I know I am well overdue for a blog post, a lot has happened since my last and a lot has changed. Especially me. It really is a refreshing experience when you learn more about yourself and what you are prepared to do, tolerate and strive for to be a happier person.
For me it started when I left Sydney to complete our regional work, it had its ups and downs and really hit us hard in the face. I knew we would change here and that the experience would be one we would not easily forget , but I wasn’t sure how and I certainly wasn’t sure if I was ready. Committing yourself day in day out to the needs of strangers for 3 months is not an easy choice and all sorts of doubts enter your mind, but if you want that coveted second year working holiday visa you have to make the choice.
Before I start my tale I won’t go into details of the people we worked for, nor will I mention the company name or post any pictures of them and their children. Respecting their privacy is as important to me as it is to all of them.
We left Sydney on the 17th March 2013 and hopped on a train to mid-north NSW, the train ride was filled with trepidation, curiosity and down right fear…I have heard of the movie Wolf Creek and the fact that it was based on true events, also other people delight in telling you how there is nothing in most of the rural areas of Australia and that you are all alone! So obviously I imagined how long it would take my parents to learn of my disappearance. Ok a little melodramatic and I am sure they would notice if I didn’t place any pictures on Facebook or send them a Birthday card, they would wouldn’t they? Right?
So here we begin 3 and a half months of learning, making new friendships, arguing and almost getting seriously injured on a number of occasions. Being collected in a dirty 4 wheel drive by husband, wife and 5 of 8 children I was a little intimidated. Names were being thrown around everywhere and hyperactive faces were gleaming at the two new backpackers. On the way to the land the Husband “Mr P” decided to try to intimidate us a little, I immediately turned into my no-phased cocky teenage self from way back when (just throwing a little attitude out there), he wasn’t happy about that so he wanted to test me. On the way up the drive I had my first encounter with the animals that were to be my enemies, my friends and my lifelines for my time there. Mr P told me to get into the paddock with 3 pregnant mares and retrieve their food buckets, his wife Mrs P told him not to. Again cocky teenager in my brain thought “I’m not afraid, let’s this”. The horses didn’t see me and as soon as they did I had hold of buckets, obviously they thought I had food and came at me. Waaaaaah freak out, buckets in one hand other arm up in the air.
Once I made it out alive and reconnected the electric fence it turned out I did the right thing and I had a natural instinct….to not die!
Our time on the farm was to be spent waking up in our caravan, feeding 30+ horses, cows, pigs, sheep, chickens, dogs, rabbits, cat and our very own kitten their breakfast, helping with any job (from babysitting, panel beating, cattle chasing and butchering) then feeding them all dinner again. The diversity of what we did astounded us. Some of these jobs completely altered my perception of certain things and I learned so much from such accomplished people. I appreciated the chance to get close to such beautiful animals and really begin to understand and work with them. Watching Mr P, who actually is the real horse whisperer, work the horses was unbelievable.
- Rule number 1: if you have a horse on a lead, it tries to bolt and you have no lead left – let it go!
- Rule number 2: if you open a gate of a paddock and there are large living animals in that paddock – shut the gate.
- Rule number 3: if you have an animal on a lead (such as a cow) – do not put food into it’s container until the holder of the lead is safely out of harms way.
There were fun times like having picnics and fires with the kids and there were hard times like when one of the mares lost her foal due to paralysis tic and I thought I hadn’t treated them correctly. But the hardest part was leaving. Leaving the animals and people that made it such an amazing journey. There’s so much more that happened that I haven’t got the space in this blog post to write and that will all be forever in my journal.
But backpackers know this, there are many places to do your regional work. Some that pay and some that don’t. You need to complete 3 months in one place or 88 working days in multiple places, some pay and some don’t. Although everyone would love to get paid for the regional work that they do, please do not let that put you off doing work exchange and woofing because these people really need the help too. Probably more.
No matter where you go you will have the experience of a lifetime that most would never get the opportunity to have at home. I know I wouldn’t have and that’s why I’ve already been back and I am going back again. To my new Aussie home.
We found our regional work by completing a membership with Travellers At Work, all the adverts are live and the staff are brilliantly helpful.
To find out if an area or job description qualifies for 2YV:
You must make sure that the place you are going to has a registered and valid Australian Business Number (ABN), you can check the status of an ABN here.
Take your forms with you, you need proof that you have worked there in case the immigration people check your visa application. Get them here, you can also apply for your visa online.
Remember to agree working hours before you start some farms will take you for granted if you allow them to and some will hardly ask you to do any work, the main priority is to make sure your required days are covered doing a qualifying job in a qualifying location.