*Warning, this post may contain feelings*
I’m a worrier. I worry about silly things and panic when my plans don’t fall into place. I like to have a general idea of how things are going to pan out and when there’s a bump in the road I get anxious and it sends me into decision making turmoil. To the point where I don’t sleep, my head physically hurts from thinking and I feel nauseous.
As I mentioned in my last post I’ve been working 1-3 days a week the last 3 weeks. Which means I’ve done a total of 5 days of my regional work, leaving a total of 83 days left and only 4 months to do so. So not only is it proving difficult to tick days off, I’m also not making any money and rapidly running out of funds.
The prospect of staying in Australia for a 2nd year is liberating. The pay, the climate and the beauty of this country are so enticing that I didn’t think for a minute that I would find myself questioning if farm work is worth another 12 months stay. I’m still unsure as to whether I want to stay in Australia permanently, if not permanently at least a few more years. Though now it is looking less and less likely.
The agriculture industry in Australia exploits backpackers. Period. This is something I have come to learn. The employers don’t care for their workers, they just see them as numbers. They won’t loose any sleep if I can’t pay my rent and they certainly couldn’t care less if I don’t get to extend my year long holiday to a further year.
Backpackers are treat like animals in this industry and I’m genuinely sad to be a part of it.
Why as a member of the commonwealth should I be forced into a certain industry if I should wish to stay? If the UK was to practise the same system and backpackers had to complete 3 months (it usually ends up more like 4-5) digging up vegetables, we would be accused of human rights breaches and modern day slavery. Okay so I’m being dramatic but that’s how it feels.
The work itself I find bearable. It’s not glamorous by any means but it’s not something I couldn’t physically and mentally cope with for the next 12 weeks. What I can’t cope with is the uncertainty of whether I will complete my farm work in time and the inconsistency of pay. Yesterday I was paid $47.32 for one weeks pay, which was in fact a total of one days work. The previous week I only worked three days and this week so far I’ve only worked one. No one can fund themselves on that kind of money and saving for future travels is certainly off the cards if I were to stay here in Gatton.
So I find myself at a cross road. Do I go straight on and stay, in the hope that work/pay will pick up and I manage to get my second year granted. Do I go right and move to the city for work and save up for the next adventure. Do I go left and go down the sponsorship route in order to stay. Or do I turn around and head elsewhere, like Cairns, in the search for 83 days of fruit packing; which would be a huge risk given my financial situation. Like I said, I am absolutely diabolical at making decisions, so I really don’t have the answer.
I’ve spent the last 24 hours weighing up the pros and cons of every outcome.
I’ve asked every reliable source in my contact list for advice and most people have said the same. ‘Enjoy your last 4 months, do what makes you happy’. I’ve also spent a considerable amount of time googling working holiday visas elsewhere. Canada, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, China: there’s so much more to see that I wonder if spending another year in Australia is the be all and end all. Yes it means I can’t live here in the future but is that such a bad thing? Is returning back to the UK to ‘settle’ once I’ve finished my travels such a terrible thing? Probably not.
I never felt that travelling would give me so many things to think about; I thought it would all be plain sailing. Relax and enjoy the ride so to speak. For most people I guess that’s exactly how it is; but I’m an exception. I’ve realised since I’ve come travelling that A. I don’t like to be on my own. And B. That I actually hate meeting new people and new people in general. I’m working on my issues okay? Give me a break. I know I need to put myself out there but quite frankly I’m not sure how. Once I do, I’m sure that I’ll fully be able to embrace the beauty of travelling.
So now I’m left feeling like I’m on an episode of ‘Wanted Down Under’ and my God do I understand now why it’s such a fucking difficult decision to make. Australia is truly beautiful (and hot) but it will never in a million years be home. Home is where the heart is, right?
Note to self: stop making plans