It’s time to say goodbye again.
My 88 days of farm work are done, my flight is booked, and I’m finally about to leave Australia.
As I write this I’m leaving another home: I’m sitting on the train from Bunbury to Perth, trundling through greenery and past housing estates. Donnybrook has already faded from view, and with it my trusty little car and my quiet, sedate farming life.
Now back I go to living out of a 65 litre rucksack. And a battered one at that.
It’s been a while. I’ve spent the past three months living long term in a working hostel, and before that a car and a tent, and before that a flat in Melbourne. My possessions tend to expand to fill whatever space is available, and there was a lot of space available in my hostel room in Donnybrook.
But it didn’t take long to pack up, this time around. Maybe after this long I’ve finally gotten good at it. Or maybe I’ve just got better at throwing stuff away – the local Red Cross is now brimming with my cast offs.
God, the past three months have flown. I arrived in Donnybrook off the back end of a road trip, mid-winter, in pretty urgent need of work. I didn’t even know if I wanted to bother trying to get my second year visa. I didn’t even know whether I would have the time.
But I found a great job, and unexpectedly was able to work pretty much solidly for three months. Despite torrential winter rain on an almost daily basis throughout August. Despite only being promised a couple of weeks work picking grapes in the beginning. Despite assuming that I’d be stopping by just for a little while, before heading up north to the warmer weather.
It would be a lie to say that I loved every minute of it. It is hard to love spending eight hours a day with rainwater trickling its way down into every crevice, tying up fiddly bits of string to grimy plastic covers, with no prospect of getting dry any time soon. It is hard to love getting up in darkness, seeing your breath curl up and condense on the air; bracing yourself to throw back the blanket and hurriedly layer on clothing.
But overall? I really did love most minutes of it.
I now know more about table grape vineyards than I ever thought I would. I found a genuine contentment in working outdoors. And I can hardly complain about a job that allows you to listen to music and podcasts all day. Even if I did accidentally prune several pairs of headphones in the process.
I’m even contemplating going back next year… especially if the job opportunities in Fremantle aren’t forthcoming.
But now it’s time for the next big adventure!
Tomorrow morning at the crack of 8.30am I’m off to Bali for a well-deserved (?) holiday.
Plot twist: I’m going to be travelling with my MUM (!!!!!!)
So you can all look forward to twice the hilarity, and twice the travel mishaps. I have no doubt there will be plenty.
Let’s hope that the news reports of plentiful seismic activity currently going on in the region are being vastly exaggerated. Mount Agung, if you could please just not erupt, that’d be grand, thanks.
The next couple of months are shaping up to be pretty exciting. Indonesia, East Timor (!), more Indonesia, then prooooobably the Philippines. Or elsewhere. Who knows.
I can’t wait to hit the road again.