I’ve made it. It’s done, over, complete and signed off. 7 weeks of living and working in almost complete isolation, bar the company of a boss who I only ever looked forward to separation from, has paid off, and now I’m hopefully in with a pretty good chance of getting a second year in Australia. I didn’t exactly leave the blog on an optimistic note when I last wrote about my new job, and looking back and remembering that even in the first week I’d realised I was going to hate working for my boss, I’m surprised that I was still working for him a week ago. Luckily most of the time I’ve spent on the farm has been tractor driving, and now that I’ve planted probably 5000 of the 7000 acres of fields on the farm I have a much better appreciation for just how big 7000 acres is.
Although I spent most of the last 7 weeks wishing time would go at least twice as fast, or really wishing that as a working-holiday-maker I didn’t have to work for the worst boss ever to gain eligibility for a second year’s visa, I like to think I can leave the disrespect and demoralisation in the past and take a few positives with me. For a start, right up till the last week, I constantly doubted whether I’d make it to the end or just give in, leaving me desperately scrambling for yet more farm work in the last month of my ‘holiday’. I’d realised just how good all my other jobs have been, whether stuck behind a computer screen, out in a field wrapping vines, or in a brewery sipping (and serving) the finely crafted ales, I’ve never been treated like an idiot who’s incapable of learning or at least following simple orders. So I’ve resolved to consider very carefully whether a job is worth doing if the working conditions are anything like those of my last job, and hopefully I’ll be able to either question the attitudes of the boss, or tell him where to stick his attitude in future. Hopefully I’ll never again be so desperate to hold on to a job that I feel it too risky to call into question the boss’s attitude. Luckily I had the dream of coming back to Australia to live a fairly idealistic lifestyle, mainly based around paragliding, to keep me going – if I’d been doing the job purely for the money I’m sure I’d have been out by the end of the first week.
Anyway, now I’m in Brisbane, easing myself back into being a backpacker, although arriving in the 3rd largest city in Australia after living in basically complete social isolation for 7 weeks does feel like a bit of social-slap-in-the-face. Apart from being my first stop in my 7th state – Queensland – it’s the first time I’ve slept in a dorm of more than 10 people, currently I’m holed out in a monster 30-bed dorm. It’s not all that bad, and I think having lucked out on getting a bed in the corner of the room has helped make it feel like I have some amount of personal space left. It’s taken 10 months for me to meet some friends from back home, finally catching up with Vicky a few days ago, it was pretty cool to be walking through a city on the far side of the world but with the banter of back home.
Brisbane’s quite a neat little city, even if it does apparently have a really good public transport network, the CBD is so compact it’s easy to walk around and it only takes me 10 minutes to get from the hostel to the city centre. I’m not sure whether to label it as ‘just another city’ though – when I arrived, everyone I spoke to was totally underwhelmed by the place, and I can sort of see where they’re coming from: there isn’t a huge amount to do. There’s plenty of stuff around the city though, national parks, the Gold and Sunshine coasts, and the islands around Moreton Bay – the closest bit of coastline to the city. I was going to check out Stradbroke Island today, to get my first fix of idyllic sandy beaches, but this morning the Aussie winter had just enough bite to sway me away from that plan, so here I am back in the hostel milking the free internet for another afternoon. Talking of that, the Brisbane City Backpackers is the first hostel I’ve been to in Australia that has free internet access, both PCs and wifi, so it’s not surprising the lounge is constantly looks like a geek-convention. Anyway, hopefully I’ll have something more exciting to say about being a backpacker again next update, and maybe I’ll be a bit closer to Cairns too..