I’m 29! How to survive a birthday away from home 

I’m clinging onto my twenties as best as I can. To think that I’m 30 next year sounds crazy to me, but I also thought the same thing when I turned ten. ‘You’re in double digits now!’, I still remember my mum saying this and was strange. I felt so old. Then I was legally allowed to drink at 18. Then I turned 20 and I was in my twenties. I’m sure in ‘old age’ I will look back at 30 like I do now thinking of my previous milestones. Youth is relative. 

With each birthday I experience, I try not to freak out about getting older and try to remember that I have had another year on earth. Another year allowing me to keep enjoying experiences, friendships, love and learning. Should I really freak out about reaching the big 3-0? It’s an age people sadly don’t always reach. I have seen this myself. 

So this post isn’t really about learning to deal with having a birthday away from friends and family. It’s more that we should cherish the opportunities to travel and make the most of another year as best as we can. I wish I could be with my family right now, but I will see them soon anyway. I’m more focused on them saving up to see me out here in Australia later in the year. A holiday we can all enjoy together in a destination they have always wanted to visit makes up for not being there for my birthday. I personally would prefer to have that kind of experience. At the end of the day, a birthday is just a day. Memories and experiences are much more important to me.

But I had a great day! My roommates surprised me with a nice cake, a crate of beer and a very fun night. I read all the lovely messages from backpackers in a lovely card, beer pong commenced and I tried to order McDonalds through the drive-thru at 4am and pretended I was in a car. 

It didn’t work.

But it was a joint celebration for only having 20 days of farmwork left. I’m almost in my teens, it’s nice that despite counting the years going by, I can count down to something. 

I hope you all had a great weekend.

25 days left, but I have been told to leave Ayr…

It happened a few weeks back on a Sunday in this very small farming town. Something that changed the mood and even made it onto international news sites, but not a claim to fame Ayr needs. Every little town wants to be placed on the map, but why anyone would want to be seen in a negative light is beyond me.

I was walking to Coles (a major Australian supermarket) from my hostel. A few minutes walk and because there is so little to do in Ayr, it is a trip I make everyday. It’s what we do in the working hostel. Make sure you don’t get enough food in for a couple of days because, well, how would we kill time after work? It sounds crazy, but it’s true.

I was walking down the street to the supermarket, it’s a straight road until you get to the car park. It’s a quick left at a building with blacked out windows, what this building is in not sure. I’m not even sure if it is occupied. 

Area in question. Who new this little area of the world would make headlines?

This is the poster in question. Warning, strong language.

There was in fact another poster a few steps up, however I don’t think it was appropriate to upload here. It was much more racist and I would probably have to blank out the majority of the poster. The funny thing is the choice of wording here. ‘Ayr is a backpacker free-zone.’

It really isn’t.

Ayr is a farming town like many others in rural Australia, heavily relying on backpackers to keep the industry moving. I assume the reason I have to do the 88 days of farm work to obtain a second year visa is due to a shortage of young people willing to work away from the cities. I don’t blame them, it really is something you have to have a passion for. If all the backpackers left Ayr overnight, they would be pretty screwed here. Most locals know this.

You can read a little more about this in articles over here at the relatively local SBS and the UK’s Daily Mail Online

Also, if I’m not of ‘Northern European descent’ I’m not welcome here. Well, I’m a backpacker of Northern European descent. So being British allows me to stay, but being a backpacker cancels it out. Confused? Yeah, me too.

The Mail Online article above is interesting as it talks of the backpackers that hit back at the posters. Also, the locals that disagree with such discrimination. I have to say, the locals have been lovely since I’ve been here. The hatred in the posters is not seen in the town. 

Don’t get me wrong, backpackers can be a troublesome bunch. I see working hostels as like being back at university. Young people working hard and partying hard. We are loud on the weekends when everyone meets for the bars to let off some steam generated by a week of long farm days. I can also see how much money goes into these bars, restaurants and hostels from the backpackers. It is a cycle that cannot afford to have a small minority of people breaking it up.

What are your thoughts on this? are you a backpacker or live in an area that is popular with them? Love them or hate them, they will never be as bad as the people that are capable of creating such hateful posters.

They will be happy I’m sure to know that I only have 25 days left.

Farm Work Day 53: I got injured picking pumpkins (disgusting finger warning)

Whilst the watermelons are not quite ready to pick, I’ve been picking pumpkins to afford my weekly rent at the hostel and to tick off more of the 88 days I need to do to obtain a second year visa. This was going well until one pumpkin decided to ruin my day altogether causing me to jump around and swear like a madman. I ended up here after my shift, it thankfully happened only 30 minutes before finishing picking.

What happened was this. The gloves I was provided to pick with worked well, but are prone to wear and tear with the spiky stems of the pumpkins. They are also terribly itchy when walking through the vines, one of the more frustrating factors to deal with at on this particular farm. 

My middle finger became exposed through the glove throughout the day, and towards the end I realised the benefit of having gloves to wear when working. As I picked a pumpkin, I didn’t see another one right next to it under some dense vines. As I hurriedly bent down to pick it (it is important to keep up with the trailer as all the fruit needs adding to a conveyor belt to be placed in large cardboard bins) I scraped my finger down the skin of the hidden one. This resulted in pumpkin skin- very hard and tough skin may I add- being jammed under my fingernail. This detached a portion of my fingernail from the skin underneath, causing quite a bit of pain. 

It isn’t so bad, but for those that are easily grossed out, look away now. This was my finger the following day.

You can see the green skin underneath my nail (yep, it’s green, I always though it was orange!) and the white skin is from Benedine soaked onto my finger underneath a bandaid. The nurses spent a good 30 minutes trying to get the pumpkin out by jamming some tweezers under my nail, all to no avail… It would simply break up when trying to pull out. The most painful part was the bill afterwards. I didn’t get a Medicare card, so this ‘Level C Surgery’ cost me $80!

Lesson, get a Medicare card, and avoid farmwork if possible.


There is always a cute animal around the corner in rural Australia

As I was mango pruning (with Honey, the dog in my last post) a colleague noticed what we assumed was a Frilled- Necked Lizard in a tree. It wasn’t until we went up to it and gave it a little nudge that we saw it do this with its neck, helping us to narrow down the species.

We didn’t leave it be in the tree as we had to cut down the ‘dead shit’ as our farmer calls it, dead leaves and whole branches stopping the spread of disease to the healthy branches. One of the local farmers picked it up by its tail and moved it onto the ground, but not until I managed to get a good shot of it first. It was much safer for it than to be in the tree whilst we throw a great big saw around.

Isn’t the world amazing? It reminds me of this scene in Jurassic Park, involving Nedry and a curious yet aggressive Dilophosaurus.

Have you seen a frilled-necked lizard before? Would you be mesmerised or terrified if you stumbled across one?

Thankfully, I got to see an animal up close that resembles a Jurassic beast, small enough to let me live to tell the tale.

RIP iPhone….

So my iPhone has eventually died… Some of you may recall me mentioning that it sustained water damage and didn’t have too long left. However it has lasted a good few months, much more than I expected.

The funny thing is, I finally managed to take my phone to the farm and snap a shot of the view I have whilst picking, a good few hours before it shut down for the final time. It was a great view too. Emotional times.

I am having fun, and since I last spoke to you all, I have completed NINE DAYS of the 88 days I need to stay in the country for another year. 79 days to go!

The countdown is on, sorry I haven’t been able to speak further however without a phone to take to the farm and now a broken phone, it has been very difficult.

I also had a spider on my shoulder for the whole journey home today. I am not sure if it was poisonous but you can’t really gamble with that here!

I am sore, I have cuts all over my body and it was around 35 degrees today. But although the farmers seemed to be psychopaths when I first met them, I understand their humour and they are great to work with. They just have high standards.

I will give a better insight to the work itself in my next post, for now I just wanted to say hello and come out of the metaphorical cave I have been hiding in.



It’s times like these that I remind myself I need to buy an actual camera for photography. This was the most incredible moon I have ever seen and it didn’t show well on the iPhone at all. 

There are so many people behind me taking the same shot of the couple underneath the reflection, they will be in plenty of IG shots tonight!

Anonymous acts of kindness 

I was about to leave work today when I was handed this.

It is an early Christmas present from someone, a $100 gift card for the local Westfield department store in Sydney. I heard the name of the person that bought me the gift and it is a name I am convinced I have never heard before. It turns out the very generous lady has bought 16 of these for the team I work with, meaning she has forked out $1600 altogether. Despite not really knowing me, she decided that I was part of the team and that I shouldn’t be left out. I can safely say I have never received such a big pressie from anyone that I know so little. 

If I didn’t show my gratitude here, I wouldn’t have anywhere to show it as this person is currently a mystery to me. A lovely mystery that shows kindness is alive and well in the world.

A weird combination?

I went to the sushi stall on Circular Quay on my break. I asked for both a coffee and wonton soup. I craved wonton soup all afternoon and needed a little pick me up from the coffee.


‘Coffee and soup?’ was the response as I placed my order. I hesitated but remained committed. I thought to myself, is it a weird order because they are incompatible in my stomach? Or is it just a weird pairing, like going to a wedding in a clown outfit?

Oh well, it is what I wanted and if I have learned anything in life, it is that humans are capable of doing very weird things whilst being convinced otherwise, especially en masse. Heck, I wish I poured both liquids into the same cup and downed it there and then to really emphasis my point, although admittedly that would be weird, even for me.

Squeeze it in

I set my alarm for 8am. I hit snooze and woke up again at 11.10am. The world is already in full swing without me which means I’ll take my gym gear to work and make up for lost time this evening.

A bird doesn’t make excuses, it is there every morning doing bird things

Not too long ago I would have told myself oh well, I’m out of bed late. Tomorrow is another day, I’ll leave it until then. I’ve realised that I won’t get results by rewarding laziness and a save-it-for-tomorrow attitude. I’ll make up for it today as tomorrow would give me too much time to think of another excuse. 

This is why New Years Resolutions don’t work. If you don’t have the motivation to do it now, you probably won’t have it then. Now is the best time to make those much needed changes.