Hello, I’m in Ayr!

Where? I hear you ask. Or shall I say, whayr? This small town has me very limited as to what I can do, so bad jokes it is.
In all fairness, it is what I expected from this small town. In fact it is a little bigger than I actually thought/dreaded. It has a Coles and a Woolworths, a few bars to cope with the demand that is only there on weekends from the few backpacker hostels that occupy the town. That and the odd few locals that have a beer after work, mostly guys in high visibility jackets.


I am starting my 88 days of farm work here, days that I need to accomplish if I am to extend my working holiday visa for a second year. So a little info about this small farming town:

This is where it is in Australia.

From Townsville it is an hour drive south, from Sydney it is a 22 hour drive north. Basically, if I was to drive to Sydney and you were to fly from London, it would be a pretty close race. That is how vast this nation really is. I’m sure some of you folk know what this is like in your home countries, but being from the north of England, I guess an equivalent drive would have me somewhere in Spain. 

That euro-trip would in fact be shorter.


It has a population of 8,281 people. Aboriginal people make up 7.7% of the population and Italian is the second most common nationality in the town at 2.1%.

There is very little to do here, other than farm work, consuming alcohol or sampling the local KFC, McDonald’s and Domino’s. There will of course be some local eateries that I will try at some point, however the signs don’t dominate the streets like the global brands. I guess that is to cater for backpackers and make them feel at home, wherever home was. 

There is also ten pin bowling, I almost forgot that. 

The hostels here are all workings hostels, focusing on getting backpackers farm jobs to extend their visa. This is a great opportunity to meet like minded people all hating their new farming jobs together over a cold beer and some acoustic guitar. I guess the farm work is necessary as young people leave these towns for the big cities, leaving a vacuum in the farming industry. A second year visa option fixes this.

This feels like proper Australia. Different to Sydney, much smaller and more rural. Farm work will be a completely new experience for me, one that will be challenging but I am sure rewarding. I think for my future posts I will start with how many days of farm work I have left, it will help me keep a log. For now, thanks for reading my little insight into my temporary home! 

I’ll see you soon, if the animals are friendly to me here that is.

Views I will miss, pt 4

This is my local, just around the corner from my house. Admittedly I don’t stop by this place as much as I should but it is great to know it is there for me when a pint is needed.


This was taken last night, it was shortly after my last day at work and as much as I am excited to move on, it was pretty emotional. They were kind to me. A brand new wallet with a bunch of notes stuffed in to help me stay on my feet when I get there. Also, this card.


And on the back!


It’s weird that everything I’m doing here may be the last for a long time, at least it means everything I do from now on is probably going to be a first.

What a way to make a livin’

You know you work in hospitality when your chill time is 2.37am and feel it is still too early for bed…

I actually have another post typed about the predictably unpredictable life of a hospitality worker inspired by today, I will wait until sunrise to tidy up a little when I am thinking straight.

Sometimes, I feel like my stories from work are wasted, and I am sure too many go to waste every day throughout the world. I hope yours has been crazy enough to inspire you in some way.

On top of the world

Blogging is great therapy. My daily routine has changed completely since deciding to write every day and with that, my motivation to do so much outside of blogging. It is like obtaining a master key but not to enter a room, to escape one. A dark room that left little desire to spread a message, one that I wouldn’t want to spread without a healthy frame of mind.

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That master key thankfully works to unlock so much more. I get out of bed earlier. I have breakfast. I will do twenty push-ups if I know I won’t be able to go to the gym today. I spend the day looking around for motivation for my next post instead of looking for a clock telling me when I will be able to go back to bed. I have more reason to get out of bed and more meaning to my days between sleeping.

Healthy eating is another, I don’t need to seek as much happiness from junk food. I have never been a very unhealthy eater but I am still seeing benefits. There is less boredom in my day, less desire to find excitement in areas that don’t benefit my body and mind. If my mind is constantly stimulated I have less time to rest my head on that pillow of procrastination. It is simple but effective. I used to be Indiana running away from work ethic, I prefer to be the ball of motivation chasing my doubts and pessimism away. Once it is rolling, it is much harder to slow down.

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I enjoy being the ball.

I am saving money as I am not spending it trying to pass time. Saving for greater things to blog about. You will see where it takes me in the next few months, providing I don’t lose my passport before then. Ah! There is another positive. I don’t hate waiting for fun things I have planned later in the year as I am having fun today. They say good things come to those who wait. Why wait, and why not have fun everyday? It is possible. There is a huge wasted opportunity when living for something you have planned later in the year. All attention is on that calendar date and crossing the boxes until it arrives. What happens to the days that have been crossed off? Were they just seen as stepping stones? Each one consists of 24 hours, that is a huge chunk of time to let slip by. After a few of these it isn’t days but life that is slipping by. Don’t make that mistake.

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The more I aim to do the worse I feel when I do not keep busy. As long as this busy consists of things that I enjoy, I feel good. It has been said that one of the biggest regrets from people on their death bed is working too hard. I believe that if work is your ambition and consisting of things you enjoy, it won’t be work. Our aim is to find work that we want to do, not that we need to do to keep going.

If I can live a life mostly consisting of what I enjoy, I will feel good. The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best day is today. There is no quicker way to get to where you want than to start right now, and hopefully I will not have to ride so many cable cars to feel like I am on top of the world.

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Destination: Sydney

Time: 00.00

Check online banking. Payday is finally here.

Time: 00.05

I head to the Australian government website and apply for the Working Holiday visa.

Time: 00.35

Online form completed, I eagerly await it being authorised and sent to my inbox.

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In fact, as I wake up this morning it seems to have already been granted. Can that really be the case so soon? Not that I am complaining, I remember how long it took to get my J1 Visa in the United States.

A bunch of forms printed, filled in and sent back, an arranged interview at the embassy down in London, train tickets purchased, a day in the embassy, security checks and all belongings taken away from me and finally, a stamp in the passport. Not that I am complaining here either. It was worth it in the end. This wasn’t so straight forward for a friend as he lost one page of his documents on route. He had to wait outside for us and come down another day. Immigration have no time for that.

Their visa was a little different. I had to work for one company for 12 months. With my Aussie visa I can work wherever the work is, as long as it is no longer than 6 months with any employer. Sounds like a good deal to fuel my years holiday. Of course if any company decides to sponsor me I can extend my stay. If I do farm work for three months I will be able to extend for another year. What I find exciting on this trip is that I have no idea where I will be heading in the next few years. Will I head back to Europe? What if I find that special someone and build a family in Australia? Being a single guy in his late twenties is a little strange like that.

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I feel everyone has some kind of advantage. If you are in a relationship, awesome. I assume the relationship is one in which both people have similar interests and can feed off each other in terms of inspiration and funds to travel. If you are single you have a free pass to do what you want , when you want with little impact to anyone. Take a week or a year out, it’s up to you. If you are reliant or have someone rely on you, blog about it, tell your story and build a following, your unique perspective of what it is like to travel will be picked up by curious ears I am sure.

This may be the last year I blog from the UK. Thankfully I have a couple of years left of my twenties to blog with as much content as I can, I will make the most of it.

It is amazing that we have the option to follow people as they travel and document their lives through blogs, vlogs and social media. I am sitting here reading about lives in lands that historical populations did not even know existed, wishing I was there as this summers day is so dark I need my standing light on despite being early afternoon. If that doesn’t motivate me to get up and go I don’t know what will.

I will see you all on the other side, I will be here until then if you want me.

First image: Liam Pozz– Unsplash

Second image: Josh Wip– Unsplash

Moderation

I don’t know what is worse for me, wearing a tie or coffee. An easy choice for some, a weird opening sentence for others. I enjoy both, but in moderation. 


Everything in moderation, including moderation. Joe Rogan reminded me of this quote from Oscar Wilde in a recent podcast. Sometimes I take my moderation into consideration, other times I let loose. I have too much coffee. I shake, I become unsettled. Tourettes become a little more intense, not too noticeable, but there. Then wearing a tie becomes stressful. I feel strangled, I want to escape the top button that feels like a straitjacket. Why did I think that strong coffee would do me wonders? How did this drug get legalised in the workplace?! 

Monday 


I like this. Thankfully I don’t have this problem as my shift pattern varies. As a result however, I may get the Monday blues on a Friday. Madness, isn’t it? It’s fascinating to look out of my window on a cold Monday morning and watch as the average Joe lets out a big yawn and scrapes the frost from the car windscreen, almost getting in the car before realising that the hot flask of tea was left on the roof. 

Not to sound sadistic, it’s more that I feel I have escaped the robotic 9-5. I have yet to escape working a minimum of 40 hours a week though. I don’t know if my crazy sleeping patterns contribute to constantly wanting to consider alternative ways of thinking and what is ‘normal’, maybe it is because I don’t march down the city streets or pack into trains with everyone else at peak periods. 

Shot taken from the official music video for ‘Animals’ by Muse, created by a fan.

I do when my job requires it, but it isn’t every single day. Maybe staring into the eyes of a commuter that has had their two days of relative freedom and partied hard over the weekend before realising it is Monday and (s)he has to get back to that five days of grinding a wage out. That could either suck me into that way of living or make me think harder about what it would be like to escape it. Either way, I don’t want to try it out, I’ll avoid the zombies at all costs.