The government recently released a relocation assistance package up to $6,000 for Australian residents willing to complete six weeks of farm work. That’s a fair bit of money… but is it really worth the hassle?
The Unexpected Year of 2020
2020 really shouldn’t be talked about so soon in the new year – it was a year that left us no choice but to look for new ways to adventure. At the start of last year, I was living in Canada where the temps stayed around -20 degrees each day. To kick off 2021, I find myself sweating it out in the outback of Australia… it’s crazy to think what a year can do.
Not even I thought I’d be here! Now my work consists of looking after grapes, zucchinis, corn, and a couple of avocado trees on a 90-hectare farm.
After three weeks into any job, I’m usually dying for a weekend adventure to ‘save’ me from the routine. But so far in this job, it hasn’t been the case. This is especially surprising since, for most of the day, I have hours to think.
Has my love for adventure been left on the coast?
Okay, I’m probably going to get ripped apart for this. But I disagree with Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia.
Yvon once said ‘Adventure is when everything goes wrong – that’s when the adventure starts.’ Yeah, that’s a part of the adventure and the best memories I have are when trips have gone wrong. But it’s become broader to me.
Adventure is a journey of experiences. It’s the moment something new strikes or is deliberately discovered and our response is to explore it, not to shy away.
This is what I’ve experienced in the vineyard.
The Vineyard Adventure
I’d be lying if I said working on a farm is easy. However, every day the farm brings a new adventure, and each day I experience a variety of new feelings, challenges, and achievements. I’m also surrounded by nature. Green vines, red soil, and extremely blue skies every single day. How good is that!
If I compared this to the usual adventure we all know and love, let’s say a hike in the Blue Mountains, the resemblances are there. The package is just wrapped a little differently.
Disconnected From The Norm
Okay, it might be a little more distinct from a hike. But let’s break it down even further. The farm doesn’t require overflowing inboxes or the need to be hyper-connected to the phone. I don’t feel an inch of stress and I’m working.
And when I take the time to look up it’s an impressive site that surrounds me. The Mallee begins on the other side of the fence. It’s desert; full-blown wilderness. It’s something you’d expect on David Attenborough.
There’s nothing out here that makes me feel like I need to attach myself to the big smoke and listen to the news that leaks from it.
It’s bizarre living so far from the ocean and I do notice the difference. I feel so connected to the little town of Mildura. Everyone knows everyone and there’s always someone who can help you out if you need it.
Money Money Money
To top off this adventure, I’m getting paid better than I ever have been. My pockets are filling up with the $6,000 relocation allowance reimbursement (PPE, accommodation, fuel) on top of my weekly hours. Renting is easy and surprisingly cheap, food is grown locally, and there are plenty of good coffee shops – what more could you ask for?
If I didn’t like it I always know that, after six weeks, I could go back to the coast with a pocket full of money and continue back to life as I knew it.
Six weeks might be a little short though. I’m liking this adventure in the vineyards. The country life is a breath of fresh air.
I think I might bounce around here a little longer.
Give it a Go?
Sound like the next adventure for you? Check out the Relocation Assistance site for all the info. It’s time to make some memories.