Like most visitors to Australia on a working holiday visa, I was keen to do some farm work in the hopes of gaining the elusive second year visa. I had some contacts before I left home and off I set to farm near Bunbury in WA. I promised at the start of this blogging venture to talk honestly about my experiences, the good and the bad (because, news flash, not every day is spent on the beach) so here goes…
On arrival at the farm all was great, the family were lovely and made me feel extremely welcome, I met my first kangaroos including a Joey. I started work the next day so it was up early to start work at 7:30am which suited me fine! The accomodation was very basic in a metal shed that had been put up to house the workers; it was extremely cold but it helped with the early start the next morning, so I could cope with that. As it was a Sunday I was told we would only work a half day – hoorah, a chance to ease myself in to the next 3 months. Or so I thought. I was given a bucket and set to work picking blueberries. Fill the bucket, empty it in to a tray until that’s also full, not too soft, too small, or too pink – simple enough I thought. I started picking the berries and it seemed to be going ok, the contractors around me were all experienced so were picking fast and only speaking to each other.
After a few hours the heat was building up, I was hot, thirsty and dusty. The effort I was taking picking the fruit seemed pointless as the trays took forever to fill. The one interaction someone made with me was to tell me about a poisonous snake that was some three metres away from me! I could barely wait for the day to end and time was standing still, the sun grew hotter, and I more miserable. My knees and back were starting to ache and my hands were starting to stain blueish purple from the berries. By the time they said we were finished for the day it was 3pm – if that was only a half day I didn’t want to think what a full day would be classed as. We trundled back to the accommodation and I was ready to sleep, I don’t think I have ever felt so alone or homesick on my travels. I needed to get back to the city as bad as I felt for leaving so soon after arriving.
Unfortunately, my very short time spent on the farm was not for me but it was an experience all the same. It’s made for some great stories to tell my fellow travellers and that’s always a bonus. So for me it is back to Perth and on to the job hunt! I’m enjoying being around so many like minded people again and I’m excited to see what the next part of my journey has in store. I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and although I’ve taken a couple of steps backwards I’m remaining optimistic for what is get to come! I’d love to hear more stories of farm work if you have any – the good and the bad – maybe I’ll try again at some point!