This post had to be typed into Microsoft word before being uploaded just to give you an idea of how s…l…o…w… the internet connection is here. They don’t tell you that there’s no internet available until you’re already stuck here with no way of getting the heck out. I recall the first words I heard were “the favoured form of transportation here is hitch hiking.” To be fair, she did warn me not to do it anywhere else. I currently sit inside on a nice day (finally) writing this at Huon Valley Backpackers in BFN (Mom’s friends will get this) or small-town Tasmania, but perhaps I should backpedal a bit…
School ended December 20th for me at my primary school in Melbourne. The teachers went out for drinks and a celebration. It was lovely because Matthieu and Thibeault from France, friends from previous trips up the east coast, were in town- so they joined us and stayed with me for a night! We went out to the Yarra Valley the following day and enjoyed many samples of free wine, laughs, and even scored a free bottle from the last winery!- because we’re so awesome.
I was sad to leave the school and say goodbye to my students. I never realized how many gifts primary teachers get – mountains of chocolate and biscuits, which was a bit sad, since I had to pawn most of them off. I left a few days after school was over, and even the big chocohalic in me couldn’t handle all the sweets. I also had the misfortune of contracting some sort of bug that had me writhing in pain a la Cruciatus curse (woo Harry Potter reference!) and confined to my bed for most of Christmas eve –the 27th. Things got no better in Sydney but I would say its finally over, three weeks later.
On the plus side, I got a lovely 300$ gift card from the parents and teachers which I used to buy a new cam and backpack. Mine got damaged by the sand at Whitehaven beach. The downsides of traveling! Anyways, even with the stomach bug I spent a fairly nice Christmas day. I met some of the Canadians still in town and went to the beach for the afternoon. One of the girls had us over for the evening and we made a nice dinner, watched Christmas movies and played drinking games. Pretty relaxing!
Special thanks to my friend Tyler who gladly kept my luggage for me while I embark on this ‘regional work’ misadventure. I made the decision to move to the Huon Valley and pick cherries, but more on that poor decision after…
The plan for post-Christmas was to head to Sydney. I spent a night in the Central YHA which is a GREAT hostel if you ever go – and left early the next morning for the Blue Mountains. It was a one day tour but I decided to stay overnight in the BM. We did two lovely hikes, saw the Three sisters rock formation, and did a cool ‘train ride’ back up the mountain, at a nearly 90 degree angle. The Blue Mountains is an idyllic place. Apparently Sydneysiders love to flock here, to Leura or Katoombah, for nice hikes, and beautiful lunches on summer afternoons. I could get used to it too! The lovely luck I found was that one girl from Texas, Lauren, was also staying overnight. I was really happy since we’d been chatting all day. We checked into the hostel when the tour ended and went – you guessed it – to grab a couple arvo beers =) She had a lot of interesting stories and had done infinitely more travel than I had. It was refreshing to meet yet again someone with the same world outlooks as me, and we spent the next day wandering around the quaint town of Katoombah.
Upon returning to Sydney, I met up with a british friend from Melbourne named James. I was again lucky in that his aunt had left him her apartment in Cremorne on the north shore. I stayed with him and saved a ton of $$ and got to do a few day trips together as well. The weather was absolutely beautiful for most days. NYE was the big event I came for. His friend had gotten us tickets to watch the fireworks from Cockatoo island. They had a tiny bar, and though it rained a little, it was all in all a lovely night. From then on, the weather was a bit disappointing, and we puttered around the day after until I got to the hostel. I managed to summon the courage that night and talk to a few people at Scuba Bar even though I was alone (read: they saved me). German, Austrian, etc… I am continually amazed at how international the travel situation in Australia is.
Onto Hobart I went. I had a wonderful Friday night, making it into town on the last day of the TASTE OF TASMANIA festival. And taste I did! So many good foods… tempura mushrooms, cheeses, and ciders… You may or may not have seen some of my Facebook posts, but there are a few not-so-proper names, like “Dickens Cider”. Say it. Now blush or laugh, or be offended … =)
Saturday morning I went to Salamanca Market for the morning and met a nice guy named Tom. He was a local, who kindly helped me get groceries and even drive me to the hostel! I was so thankful since I would’ve had to take an unreliable rural bus and I had tons of luggage with me…
So here we are. As I said, this hostel isn’t what I expected. I can only tell you I wish I hadn’t come, but things happen for a reason. I arrived Saturday and it is now Thursday with no work. The weather has been cold and rainy until today. I met Sini, a nurse from Finland, and she’s been here a month. She is also fed up with the lack of work. We decided we’d work together to find a regional job. This means we’ve been hitch hiking into Huonville the past three days, poring over gumtree and online ads for our chance at a job. Yesterday, I got a call from a farmer who owns a Station in the outback. (www.theoutbackstation.com). The pay is very low, but its going to be an experience – he wants us to join the team for as long as we want and become jillaroos of sorts … herding sheep and cattle, feeding, fencing, housework, and any/all duties associated with their farm. He wants us to be able to maintain the farm if he goes away for a few days, which I think is both nerve-wracking and exciting! There’s a stereotype of the token Australian outback experience, and I think this will be it! It’s also nice to not be alone. So, yes, this hostel is in the middle of nowhere and run by a lady who gives you one roll of TP a week, demanding 4 minute showers only…but I never would have met Sini or found out about this experience which has the potential to become very rewarding.
Tomorrow we head to Hobart and spend a day. My phone is being overworked trying to make plans for a small road trip. We’re going to meet a few girls tomorrow and hopefully sort out a four day trip, come back to get our deposit, then fly to Sydney next Friday. We meet the farmer on the weekend and if all works out, my next home will be Outback Australia.
I’ve been bored, stressed, strapped for cash and confused as heck, but I’m definitely living. Keep in touch.
It’s no longer “with love from Melbourne”
It’s with love from “the road”?