Why fruit picking?
If you’ve seen any of my social media updates over the last three months, you might be wondering; why is she working on a farm?
Well I wasn’t doing it for fun, that’s for sure. Like many others, I love Australia so much, I decided one year is not enough. Easily solved? Just apply for another visa?
If only it was that easy! If you want to be eligible for a second year working holiday visa, you have to complete three months/88 days of regional work.
To be classified as ‘regional work’, you have to be working in a certain postcode, basically areas outside of the big cities. These are often places you wouldn’t usually choose to visit otherwise. It also has to be a particular type of work; such as agriculture, construction, mining and so on.
I chose to do fruit picking, as unlike some of the other occupations, you don’t really need any experience to get a job.
Everybody you speak to before hand, will probably tell you where they went was really bad or really great. For me prep wolf, it was somewhere in the middle.
It’s not easy. A number of factors male it a challenge.
The hardest thing for me was keeping even a tiny bit of motivation to continue. It’s definitely a mental challenge to keep going. Especially when you know you’ve still got 87 days to go, 53 days to go, and so on.
This is because you get paid for the amount of fruit you pick. This sounds ok, work hard earn money? But it’s not that simple. As at some orchards it was impossible to pick a lot, whether there wasn’t much fruit on the tree, or you had to select fruit by size or colour.
Most days I was able to make a ‘decent’ amount of money. When I say decent, I mean better than I would be at most farms. For me earning such a small wage was a one off, but for some people at different farms they might only be able to earn that all the time. Therefore in that sense I was pretty lucky!
It’s hard to make a large sum of money each day because you have to stick to the rules. You can’t just rip all the fruit off the tree. You can’t go super fast because the fruit will bruise. The farms check the bins you’re picking and if you do a bad job, you might not have a job for much longer.
The work itself is very tedious and very boring. It’s the same thing, all day every day.
Some days you feel exhausted, we especially at the beginning you ache.
The weather made it difficult too. In the beginning it was extremely hot. Working outside in 35-40 degree heat. It’s something most of us aren’t used too, and you’re working outside so there is no escaping it. On the other hand towards the end it was coming into Australian winter. I can confirm that it’s a lie when people tell you Australia is always hot. Some mornings you couldn’t feel your hands it was so cold. I don’t know what was worse, it being super hot or super cold?
Ok so you just get on with the heat, you can’t change it. However one thing that I can never get used to m, the single most annoying thing… FLYS. Yep those tiny flying insects. They’re everywhere, and they only wanna land on cuts, your eyes, nose, or mouth. You hit them off your nose, and they fly straight back in your eye. No words will describe how annoying they are. Sun comes out, so do the flys.
The best bits
On the positive side, I do believe its a good experience. Until this point I had never done anything like it, and I probably will never do it again. Isn’t that what travelling is all about? Pushing yourself and doing new things.
I did particularly like being outdoors all the time. It was nice to do a job, where I was neverstuck in side. As much as the temperature was difficult to contend with, you’ve got to appreciate getting to spend the day outside when the sun is out.
Everyday I would get to see the sunrise. It doesn’t get old. I probably wouldn’t very often make the effort to get up early enough to see the sunrise otherwise; but now I have become acostomed to it, and so I will miss that being the start of my day.
You make a lot of friends. You’re all in the same boat, dealing with the same rubbish. You’ll drink a lot together and talk about whatever you’re picking constantly, but you’ll have someone to get through it with. Someone to share the goon with… Let’s be honest, if it wasn’t bad enough as it was, it would be worse doing it alone!
When you’re about to start your 88 days you might be thinking, how can I do this for so long. There are a few things that helped get me through.
Firstly, as cliché as it may sound, you’ve got to stay positive! You could focus on the negatives, but you won’t make it through, and if you do it will be 10 times harder. Yes it’s not an ideal situation, definitely not how you had imagined your time in Australia to be, but think of the positives. Think of that second her you’re going to get.
Find distractions. You’ll have a lot of spare time, as there probably won’t be much to do outside of work. Read a book, set goals, learn something new. Whatever it is, make sure it is a good distraction.
The work it self may be repetitive and boring. Make sure you take headphones to work to try and decrease the bore dome. I personally preferred listening to podcasts. There is something on everything, so you can pee download whatever you fancy, and it can really make the day go faster. They’re also completely free
I will finish this with; if I can do it, so can you. Only time will tell if the three months on a farm, will be worth a second year.