaches. But we were both getting that impatient feeling and we wanted to explore and see more of this massive country. So as soon as our car inverter and Camps7 Book arrived in the post from Ebay, we were off.
It’s that time of year again. All the ski fields around New Zealand have opened up their online applications and people are frantically applying for that all important mountain position that will give them the chance to spend winter as a glorified ski bum. And why wouldn’t you? Free ski pass, free ski leasons, cheap seasonal rental, 50% off every other ski field in New Zealand, it makes a very expensive sport suddenly become very affordable. But the problem, like I said, is that everyone is applying. You’ve got backpackers, local Kiwis, people who are currently skiing in Europe or Canada and do back to back seasons, literally thousands of people. And don’t forget about all the returning staff. At Cardrona Alpine Resort in Wanaka they usually have as much as 70% returning staff each year, not leaving too many new positions.
I spent two winter seasons snowboarding in New Zealand and was lucky to get a job at Cardrona. The first season I applied it was a bit of a stressful process but I managed to get my foot in the door as a cleaner. Then when I returned for a second season I was guaranteed a job and able to work as a lift operator. Here’s what I learnt from the process: Continue reading
Back in November 2013 Chris and I went on a 3 week holiday to Samoa. The first week we spent at Camp Samoa, an experience I’ll never forget. Continue reading
If there’s one thing I love about Australia it’s the wildlife. The animals are just so weird, random, and interesting, like nothing I’ve ever seen before! There’s colourful parrots, mobs of kangaroos, koalas in the trees and emus everywhere. And when I saw these animals in the wild for the first time the feeling of excitement I got made me feel like a big kid.