Almost all my recent posts have been about cycling, Scandanivia and cycling. Let’s throw in something else for a change. In this ‘old post‘ I’m talking about the first job I picked up in Australia. It was two and a half years ago…
…And after my first weeks in Australia (going out, being a tourist and, most importantly, buying a car) it was getting quite clear I was going to need a job.
I found my first job in Australia on Gumtree – you can read all about it in this guest post I wrote a while ago – and it turned out to be an amazing experience. Fruit picking is kind of like the ultimate backpacking job. In mid-November 2010 I ended up in Shepparton, Victoria, in the middle of the so-called ‘Fruit Bowl’ of Australia. I would spend more than a month there, picking cherries, planting tomatoes and pruning trees. It was fantastic!
Everyone was there for the same two reasons, working and saving money, which immediately created a connection and making friends had never been so easy.
The first couple of days we stayed in a (working) hostel, but we soon moved. There was this Australian guy who had some spots in his front yard where we could pitch a tent.
In the end that saved us a lot of money. One week in a tent cost as much as one night in a dorm. And staying in your own tent instead of a dorm for a month definitely has its advantages.
A typical day would be like this: get up before sunrise (6am), drive to work, start working at first light, finish work at around 2pm (too hot!), go home, eat and drink some beers and/or goon and go to bed.
What I liked about picking cherries was that you got paid per bin. Therefore, the harder you worked, the more money you made. A great motivation. Also, after a few weeks you’ll have gotten a lot better at it. It takes a while to really get the hang of it, but at the end I was making twice as much money as I did in the first couple of days.
As mentioned before I also tried planting tomatoes, but I found that kind of work incredibly boring. I pruned fruit trees for a couple of days as well. That was great and well paid.
The thing was: if you wanted to work, you could actually make a decent amount of money there. It was really hard to spend money too, even if you tried to; there wasn’t a lot to do around there. If you add up those two facts, you know that you’ve got yourself a great way to get back on track financially.
Although it wasn’t always easy to get up in the morning, it was all totally worth it. I made some great friends, some of which I still keep in touch with today. And in the end I saved up enough money to go back to Sydney and spend the winter (or is summer?) holidays there.