If you don’t look into it, you wouldn’t know that all of us backpackers to Australia have to complete a life challenge to be entitled to a second year visa. When I say life challenge, I really mean a challenge! Like the hardest thing you would ever have to do.
Not only is it hard work but it is just an experience in its self. We have to complete 88 days of agriculture work. Doesn’t sound like a lot right? Trust me it is, although so rewarding once it is completed!
Unless this is your lifestyle, this really is a shock to the system! I worked doing orange picking, along with a group of random other jobs chucked in as well! Again, I can hear you thinking “orange picking can’t be that hard” well let me tell you now, it honestly is.
Firstly, I completed this during the winter months in a place called Loxton, which FYI is in the middle of nowhere. Next, it is shit money! But that isn’t the worst of it, because even if it is shit money, you’re in the middle of nowhere so can’t spend it anyway! And then it was cold, backbreaking and exhausting! I think there is a theme to my writing though… the people are amazing. They make it so much easier! I was so lucky to have met such a great group of people whilst completing my farm work I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them! And that is more important than you imagine because you are working and living with these people 24 hours a day! Maybe you get a break from them when you go to the toilet?
So anyway, farm work. There is a few things you have to think about…
1. Are you mentally ready? Because it really takes its toll! We would sometimes work 2 weeks in a row then get 1 day off! Routine is good though and just think, you get your days done quicker!
2. Do you know where you are going? You hear horror stories and to be honest, chances are, you are going to get treated like shit! I’m not saying this is okay at all, but don’t forget this is these people’s livelihood and if you do a bad job it will affect them! (Also most people in this line of work are grumpy old men) AND just count it as day… this isn’t your life career choice so as long as you’re getting your days ticked off it’s good!
3. Do you have the correct clothing? No point rocking up on a farm with your Levi jeans and new Nike trainers because they will get trashed, I promise! (RIP to my nice trainers)
4. Do you know what your letting yourself in for? Because I sure as hell didn’t! I would not have been able to do my work if it wasn’t for the incredible people I had around me!! Be prepared for a shock to the system when you’re sharing a kitchen, bathroom and bedroom!
5. Make sure you still have something to look forward to! This helps so much! Farm work is hard! And if you are working day after day.. a party with your friends on a Friday makes the week go by so much quicker! My friend and I also made a little calendar and treated ourselves to something every 11 days! This could be anything from booking tickets to an event when we finished to just buying a nice bottle of wine rather than drinking goon! You Aussie travellers will know how much of a treat this is especially if you are poor!
So there we have it… 88 days a slave complete and I have now been released from my prison sentence and am back in the real world… a tiny bit overwhelmed but I made it! Let me know if you have any more questions about my time because this really is not even touching the sides!