Hello beautiful people, I haven’t written in a while (again!)– wifi in Tassie is not very reliable, but I think that the main reason was that I wanted to experience life in full and not spent too much time sitting in front of my laptop. I was desperately looking for farm work in WA, but I had always wanted to see Tasmania and heard there might be some jobs there as well. So against all fears and doubts, I booked a ticket to Hobart.
“I knew that if I allowed fear to overtake me, my journey was doomed. Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me.”
― Cheryl Strayed, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
During the flight I already knew or maybe felt that my decision had been a good one – I loved seeing Tasmania from above. Hobart didn’t disappoint me either, even though I had to get used to loud hostel dorm rooms again. It didn’t bother me too much as I got to walk around the charming city, the Botanical Gardens and Mount Wellington. I felt hopeful and happy, visited the Salamanca Markets and had a picnic in the park at Christmas. Feeling free and independent is worth so much and finally those feelings were coming back to me. After a few days, I got a cherry picking job through an agency…
I was lucky that two German guys were able to give me a ride to work and it was fun working with them. But I soon realized that I would have to work much quicker to even get minimum wage. Even though I barely took any breaks and worked as fast as I could, I wasn’t making much progress. The work was ok, I enjoyed seeing the sunrise every morning and picking cherries isn’t bad, though knew that I wanted to keep looking for another job and was very lucky when a cherry orchard in the middle of Tassie replied to my email. After a week, my boyfriend arrived in Hobart as well, we bought a cheap car, had time for a little road trip to beautiful Hasting Caves and then drove straight to our new employer.
I fell in love with Tasmania as soon as I had seen it from the plane. I loved the mild summer weather, blue skies, the forests and ocean, the mountains, the cute houses and buildings – I just felt at home. Sometimes it looked like a mix of New Zealand, Australia and England. Even though farm work is tough, being in a place where I felt so comfortable still made me wake up grateful every day. We got up early – I’m a morning person, seeing the sunrise makes me want to hug the whole world – and worked 60 hours every week. But still, we stayed in a cabin at a Caravan Park and the owners where so welcoming and friendly, we got to look out on the river every day and managed to earn an hourly rate. I know that a lot of travellers spend a few months just working and hardly spending money on anything or not doing much during that time to have savings to travel afterwards. While this is also good thing, I want to enjoy most of my time, even if I might be working in a difficult job and not just work for a point in the future. Because who knows what might happen? I save up some money, but if I feel like having a nice dinner somewhere or want to go on a little road trip, I still do it. Taking a swim in the ocean doesn’t cost anything and pitching your tent somewhere is usually also pretty cheap.
Working in one spot gives you the opportunity to get to know one location very well and you can find so much beauty in the most unexpected corners of the world. There can be adventure anywhere. We stayed in Ross for a month and even though we worked so much, I have such fond memories of this place. I loved the quiet – walking down the street and hearing nothing much but the wind rustling through the leaves, far away laughter, a fish splashing in the river, feeling nothing than the soft touch of a breeze and the sunshine on your face. You just realize you don’t need much to be happy. As always on my travels, I have realized things work out best if I don’t worry too much and just trust that things will work out (which doesn’t mean that you won’t have to organize stuff). We met wonderful people (mostly French and Asian) and sometimes had barbecues in the evenings.
Shortly before the cherry season ended, we applied at other farms and even though I panicked sometimes that I had to find work straight away, I tried to take a deep breath and just trust that whatever happens will be okay. Finally, we got a call and found a job at a raspberry farm near Devonport, just when our other farm job ended. There was a lot of smoke in Devonport due to strong fires in the area during our first weeks and it was way more industrial than Ross. But when we drove around, we found a great place to stay, a cute little cabin near the beach, affordable and with everything we could possibly need. We got up around 5 am every day and after our first two days, we were able to work as supervisors on the farm. It was great to earn an hourly wage again, but we had difficult days, especially when you were doubting the ethics of your work place, sometimes not getting any breaks at all. I think the whole farming sector is quite difficult in that aspect. But when I hear other stories, I feel we were still pretty lucky and we had quite a good team at the end. It helped a lot to have someone with me there, someone whom I trust and who supports me. We usually finished work quite early, so we had time to relax at the beach and explore the area, take walks in Tasmania’s beautiful nature. There is also a lot of wildlife to see, pademelons, wallabies, Tassie devils, echidnas, possums, wombats and we even got to see Platypuses in Latrobe! If you don’t have much time, I can recommend the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary.
After two months of work, we finally got to go on a little road trip. Summer had been beautiful and warm, but at the end of March, we felt the chill of autumn creep in. We slept most of the time in a tent and had to take quite a few blankets with us. But the air was beautiful and fresh, the sky most of the times a clear blue. We got to see the area around Tullah, Queenstown and Strahan. I wish I would have had more time to explore the wild West Coast. One of my favourite places is still Stanley with its green fields, the old volcano ‘The Nut’, the wonderful Irish looking buildings, just right at the ocean and beautiful views. We bought a holiday National Parks Pass (can only recommend), got to see Cradle Mountain (well, kind of. In rain and mist, but that somehow added to the mysterious atmosphere), Narawntapu National Park (I like that it got its Aboriginal name back), Freycinet and one of my favourites, Maria Island. Bay of Fires was also one of my favourites. Being in nature just makes me feel grounded and in the moment, there is nothing like that connection to the world.
We got to see Port Arthur (which is fascinating and a bit creepy at the same time. Tasmania’s past does seem quite dark.) on our last day, before we drove back to Launceston to take the plane to Melbourne. Saying goodbye to Tasmania made me sad, but I feel I might return there someday. I just feel grateful for my time there and for all the sunrises and sunsets I got to see. For me, there is no better time to think of all those people, places and things I am so thankful for in life. I have always been a person who has a lot of fears, but I have learned that it’s okay. Just don’t let it keep you from trying new thinks or jumping into a new adventure which might bring so much more into your life than you might expect.
Melbourne. We spent one day there and it was great to get to go to museums, St Kilda Beach and sit at the Yarra, even though I don’t think I would want to spend too much time in bigger cities. Flying back to Perth was a weird feeling, but it also felt like coming home. I had a few days there before my visa would expire… So I flew home at the beginning of May. After a year, it was time to see my family. It’s so good to see them and talk to them. Only, once you have lost your heart to other countries as well, you always feel like you want to be in several places at the same time. I am trying to let go of these thoughts and enjoy my time no matter where I am. Not thinking too much about the future and other places and then forget to enjoy my time right now, where I am right now.
Applying for my second year visa was something I still had to do. I somehow got nervous. The fee is quite high and I thought what if something would go wrong, after all that time I spent working at farms? (Here we go again, hello fears and doubts.) I knew, even if I wouldn’t get my visa, I wanted to go back for a holiday and would then have to come up with a Plan B (let’s admit it, there are so many more countries I also want to see. High up on my list? Iceland!). Of course, I spent way too much time worrying about it and just two days before my sister’s wedding (woohoo – I loved being able to spend that special day with her) I got an email saying my visa was granted. Such a relief and happiness flooded through me.
“The two important things that I did learn were that you are as powerful and strong as you allow yourself to be, and that the most difficult part of any endeavour is taking the first step, making the first decision.”
― Robyn Davidson, Tracks
The next adventure is waiting for me and my flight to Australia is booked. This time, I already got a job lined up at a ski resort. It might work out or it might not work out, but it’s just important to try. I wonder if anyone had the patience to read this whole entry – maybe I will write more often and a little bit shorter 😉 If anyone has questions about farm work or Tasmania, go for it.